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Feeding India: (Indian Express, Editorial)

Context:

According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4)- there are 47.5 million stunted children in India out of 154.8 million globally. This is because of poor diet, poor healthcare and poor sanitation.

India’s ranking on Global Hunger Index:

  • India’s ranking in the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI’s) 2017 Global Hunger Index has invited much comment and criticism among India’s intellectual elite.
  • The index illustrates the complexity of India’s malnutrition problem.
  • India has slipped to 100 among 119 countries in the 2017 Global Hunger Index, down from 97 among the 118 countries in 2016.
  • The Government of India’s National Nutrition Strategy announced in September 2017 provides the comprehensive approach with a National Nutrition Mission combined with strengthening decentralized delivery.

Key highlights of the report:

  • In 2017 GHI, India scored 31.4 and was placed in high end of “serious” category. India low ranking also influences South Asia’s regional score as three quarters of South Asia’s population reside in India.
  • India’s neighbours ranking are Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29)—except Pakistan (106) and Afghanistan (107).
  • Even North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings,
  • More than 20% of Indian children under the age of five have lower weight in relation to their height and about 33% are too short in relation to their age. Despite India being world’s second largest food producer it has second highest under-nourished population in the world.

What is Global Hunger Index (GHI)?

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger globally and by country and region.
  • Calculated each year by the International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI), the GHI  highlight successes and failures in hunger reduction and provides insight into the drivers of hunger.
  • By raising awareness and understanding of regional and country differences in hunger, the GHI aims to trigger actions to reduce hunger.
  • It ranks countries on a 0 to 100-point scale calculated by taking into account four indicator parameters. Zero means best score (no hunger) and 100 is worst.
  • Global Hunger Index highlights successes and failures in hunger reduction and provides insights into the drivers of hunger.

On what parameters is GHI measured?

The GHI is calculated by taking into account four key parameters:

  • shares of undernourished population
  • wasted
  • stunted children aged under 5
  • infant mortality rate of the same age group(1/3rd weight)

What is IFPRI?

  • The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries.
  • FPRI’s vision is a world free of hunger and malnutrition.
  • Its mission is to provide research-based policy solutions that sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition.

What are the major objectives of IFPRI?

  • Research at IFPRI focuses on six strategic areas:

Ensuring Sustainable Food Production

  • IFPRI’s research analyzes options for policies, institutions, innovations, and technologies that can advance sustainable food production in a context of resource scarcity, threats to biodiversity, and climate change.

Promoting Healthy Food Systems

  • IFPRI examines how to improve diet quality and nutrition for the poor, focusing particularly on women and children, and works to create synergies among the three vital components of the food system: agriculture, health, and nutrition.

Improving Markets and Trade

  • IFPRI’s research focuses on strengthening markets and correcting market failures to enhance the benefits from market participation for small-scale farmers.

Transforming Agriculture

  • The aim of IFPRI’s research in this area is to accelerate the transformation from low-income, rural, agriculture-based economies to high-income, more urbanized, and industrial service-based ones.

Building Resilience

  • IFPRI’s research explores the causes and impacts of environmental factors that can affect food security, nutrition, health, and well-being

Strengthening Institutions and Governance

  • IFPRI’s research on institutions centers on collective action in management of natural resources and farmer organizations.

What are the factors causing malnutrition in India?

Lack of awareness

  • Lack of awareness among people about sufficient health and nutrition is the primary reason (about wholesome, balanced and natural diets; healthy child-feeding and caring practices)

Access to nutritious food

  • People’s access to sufficient and nutritious food is equally important, which is still to be addressed
  • IFPRI’s Global Hunger Index (GHI) shows India ranked 97 among 118 countries on hunger in 2016.
  • The disparity in calorie consumption among income classes in rural and urban areas declined.
  • Access to Public Distribution System had a greater impact in explaining the increase in calorie consumption per rupee compared to cash transfers,  a smaller portion of which was spent on calories.

What are the salient features of the National food security Mission in India?

  • National Food Security Mission (NFSM) is a Central Scheme of GOI launched in 2007
  • The aim is to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices.
  • The targets of 11th five year exceeded and it was extended to 12th five-year plan in 2012.
  • In the 12th Plan, NFSM aims at raising the food grain production by 25 million tones.

What are the primary objectives of the National food security Mission?

  • Restoring soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level.
  • Promotion and extension of improved technologies
  • Productions of breeder seeds are done under ICAR while certified seeds and pulses are implemented by State and District agencies

National Nutrition Mission:  It has two components:

  1. Multi-sectoral Nutrition programme to address Maternal and Child Undernutrition in 200 high-burden districts, which aims at prevention and reduction in child undernutrition (underweight prevalence in children under 3 years of age) and reduction in levels of anaemia among young children, adolescent girls and women has been launched in January 2014.
  2. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign against malnutrition: To create awareness about nutrition challenges and promote home-level feeding practices a Nationwide Information, Education and Communication campaign against malnutrition has been launched during 2012-13.  

Does the constitution of India pledge the right to food?

    • The right to food or in general the economic, social, and cultural rights are defined in Part IV of the Constitution as Directive Principles of State Policy
    • The Right to Food in Indian Constitution is not recognized as a “Fundamental Right”
    • Article 21 and 47 of the constitution obliges the Government of India to take appropriate measures to ensure a dignified life with adequate food for all citizens.

Article 47

    • Article 47 of the Indian Constitution provides that it is the “duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health”.

Article 21

  • Protection of life and personal liberty – No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty

What are the causes of India’s poor performance at GHI?

Improper implementation

  • A major hindrance in fighting starvation in India is the lack of proper implementation of government schemes which are directed towards providing food for one and all

Corruption is the root cause

  • Corruption on the local levels or there is a disinterest among the government officials to ensure that the schemes are properly being carried out.

Flawed food distribution system

  • Almost 51% of the food delivered is lost to leakages and is sold in the open market for a higher price.

Loopholes in the National Food Security Bill

  • Clear mechanisms with respect to the identification of beneficiaries have not been defined.
  • The bill states that the states will provide the list of the poor but the states obviously do not possess such records.

What is the way ahead?

  • One effort to address the hunger (and nutrition) challenge is the enactment of the National Food Security Act
  • To improve nutritional content in food products, steps must be taken towards universal food fortification.
  • Adequate funding is required for the effective implementation of any nutrition scheme
  • Many of the causes for the occurrence of malnutrition is known, however attention needs to be paid to understanding what prevents the nation from achieving its goals related to nutrition.
  • Attention needs to be paid on building neighborhood health and nutrition profiles and carrying out interventions based on identified needs.
  • India needs to implement its announced strategy with a focus on evidence, results and communities with a focus on improved outcomes for the poor and accountability for those in governance, and the solution need to go far beyond the expansion of sanitation, important as that is.

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Delhi LG cannot simply sit on files and stultify governance: (The Hindu)

Context

  • The five-judge Constitution Bench hearing a batch of nine appeals filed by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government for complete control of all the matters regarding National Capital Territory of Delhi belonging to Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi observed that the LG cannot block proposals or schemes forwarded by the Council of Ministers to him.

What were the arguments?

  • As per the observation, LG is bound to pass the difference of opinions between the LG and the Delhi Council of Ministers to the President for early resolution.
  • The Kejriwal government wants the Supreme Court to lay down the law on whether the LG can unilaterally administer the National Capital without being bound by the “aid and advice” of the elected government.
  • The Delhi High Court had originally said that LG has special powers greater than the President, greater than other Governors of States.

What are constitutional provisions?

  • The 69th Amendment of the Constitution in 1992 gave the National Capital of Delhi special status with its own democratically elected government and legislative assembly.
  • Sub-section (4) of Article 239AA mandates that a Council of Ministers shall aid and advice the LG in his functions regarding laws made by the Legislative Assembly.

What is the current controversy?

  • The focus of the current controversy is a proviso to Article 239AA (4), which mandates that in case of a difference of opinion between the LG and the Council of Ministers, the former has to refer the issue to the President.
  • As the decision is pending before the President, the LG, if the matter is urgent, can use his discretion to take immediate action.
  • The Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, prima facie said that the Delhi government’s ability to “aid and advicethe LG is limited to subjects other than public order, police and land in the National Capital.
  • It said that the proviso to Article 239AA (4), on plain reading, seems to give primacy to the LG.
  • The LG is entitled to take a different view and is not bound by the aid and advice of the Delhi Cabinet.
  • The allegation is that the LG has misused the discretion in this proviso to block governance.

Is LG a supreme law?

  • There are total six grounds that determines LG as a suprema lex (supreme law).
  • Firstly, that Delhi is still a Union Territory.
  • Secondly, Parliament makes the law for Delhi under Article 246 (4) of the Constitution.
  • Thirdly, Article 239AA has brought in no change to Delhi’s status as a Union Territory simplicitor.
  • Fourthly, the proviso gives him the power of defiance.
  • Fifthly, LG has to concur to every decision made by the Delhi government.
  • Sixthly, LG can take independent decisions.

What are the allegations?

  • In his day-long submissions before the Bench, Mr. Subramanium said situation of governance in Delhi has come to such a turn that department Ministers are unable to get an opinion from their secretaries and civil servants on issues of governance.
  • Mr. Subramanium argued that the “extraordinary discretion” of the LG is confined to special circumstances and not in everything.
  • Mr. Subramanium said the Delhi High Court was in error when it bought the Centre’s argument that Delhi was like any other Union Territory governed by parliamentary laws under Article 246 (4) and there was no need to give the Delhi government any elbow room.
  • Mr. Subramanium evoked Article 73 of the Constitution to note that Article 246 (4) was subject to the provisions of Article 239AA.

Role and Functions of Lieutenant Governor

  • Like Governor, Lt. Governor acts as the titular head of the UT whereas the real power is exercised by the chief minister (CM) and his council of ministers.
  • In the Articles 239 and 239AA of the Constitution of India, the functions, powers and duties of the Lt. Governor are defined clearly. He is a representative of the President and acts on the aid and recommendation of the council of ministers.
  • The provisions of Article 239B apply in relation to the National Capital Territory of Delhi, as they apply in relation to the UTs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry.

Role of Lt. Governor in Delhi

  • The Sec. 41 of the GNCT (Government of National Capital Territory) of Delhi Act, 1991 clarifies that the Lieutenant Governor shall act in his discretion during a matter that falls outside the range of the powers conferred on the Legislative Assembly.
  • If the Lt. Governor is under any law required to act in his discretion, his decision on that case wi  will be final. In respect of matters regarding Police, Public Order and Land, the Lt. Governor exercises his authority to the extent delegated to him by the President. He exercises his authority with the help of Police Commissioner of Delhi and Vice Chairperson, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) who have their independent administrative setups.
  • Lt. Governor is Ex-officio Chairman of DDA, however he exercises his executive functions through Appellate Authority under various Acts/Rules/Regulations as applicable in Delhi.
  • In  the  case of difference  of  opinion  between  the Lieutenant  Governor  and his Ministers on any matter, the Lt. Governor  can refer  it  to  the President  for decision  and  act according  to decision  given on that by the President.
  • The post of Lt. Governor was first established in September 1966 after the Delhi Administration Act, 1966 came into effect. At the commencement of the primary session after each election to the Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of every year, the Lt. Governor addresses the House.

Discretionary Powers of Lt. Governor

  • The Lt. Governor uses his discretionary powers in certain situations. In the legislative assembly elections if no party secures a majority, the Lt. Governor has the authority to act on his own and ask the leader of the single largest party or the chosen leader of two or more parties to form the government.
  • In such case, Lt. Governor appoints that leader as the Chief Minister. If due to improper administration, the state machinery breaks down, the Lt. Governor can send a report to the President, recommending imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
  • Under President’s Rule, the Lt. Governor becomes full-fledged executive head of the government and has the power to appoint a group of advisors who act as council of ministers. The duration of President’s rule is also subject to discretion of the Lt. Governor.

India offers to share real-time maritime data: (The Hindu)

Context

  • Indian Navy is hosting Navy and Maritime Chiefs of 10 countries of Indian ocean region (IOR) at the first goa maritime conclave (GMC) to identify common threats in the region and evolve a mechanism on how to tackle them.
  • India has made an offer to share intelligence of maritime movements in the Indian Ocean in real-time with 10 Indian Ocean littoral States.

About information sharing

  • The information to be shared includes movement of commercial traffic as well as intelligence.
  • Co-operative system–India already has co-operative arrangements with several countries in the region and this initiative would see that expanding further. For instance, white shipping agreements to share commercial shipping data have been signed with 12 countries and more are in the works.
  • This is not so much for conventional military purposes but to deal with non-traditional threats arising at sea,”

Maritime security Challenges faced by India

  • China’s growing naval presence in the Indian Ocean
  • Threat due to rampant piracy, maritime terrorism, and inter-state tensions.
  • The growing importance of maritime resources, sea-lane safety, concentration of economic boom zones along the coasts, has made maritime security more critical than ever.
  • India has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Pakistan – Sir Creek and sri lanka Where borders are delimited there also frequent instances of illegal fishing, arrest of fishermen, arms-smuggling, terrorist infiltration, human-smuggling and drug-trafficking takes place
  • Militarisation of the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The vulnerability of our 7,517 km long coastline.
  • Sinking of a naval vessel off Vishakhapatnam and the loss of life of the Navy personnel and seaports in Kolkata receiving a series of intelligence warnings of an attack are few of the recent events that underlines myriad complexities of maritime security.

Need for multi-dimensional maritime strategy

  • A robust maritime strategy is one which is multi-dimensional, that takes into consideration aspects of both traditional defence security issues and also covers non-traditional issues such as rising sea levels, oil spill-overs, fishery depletion, piracy and management of living and non-living marine resources.
  • India should bolster her naval strength and expand maritime partnerships with other countries through bilateral, trilateral and multilateral means. Naval modernisation, expansion of civilian maritime infrastructure, development of island territories, naval assistance to other countries should be embarked upon.
  • Augment the capabilities of marine police, which is one of the first respondents during crises.
  • India needs to deepen its military security cooperation in the Indian Ocean with USA, France, Australia and initiate a maritime security dialogue with China.
  • Adherence to international laws by all parties as well as through monitoring, regulation and enforcement.

Maritime security strategy 2015

The Indian Maritime Security Strategy 2015, titled ‘Ensuring Secure Seas’ revealed in Oct 2015, some of its highlights are:

Imperatives:

  • India’s principal maritime enterprise would be the need to “shape a favourable and positive environment”.
  • Towards this end, India would need to constructively involved in multilateral maritime/ military engagement, local capacity building, technical cooperation/ communications etc
  • Coastal and offshore security, in light of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai
  • Security of the Indian Ocean sea lines of communication,protection of overseas investment and Indians residing abroad

Challenges:

  • Acknowledges the blurring of lines between traditional and non-traditional threats
  • These may range from terrorism, piracy and organized crime to climate change and natural disasters
  • Emphasises the need for greater coordination between different maritime agencies at the same time keeping the actions “holistic and seamless”

Strengths:

  • Experience in evacuation of Indian and other nationals from Libya and Yemen
  • Successful disaster relief operations,eg: cyclone Hudhud (2014)

Opportunities:

  • Navy will be the primary instrument to secure the seas for economic purposes, especially considering India’s unique maritime geography with a central location in the IOR
  • Greater indigenisation of maritime platforms can boost “Make in India” push

About Goa maritime conclave

The conclave was aimed at “Addressing Regional Maritime Challenges” wherein the deliberations were focused on emerging maritime threats and force structuring, maritime domain awareness, maritime security architecture, and maritime security challenges in the Indian Ocean Region(IOR)

What is white shipping agreement

  • White Shipping Agreement (WSA) is an information network protocol that allows the navies of two countries to exchange information about ships in their oceanic territories. Ships would be classified into white (commercial ships), grey (military vessels), and black (illegal vessels)
  • It facilitates preventing any potential threat from sea from impinging an coastal and offshore security of the country.
  • India and U.S have signed the White Shipping Agreement (WSA) as it establishes an information network protocol that allows the navies of both countries to exchange information about ships in their oceanic territories.
  • The Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurgaon would be the nodal centre for WSA.

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Gathering the tribe: (The Hindu, Editorial)

Context

  • The Naga struggle for sovereignty which started a day before India’s Independence remains the most talked about issue yet.
  • In the Naga mind, the promise of a better future without disturbing this irreplaceable past seems alarming.

What are the major concerns?

  • The Naga national workers are no longer in the prime of their lives.
  • The chairman of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (I-M), Isak Chisi Swu, has passed away and Thuingaleng Muivah too is getting on in years.
  • In August 2015, when the Framework Agreement was signed between the Government of India and the NSCN (I-M), expectations were high that an “honourable settlement” was in the offing.
  • What is honourable for the NSCN(I-M) may not seem honourable enough to Naga society as a whole, with disparate aspirations and interpretations.

Recent issues

  • The political deadlock in India’s northeastern state of Nagaland is showing no signs of letting up, with neither of the warring factions in the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) appearing in the mood to relent.
  • Governor PB Acharya had asked Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly.
  • However, at the heart of the crisis is the power struggle between Liezietsu and the state’s former chief minister TR Zeliang.
  • In January 2017 with civil unrest in the state over the NPF government’s — then headed by Zeliang — move to hold civic polls with 33 percent reservation of people.
  • The tribal bodies in the state almost unanimously opposed the reservation to women leaders, stating that the government order was in contrast to their traditions, which do not allow women to take up leadership roles.
  • The state saw violent protests on its streets from tribal communities, from 31 January onwards, after the state government decided to hold urban local bodies’ (ULB) election with 33 percent reservation for women, which led to the death of three persons in police firing.

A difficult path

  • The Naga people are a proud race and have held fast to their cultures, traditions and language. Somehow their tribal loyalty often comes in the way of a collective discourse for the future of Nagaland.
  • ACAUT (Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation),
  • ACAUT has brought together people from all which is seemingly inclusive of all tribes.
  • A sort of mass movement to protest against taxation by different armed groups and factions.
  • So far, about 33 delegations, including the different tribal Hohos and recently the six NNPGs, have had their say.

The story of Nagaland

  • Nagaland is a far north-eastern state where the main occupation of the people is agriculture.
  • Nagaland is rich in flora and fauna and the biodiversity significance of this region has been recognized by WWF.
  • The state has been crippled due to insurgency and terrorism. Nagaland’s struggle for sovereignty could be understood only by the circumstances that paved way for this struggle.
  • Around twenty tribes are called collectively as the ‘Nagas’ and each of them were known to have their distinct cultural traditions. They had settled in the north-east corner of India for centuries ago and lived in anarchy. The sub-tribes of the ‘Nagas’ have been known to be war amongst themselves for supremacy.
  • The establishment of British rule brought Christian missionaries into the Naga Hills which befriended the tribes to an extent but couldn’t win over the staunch followers. This eventually led to resistance and the early movement thus marked its beginning in the 1830s.
  • Though the British constituted the District of Naga Hills in 1866, it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the Naga Hills became an integral part of British India.
  • Naga Separatist movement dates back to early 1920s when the Naga club submitted a memorandum before the Simon commission demanding their exclusion from the proposed constitutional reform in British administration in India.
  • The memorandum clearly states the lack of social acceptance of the Nagas in the society and the various problems they face.
  • Nagas claimed that they had been independent until the British conquered their land and are entitled to be independent after the British left. These arguments elucidate that they have never felt being a part of India, nor were they treated as such.
  • The insurgency in the north-east began in Nagaland and was fuelled by the NNC when it took up the path of armed rebellion. This led to an upsurge in the Naga army.
  • The declaration of Nagaland as a state in 1963 was said to be an attempt to place a new leadership which would support the Indian constitution .But this attempt infuriated the Naga army and made way for violence.
  • Post-independence, the number of people who have been killed in acts of violence is estimated to be nearly one lakh.
  • The AFSPA which has been in force since over five decades has been a curse to the north-east as a number of reports floated over the time about the abuse of power.
  • After enduring more than 50 years of bloodshed and trauma, the Nagas continue their demand for sovereign statehood.
  • The Nagas long to have what they deserve, recognition, a means of decent survival, a social acceptance.

Social Condition

  • Materialism has gripped many Nagas. The rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer. The status of those who accumulate more wealth is increasing whereas the principle and value of sharing wealth with others is neglected.
  • The issue of the recognition of Rongmei tribe is taken seriously whereas the issue of immigration (from Bangladesh) and migration (from mainland India) is hardly an issue in Nagaland.
  • Rongmei community that seeks for tribe recognition total only 1313 persons but that is considered a threat to Naga people in Nagaland.
  • The formation of NTC almost created ‘social untouchability’ among the large Naga family.
  • Nagaland state gained special status through the labour of all Nagas. Today, Nagas of Nagaland must rise above its traditional 16 tribes’ mentality, become mature and accommodative to all communities of the Nagas.

Political Condition

  • Some of the Naga tribes, who are well ahead than others in enjoying the fruit of India’s independence are backsliding from the Naga national cause.
  • People seem to be quite satisfied with the ‘provision of India’ that meets their daily basic needs and whoever disturbs this ‘provision’ is condemned.
  • From time to time, we hear ‘solitary voice’ of Naga intellectuals lamenting of the dying Naga nationalism, and truly, as a whole, the strength and spirit of Naga nationalism is at a low ebb.
  • Naga National Movement continue to survive through the active involvement of the Nagas outside of Nagaland. The condition of the Nagas outside of Nagaland state is pitiful.
  • The Nagas in Assam, the Nagas in Manipur, the Nagas in Arunachal Pradesh and the Nagas in Myanmar continue to face all types of oppression and discrimination.
  • Many Nagas of Nagaland had strongly condemned the excesses committed by Naga Political Naga Political Groups (NPGs) but keep silent on the excesses committed by Indian Armed forces.
  • Unlike in the neighbouring state Manipur, there is no active movement or organisation in Nagaland that condemns the imposition of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). With AFSPA in force, civil government has no power to protect its citizens and hence ceasefire is just a mockery.
  • With the coming of BJP at the Centre, there is an attempt to abolish special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It is possible that one nation, one culture and one law (uniformity of law) will be made as the norm for all citizens of India in the near future. This may lead to the abolition of Article 371(A) too which will have huge impact on the unique status of the Nagas.
  • Once this special provision is abolished, the unique status of Naga people will be also gone. Therefore, it is imperative that we all join hands and strive together for an ‘honourable solution’ for the whole Nagas and protect the rights of the Naga nation.

The way forward

  • For the Naga people at this juncture, the most pragmatic step is to take a balanced view of the past. Obsession with one point of view hinders any kind of progress.
  • With 16 major tribes, each with a sense of nationality of its own and every tribe having its village republics which is a crucial part of their culture, there will be divergent ‘national’ narratives. Naga nationalism is both a sentiment and a movement.
  • Ethnic boundaries of yore which went beyond geopolitical borders of the present nation can be both problematic and defy pragmatism.
  • There is the issue of the Indian nation state, a term that is also problematic but which has provided its own stability for 70 years.

Prelims Related News

Blackbuck conservation reserve to come up in U.P.

Context

  • A wildlife conservation reserve dedicated exclusively to the blackbuck is coming up over 126 hectares in the trans-Yamuna region of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The State cabinet has approved a Blackbuck Conservation Reserve in the Meja forest division that is known for its rocky, undulating and arid terrain.

About blackbuck sanctuaries in india

There are a few national parks and sanctuaries inhabited by blackbuck in the country, like the Velavadar Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat and the Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary in Karnataka. However, there are not many conservation reserves exclusively dedicated to the antelope.

About blackbuck

Blackbucks, known for their majestic spiral horns and coat colour contrasts, are found in grasslands and open forests.

They once ruled the open savannahs of north and central India, but are now restricted to just a few patches and habitats, primarily due to human population growth, ecosystem degradation and hunting.

The U.P. government evoked Section 36 A (1) and (2) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, to declare the conservation reserve.

The Protected Areas of India:

Protected areas are those in which human occupation or at least the exploitation of resources is limited. These are defined according to the categorization guidelines for protected areas by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international organizations involved.

There are 4 categories of the Protected Areas in India viz,

  • National Parks,
  • Sanctuaries,
  • Conservation Reserves, and
  • Community Reserves.

National Park:

  • A National park is an area with enough ecological, geo-morphological and natural significance with rich fauna and flora, which is designed to protect and to develop wildlife or its environment.
  • National parks in India are IUCN category II protected areas.
  • Activities like grazing, hunting, forestry or cultivation etc. are strictly prohibited. No human activity is permitted inside the national park except for the ones permitted by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.

Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Any area other than area comprised with any reserve forest or the territorial waters can be notified by the State Government to constitute as a sanctuary if such area is of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural. or zoological significance, for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment.
  • The difference between a Sanctuary and a National Park mainly lies in the vesting of rights of people living inside. Unlike a Sanctuary, where certain rights can be allowed, in a National Park, no rights are allowed. No grazing of any livestock is permitted inside a National Park while in a Sanctuary, the Chief Wildlife Warden may regulate, control or prohibit it.

Conservation reserves and community reserves in India:

  • These terms denote the protected areas of India which typically act as buffer zones to or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved and protected forests of India.
  • Such areas are designated as Conservation Reserves if they are uninhabited and completely owned by the Government of India but used for subsistence by communities and Community Reserves if a part of the lands is privately owned.
  • These protected area categories were first introduced in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act of 2002 − the amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  • These categories were added because of reduced protection in and around existing or proposed protected areas due to private ownership of land, and land use.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (with Amendment Acts of 2003 and 2006):

  • The act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants and matters connected with them, with a view to ensure the ecological and environmental security of India.
  • Extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act
  • It provides for prohibition on use of animal traps except under certain circumstances.
  • It provides for protection of hunting rights of the Scheduled Tribes in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Has provisions for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection
  • Species listed in Schedule I and part II of Schedule II get absolute protection — offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties
  • Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower
  • Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted
  • The plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting
  • The act constitutes a National Board for Wildlife that
  • provides guidelines for framing policies and advising Central and State Government on promotion of wildlife conservation and controlling poaching and illegal trade of wildlife and its products;
  • Making recommendations for setting up and managing national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas; and
  • Suggesting measures for improvement of wildlife conservation.
  • It also sets up National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Doctors’ alliance: Discard letter opposing cap on prices of stents, orthopaedic implants

Context:

Scientific data suggests that so called innovative re-absorbable stents are in no way superior to the drug-eluting stents, which have a price cap, stated ADEH.

Introduction:

  • The Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Healthcare (ADEH), a nation-wide network of doctors in the country, has strongly opposed a suggestion by Ambassador Robert E Lighthizer, US trade representative, opposing a cap on the prices of stents and orthopaedic implants.
  • According to ADEH, the Indian government has rejected the company’s’ demand for differential pricing for cardiovascular stents because these companies failed to submit verifiable and credible evidence to show the clinical superiority of the so-called ‘innovative’ stents.
  • This price capping on stents and orthopaedic implants has come as a result of people’s movements and judicial intervention
  • Earlier, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had put a cap on the prices of coronary stents and knee joint implants.

What is a Stent?

  • A stent is a small mesh tube that’s used to treat narrow or weak arteries.
  • Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to other parts of your body.
  • Some stents are coated with medicine that is slowly and continuously released into the artery. These stents are called drug-eluting stents.
  • The medicine helps prevent the artery from becoming blocked again.
  • These metal tubes have revolutionized modern cardiology.

Stenting in India

  • There is no regulation of hospitals in India, especially in the private sector where a majority of urban Indians seek health care. At least 25-30% of the stenting done in this country is inappropriate. There are cases of stents being used in absolutely normal patients.
  • In our country the major gap is in the counselling which the doctor provides. Normally the patients go by the doctor’s advice. In the absence of any monitoring, patients in India have no protection from unnecessary use of stent.
  • In the last 5 years the implant of stenting in India has increased by 5 times. There is not only a boom in the domestic market, bust also foreign patients are coming to India as part of medical tourism to get stenting done because the cost of stenting in India is low. This is because there is increased awareness, increased diagnosis, increased availability of the angiograms and increased availability of doctors.

Uses of Stents:

  • Stents are small, expandable tubes that treat narrowed arteries in patient body.
  • Coronary stent is a tube shaped device when inserted into blocked blood vessel ,can help to clear d blockage
  • In people with coronary heart disease caused by the buildup of plaque, they can:
  1. Open narrowed arteries
  2. Reduce symptoms like chest pain
  3. Help treat a heart attack. These types are called heart stents,but they’re also referred to as cardiac stents or coronary stents.
  4. Doctors also may place stents in weak arteries to improve blood flow and help prevent the arteries from bursting
  5. A stent is placed in an artery as part of a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as coronary angioplasty
  6. A stent helps support the inner wall of the artery in the months or years after PCI.

Advantages of stent:

  • The devices save thousands of live every year.
  • Emergency angioplasty is the treatment of choice during an acute heart attack, wherein the clot is crushed with a balloon and a stent is placed.
  • It improves the chance of the patient surviving by almost 30 per cent when compared to clot dissolving medication (thrombolysis).

Concerns / challenges

  • In India there are instances where angioplasty is done for patients having chest pain due to Vitamin D deficiency which is wrong.
  • The bypass is done by the surgeon and the stenting is done by the cardiologists. The poor victim of the heart attack or the Coronary artery disease lands up with cardiologist. It is the integrity, honesty and the righteousness of the cardiologists to decide whether the patient really needs stenting or not.
  • The stents are very costly. There is no regulation and the Drug Controller is not capable of regulating domestic stent manufacturers. There have been cases where the stent manufacturers have been found making stents in garages.
  • In India the coronary artery disease is seen in young age, people do not exercise, do not have adequate sleep, do not have stress free life and do not eat balanced diet to keep their coronaries healthy.

Conclusion:

India needs to have more stent manufacturers and medical device research so that we do not need to depend on imported stents. All aspects involving medical device development like clinical research, animal testing, human trials etc must be fast-tracked and should be as transparent as possible. The current step of price capping taken by the Indian government is only a small step towards making health care accessible for all.

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