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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today
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9 PM for Main examination
- Education, Marriage and Maternal health
- Role of Governor as the Constitutional Head
- Opportunity to change health care
- Affordability of healthy diet in India
- A P J Abdul Kalam’s Mission and Vision for Humanity
9 PM for Preliminary examination
1.Education, Marriage and Maternal health
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus: GS-1- Population and Associated Issues
Context: Understanding the relationship between maternal health, delayed marriage and women’s education.
Maternal Health and Delayed Marriage
- According to the latest Sample Registration System (SRS) data, India’s maternal mortality ratio is 122. It is a significant decline from an MMR of 556 in 1990.
- There is also a parallel decrease in prevalence in child marriage from 58% in 1970-80 to 21% in 2015-16.
- However, there is large regional variation and rural-urban difference. For example, early marriage is highest in West Bengal at 39% followed by Bihar and Jharkhand. According to NHFS-4 there is urban-rural difference in the incidence of early marriage — 17.5% in urban and 31.5% in rural women.
Level of Women’s education and Early Marriage
- The relationship between level of education and age of marriage is clearly established. With no education, 44.7% women are married before 18 years. This decreases to 39.7% with primary education, 23.2% with secondary education and 2.9% with higher education.
- Further, with better education, women are empowered to take decisions within the family and better equipped to practice safe sex, family planning and safe abortion practices.
Impact of Early Marriage on Health
- Maternal Mortality:Women attain maximum height during adolescence (10-19 years). Entering pregnancy at this stage obstructs attaining optimum height. It also prevents full growth of reproductive organs resulting in higher chances of obstructed labour and mortality.
- Child Malnutrition:Poor maternal height (<145 cms) is reported to be one of the highest risk factors associated with chronic child undernutrition. According to data, prevalence of malnutrition among children born to adolescent mothers is 11% higher than among the others.
- Incentives or cash transfer education schemes for girls to enable them to complete secondary education.
- Efforts need to be made to delay the age of conception. Schemes such as universal registration of marriage can help in providing newly married couples with information on family planning and family care.
Conclusion: education is of paramount importance to provide women gainful employment and enable them to make informed decisions. This would help break the vicious cycle of poverty, early marriage and ill health, and also inter-generational cycle of malnutrition.
2.Role of Governor as the Constitutional Head
Source – Indian Express
Syllabus – GS 2 – Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Context – The Rajasthan government crisis has brought into the spotlight the role of the Governor.
Constitutional Power to Summon the House
Article 174 – Governor can summon, prorogue and dissolve the House, only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head.
The powers vested in the office of the Governor
- Article 163(1) of the Constitution– It says that “there shall be a council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.”
- Use of discretion– When the chief minister has lost the support of the House and his strength is debatable, then the Governor need not wait for the advice of the council of ministers to hold a floor test.
Supreme Court’s ruling
2016 Arunachal Pradesh Case – Supreme Court ruled that – “In ordinary circumstances during the period when the CM and his council of ministers enjoy the confidence of the majority of the House, the power vested with the Governor under Article 174 to summon, prorogue and dissolve the house(s) must be exercised in consonance with the aid and advice of the chief minister and his council of ministers.”
Also in this situation, he is precluded [from taking] an individual call on the issue at his own will, or in his own discretion.
Use of discretion –Only in a situation where the government in power – on holding of such floor test – is seen to have lost the confidence of the majority, would it be open to the Governor to exercise the powers vested with him under Article 174 at his own, and without any aid and advice.
Way Forward – Governor has the dual responsibility of being the constitutional head of the state as well as the agent of centre. The role performance, thus, needs to be done within the constitutional framework to uphold the principles of constitution.
3.Opportunity to change health care
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS-2- Heath care
Context: The covid-19 pandemic may have inadvertently given us to reshape our health care systems.
Health care and COVID-19 impact
- The epidemic has had a myriad of indirect effects on environment, livelihoods and on the supply chains.
- The number of patients seeking health care has reduced significantly due to covid crisis. Most affected being planned and non-urgent problems including procedures and surgeries, mainly because of fear.
- The incidents of caesarean sections have gone down, coronary stents, knee replacements or cosmetic surgeries which reflect supplier induced demand have almost stopped.
- There is a decrease in the number of routine admissions for observations or insurance claims. Emergency medical cases have also declined in the lockdown.
- Possibly the unpolluted air, decreased work stress or home cooked food has a great impact on health.
- The availability of beds and doctors are now the chief drivers for patient referrals instead of cartelisation of healthcare for commission. Most practices have had a forced detox from this addiction.
- The focus is back on the basics of preventive health such as diet, exercise, sugar control and hazards of smoking instead of regular health check-ups which did not have a proven health value.
- The population has been taught the importance of not coughing and spitting in the open by the pandemic.
Reflection for health care providers
- There has been a breakdown of overburdened health care facilities, negative impact on incomes and morale of the health care workers, and the collapse of private sector institutions.
- The resurgence of unethical practices is quite possible as the industry will try to make up for its losses. Hefty bills of COVID-19 patients are evidence for this.
- Epidemic’s positive impact on unnecessary practices might get washed as normalcy is restored because artificial demands may be created in an effort to increase footfall.
- Medical fraternity in India has done commendable work in the challenge of Covid-19 crisis by putting aside commerce for now. They should seize this opportunity for helping in returning the trust between a doctor-patient relationship which was under severe threat before the pandemic.
4.Affordability of healthy diet in India
Source: The Hindu
Context: Millions of people, even those who are above the poverty line do not have access to nutritious food and cannot afford a balanced diet.
Healthy and balanced diet in India
- Hundreds of millions of people are above the poverty line of 1.90 dollars purchasing power parity (PPP) per person per day cannot afford a nutritious diet in India.
- The problem of poor nutrition in India is mainly because of the unaffordability of good diets and not because of lack of information on nutrition or tastes and cultural preferences.
- A new feature of State of food security and nutrition in the world 2020 (SOFI 2020) presented a detailed analysis of the “cost and affordability of healthy diets around the world.”
Types of diets in the World
- Basic energy sufficient diet: Required calorie intake is met by the consumption of cheapest starchy cereal available like rice and wheat. Standard reference of 2239 Kcal for a healthy young 30 year old woman is taken.
- Eating cereals only to meet calorie requirements in South Asia costs around 80 cents and is affordable for a poor person whose income is of 1.9 dollars a day according to the data on retail prices of commodities.
- Nutrient adequate diet: In this type of diet, cheap cost items from different food groups are incorporated to meet the calorie requirements along with 23 micro and macro nutrients.
- This diet costs 2.12 dollars in a day and the cost is above the international poverty line. 18 percent of south Asians cannot afford this diet.
- The SOFI report suggests that a person cannot spend more than 63 per cent of total expenditure on food.
- Healthy diet:In this, the calorie norm and macro and micro nutrient norm are met by the consumption of a diverse diet from several food groups.
- The Indian recommendation includes consumption of items from six groups for a healthy diet: protein rich foods like eggs and legumes, starchy staples, dairy, vegetables, fruits and fats.
- The healthy diet costs more than twice the international poverty line that is 4.07 dollars a day. 58 percent of south Asians cannot afford a healthy diet according to the SOFI report.
Affordability of healthy diets
- Tendulkar committee defined poverty line of 2011-12 as 33 rupees per day in urban areas and 27 rupees per day in rural areas, so Indian poverty line is lower than the international poverty line used in the SOFI report.
- Poor in India whose cut off is lower than international norm cannot afford a nutrient adequate diet, let alone a healthy diet.
- Even people with incomes of twice the international poverty cannot afford a healthy diet.
- The problem of affordability of healthy diets has to be addressed in order to reduce malnutrition and food insecurity.
- In the time of crisis, one nutritious meal should be provided to the people who cannot afford a balanced diet.
- The pradhan mantri garib kalyan yojna offers an additional 5 kg of wheat or rice and 1 kg of gram or lentils a month free of cost for all household with ration card till November 2020. More such schemes should be introduced.
5.A P J Abdul Kalam’s Mission and Vision for Humanity
Source – Indian Express
Syllabus – G 4 – Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators
Context – A P J Abdul Kalam’s world vision was creating a ‘livable Planet Earth’. His mission was to connect the hearts and minds of billions of people and to give them self-confidence that “we can do it”.
Challenges humanity is witnessing:
- Political issues– Frequent disruption of parliament, criminalization of politics, lack of ethical conduct among politicians and issues like defection by house members has lead to undermining of legitimacy of political institutions of the nation.
- Environmental challenges– Man-made forces like global warming and pollution are a threat to the planet as they are oblivious of class, caste, regional distinction and impacts whole of the humanity.
Steps suggested by A P J Abdul Kalam for creating a ‘livable Planet Earth’:
- Conflict free Earth–According to A P J Abdul Kalam, humanity needs a great vision to forget all the conflicts and move towards a common goal of peace and prosperity for all global citizens.
- Taking sustainable steps– Government and all stakeholders must act towards strengthening policy initiatives such as recycling, waste management, energy efficiency, sustainability education and other such relevant activities.
- Self-Reliance– The identification of champion sectors, collaboration and co-option of the best international practices with a vocal campaign for local manufacturing, are among the steps taken towards making India a self-reliant country as envisioned by Kalam.
Way Forward – The combination of better governance systems and our demographic dividend — 65 per cent of its population is less than 35 years old — are key ingredients in developing India in a sustainable manner, which can also be inspiring to rest of the world.
9 PM for Preliminary examination
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