Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (6th to 11th November, 2019)
(Info-graphic Summary at the end)
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society
Recently the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare released the 14thNational Health Profile (NHP)2019 & its e-book (digital version) This 14th edition of NHP is the continuation of the publication since 2005.
Who prepared it?
The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) (annually)
What it covers?
NHP covers comprehensive information on demographic, socio-economic health status, health finance indicators, health infrastructure and health of human resources in the country.
Key highlights of NHP
- The NHP highlights substantial health information under major indicators viz.
- Demographic indicators (population and vital statistics)
- Socio-economic indicators (education, employment, housing and amenities, drinking water and sanitation) and
- Health status indicators (incidence and prevalence of common communicable and non-communicable diseases andRCH) etc.
- The health finance section provides an overview of health insurance and expenditure on health, both public and Out of Pocket Expenditure (OOP), etc.
- The section on human resources provides an overview of availability of manpower working in the health sector, while the health infrastructure section provides details of Medical and Dental Colleges, AYUSH Institutes, Nursing Courses, and Paramedical Courses, etc.
- Life Expectancy at Birth: It has increased from 49.7 years in 1970-75 to 68.7 years in 2012-16. For the same period, the Life Expectancy for Females is 70.2 years and 67.4 years for Males
- Infant Mortality Rate(IMR): Infant Mortality Rate has declined considerably (33 i.e. Per 1000 Live Births in 2016), however, differentials of rural (37) & urban (23) are still high.
- Demographics: It reports a high incidence of the young and economically active population(27% of the population below 14 years, 64.7% are in the age group of 15-59 and 8.5% above 60 years of age)
- Total Fertility Rate(TFR): The TFR for the country was 2.3 whereas in rural areas it has been 2.5 and it has been 1.8 in urban areas during 2016 as per the latest available information.
- Health data is an important source of understanding the needs and issues of the population
- It helps in understanding the goals, our strengths, and weaknesses and is also an important means to strategize area-specific interventions.
- Good quality data enables policymakers to make evidence-based policies and aids effective implementation of various schemes
With reference to National Data Quality Forum (NDQF), consider the following statements
- It was launched by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute for Medical Statistics (ICMR-NIMS), in partnership with CDAC.
- It will integrate learnings from scientific and evidence-based initiatives and guide actions through periodic conferences.
- It has been set up in Bangalore
Which of the above statement/statements is/are correct
a) Only 1 and 3
b) Only 2
c) Only 1 and 2
d) 1, 2 and 3
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society
Globally, thousands are succumbing to untreatable superbug infections on a daily basis, making antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the most significant challenges the world faces today.
- Excessive and irrational usage of antibiotics is one of the leading reasons for rising AMR.
- Over two-thirds of the antibiotics manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry are used as growth promoters for poultry and cattle. Research shows that globally 73% of all antimicrobials sold are used in animals raised for food.
- The remaining one-third is used to treat human ailments. Of this, the common public purchases more than half without a doctor’s prescription, according to WHO.
- Antibiotic stewardship is considered to be the most important intervention to tackle the superbug crisis. A remarkable, though unachievable, 100% success of antibiotic stewardship among doctors to rationalize antibiotic use can still correct only one-tenth of the global antibiotic misuse.
- Antibiotic stewardship efforts by various stakeholders including the Chennai Declaration have significantly raised awareness of the superbug problem among the medical community but it is doubtful whether this awareness translated into rational antibiotic usage.
Need to change priorities:
Unless we correct the root causes of irrational usage of antibiotics, it is very unlikely that in India with a million doctors and half a million pharmacies, rational antibiotic usage can ever be implemented.
- In countries with high existing superbug rate and sanitation issues, rational antibiotic use, unless it is comprehensive, may not help reverse the rate or halt its progression. There is no conclusive evidence to support antibiotic stewardship as an effective measure to reduce the Gram-negative superbug bacteria, such as E. coli and Klebsiella, the most prevalent group in South Asia.
- Rational antibiotic use is choosing the right drug at the right dose at the right time. Successful antibiotic stewardship programmes may make some impact in countries with good sanitation standards. However, it is doubtful whether this component will make any real difference in the superbug rate in developing countries. Improving cleanliness in hospitals and sanitation in the community is much more important than antibiotic stewardship.
- Lack of infrastructure and inadequate diagnostic facilities in our health-care sector is one of the major triggers of irrational antibiotic use by doctors and the public. We need to improve this.
Along with antibiotic stewardship programmes, there is an urgent need to work on improving the overall sanitation conditions to limit the increasing rate of AMR. We need to work towards a more integrated approach rather than just focusing on only rational antibiotic usage.
Blue flag certification’ is conferred to which one of the followings?
a) Countries free from superbugs
b) Plastic free cities
c) Clean beaches
d) Insecticide-free products
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy
Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was held recently.
Background: FSDC was established in 2010 with Union Finance Minister as its ChairmanIts members include·
- The heads of financial sector regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, and IRDA)
- Finance Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs·
- Secretary, Department of Financial Services·
- Chief Economic Adviser·
- Chairman of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board
- FSDC sub-committee is chaired by the Governor of RBI.
- FSDC has two core functions:
- to perform as an apex level forum to strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for maintaining financial stability·
- to enhance inter-regulatory coordination and promote financial sector development in the country
- It focusses on financial literacy and financial inclusion·
- It monitors macro-prudential supervision of the economy and also assess the functioning of the large financial conglomerates.
Consider the following statements:
- The body headed by the Finance Minister
- FSDC is the constitutional body financial sector regulation.
- The Council deals with issues relating to financial stability, financial sector development
Which of the given statement/s is/are incorrect in relation to the ‘Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)’?
a) 1 and 2
b) 2 only
c) 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Governance
- Protesting Mizoram Bru refugees in north Tripura withdrew their indefinite road blockade after the Tripura State government announced its decision to restore ration in relief camps.
- Residence: The Brus, also referred to as the Reangs, are spread across the north-eastern states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram.
- Culture: They speak the Reang dialect of Kokborok language which is locally referred to as Kau Bru. Their Hojagiri folk dance is well known all over the world. ‘Buisu’, not ‘bihu’ is the most popular festival of Reang tribes.
Conflict in Mizoram:
- In 1995, Mizos, the majority tribe of the state, demanded that Brus be left out of the state’s electoral rolls as they contended that they are not indigenous to Mizoram.
- In 1997, ethnic violence forced the Brus to flee the state in large numbers to neighbouring Tripura. Currently, around 35,000 (more than 5,000 families) Bru refugees living in Tripura camps.
- Multiple efforts have been made since then to repatriate them.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs had on September 2018 signed an agreement with the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) and the Mizoram and Tripura governments for repatriation of nearly 33,000 Bru refugees, currently living in camps in Tripura, to Mizoram.
- Under the agreement, each family will get ₹5,000 per month along with free ration for two years, besides financial assistance for house-building, education, security etc.
Who are Bru refugees?
a) They’re originally from Myanmar, currently residing in Tripura.
b) They’re originally from Manipur, currently residing in Mizoram.
c) They’re originally from Mirozam, currently residing in Tripura.
d) They’re originally from Tripura, currently residing in Mizoram.
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Governance
Findings of the Sample Registration System (SRS) 2015-2017:
- India’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has seen a decline from 130 per 1 lakh live births in 2014-2016 to 122 per 1 lakh live births in 2015-2017.
- A decline of 8 points (6.2%) was observed during this period.
- Figure has declined from 167 in 2011-2013 to 130 in 2014-2016 and to 122 in 2015-17.
- Government has categorized States into three groups: empowered action group (EAG), southern States and other States to understand maternal mortality rates better.
Success and Reasons behind it:
The decline is important for India as 11 States have achieved the National Health Policy target of MMR 100 per lakh live births well ahead of 2020.
Reasons behind it :
- Increase in institutional deliveries
- Focused approach towards aspirational districts
- Inter-sectoral action to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable mothers.
- Focus on quality and coverage of health services through public health initiatives under the National Health Mission such as LaQshya.
- Other schemes like Poshan Abhiyan, Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, Janani Suraksha Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana have contributed to this decline.
- Not a single mother or newborn dies due to a preventable disease.
- Move towards zero preventable maternal and newborn deaths through the recently launched Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan Initiative (SUMAN).
- WHO said that progress puts the country on track towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of an MMR below 70 by 2030.
Maternal Mortality Rate:
It is measured as the number of maternal deaths per lakh live births.
Sample Registration System:
- The Sample Registration System (SRS) is a large-scale demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of Infant mortality rate, birth rate, death rate and other fertility & mortality indicators at the national and subnational levels.
- It comes under Registrar General of India.
Causes behind MMR:
The major causes of maternal deaths as per RGI-SRS (2001-03) are :
- Hemorrhage: 38% occur mainly because of post-partum Hemorrhage.
- Sepsis: 11%, because of any infection during pregnancy, labor and in post-partum period.
- Abortion: 8%, because of unsafe abortions.
- Hypertensive disorders: 5%, because of High Blood pressure during pregnancy.
- Obstructed labor: 5%
- Other causes: 34%- includes anaemia and various other causes
Detailed Steps taken by Government:
- Promotion of institutional deliveries through Janani SurakshaYojana (JSY).
- Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no expense delivery, including caesarean section.
- Maternal Death Review (MDR) is being implemented across the country both at facilities and in the community.
- Under National Iron Plus Initiative (NIPI), through life cycle approach, age and dose specific IFA supplementation programme is being implemented.
- Launch of India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) with an aim to reduce neonatal mortality and stillbirths to single digit by 2030.
- Universal Immunization Programme (UIP): Vaccination protects children against preventable diseases.
- Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) have been established for management of severe acute malnutrition in children.
Consider the following statements regarding Mortality Indicators:
- Infant Mortality Rate refers to the number of deaths of children less than 5 years of age per 1000 live births.
- Maternal Mortality Rate refers to the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 women of reproductive age in a year.
- Neonatal Mortality Rate refers to the number of deaths of children less than 28 days per 1000 live births.
Which of the following statements is/are incorrect?
a) 1 and 2
b) 2 and 3
c) Only 1
d) Only 3
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Polity
T.N. Seshan the election commissioner of India who transformed the way polls were conducted and contested in the country has passed away.
- Born on December 15, 1932 in Palakkad, Kerala, Mr. Seshan belonged to the 1955 batch of Tamil Nadu cadre officers of the IAS.
- An alumnus of the Madras Christian College, he, as an IAS officer, did a year-long course in management at the Harvard University in the 1960s.
Electoral reforms under TN Seshan
- Seshan, as Chief Election Commissioner during 1990-96, had initiated the process of cleaning up the electoral system.
- The introduction of electors’ photo identity cards was a measure towards this direction.
A strict disciplinary
- He was known as a no nonsensical CEC and one who had enforced, in his own way, discipline on political parties and contestants.
- He did not compromise on his position that every election had to be held in accordance with the model code of conduct and electoral laws.
- Some of his big achievements include implementation of the election process and the Model Code of Conduct, introduction of voter ID cards, enforcing limits on poll expenses, and elimination of several malpractices like distribution of liquor, bribing voters, ban on wall writing, use of loud speakers, use of religion in election speeches etc.
Expansion of EC
- As part of his variant of electoral reforms, the Election Commission had listed 150 malpractices in the elections.
- It was during Mr. Seshan’s period that the EC was made a multi-member body in October 1993 with the appointment of M.S. Gill and G.V.G. Krishnamurthy.
- Though he had opposed the government’s move, the Supreme Court had upheld the government’s decision to appoint Election Commissioners.
- During his term, Seshan witnessed the implementation of Mandal Commission, giving reservation to other backward classes (OBCs) in government jobs.
- These developments dominated politics and elections in India for nearly a decade.
- Briefly in the mid-1990s, Mr. Seshan became an icon of the middle class as he was seen as a crusader against corruption and electoral malpractices.
- His work was recognised internationally when he was given the Ramon Magsaysay award for 1996.
Who is the first Chief Election Commisssioner of India
(a) V. S. Ramadevi
(b) Kalyan Sundaram
(c) Sukumar Sen
(d) T N Seshan
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy
Rating agency Moody’s has reacted to the turbulence in the economy. It revised the outlook on its sovereign rating for India from stable to negative.
- Moody’s India rating is a little higher than that of Standard & Poor’s.
- The outlook revision will compensate for its past optimism in India.
Lessons to learn
- It warns that if the economy fails to bounce back soon enough, the sovereign rating could go bad.
- Impact of slowdown – it impacts the fiscal deficit and borrowings.
- Tax revenue – tax revenue growth is nowhere near budgeted levels. With the slowdown extending into the third quarter, tax revenues will further undershoot.
- What it means for government – the government has been forced to spend more to give a leg up to the economy. More than just pushing expenditure on capital projects, the government gave away corporate tax concessions last month.
- Missed Fiscal deficit – Even with the boost from the ₹1.76 lakh crore dividend payout from RBI, it appears that the government will miss the fiscal deficit target of 3.3% of GDP. Moody has projected that the deficit will slip to 3.7% of GDP this fiscal.
- Only positive – India’s borrowings are almost wholly domestic. External debt to GDP is just 20% but the ratings do have an impact on investor sentiment.
Hope lies ahead
- Signs of revival – the Moody’s outlook revision comes when there are faint signs of a revival in the economy. It may be another quarter or two before growth picks up. The festive season uptick in sales of automobiles and white goods points to the return of the consumer to the market.
- Bank credit– increase in the bank credit offtake reported by the RBI for the second successive fortnight is positive news.
- The government needs to press the reforms harder.
- There is every need to debug GST.
- There is a need to go big on disinvestment in the remaining four months of this fiscal. The target of ₹1.05 lakh crore has to be met with a wide margin to contain fiscal deficit slippage.
- The supportive measures announced in the last two months should be closely monitored for implementation.
Which among the following reason/s for Moody’s (Global Rating Agency) cut India’s outlook to negative?
- Currency push in the Non-Banking Financial Sector.
- Government policy in-effectiveness in addressing economic weakness
- The weakest pace of economic growth between April and June this fiscal
Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:
a) 1 and 2
b) 2 and 3
c) 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3
Topic in Syllabus:Indian Society
- Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO)in a report held that Vaccine hesitancy is among the top 10 threats to global health in 2019.
- WHO defines Vaccine hesitancy as a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services.Vaccine hesitancy has been reported in more than 90% of countries in the world.
Instances of Vaccine Hesitancy
- Globally nearly 4,24,000 children have confirmed measles in 2019, as against a figure of 1,73,000 in the whole of 2018.
- In India, poor communities of Uttar Pradesh was reported to have taken five times low uptake of oral polio vaccine in the early 2000s.
Reasons for Vaccine Hesitancy
- The main issue with Vaccine hesitancy is
- Religious propaganda that the vaccine may contain microbes, chemicals and animal-derived products which is forbidden by religious laws.
- Social media is used in stirring fear in people by falsely blaming vaccines for unrelated diseases is the bedrock of the Vaccine hesitancy all across the globe.
- For example, recently some sections in India are refraining from the polio vaccine. This is due to the misconception that the polio vaccine caused illness, infertility and was ineffective.
- Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV)contains weakened but live poliovirus. This virus from the vaccine is excreted by immunized children which can move from one person to another.
- This allows the virus to stick around and mutate to a more virulent form, raising the threat of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV).
- Inconvenience in accessing vaccines is also the leading cause of Vaccine hesitancy.
Benefits of Vaccine
- According to WHO, vaccination prevents between two-three million deaths each year,a figure that will rise by another 1.5 million if vaccine coverage improves.
- Vaccination protects children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases which can include amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death.
- A study in 2017 that looked at flu seasons between 2010 and 2014 found that vaccination reduced flu-associated deaths by 65% among healthy children.
- The vaccine can also prevent hospitalization(thereby it can check out of pocket expenditure), reduce the severity of illness and prevent severe, life-threatening complications in children.
Practical tips for addressing Vaccine hesitancy in primary care include
Vaccination as the default approach:
Some countries have implemented specific sanctions for Vaccine hesitant families.
- France has made vaccination with 11 vaccines mandatory for children—unvaccinated children cannot be enrolled at nurseries or schools.
- In Australia, parents of children who are not vaccinated are denied the universal Family Allowance welfare payments.
- Vaccine manufacturer can provide honest information about side effects and reassurance on a robust vaccine safety system.
- They can also provide vaccination-related FAQ’s, answering questions on benefits, safety, and immunologic aspects of vaccines and links to a number of online resources for physicians and parents.
- Google, Facebook and other such platforms can be requested to make sure that users only get to see the credible, science-based information about the vaccines.
- The influential person or celebrities should come forward to dispel the myths leading to Vaccine hesitancy.
- Vaccine hesitancy is threatening the historical achievements made in reducing the burden of infectious diseases, which have plagued humanity for centuries. A collaborative effort between paediatricians, family doctors, parents, public health officials, governments, the technology sector, and civil society will allow myths and misinformation around vaccination to be dispelled.
With reference to ‘Zika virus’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
- Zika virus is known to cause microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
- There is no medicine or vaccine for Zika.
- Skin rash, muscle and joint pain are some of the symptoms of the Zika virus disease.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) i only
(b) ii and iii only
(c) i and iii only
(d) i, ii and iii