22th Sep, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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UNDP report lauds India’s strides in reducing poverty in past decade (GS1: social issues, prelims Multidimensional Poverty Index 2018)
- In the decade between 2005-06 and 2015-16, India has halved its Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) from 54.7 per cent to 27.5 per cent
- According to MPI 2018 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, there are 271 million fewer poor people in India in this period
- 364 million Indians continue to experience acute deprivations in health, nutrition, schooling and sanitation
- About 196 million MPI poor people in India, accounting for more than half of all multidimensionally poor in India, live in the four states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh
- Just over one in four multidimensionally poor people in India are under ten years of age
- Traditionally disadvantaged groups, in terms of castes, religions etc, continue to be the poorest though they have experienced the biggest decadal reduction in MPI
About Multidimensional Poverty Index
- The MPI measures multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and living standards and 10 indicators, namely nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, sanitation, cooking fuel, drinking water, electricity, housing and assets
- Those found to face deprivations in at least a third of the MPI’s components are multidimensionally poor
ISRO setting up launch pad for Gaganyaan mission (GS3: Science&tech, prelims ISRO set to have new launch pad)
- The ISRO is setting up a third launch pad at Sriharikota to undertake the Gaganyaan manned space flight programme, an ISRO official said on Friday.
- In addition, ISRO is scouting for a location on the western sea coast near Gujarat to set up another launch pad for Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV).
- ISRO will use its GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle, which can carry the heavier payload of the Gaganyaan, and this will take off from the new launch pad.
- In addition to the third launch pad at Sriharikota, ISRO is also scouting for a new location near Gujarat for the SSLV.
Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV)
- ISRO is developing the SSLV to offer affordable launch options for smaller satellites through Antrix, the space agency’s commercial arm.
- ISRO currently piggybacks smaller satellites on the PSLV and GSLV along with bigger satellites.
- The SSLV is expected to reduce the launch time as well as cost less to launch small satellites, which are much in demand.
- ISRO have evaluated several locations of which the first two SSLV launches will take place from Sriharikota. After that they will move to the new location.
- ISRO has begun work on the manned mission in 2004.
- Many of the critical technologies required for human spaceflight have already been validated through various tests.
- These include Space Capsule Recovery Experiment, Crew Module Atmospheric Re-Entry Experiment and Pad Abort Test.
In the tribal hearland of Adilabad, Muharram is a part of Adivasi ethos (GS1: art& culture, prelims)
- The influence of the non-tribal culture has apparently come to the tribal heartland of Adilabad during the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
- Muharram was a State festival then and it is generally believed that it has evolved into a tribal event over the years incorporating some of the religious methods of the ethnic people.
- The assimilation of culture of the aboriginal Raj Gond, Pardhan or Andh tribes is what makes Adivasi Muharram different from the Shia event but makes it somewhat similar to the one which is observed by Hindus in North Telangana.
- Thousands of tribal devotees flock the makeshift or permanent ‘dargahs’ scatterred all over the tribal belt making wishes which forms the core activity of the event.
- A good number of aboriginal habitations, especially in Adilabad and Kumram Bheem Asifabad districts, boast of ‘dargahs’ which happen to be the resting places of ‘sawaris’ that symbolise the sacrifice of Hasan and Hussain, the grandsons of Prophet Mohammed. The dargahs are looked after under the guidance of a ‘mujawar’ or custodian who is invariably a Muslim.
- The sawaris have a central long wooden piece with a rounded off distal end, sometimes carrying a ‘panja’ or palm or ‘naal’ or a crescent moon shaped object, from where the plethora of cloth pieces offered by devotees are suspended.
Protecting persons with HIV/ AIDS (GS2: Governance, prelims)
HIV Prevention Act 2017
- The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act of 2017 safeguards the human rights of people living with HIV and AIDS
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a notification to bring the Act into force from September 10
History of the law
- The Act was born out of an urgent need to prevent and control the virus and syndrome.
- It has highlighted the necessity for effective care, support and treatment for HIV and AIDS
- The Act spawns from the commitment to the global community under the Declaration of Commitment on Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (2001)
- The declaration calls for enhanced coordination and intensification of national, regional and international efforts to combat the virus and syndrome in a comprehensive manner
Provisions of the law
- The statute aims to provide equal rights to persons with HIV and bring them into the mainstream
- The Act gains importance as it makes it a legal obligation to protect the privacy of persons with HIV and AIDS
- The law addresses discrimination meted out to persons with HIV and AIDS. It fortifies the health and medical health-care system for them and introduces legal accountability along with formal mechanisms to inquire into complaints and redress grievances
- The Act lists various grounds on which discrimination against persons with HIV is prohibited
- The requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited
- The Act provides that every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household
- Every person in the care and custody of the state shall have the right to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counselling services
- The Act prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them
- Section 37 makes such propagation of hatred punishable with a term of imprisonment which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to two years, with fine which may extend to 1 lakh rupees.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe sends back first images (GS3: science & tech, prelims)
- Just over a month into its seven-year mission to touch the Sun, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has beamed back the first-light data from each of its four instrument suites, the U.S. space agency said.
- Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe’s (WISPR) the only imager on the probe door was opened, allowing the instrument to take the first images during its journey to the Sun.
- WISPR with both its inner and outer telescope snapped a blue-toned, two-panel image of space with stars visible throughout. While the Sun is not visible in the image, it showed Jupiter.
- The probe also sent data back from its three other instruments on board: ISoIS, FIELDS and SWEAP which are all dedicated to unravelling the mysteries of the Sun.
- The Parker Solar Probe’s first close approach to the Sun will be in November.
MHA signs MoU with ISRO to set up an Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response
- The MHA and ISRO signed a MoU for setting up of an state-of-the-art Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER) in Ministry of Home Affairs.
Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER)
- ISRO will render its technical expertise for setting up of proposed ICR-ER whereas the project will be executed under overall supervision of MHA.
- The ICR-ER will cater to the requirement of Disaster Management as well as Internal Security.
- ICR-ER will address the requirement of receipt of information on near real-time basis, strategic level monitoring, situation awareness, command and control.
- This will improve preparedness and response in the diverse internal security situation and disaster related emergencies.
- Resultantly, it will increase the operational effectiveness and will be helpful in rendering timely response and assistance during various emergency situations.
PMJAY: The promises and challenges of a bold experiment (GS2: Governance, prelims Launch of PMJAY)
- The Ayushman Bharat—Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), a health insurance scheme announced in the last budget, will be launched on 23 September
- It is arguably the most ambitious social health insurance (SHI) programme ever launched anywhere in the world
- PMJAY will provide insurance up to 500,000 rs per family per year for in-patient secondary and tertiary treatment
- It will cover over 100 million vulnerable families, which is about 500 million people, the poorest 40% of India’s population
- Treatment would be provided by empanelled public and private hospitals
- PMJAY is actually the second tier of Ayushman Bharat, a two-tier scheme. It will ride on the first tier, a network of 150,000 health and wellness centres (HWCs) that will provide free universal and comprehensive primary health care
- The HWCs will serve as the awareness, screening and referral link between patients and PMJAY
- A cadre of frontline health service professionals called Pradhan Mantri Aarogya Mitras (PMAMs) are being trained to facilitate the provision of treatment to beneficiaries at hospitals
Relevance of PMJAY
- The significance of PMJAY has to be seen in the context of existing health conditions and health service delivery systems in India
- With an average life expectancy of 68.3 years, India trails all its Asian neighbours barring Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar and Laos
Healthcare expenditure not satisfactory
- Healthcare is one important factor among several that determine health outcomes along with income, nutrition, and hygiene
- The World Health Organization recommends that a country should spend at least 4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health
- India’s health expenditure at 3.9% of GDP is comparable to this norm
- However, the health ministry’s National Health Accounts show that total government health expenditure is only an appalling 1.1% of GDP
- Well over 70% of health expenditure is privately financed
- More than 62% is direct out of pocket (OOP) spending by patients as against the WHO-recommended OOP ceiling of 40%
Challenges to PMJAY
- Unknown financial cost of the programme
- No actuarial database is available to yield a probability distribution of the expected number of different health episodes requiring different treatments at varying costs
- Without such a database, insurance agencies cannot estimate the required premium to adequately cover the pooled risk —the ultimate cost of the programme
- Coverage erosion
- A pattern observed in several countries is that when costs escalate, the package covered by SHI is shrunk and co-payments and coverage caps are introduced, thereby raising the burden of OOP spending
- Some private providers might be pushing high-cost treatments not covered by SHI to enhance their profit margins, thereby further raising the OOP burden on patients
- Implementation failure
- PMJAY will ride on the first tier of Ayushman Bharat, a network of 150,000 HWCs spread throughout the country
- Fixing this weak primary care foundation of India’s public healthcare system is more urgently needed than providing insurance for secondary and tertiary care
India puts four more nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards (GS3: International Relations, prelims(about IAEA)
More reactors under global watchdog)
- India has decided to place four more reactors under the IAEA safeguards.
- Accordingly, two Russian-designed Pressurized Light Water Reactors and two Pressurized Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology will be covered.
- With this, a total of 26 Indian nuclear facilities will be under the international nuclear energy watchdog.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards
- These are a system of inspection and verification of the peaceful uses of nuclear materials as part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
- It also contributes to nuclear arms control and disarmament, by responding to requests for verification and technical assistance associated with related agreements and arrangements.
- The Divisions of Operations are organized as follows:
- Operations A: conducting safeguards inspections in East Asia and Australasia
- Operations B: conducting safeguards inspections in the Middle East (Southwest Asia), South Asia, Africa and the Americas; this geographic region also includes non-EU European states
- Operations C: conducting safeguards inspection in the European Union states, Russia and Central Asia
- Operations for verification in Iranian Nuclear Deal.