SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 April 2017
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
General Studies – 1;
Topic: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country
1) It is said that traditional water storage and preservation methods, especially of Bahmani kingdom, are said to have been effective in fighting droughts in the Bidar region of Karnataka. Examine their features and reasons why they are effective in fighting droughts. (200 Words)
Introduction:- Bidar is a hill top city in the north-eastern part of Karnataka state in south India. It is the headquarters of the Bidar District which borders Maharashtra and Telangana. It is a rapidly urbanising city in the wider Bidar Metropolitan area. The city is well known for its many sites of architectural, historical and religious importance.
With the establishment of the Bahmani dynasty (1347), Bidar was occupied by Sultan Ala-Ud-Din Bahman Shah Bahmani. During the rule of Ahmad Shah I (1422–1486), Bidar was made the capital city of Bahmani Kingdom.The old Fort was rebuilt and beautiful madrasas, mosques, palaces and gardens were raised. Mahmud Gawan who became the Prime Minister in 1466 was a notable figure in the history of Bidar. Bidar remained under the Barid Shahi dynasty until conquest by Bijapur Sultanate in 1619.
Ancient Karez System in the city have been recently discovered. The Karez (Qanat) is an underground network of aqueducts for water supply. The Bidar Karez, built in the 15th century, is more than 3 km (1.9 mi) long with 21 air vents. Underground canals, built to connect underground water streams, were meant to provide drinking water to civilian settlements and the garrison inside the Bidar fort. This was necessary in a city where the soil was rocky and drilling wells was difficult.
History of Kariz
- The original Persian term for Karez is Kariz and the rest of the world has yielded many names for this system; like in North Africa it is called “Fugara”, “Falaj” in Arabia. “Qnat Romani” in Jordan and Syria, “Galerias” in Spain “Kettharra” in Morocco, “Kanjering” in China and “Kariz” in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- The Karez is found in 38 countries worldwide and of course most of these are concentrated in the Middle East region. Persia is known for the earliest known and documented Karez system.
- The Muslim dynasties with ruling class descending from Persia or having influential connections with Persian kings may have invited expert engineers from Persia.
- The silk route may have been the information highway to transfer the cultural and traditional knowledge.
Introduction of Kariz in India
- Karez system was built by Bahmani kings in 15th Century by the Bahmani kings in Bidar, Gulbarg and Bijapur in Karnataka and also in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh.
- Kariz is nothing but the Underground canals, built to underground water streams which are meant to provide drinking water to civilian settlements and garrison inside the Bidar fort.
- This system was necessary in a city like Bidar where the soil was rocky and drilling wells to accommodate drinking water was difficult.
- It is believed that the Muslim rulers of Bidar, under the expert advice of Persian engineers followed Karez system by laying subterranean canals in the heart of the rock by widening the natural rift.
- The Naubad Karez is estimated to have been constructed during the Bahmani Period (1347 – 1518 AD). The Karez was probably directed towards developing infrastructure for a village at Naubad.
The Qanat system consists of gradually sloping, subterranean water tunnels carved into water-bearing permeable rock. The tunnels at Bidar are accessed by vertical wells dug at regular distances, providing access the water. The rehabilitation and preservation of Bidar’s hydraulic system are initiatives that are particularly relevant today considering India’s concern with water conservation and distribution.
This subterranean water tends to flow out as springs, wherever it finds an orifice. The Qanat or Karez system makes use of this property by constructing, ALONG GEOLOGICAL FRACTURES, a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping TUNNELS. Often, qanats are split into an underground distribution network of smaller canals called karez- that end in surface canals and pools.
As the highland source is above low-lying destinations, the water drains by gravity. Thus, qanats have low operation & maintenance costs once built; furthermore, no pumps are required. Secondly, qanats allow water to be transported, with minimal evaporation loss, over long distances in hot, dry climates. Thirdly, this system is very little dependant on the level of precipitation, and is resistant to natural disasters such as floods. Fourthly, they control soil-salinity of the plains by consistently providing them with freshwater.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
2) Health policy pronouncements in India currently advocate insurance-based financing mechanisms towards universal health coverage, sidelining the role of comprehensive healthcare provisioning through the public sector. Is this approach successful? Critically examine. (200 Words)
There is always a debate on two approaches for universal health coverage which are providing insurance based financing mechanism and comprehensive healthcare provisions through public sector which can be seen as follows:-
- Health policy 2016 aimed at providing the affordable and quality healthcare to all the individuals lacks the comprehensive and systematic arrangement to achieve it. The out of pocket expenditure, expensive primary and secondary healthcare and lack of insurance coverage are the primary challenges.
- Public health care facilities lacks the quality corresponding to lower budget allocation. draft policy moots 2.5% of GDP target each time but never achieved more than the current maximum of 1.5%.
- Idea of insurance based financing can be attempted not just from public finance due to the lack of funds and extensive nature of coverage. So the premium cost going to be high as the subscription rate will be low. Again it will be short of ambitions
- On the other hand public health infrastructure needs overhaul with the same set of resources. It is the only option cheapest access in far flung areas. NRHM, Asha activists, sub PHC are active to tap the gains.
- Pharmacy access at affordable rate through compulsory prescription of generics may help out. The jan ausadhi stores are designed to achieve the cause
- Public provisioning of healthcare facilities, along with high drug spending, on the other hand, are significant in reducing the share of health payments in total and non food expenditure, as well as the catastrophic burden of health payments, protecting people from falling below the poverty line due to health payments.
- Given the intrinsic market failure and information asymmetry between the principal (provider and insurer) and the agents (patient), and the difficulties in regulating the insurance system,
- India needs to provide comprehensive healthcare provisioning through tax-based financing mechanisms rather than the insurance-based financing model for universal healthcare access. This system is important for ensuring equitable, accessible and affordable healthcare services and protecting households from the devastating consequences of OOP payment. Insurance-based financing, which promotes the private sector, seems unsustainable for India. In order to achieve UHC, removing inequalities in service provisioning and increasing government spending should be taken as priority.
The health insurance has been unsuccessful in protecting households from poverty and impoverishment resulting from out-of-pocket payments, and that insurance in fact subverts the effectiveness of the traditional health financing system. Free or low-cost healthcare provisioning by the state remains the best way to enhance the health and well-being of households, provided the inadequacies and inequalities across districts are addressed, and low-cost medicines and diagnostics made available to all.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
3) Briefly discuss the trends in household environment and sanitation, fertility, child health and child mortality, nutrition, health, and status of women between 2005–06 (NFHS-3) and 2015–16 (NFHS-4). (200 Words)
The fact sheet of the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) conducted during 2015–16, containing some key indicators that reflect the country’s present status on critical population and health indicators, was released in New Delhi on 1 March 2017 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW).
Four rounds of NFHS (1992–93, 1998–99, 2005–06 and 2015–16) have been implemented in India under the aegis of MHFW along with additional financial support from international organisations. As in the case of the earlier rounds, NFHS-4 is conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai with technical support from the ICF International (US), and the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune, for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) component.
Trends observed in survey :-
Household environment and sanitation:-
An important indicator of improved household environment is the type of fuel used for cooking. The NFHS-4 reveals that the percentage of households using clean fuel for cooking has increased by 18 percentage points at the national level between 2005–06 (NFHS-3) and 2015–16 (NFHS-4). The percentage of households using clean fuel has also increased in most states.
The NFHS-4 shows substantial increase in the proportion of households using improved sanitation facilities in India since 2005–06, by 19 percentage points at the national level. The increase in the proportion of households using an improved sanitation facility ranges from a maximum of 39 percentage points in Haryana, followed by Himachal Pradesh (34% points) and Punjab (31% points), to 8 percentage points in Kerala and Mizoram (both states that already had a very high proportion of households using improved sanitation facilities in 2005–06).
At the national level, fertility has declined from 2.7 children per woman to 2.2 children per woman since 2005–06. There has been a considerable decline in total fertility rate (TFR) in all the 30 states of India. The maximum decline in TFR is observed in Uttar Pradesh (1.1), followed by Nagaland (1.0), Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim (0.9 each) and Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya (0.8 each). The level of fertility declined by 0.5 children per woman between 2005–06 and 2015–16. Overall, the TFR has declined by 1.2 children per woman between 1992–93 (NFHS-1) and 2015–16.
Childhood vaccinations: At the national level, the percentage of children aged 12–23 months who are fully immunised (one dose of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), three doses of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccine, and one dose of measles vaccine) increased by 18 percentage points from 44% in 2005–06 to 62% in 2015–16. The percentage of children who are fully vaccinated ranges between 36% in Nagaland and 89% in Punjab.
Anaemia: Anaemia is characterised by a low level of haemoglobin in the blood, and is a major health problem in children in developing countries. The NFHS-4 shows substantial decline in the prevalence of anaemia in children aged 6–59 months in India, down from 69% in 2005–06 to 58% in 2015–16.
Breastfeeding: In the past one decade, the percentage of children under three years who are breastfed within one hour of birth has increased substantially at the national level (by 19 percentage points). The proportion has also increased considerably in almost all the states of India. However, the current levels are still quite low in many states like Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where less than one-third of children are breastfed within an hour of birth.
Malnutrition in children: The data on the nutritional status of children are collected by measuring the height and weight of all the children under five years in the surveyed households. The NFHS-4 shows that the percentage of children under five years who are stunted and underweight has declined in India (by 10 and 7 percentage points respectively) and in all the states of India since 2005–06, showing improvement in the nutritional status of the children.
Infant mortality rate:
The infant mortality rate (IMR) in India has declined from 57 per 1,000 live births to 41 between 2005–06 and 2015–16. IMR has decreased substantially in almost all the states during this period. IMR has dropped by more than 20 percentage points in Tripura, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Odisha.
Due to the ongoing demographic and epidemiological transitions in the country, India is currently experiencing a major shift in disease pattern. The prevalence of non-communicable diseases is increasing and the prevalence of communicable diseases is decreasing.
Empowerment of Women
An important indicator of women’s empowerment is whether women have a bank account or a savings account that they themselves use. The percentage of women aged 15–49 years having a bank or savings account that they operate has increased by 38 percentage points since 2005–06. The proportion of such women is highest in Goa (83%), followed by Tamil Nadu (77%), Kerala (71%), Himachal Pradesh (69%), and Delhi (64%). Since 2005–06, the maximum increase is noticed in Tamil Nadu (61 percentage points), followed by Rajasthan (51), Mizoram (49), Himachal Pradesh (47), Odisha (46), Punjab (44), and Kerala (44). The smallest increase in the proportion of women having a bank or saving account that they themselves operate is in Bihar (18 percentage points), Maharashtra (25), Manipur (27), and Madhya Pradesh (28).
The NFHS-4 shows substantial increase in the proportion of women who participate in household decision-making. Between 2005–06 and 2015–16, the percentage of currently married women who usually participate in household decisions has increased considerably in India (by 7 percentage points), and across all states, with over 80% of women reporting that they participate in household decision-making. This is true for all states except Haryana (77%), Bihar (75%), and Delhi (74%).
The NFHS-4 shows a small decrease in the proportion of ever-married women aged 15–49 years reporting spousal physical or sexual violence. Spousal violence decreased by 4 percentage points, from 33% to 29%, at the national level, and declined in all states except Meghalaya, Delhi, Manipur, Chhattisgarh and Haryana. The decline in spousal violence is highest in Rajasthan (21 percentage points), followed by Tripura and Bihar (16 percentage points each) and Assam and Uttarakhand (15 percentage points each).
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to education,
The National Policy on Education (NPE), 2016 envisages the phase–II programme for the globalisation of Indian polity. Phase–I (1986–2016) witnessed the operational dynamic of the NPE 1986. The predecessor policy was prompted by a crisis-ridden state, hastily and ambitiously paving the way for the industrial classes to make an entry into global interactions. The consequent proceedings in polity, emanating from global entry, has been characterised as the “Liberalisation–Privatisation–Globalisation” (LPG) dispensation.
Everything evolve with time and so has our Education Policy as well. Earlier NPE came in 1968 and 1986. The Policies were framed in the backdrop of the time period for example in 1968 the stress was mostly on Nation Building since we were at a nascent stage of democracy, so stress was on Justice, equality and liberty and Fraternity.
With time individual needs deepened so the policy of 1986 also laid stress on the Individual Independence.
Now the NEP 2016 has come up keeping in mind the competitiveness and race for development and economic growth. Its outlook is different from the earlier policies. The difference can be understood under these heads:-
- Difference in the vision of society:- During the earlier Policies of 1968 and 1986,the world was not this much Globalized and was not this transient, but today the society is fast changing and Globalizing , this difference has led to the changes in the vision of society. The vision of the presen NEP 2016 is to create a Knowledge based economy and Society.(KBES)
- Differences in Social Purposes:- The purpose of earlier policies was more on Social values like equality , fraternity and justice and less on Economic growth but the current Nation Education Policy aims to extract the best of Economic values from individuals, making them employable ,creating skills in them and as already mentioned creating a KBES.
- Differences in the Understanding of the aims of education:- The NEP understands the Commercial aims of Education unlike the other policies(1968,1986), which were more stressing on understanding the world , human life and aesthetic value.
New Education Policy 2016 features:-
1) Pre-school Education: Pre-school education has not received the necessary attention in the past as Government schools do not provide pre-primary education, according to the draft National Education Policy. The following policy initiatives will be taken:
- a) Pre-school education for children in the age group of 4 to 5 years will be implemented.
b) To strengthen the pre-school education in Anganwadis, steps will be taken in consultation with states to frame curricula and develop learning materials.
c) State Governments will prepare cadres of pre-primary teachers.
d) All primary schools will cover pre-primary education.
e) Appropriate regulatory and monitoring rules and mechanisms will be designed for private pre-schools.
2) Curriculum Renewal and Examination Reforms
- a) Curricular reforms will be carried out to meet the emerging aspirations and align to national goals of social cohesion, religious amity and national integration.
b) NCERT will undergo a re-orientation to address issues of deteriorating quality of school education and periodic renewal of curricula and pedagogy to move from rote learning to facilitate understanding and encourage a spirit of enquiry.
c) For science, mathematics and english subjects, a common national curriculum will be designed.
d) High failure rate in class-X examination is attributed to a large extent to poor performance in three subjects: Mathematics, Science and English. In order to reduce the failure rates, class X examination in Mathematics, Science and English will be at two levels: Part-A at a higher level and Part-B at a lower level.
e) Procedural reforms will be undertaken, such as, doing away with migration certificate, school leaving certificate, etc. in order to encourage mobility of students from one institution to another.
f) It will be mandatory for the students to take class X board examination conducted by the Board to which their school is affiliated. Class X Board examination will cover the entire syllabus of class X.
3) Learning outcomes in School Education
- a) Norms for learning outcomes will be developed and applied uniformly to both private and government schools.
b) Within the parameters prescribed by the RTE Act, States will have the flexibility to design and plan for the infrastructure keeping in view the local conditions.
c) The present provisions of no-detention policy will be amended, as it has seriously affected the academic performance of students. The no detention policy will be limited up to class V and the system of detention will be restored at the upper primary stage.
d) Effective steps will be taken to improve teaching standards in schools
4) School Education
- a) Each State will undertake a detailed exercise of school mapping to identify schools with low enrolment and inadequate infrastructure.
b) Minimum standards for provision of facilities and student outcomes across all levels in school education will be laid down.
c) Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) will be expanded and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) will be expanded and upgraded
5) Protection of Rights of the Child & Adolescent Education
- a) Framework and guidelines for ensuring school safety and security of children will be developed.
b) Every Principal and teacher will be made aware of the provisions of the relevant Acts, Rules, Regulations, etc.
c) The Adolescent Education Programme and National Population Education Programme will be integrated into the curriculum of schools in a phased manner.
d) Adolescent Education will be included in pre- and in-service training programmes of secondary school teachers.
e) Self-learning online programmes on child rights will be developed for the benefit of students, teachers and parents.
f)Schools will engage trained counsellors to confidentially advise parents and teachers on adolescence problems faced by growing boys and girls.
6) Inclusive Education and Student Support
- a) Curriculum will cover the issues of social justice and harmony and legal measures in order to avoid social discrimination.
b) With the objective of encouraging merit and promoting equity, a National Fellowship Fund, primarily designed to support the tuition fees, learning materials and living expenses for about 10 lakh students will be created.
c) A zero tolerance approach on gender discrimination and violence will be adopted.
d) There will be dedicated funds for R&D to strengthen disability studies in higher education.
7) Literacy and Lifelong Learning
- a) Existing initiatives will be strengthened and curricula revamped with multi-pronged strategies involving Self Help Groups, NGOs, Government etc.
b) The Government will set up an apex body of experts to look into remodelling and strengthening of AE programmes and develop scientific criteria for assessing the learning outcomes of adults in literacy, skill development, prior learning and equivalency for certification which may also facilitate entry into the formal education system.
c) Adult literacy programme will incorporate skill development and digital, financial and legal literacy.
8) Skills in Education and Employability
- a) Skill development programmes in school and higher education system will be reoriented
b) A detailed plan for the creation of skill schools for improving employment opportunities for secondary school students in special focus districts will be prepared.
c) Joint certificates by the Sector Skill Council and the School/College authorities to help students take up wage-employment or start their own enterprise.
9) Use of ICT in Education
- a) A concerted effort will be made to make ICT an integral part of education across all levels and domains of learning.
b) Online maintenance of all records of a child from the time of admission till the time of leaving the school will be made mandatory.
c) IT reporting systems will be a powerful tool to better school management and performance.
10) Teacher Development and Management
- a) A transparent and merit based norms and guidelines for recruitment of teachers will be formulated in consultation with the state governments.
b) All vacancies in teacher education institutions and all positions of head teachers and principals will be filled up.
c) At the National level, a Teacher Education University will be set up covering various aspects of teacher education and faculty development.
d) A separate cadre for teacher educators will be established in every state.
11) Language and Culture in Education
- a) All states and UTs, if they so desire, may provide education in schools, upto Class V, in mother tongue, local or regional language as the medium of instruction.
b) Indian culture, local and traditional knowledge will be given adequate space in the school education.
c) Educational institutions will in still among students civic sense, discipline, punctuality, cleanliness, good conduct, empathy towards elderly.
d) Keeping in view special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development of Indian languages and its unique contribution to the cultural unity of the country, facilities for teaching Sanskrit at the school and university stages will be offered on a more liberal scale.
12) Self -Development through Comprehensive Education
- a) Physical education, yoga, games and sports, NCC, NSS, art education, Bal Sansad, covering local art, craft, literature and skills, and other co- scholastic activities will be made an integral part of the curriculum and daily routine in schools for the holistic development of children. Facilities for the above will be a pre-requisite to the recognition of schools.
b) Funds will be earmarked by the government/ school management for all co-scholastic activities in schools.
13) School Assessment and Governance
- a) The framework of school standards with various parameters and indicators to measure school quality, professional competence of teachers, school leadership and the school management, as well as, self-appraisal and performance assessment will be used throughout the country
b) A mechanism will be put in place for accreditation of school boards.
c) Principals/head teachers will be held accountable for the academic performance of the schools and its improvement.
14) Regulation In Higher Education
- a) An independent mechanism for administering the National Higher Education Fellowship Programme will be put in place.
b) A Central Educational Statistics Agency (CESA) will be established as the central data collection, compilation and consolidation agency with high quality statistical expertise and management information system which will be used for predictive analysis, manpower planning and future course corrections.
15) Quality Assurance In Higher Education
- a) An expert committee will be constituted to study the systems of accreditation in place internationally. It will draw from the experiences of some of the best practices followed by countries having well performing systems and will suggest restructuring of NAAC and NAB as well as redefining methodologies, parameters and criteria. .
b) Evaluation/ Accreditation details of each institution will be available to the general public through a dedicated website, to enable students and other stakeholders to make informed choices.
16) Open and Distance Learning & MOOCs
- a) The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), in collaboration with Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, will redefine itself to address the large potential demand for vocational education. The issues of management, monitoring and oversight of NIOS will be addressed appropriately.
b) A quality assurance mechanism for accreditation of all universities/institutions offering ODL / MOOCs will be put in place to ensure quality, promote, innovation and reshape and modernise the ODL / MOOCs courses and programmes.
17) Internationalisation of Education
- a) Selected foreign universities, from the top 200 in the world, will be encouraged to establish their presence in India through collaboration with Indian universities.
b) In order to increase acceptability of Indian students abroad and to attract international students, Indian HEIs will be encouraged to work towards internationalization of curricula aligned with international levels so as to make it globally compatible with best ranked institutions of the world.
c) Internationalisation will be included as one of the components for allocating additional financial resources to government-funded HEIs.
18) Faculty Development in Higher Education
- a) A task force of experts will be set up to study the recruitment, promotion and retention procedures, followed by internationally renowned universities and institutions and suggest measures to promote intellectual and academic excellence in HEIs.
b) A national campaign will be launched to attract young talent into the teaching profession. In order to attract young talent into teaching profession, a career growth of research students, such as M.Phil & Ph.D scholars, will be created.
c) A mechanism of assessment of academic performance of faculty including peer review will be put in place so as to ensure academic accountability of public-funded institutions.
19) Research, Innovation and New Knowledge
- a) A clear reorientation of research agenda of National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) will be undertaken to reflect actual issues on the ground.
b) Steps will be taken to promote generation of new knowledge and their applications and introduction of these new domains into the curricula of higher education to consolidate and strengthen India’s position as a soft power.
c) In order to promote innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, 100 more incubation centres will be established in HEIs over a period of next 5 years.
d) International collaborations and networks will be promoted for developing human resources required to sustain new knowledge with special focus on inter-disciplinary research and studies.
20) Financing Education
- a) The government will take steps for reaching the long pending goal of raising the investment in education sector to at least 6% of GDP as a priority.
b) Instead of setting up new institutions, which require huge investments, priority of the Government will be to expand the capacity of existing institutions.
c) In order to encourage excellence and efficiency, performance-linked funding of higher education institutions will be implemented.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
The large population of India and its diverse needs coupled with resource crunch faced by government makes a strong case for optimal utilization of private sector to fulfill the goal of healthcare in India. Moreover 70% of rural and 80% urban population is known to access private sector for healthcare, making its reach formidable.
NHP-2017 envisages the active participation of private sector to achieve integrated and universal healthcare in the following ways:
- Strategic Purchasing: The efficiency of private sector in planning the purchasing of medicine and its liasoning with global players will help in procuring the medicine at minimal cost. This will go a long way in making medicines affordable.
- Research:The policy aims at researching medicines that are specifically meant to address the tropical diseases with the aid of private sector. This will pave way towards making healthcare in India integrated and universal
- Training:The government aims to harness the expertise of the private sector in training doctors to be become specialist, improving the skills of paramedics and ASHA( Accredited Social Health Activist) workers. Currently Tatas and General Electric are running a program to train 10k youth in various technical areas of medical sector.
However, there exist certain challenges which may be a roadblock for private sector in assisting in government in achieving integrated and universal healthcare
- Research:The profit margins in discovery of medicines for tropical disease are low which becomes a disincentive for research. The government needs to address this.
- Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR): There are no specific guidelines elucidated by government in directing the funds under CSR to improve the healthcare in India.
- Local private players: The government has not taken steps to ensure that the upper-hand of large MNCs and NGOs like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over small private players doesnt become a means to stymie the benefits of competition that accompanies with private participation.
Thus NHP-2017 does make a paradigm shift w.r.t. earlier policies in envisaging the participation of private sector in healthcare in India by making clear-cut guidelines for their role. However we need to overcome the shortcomings discussed above to achieve “Health for All” with synergy of private sector.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
6) Examine why Bhutan do not want to proceed with the Motor Vehicles Agreement with Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Do you think it’s a dead end for the regional sub-grouping India had planned for ease of access among the four countries? Comment. (200 Words)
The Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Initiative is a sub regional architecture of countries in South Asia. It meets through official representation of member states to formulate, implement and review quadrilateral agreements across areas such as water resources management, connectivity of power, transport, and infrastructure
Recently, Bhutan backed out of agreement and reasons could have been following:
- Environment Pollution: Diesel Run heavy vehicles traffic will increase causing more pollution.
- Noise Pollution: Heavy traffic will destroy calm of valley.
- Meagre Economic Benefits: Manufacturing Industry is not strong in Bhutan so it will not benefit from this agreement much.
- Tourism May be affected.
- Opposition from rival parties.
- Fear of smuggling activities.
Two hurdles have hit so far to this project of regional connectivity. First Pakistan back out from SAARC nations connectivity and now Bhutan from BBIN connectivity. But it’s not a dead end as India have following options
- Go with Regional Connectivity of BIN and wait for Bhutan to join in future.
- Pollution emission norms could be included in agreement so Bhutan can agree to join.
- Other benefits of this connectivity like providing relief at times of disaster could be extended through these networks. It may make Bhutan to reconsider its decision.
- Alternate options of regional connectivity like BCIM corridor and China OBOR.
- Inland Waterways connectivity as alternate to road connectivity.
Regional Connectivity will improve trade and economics across boundaries. India should maintain cordial relations and a good network with regional countries. Connectivity is the new global currency for growth and prosperity as it secures both trade and energy lines for countries en route, and India must make the most of its geographic advantages.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Agriculture – irrigation
The recurring drought and water scarcity problems emerging in Maharashtra have led to a series of supply-side interventions, being promoted by the state government. Farm ponds are promoted as a solution to water-stressed arid and semi-arid regions of the state. At present, the government promotes these structures. It calls for the creation of these structures across the state, through the programme “Maagel tyala shet tale” (literally, “farm ponds for all who ask for them”). This has largely been derived from the assumption that most of the (rainwater) run-off can be tapped into by these structures during the monsoon season and consequently, the stored water can be used by farm pond owners for the various purposes they find suitable—primarily to irrigate their farmlands. –
Issues regarding the policy:
- Over utilization of groundwater: If a lot of water is extracted at the same time, exceeding the rate at which water gets replenished the aquifer may soon perish.
- Evaporation losses: Water when stored in open would lead to evaporation losses thus negating the very purpose it was to serve for.
- Subsidy in plastic paper: The high-micron plastic paper being impermeable would retard the refilling of the aquifer.
- Reduced efficiency of bore wells: The efficiency of bore wells decreases due to the reduced pressure difference.
Manner of use by farmers:
- “Tragedy by commons”: Farmers tend to believe that the water resource which they can see from their eyes is better then the one which is under-ground without understanding the implications of such actions.
- Over-exploitation: Since farmers are unaware of the patterns in which aquifers are present in that area , they tend to exploit it indiscriminately.
Conclusion :- Promoting surface supply structures like farm ponds through publicly-funded schemes, in a society which has an ever increasing dependency on groundwater, is an exercise of deceiving one’s self of the realities that exist. There needs to be a focus on understanding the user’s perceptions around such schemes and addressing the core issues that exist at the proliferation of such practices.
Topic: IPR issues
8) The government is planning to make it mandatory for doctors to prescribe only the generic name, and not brand name of a drug. In this digital age, how should government go about ensuring quality of generic drugs? Analyse. (200 Words)
The Prime Minister’s recent announcement on making it mandatory for doctors to prescribe only the generic name, and not brand name of a drug, has led to a flutter. If enacted, the move will make it illegal for Indian doctors to write out a prescription for the trademark of the drug, forcing them to mention the chemical name instead. If implemented properly, the hope is that pharmacists will fill the prescription with the cheapest generic drug in the market rather than being forced to dispense a more expensive brand as prescribed.
Measures to be taken –
- All generic drug manufacturer need to be issued similar SOP for same drug combination.
- Leveraging Digital India, National Health register needs to be implemented for maintaining medical history of patients so that all tablets administered to him are recorded. Such data can be used for checking the therapeutic effect of such drugs on the health and corrective measures taken.
- Quality of generic drugs can also be ensured by incentivising those manufacturers.
- Patented drugs under compulsory agreement of IPR laws under WTO need to be opened up for generic manufacturing. International diplomacy needs to be sharpened for handling the IPR issues.
- Number of Testing Laboratories are to be increased.
Drug quality in India
- According to the government’s most recent survey of the quality of drugs in India, 10% of all drugs from ‘government sources’ tested NSQ, or not of standard quality. A NSQ drug will compromise patient health. These numbers are shocking.
- An earlier report of the Comptroller and Auditor General had revealed that the Armed Forces Medical Stores Depot, which serves armed forces personnel, had reported the percentage of locally procured drugs that were substandard at as high as 32% in one year!
- The challenge for the government is to balance its policy objectives of taking the power of the doctor away to prescribe brand name drugs with the reality that generic drugs in India are of questionable quality.
- The solution does not lie in more laws, but in providing more information to the consumer. Drug regulators in India have a vast trove of information on substandard drugs which they need to release into a searchable database.
- This is easier said than done because India has 36 drug regulators — one for each State/Union Territory and the Central regulator. Each of them conducts periodic testing of samples drawn from pharmacies. This testing generates three data sets which need to be publicly available.
- The first is the laboratory test report, the second is the investigation report by drug inspectors of drugs which have failed testing, and the third is the criminal complaint filed in court against the manufacturer along with the final judgment of the court.
- If this information is made available over the Internet, the government will truly empower hospital procurement officers, pharmacists and patients with information required to avoid products of manufacturers with a poor quality record.
India is believed to be pharmacy to the poor world by being the leading generic manufacturer.This directive once result into the positive effect. It will also help people across Africa and Latin America who will have increased access to cost effective quality drugs from India.