Healthy India, happy India

(The Indian Express)

 

Mutual respect is the key

(The Indian Express)

 

Healthy India, happy India

(The Indian Express)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of efforts to provide quality healthcare.

(GS paper II)

Overview

 

  • It is said that ‘the quality of life in a country can be best gauged by its education and health indicators.’
  • India, since Independence, has done reasonably well on the education front, though it could have done better as we still face innumerable, complex challenges.

 

Assessment of Health sector

 

 

  • India over the time has been successful in eradicating diseases like- polio and tetanus, done reasonably well in the fight against malaria and in halting the spread of HIV. Today, the country is grappling with the twin problems of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) due to a variety of causes.

 

 

 

  • With India ranked at an unflattering 154th in a Lancet study on “Healthcare Access and Quality Index” published last year, we need to gird up our loins to make India “Swasth Bharat” in the coming years. Both the public and private sector have a gargantuan task on hand as a whole range of issues have to be tackled from the problem of malnutrition to providing an inclusive and affordable healthcare to every citizen.

 

 

  • The functioning of government-run medical facilities in rural areas has to be improved. Although the number of medical colleges in the country has increased to 470, India has less than one doctor for every 1,000 people, which is below the WHO norm. The doctor-population ratio is estimated to be 0.62:1,000 as per the current population, while the number of hospital beds is estimated to be 0.5 per 1,000 people.

 

Major areas of concern

 

  • The first and foremost priority has to be to increase the public expenditure on the health sector. With the economy projected to improve further in the coming years, public expenditure on the health sector has to be enhanced significantly. Among the communicable diseases, tuberculosis needs to be tackled on a war-footing as MDR-TB is posing a major health concern. Seasonal outbreak of vector-borne diseases like dengue and growing antibiotic resistance is the other major concern.

 

  • Ensuring proper healthcare to the elderly is another major area of concern for the governments and all other stakeholders involved in the health sector. The problems associated with geriatrics such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are on the rise, while depression in both the young and old is becoming a major health issue. Need to set up special geriatric clinics in different localities in cities under public-private partnership.

 

  •  Undoubtedly, economic status plays a major role in determining the health outcomes. Lack of proper nutrition, sanitation and poverty are associated with worse health outcomes. With unhygienic conditions causing various infectious diseases, the Swachh Bharat programme will definitely help in tackling this issue in a significant way.

 

Way forward

 

  • The recently announced Ayushman Bharat scheme to provide health cover to 10 crore families and the proposal to set up 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres will go a long way in providing the much-needed affordable healthcare to millions across the country.

 

  • Also it is time to launch a national movement to reverse their growing incidence. Instead of eating food preserved in the fridge, we need to return to our roots- traditional, time-tested food habits, besides taking up regular physical activity. We need to promote and practice yoga to lead a healthy life. 

 

Question The government needs to redouble its efforts to provide quality healthcare and people must make lifestyle changes. Explain and also access how the Ayushman Bharat scheme can help?

 

Mutual respect is the key

(The Indian Express)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue that how India can improve its ties with Nepal.

(GS paper II)

Overview

 

  • Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, is on India for the three-day state visit, He is scheduled to hold discussions with the top leadership of India to discuss upon issues including the previously signed treaties among Nepal and India and further make the updates on the issues, which require attention.
  • The visit is important as there is current unhealthy state of India’s relations with Nepal. Both the countries need to make effort at building greater mutual respect, understanding and trust.

 

Assessment

 

  • The three-day State visit comes amidst the speculation of clinging to China after the alliance of leftist parties gained two- third majority in the marathon elections held in 2017. With the visit of Federal Nepal’s first Prime Minister KP Oli, the hopes amongst the people have gripped up.

 

  • Nepal and India have signed a number of treaties over the times. Many are stalled or are demanded for the amendment. With the Nepali PM’s visit to India, people have demanded for the swift implementation of the previous treaties.

 

  • Pacts related to agriculture, research and development, education and training, exploring the possibility of inland water navigation upto Indian ports from Nepal, and expansion of Indian rail upto Kathmandu from the countries’ border have been agreed by the two sides.

 

  • If a large country like India was afflicted for long with a “small country syndrome,” it should not be surprising that Nepali elites are afflicted by a more acute version of it. Although asymmetry is certainly an important feature of India-Nepal relations, it does not fully explain the problem between Delhi and Kathmandu.

 

  • For example Nepal’s engagement with China, where the asymmetry is much larger. When Oli heads to Beijing, soon after his visit to Delhi, few in Kathmandu are likely to worry about Oli surrendering Nepal’s interests. In fact, there will be much expectation that Beijing will help Nepal “stand up” against India.

 

  • Standing up against India has unfortunately become an important part of Nepal’s definition of sovereignty. For most of Delhi’s neighbours, the deep intimacy and interdependence with India is at once the basis for a special relationship and profound resentment. Delhi must try and understand the sources of this negative tradition and address the problem purposefully.

 

  • The partition of the Subcontinent, the US-Soviet Cold War and the emergence of a unified and strong China under communists introduced extraordinary constraints on Indian policy. One way or another, India was inevitably sucked into the internal affairs of its neighbours, including Nepal. The most recent case was India’s involvement in Nepal’s constitution-making.

 

  • The recent visit provides a major opportunity for Delhi to put the relationship with Nepal back on a new set of rails. Three broad imperatives stand out for Delhi. Firstly, is to acknowledge Nepal’s sovereignty and promise to conduct relations on that basis. Delhi needs to shift from underlining “the special relationship” with Nepal to one based on “sovereign equality”. That would inevitably mean that India should stop meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs and focus more on the state-to-state relationship. This is not a favour from Delhi to Nepal. It is in India’s interest to have a strong and sovereign Nepal on its northern frontiers.

 

  • Secondly, instead of demanding an “India first policy” from Oli, Prime Minister of India must affirm that India’s strong support for a “Nepal first” policy. Situated between the world’s two fastest growing economies, Nepal has every reason to benefit from its location.

 

  • And thirdly, while the Indian security establishment has long claimed a special political relationship, Delhi’s economic policies have prevented the full development of the natural economic complementarily between the two countries. The rotting trade infrastructure on the long and open border, Delhi’s cumbersome procedures for administering economic assistance and the inability to implement infrastructure projects in reasonable time, have all added to India’s woes in Nepal.

 

Way forward

 

  • An emphasis on projects relating to cross-border trade, transport and tourism could be the beginning of a solid economic foundation for a sustainable political partnership with sovereign Nepal.

 

Question Instead of demanding an ‘India First’ approach, Delhi must affirm support for ‘Nepal First’ policy, critically analyse.