Mitras Analysis of News : 18-03-2017

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1.A roadmap for health (The Hindu)

2.Beyond the vote  (The Hindu)

3.Challenges to protect forest  INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS- MARCH 21

4.Accessible India campaign


1.A roadmap for health (The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the National Health Policy 2017. (GS paper II)


  • India is passing from a stage of demographic dividend where majority of population tends to be young and dependents i.e. grey population will be less which is in stark contrast with western countries.
  • NHP 2017 will pave way for increased public health spending which will have great implications for healthy India.

Status of Health?

  • India faces a triple-disease burden of maternal and child health, infectious, and non-communicable diseases. This is despite India’s status as the third-largest economy in the world.
  • According to Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), India faces 20 percent of ill population.
  • This was despite India’s status as the third-largest economy in the world, with annual spending of over Rs6 trillion on healthcare on its 1.3 billion population.

Brief background                                                                                   

  • In 1983 the Government of India came out with a National Health Policy (NHP) to govern the functioning of the public health sector. The results of the 1983 policy were mixed; while some initiative flourished others didn’t yield results.
  • The 1983 NHP does not address certain newer issues in health such as HIV/AIDS or lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
  • In 2002 the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare introduced an updated health policy. In this policy they outlined the achievements and drawbacks of the 1983 policy and drew up new plans for the sector.
  • In an attempt to address inequalities of access to health services, the policy proposes an increase in primary health expenditure in order to open more outlets.
  • Programmes that address children’s need such as Reproductive and Child Health including the Universal Immunization Programme need to continue to function to achieve the desired goals.
  • The policy points out that people are not using the public health services because they do not provide the patients with essential drugs. Hence the policy outlines the need to improve delivery of necessary drugs through increased central govt. funding.

 National Health Policy 2017

  • This Policy looks at problems and solutions holistically with private sector as strategic partners. It seeks to promote quality of care, focus is on emerging diseases and investment in promotive and preventive healthcare. The policy is patient centric and quality driven. It addresses health security and make in India for drugs and devices.
  • Some of the big differences between the 2017 policy and the 2002 is that there is a new focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which, at 39.1%, make up the bulk of India’s disease burden and a focus on wellness, including prevention and promotion of health, rather than focusing on “sick care.” Previous health policies did not fix firm targets for elimination of diseases like kala-azar and filariasis, but the new policy does.
  • In order to provide access and financial protection at secondary and tertiary care levels, the policy proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency care services in all public hospitals.
  • The NHP, 2017 advocates a positive and proactive engagement with the private sector for critical gap filling towards achieving national goals.  It envisages private sector collaboration for strategic purchasing, capacity building, skill development programmes, awareness generation, developing sustainable networks for community to strengthen mental health services, and disaster management.
  • The policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time bound manner. Policy envisages providing larger package of assured comprehensive primary health care through the Health and Wellness Centres.
  • The broad principles of the policy is centred on Professionalism, Integrity and Ethics, Equity, Affordability, Universality, Patient Cantered & Quality of Care, Accountability and pluralism.

Concerns to New Health Policy

  • There is lack of skilled medical professionals in India. Although a major capacity expansion to produce MBBS graduates took place between 2009 and 2015, but only 11.3% of registered allopathic doctors were working in the public sector as of 2014, and even among these, the number in rural areas was abysmally low. More health professionals need to be deployed for primary care in rural areas.
  • Contracting of health services from the private sector may be inevitable in the short term, given that about 70% of all outpatient care and 60% of inpatient treatments are provided by it. But this requires accountability, both on the quality and cost of care
  • National Health Policy has made substantial reversals on some of the stands of the Draft National Health Policy, 2015. The new policy no longer proposes that health be considered a fundamental right

Way Ahead:

  • There is an urgent need of regulation agencies for better health care. Hence, no more time should be lost in forming regulatory and accreditation agencies for healthcare providers at the national and State levels as suggested by the expert group on universal health coverage of the Planning Commission more than five years ago.
  • It should also be mandatory for all health institutions to be accredited, and to publish the approved cost of treatments, in order to remove the prevailing asymmetry of information.
  • For the new policy to start on a firm footing, the Centre has to get robust health data. Currently this is fragmented because inputs from multiple sources and sample surveys are not reconciled, and the private sector is often not in the picture.

Question: India face triple burden of diseases which can be a hindrance to tap the potential of demographic dividend. What should be the govt’s policy to prevent the disease rather than curing.


2.Beyond the vote (The Hindu)

 Synoptic line: it throws light on the issue of rise of right-wing in Europe and elsewhere. (GS I)


  • A far rightist trend has been emerging in the world with ever increasing notions of nationalism, anti-globalization etc.
  • A hope of bump in the path of rightist ideology can be seen in Netherlands which went to polls recently. It is a blow to rightist surge movement as far-rightist party contending for elections has been defeated.

Rise of populism

  • Populism is a political philosophy which pertains to people oriented politics. Populist leaders call for the measures which are too close for people. They claim them to be true democrats. However, many a number of times which is good for majority may not be good for country as a whole. Hence, populism is a sticky issue.
  • World over, a trend of populism coupled with rightist ideology can be noticed. It can be witnessed in the Brexit and increasing anti-EU movement. It can be seen in US elections. Moreover, India is also witnessing the rise of several populist leaders.
  • By appealing to ‘the people’ over the heads of democratic institutions deemed ineffectual and dishonest, populist leaders forge a personal constituency that they can confide in, admonish, and instruct.
  • The problem is that ‘people’ is not a homogenous unit. The category is divided and hierarchized along the lines of class, caste, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexual preferences. More significantly, ‘people’ are organised into majorities and minorities, and majorities — as our history tells us — can seriously impair the basic rights of minorities.
  • Notably, democracy is not only about a party that has won the largest number of seats taking over state power. It is about protecting the basic rights of all individuals, and, in particular, the rights of vulnerable minorities against depredations of majorities. This is secured through the establishment of procedures and institutions. That is why democratic governance is complex, time-consuming, and demanding.

Netherland Elections

  • Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) retained its primacy by winning 33 seats, ahead of Geert Wilders’s anti-European Union, anti-Islam and anti-migrant far-right Party for Freedom (PVV).
  • Wilders wants to ban the Koran, ‘de-Islamise’ the Netherlands, and pull out of the EU. However, PVV has won 20 seats, five more than last time.
  • The most notable gains on Wednesday, however, were for pro-EU parties who are pro-refugee, opposes populism and speaks of tolerance and empathy.
  • Overall, the election results have, at least for now, stemmed the growth of populism and given the EU a much-needed shot in the arm

Implications and Way ahead

  • Rise of populist and pro right political leaders poses several threats to the free trade and minority population. Their extreme nationalist ideology calls for halting the pace of globalization along with sealing the borders for any persecuted refugee population.
  • Though Rightist and populist ideology can be a very useful force to secure the national interest but many a times it becomes a barrier to realise the true ideals of Democracy. Hence,

Question:  The growth of anti-establishment can impact the economic growth of India along with posing certain ideological threats. Comment.


3.Challenges to protect forest  INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS- MARCH 21

 Synoptic line:  Special article on International day of forests. (GS II and Essay)


Life in forest is the highest form of cultural evolution – Rabindranath Tagore


  • India holds a great ecological value as it stands among mega diversity countries in the world with diverse types of forests. According to official estimates, approx. 20 per cent of the geographical area in the country is under forest cover.
  • The National Forest Policy (1988) aims to enhance the forest cover to one third.
  • Due to the rising population there is huge pressure on forest land for extraction of forest based industries. The intensifying conflicts between conserving forests for generating ecosystem services and diversion for developmental project poses one of the biggest challenges in managing the forest resources.

State of forests

  • Mizoram has the highest 93 per cent forest cover. However, many north eastern states have experienced decline in green cover. The country faces numerous challenges in implementing its policies to protect and grow forests.
  • Protection of forests is done through implementation of Forest Conservation Act (1980) and through establishment of protected areas. The Government of India has established more than 600 Protected Areas of which more than 100 are National Parks and more than 500 Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • These comprise about 5 per cent of the geographical areas of the country. Different type of forests and scrub jungles are host to the diverse wildlife including the tigers, elephants and lions.
  • Due to the rising population there is enormous pressure on forest land for extraction of forest based industries and encroachment for extension of agriculture. The rising conflicts between conserving forests for generating ecosystem services and diversion for developmental project poses one of the biggest challenges in managing the forest resources.

Forest as a resource and their conversation

  • It is estimated that the demand for timber is growing at a faster speed from 58 million cubic meters in 2005 to 153 million cubic meters in 2020. The annual growth of the forest stock can only supply 70 million cubic meters of timber, forcing us to import hardwood timber from other countries.
  • In India 67 per cent of the rural household depend on firewood for cooking. About one million deaths are reported annually caused by the fumes of firewood for cooking.  In order to address this problem, Pradhan Mantri LPG Scheme ‘Ujjwala Yojana’ is implemented by Ministry of Petroleum and Gas that provides free LPG connections to BPL families in remote rural areas. This has provided access to clean and efficient energy to a large number of families in the countryside.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has given the call to celebrate world forestry day for 2017 with the theme of ‘forests and energy’.  The emphasis is to develop wood as a major source of renewable energy, to mitigate climate change and fostering sustainable development. By developing community wood lots and delivering clean and energy efficient wood stoves, millions of people in developing economies will have access to cheap and reliable supply of renewable energy.


  • One of the main pillars of afforestation is to regrow the forests in lieu of diversion of the forest land for developmental purposes.
  • There are two major afforestation schemes, National Afforestation Programme (NAP) and National Mission for Green India (GIM). Both these schemes are implemented in participatory mode under joint forest management programme”.
  • NAP aims at eco regeneration of degraded forests and GIM aims at increasing the forest cover along with improving the quality of the forests, including the farm and agro forestry.
  • While implementing these green schemes, India faces enormous challenges. The climate change directly impacts the survival of planted saplings.
  • The extension of dry areas and desertification is another big challenge that needs to be tackled with proper interventions.
  • There is need for participatory models of afforestation in which the local knowledge helps to regenerate and manage the forest resources.

Question: India’s forest are great Carbon sinks. India had also pledged under Paris COP to further enhance the forest density. What steps should be initiated by India to meet its?


4.Accessible India campaign

  • Accessible India Campaign (AIC) is the nationwide flagship campaign of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The aim of the Campaign is to make a barrier free and conducive environment for Divyangjans all over the country.
  • The physical, social, structural and attitudinal barriers prevent People with Disabilities from participating equally in the socio-cultural and economic activities.
  • A barrier-free environment facilitates equal participation in all the activities and promotes an independent and dignified way of life. The campaign has the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.
  • For creating universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, the campaign has been divided into three verticals: Built Environment; Transport and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.
  • The Built Environment Accessibility component of Accessible India Campaign entails following targets:
  • Completing accessibility audit of at least 25-50 most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them fully accessible by the end of this year.
  • Making 50% of all the government buildings of NCT and all the State capitals fully accessible by December 2018.
  • Completing accessibility audit of 50% of government buildings and making them fully accessible in 10 most important cities/towns of States not covered in targets.
  • Transport accessibility component of Accessible India Campaign aims to make all international airports fully accessible immediately and domestic airports by March 2018.
  • Accessibility of Information and Communication System is another crucial pillar of Accessible India Campaign. The target set under this vertical is to make at least 50% of Central and State Government websites accessible by March 2017.

Question: Disability is caused by the way society is organised, and not the person’s limitations and impairments

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