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Society related issues:

WHO directives call for support for breastfeeding(The Hindu)

 Context

Health facilities requested to follow 10 important guidelines

 What has happened?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday issued a new 10-step guidance to increase support for breastfeeding in health facilities that provide maternity and newborn services, which provide the immediate health system platform to help mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour and breastfeed exclusively for six months

Fact check

Written breastfeeding policy: The guidelines describe how hospitals should have a written breastfeeding policy in place, required staff competencies, and antenatal and post-birth care, including breastfeeding support for mothers

Educating the parents: It also recommends limited use of breast milk substitutes, rooming-in, responsive feeding, educating parents on the use of bottles and pacifiers, and support when mothers and babies are discharged from hospital

Centre to snuff out ‘toxic’ e-cigarettes(The Hindu)

 What has happened?

The Centre has informed the Delhi High Court that it is in the process of issuing guidelines to ban the manufacture, import, sale and any kind of trade in e-cigarettes, dubbing it a “new emerging threat”

New addictive emerging threat

The flavouring agent in e-cigarettes was intended towards attracting the youth to a “new nicotine delivery product”

Similar marketing techniques as cigarettes

The glamorizing marketing techniques of ENDS as a less harmful product purely mimics the marketing techniques used by the cigarette industry for slim- or low-tar cigarettes and are youth-oriented

Background

A petition filed by anti-tobacco activist Seema Sehgal, through Bhuvanesh Sehgal, seeking a ban or regulating the sale and use of e-cigarettes

No law yet

There are no specific guidelines to deal with e-cigarettes


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Indian Constitution and Polity:

Ruling on SC/ST Act is causing great damage, Centre tells Supreme Court(The Hindu)

 Context

In a note seeking a review, government says judgment is in conflict with the law

 What has happened?

The Supreme Court judgment banning immediate arrest of a person accused of insulting or injuring Dalits is causing disharmony and “great damage” to the country, the Centre said on Thursday

Correct the confusion

  • The government said the “confusion deserves to be corrected” and the March 20 judgment is “directly in conflict” with the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989
  • The government dismissed the reasoning given by the Supreme Court that it had the power to declare the law when none exists.

Judicial legislation

  • Each of the three arms of governance has to remain within its own terrain
  • The judgment is nothing but judicial legislation.
  • The government said the Supreme Court, through its March 20 verdict, had encroached upon area reserved for Parliament and laid down a law contrary to a statute passed by Parliament.

 Give us power to make rules, EC tells court(The Hindu)

 What has happened?

The Election Commission of India told the Supreme Court that it should be given the power to make rules under the electoral law, instead of the Centre

 Rulemaking authority should be given to EC

Rulemaking authority under the Representation of the People Act 1950 and Representation of the People Act, 1951, should be conferred on the Election Commission, instead of on the Central government, which should, however, be consulted by the Election Commission while framing any rule

Similar protection should be provided to all the ECs

Article 324 was inadequate and requires an amendment to provide the very same protection and safeguard in the matter of removability of Election Commissioners from office as is available to the CEC

Still on the starting bloc(The Hindu Opinion)

 Context

The National Sports University Bill is still pending

 Need of a University

The university is intended to fill several gaps that exist in the national sports environment, including in areas such as sports science, technology, management and high performance training.

  • Creation of a high standard of infrastructure for the development of sports sciences and the training of athletes
  • To facilitate bachelors and masters degrees, research and training in various areas related to sports
  • The university is also to double up as the national training centre for select disciplines.
  • The university will also be empowered to establish outlying campuses within and outside India
  • Apart from academic programmes and research, the university and its outlying campuses are to impart training to elite athletes, sports officials, referees and umpires and evolve as centres of excellence in various disciplines

Foreign assistance

MoU with Australian universities: To make the university a world class one, a memorandum of understanding has been signed by the Government of India with two Australian universities, the University of Canberra and Victoria University, for the development of curriculum, research facilities and laboratories.

To be established in Manipur

Land for the university has been granted by the Government of Manipur free of cost.

Open to all

Section 6 of the Bill states that the university is “open to all castes, creed, race or class”

 University’s Chancellor to be appointed by Centre

The Central government is to review the work and progress of the university.

  • The university’s chancellor is to be appointed by the Centre
  • The chancellor should be an eminent person in the field of sports who is either a sportsperson himself or a sports administrator or sports academician
  • He or she would hold office for a term of five years and not be eligible for reappointment.

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Economy:

Pressure on RBI to ease NPA norms(The Hindu)

 What has happened?

The finance ministry is in discussion with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for relaxation of norms regarding stressed asset resolution that was announced in February. This follows representation by large banks to the ministry officials as they worry about pressure on profitability due to the revised guidelines

The issue: Conditions for resolution of stressed assets by RBI are strict

  • RBI’s mandate to implement a resolution plan even if the loan is overdue for a day
  • RBI had also mandated that if the solution plan was not implemented within 180 days, bankruptcy process should be initiated
  • Banks have to make 50% provision for accounts that are referred to the NCLT for insolvency proceedings
  • if the principal or interest is overdue for one day to 30 days, the account is identified as Special Mention Account – 0 (SMA-0) category
  • If it is overdue for 30 to 60 days, it comes under the SMA-1 category and if it is overdue for more than 60 days, till 90 days, it falls under SMA-2 category
  • If a loan is not repaid for more than 90 days, it is classified as non-performing asset (NPA).

 Effect: Rise in provisioning capital of the banks

The conditions of the resolution plan, as laid down by RBI, are so stringent that it will increase provisioning requirement. That is, banks have to set aside more capital

 Cash flow issues

It is quite possible that customers are facing some cash flow issues and it is a genuine problem so the conditions are strict for resolution process.

Government policies:

Can Ayushman Bharat make for a healthier India?(The Hindu Opinion)

 Context

Building a robust primary health-care system will save lives and lead to a healthier India

Unmet Primary healthcare needs

There is a huge unmet need for primary health care, namely, care for non-communicable diseases (specifically, prevention and early detection and treatment of hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, and common cancers), mental health, care of the aged, adolescent health, palliative health care, basic eye care and dental health

Importance of Primary health care

  • If we build a strong, robust next generation primary health-care system, it will save lives and will lead to a healthier India

For e.g. Detecting and treating diabetes from the age of 35 years by a screening test would avert kidney failure at 50 years in case the condition remains undetected and untreated

 Accessible HWCs

  • The government has committed for two-thirds of resources to go into a comprehensive primary health care as part of the National Health Policy 2017
  • The HWCs are somewhat on the lines of the U.K. general practices health system, but run largely by nurse practitioners and trained health workers, which are accessible near home
  • HWCs will help unleash a people’s movement for a healthy India

Providing insurance: National Health Protection Scheme

The second dimension of Ayushman Bharat is the National Health Protection Scheme which aims to provide health cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for hospitalization in secondary and tertiary care facilities

Access to facility care for almost all the medical and surgical conditions

Given the ambitious size of the package, 40% of people, neonates to young and old, will have access to facility care for almost all the medical and surgical conditions that could occur in a lifetime

Two thirds population covered

Many State governments would extend the benefits to additional beneficiaries through their own resources so that ultimately the population covered for catastrophic expenses could be two-thirds of India’s population, if not more.

Access for poor people and lower middle class

  • This mission enables increased access to in-patient health care for the poor and lower middle class.
  • The scheme would enable a weaver in a remote village to be able to walk into a hospital for a gall bladder stone surgery or a coronary stent without having to pay the hospital
  • Treatment will be provided by empanelled public and private hospitals
  • Private hospitals will have to agree to terms such as package rates, adherence to standards and guidelines, ethical practice, respectful care and client satisfaction, and transparency.

Conclusion

Ayushman Bharat will spur increased investment in health and generate lakhs of jobs, especially for women, and will be a driver of development and growth. It is a turning point for the health sector.

Science and Technology:

IRNSS-1I to enrich navigation fleet(The Hindu)

 What has happened?

Navigation satellite IRNSS-1I was flown into space from Sriharikota space pad in the early hours of Thursday. The 1,425-kg satellite will shortly become the eighth satellite to join the NavIC constellation of Indian regional navigation satellites

 First phase complete of NavIC constellation

Latest launch completes the first phase of the NavIC constellation, an indigenous navigation support

NavIC

  • NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), dubbed India’s own GPS, has been designed to provide precise information on position, navigation and time related to objects or people
  • The eight satellites have a civilian and restricted military/security application to aid security and disaster management and fleet monitoring on land, air and sea.

IRNSS 1I

ISRO launched the first seven navigation satellites — IRNSS-1A to 1G — between July 2013 and April 2016

Although 1I is the ninth to be built and launched for the NavIC fleet, the previous satellite, 1H, was lost in a faulty launch last August

All rubidium atomic clocks failed

  • 1I and 1H were planned as backups but became necessary after all three imported rubidium atomic clocks on 1A failed in orbit
  • All seven satellites are required for accurate, 24-hour information from the fleet

 Environment:

NASA to study how tiny sea creatures affect Earth’s climate(The Hindu)

 What has happened?

NASA is conducting a study of the world’s largest phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic to see how the tiny sea algae influence the climate every season. The study will track how phytoplanktons give rise to small organic particles that leave the ocean and end up in the atmosphere, influencing cloud formation

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