Insights Daily Current Events, 18 July 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
WHO report sounds alarm on ‘doctors’ in India
The report of a study titled ‘The Health Workforce in India’ was recently released. The study was conducted by the WHO. The data for each district in the country from the 2001 census were specially extracted for this study, which provided a comprehensive picture of health workers in each district.
- Almost one-third (31%) of those who claimed to be allopathic doctors in 2001 were educated only up to the secondary school level and 57% did not have any medical qualification.
- The situation was far worse in rural India, where just 8% of allopathic doctors had a medical qualification.
- Female healthcare workers – 38% of the total – were found to be more educated and medically qualified than their male counterparts.
- Ignoring those who don’t have a medical qualification, there are 36 doctors per lakh population in India. As for nurses and midwives, India had 61 workers per lakh population compared to 96 in China. The number reduced tenfold to 6 per lakh population, if only those with a medical qualification were considered.
- There is substantial variation in the density of health workers across States and districts. For instance, Kerala had 38.4% of the country’s medically qualified nurses but constituted only 3.1% of the total population. Similarly, West Bengal had 30.6% of all homoeopathic doctors in the country but only 7.8% of the population. Better-off States seemed to afford more doctors plus nurses per capita.
- District-wise, the inequalities were massive. The density of allopathic doctors with any level of education in the lowest 30 districts — half of which were in north-eastern States and the other in central States — was a little over 4 per lakh of the population whereas, in the highest 30 districts, it was 159 per lakh of population.
- In the case of dentists, the situation was even worse. The national density of dentists was extremely low at 2.4 per lakh population, with 58 (of the total 593) districts having no dentists at all in 2001. In fact, 175 districts (30%) had no dentists with a medical qualification.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
India basks in glow of UNESCO honours
Besides Nalanda Mahavihara, two other sites from India have made it to the World Heritage List. Two other sites are- Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) and Chandigarh’s famed Capitol Complex. This was announced at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) currently under way at Istanbul in Turkey.
- This is the first time that any country got three sites inscribed in the Word Heritage List at a single session of the committee meeting.
- India now has 35 sites, including 27 cultural properties, seven natural sites and one mixed site, notified as World Heritage Sites.
- The KNP is the first ‘mixed’ heritage site from India to make it to the list. A ‘mixed site’ exhibits qualities of both natural and cultural significance.
- The park qualified as a mixed site under the Operational Guidelines of WHC for its “exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation which is living or which has disappeared.”
- The park exhibits one of the widest altitudinal ranges of any protected area worldwide. It boasts of a unique diversity of lowlands, steep valleys and snow-clad mountains, including the world’s third highest peak, Mt. Khangchendzonga, besides numerous lakes and glaciers.
- The KNP, which covers 25% of Sikkim, is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species. A large number of bird and mammal species has also been recorded from here.
- The park combines the religious and cultural practices of Buddhism as well as the ecological significance of the region, and stands out as an outstanding example of traditional knowledge and environmental preservation. It is also a unique example of coexistence and exchange between different religious traditions and people.
- Chandigarh’s famed Capitol Complex, which includes the Legislative Assembly, Secretariat and High Court, was designed by French architect Le Corbusier.
- The complex was designed by Le Corbusier in the 1950s when the city was constructed as a symbol of independent, modern India.
UNESCO world heritage site:
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance.
- The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
- Each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
- Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.
Until the end of 2004, there were six criteria for cultural heritage and four criteria for natural heritage. In 2005, this was modified so that there is only one set of ten criteria. Nominated sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one of the ten criteria.
- Represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and cultural significance.
- Exhibits an important interchange of human values, over a span of time, or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning, or landscape design.
- To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.
- Is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history.
- Is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture, or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
- Is directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.
- Contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.
- Is an outstanding example representing major stages of Earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features.
- Is an outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems, and communities of plants and animals.
- Contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Govt notifies norms for retrofitting electric kit in vehicles
To curb vehicular pollution, the government has notified rules for retrofitment of hybrid electric system, or electric kit, for vehicles. The rules – Central Motor Vehicles (Seventh Amendment) Rules, 2016 — were notified following amendment in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. This applies to the vehicles that meet emission norms and are run on either diesel or gasoline only.
- The Retrofitment of hybrid electric system kit to vehicles having Gross Vehicle Weight not exceeding 3,500 kg shall be permitted if it conforms to Bharat Stage-II or subsequent emission norms, if it was not retrofitted earlier.
- It mentions that the installation of type approved hybrid electric system kit shall be done only by an installer authorised by the manufacturer or supplier of such kits.
- The notification also mentions that the conversion of vehicles for pure electric operation with fitment of electric kit shall be permitted if the vehicle was manufactured on or after January 1, 1990 and “it is not provided with permits for carrying dangerous or hazardous goods, as defined in CMV Rules, 1989.”
- It also stipulated that the kit manufacturer or supplier shall obtain the type approval certificate from a specified test agency and such certificate will be valid for three years from the date of issue.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Army yet to hack new terror tech
More than a year after a new technological solution used by terrorists began causing headache to the Army in Kashmir, no breakthrough has been made to crack it. An indigenous software patch for intercepting the new mode of communication has also failed.
Terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan have been using smartphones paired with very high frequency (VHF) radio sets to communicate with one another, resulting in a drop in communication intercepts and adversely affecting military efforts to deal with them.
The concept of pairing mobile phones with radio handsets originated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012. This mode of sending mobile communications without using mobile towers is of great help for rescue operations during calamities, but is now among the key technology deployed by terrorists to avoid the security forces while crossing the Line of Control.
- This technology is secure and active even in high peaks and forests especially near the Line of Control where conventional mobile and satellite phones can give away their location.
- Terrorists also use other technologies such as self-destroying chats and end-to-end encryption to overcome interception.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Speaker facing the axe can’t disqualify MLAs, says SC
The Supreme Court recently ruled that a Speaker should refrain from deciding the disqualification of MLAs for defection under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution if he himself is facing the prospect of removal.
- The ruling was a safeguard against a Speaker using the disqualification proceedings of legislators for his own political ends.
Observations made by the court:
- A Speaker, under the threat of losing his position, may choose to disqualify the MLAs to alter the composition of the House in his favour. But, it would be constitutionally impermissible for a Speaker to adjudicate upon disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule, while a notice of resolution for his own removal from the office of Speaker is pending.
- If a Speaker truly enjoys the support of the House’s majority, there would be no difficulty whatsoever to demonstrate the confidence which the members of the State Legislature repose in him.
- The office of Speaker, with which the Constitution vests the authority to deal with disqualification petitions against MLAs, must surely be a Speaker who enjoys the confidence of the Assembly.
This was ruled by the court while interpreting Article 179 of the Constitution in a judgment on the Arunachal Pradesh crisis recently. Article 179(c) provides that a Speaker (or Deputy Speaker) “may be removed from his office by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of all the then members of the Assembly”.
- The judgment points to the phrase “all the then members of the Assembly” to conclude that the composition of legislators should remain the very same while deciding whether a majority in the House wants the Speaker to continue or not.
- The court held, “The words ‘all the then members’ demonstrate an expression of definiteness. Any change in the strength and composition of the Assembly, by disqualifying sitting MLAs, for the period during which the notice of resolution for the removal of the Speaker (or the Deputy Speaker) is pending, would conflict with the express mandate of Article 179(c), requiring all ‘the then members’ to determine the right of the Speaker to continue.”
- Further, the court said MLAs so disqualified by the Speaker would be subsequently deprived of the opportunity to participate in the motion against the Speaker himself under Article 179(c).
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
TRI-NETRA – Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers Infra-red, Enhanced Optical & Radar Assisted system
Ministry of Railways, Railway Board has initiated a proposal to install TRI-NETRA systems on locomotives for enhancing the vision of Locomotive Pilots in inclement weather. TRI-NETRA stands for – Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers INfra-red, Enhanced opTical & Radar Assisted system.
How it operates?
TRI-NETRA system is made up of high-resolution optical video camera, high sensitivity infra-red video camera and additionally a radar-based terrain mapping system. These three components of the system act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot.
TRI-NETRA is designed to “see” the terrain ahead of the running locomotive during inclement weather by combining the images captured by the three sub-systems and to create a composite video image which shall be displayed in front of the Loco Pilot on a computer monitor.
During fog, heavy rain and also during night, the locomotive pilots face serious challenges in looking out ahead to spot any obstruction on the track such as vehicles which get stuck while crossing the track or trees or boulders which have fallen across the track etc. Because of the heavy momentum of the running train, the train driver has to always adjust the speed of the train such that he or she can stop the train on visually seeing the obstruction. In fair weather and in daytime, this is not a problem since train driver has a clear view of the track ahead. But in poor visibility, he has to reduce the speed suitably so that the brakes can be applied in time to stop the train without hitting the obstructions.
The concept of TRI-NETRA was developed by Development Cell under the guidance of Member Mechanical, Railway Board while brainstorming on how to use the technology employed by fighter aircrafts to see through clouds and operate in pitch darkness and the technology used by naval ships in mapping the ocean floor and navigating in the night.
Facts for Prelims:
- Pema Khandu is the new Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh. At 37, he is also the youngest CM in the country.
- India’s first e-court has been opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, which is the common high court for the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The purpose of e-courts was to ensure speedy justice for the litigants.