9 PM Daily Brief – September 4th, 2020

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9 PM for Mains examination

GS-2

1.Gaps in the healthcare

2.Internationalisation of higher education

3.‘The deletion of Question Hour’- Politics of avoidance

GS-3

4.COVID – 19 and India’s road to economic revival

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy


1.Gaps in the healthcare

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2- Health

Context: The prime minister announced the launching of National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) amid the ongoing pandemic on the Independence Day 2020.

Advancement on digital health

  • Digitising data: capturing data relating to patients and its digitising could help patients, the doctors who attend to them and the health-care facilities where they seek treatment.
  • IT network and public health centres: many States have already achieved some advances in these areas with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)and afterwards, National Health Mission. For instance, IT network in most public health centres including tribal areas.
  • Format of data: Personal health data are generated by name up to primary health centre level. The patients get hard copies of the reports or soft copies on their smartphones.

The outlines of the mission

  • An IT consulting firm has been engaged to build a National Health Stack and a registry of over eight lakh doctors, 10 lakh pharmacists and over 60,000 hospitalsis under preparation.
  • The Strategy Document has stated that the data would be safe, confidential and stored locally.
  • Consent would be required every time before sharing the personal identifiable information.
  • It would help patients to avail Telemedicine support from renowned specialists if required.
  • It will be easier to get hospital bills settled with insurance cover under government schemes.
  • The scheme also aims to replace existing data generation systems with a new homogenised software for all machines in the health sector in the country with a central processor that will extract the relevant data from individual records.

Widespread costs and catches

  • Existing practices: In the government sector there are many existing practices and systems for compilation of data as in the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme and the Health Management Information System (IDSP-HMIS). The staffs are also well versed in using those systems.
  • Already existing software systems: Some larger hospitals have already gone for vigorous and refined software systems such as enterprise resource planning and would be in a dilemma as to whether they need to scrap them or run parallel software provided by the NDHM.
  • Costly affair: Public health professionals estimate the high costs for all government and private HIPs to upgrade their hardware and connectivity systems, training of present staff, the entry of data afresh.
  • Rural areas : In rural areas it is not a feasible option to enter data in computers on their own or engage data entry operators merely to comply with the digitisation protocols.
  • Poor defence against data leakage: Lack of adequate cyber security architecture may expose the personal data of patients at risk.

Way forward

  • Along with digitising health care data, the government should also focus on unreliable health-care facilities in both the government and private sectors, difficulties in getting timely care, availability of beds and hygienically maintained hospital premises, availability of doctors physically and community health initiatives.

2.Internationalisation of higher education

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: GS2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources.

Context: NEP’s vision for drawing foreign universities to India requires fine-tuning.

Idea of internationalisation of higher education

  • It is based on the mobility of students, faculty members, programmes, and institutions across countries.
  • Before the NEP, two types of mobility took place : that of faculty members and students. This movement of students and faculty has informed the NEP’s section on internationalisation.
  • Need:
    • India has entered into the stage of massification of higher educationwith a gross enrolment ratio of 26.3 per cent, which is fast increasing.
    • Increase in the gross enrolment ratio: It calls for more such institutions.
    • With more than 1.5 million schools, over 40,000 colleges and close to 720 universities, India has the second-largest education systemin the world after China.
    • The foreign universities would bring in programme and institution mobility.

Earlier efforts to internationalise:

  • Global Initiative of Academic Network (GIAN):  to enable the country’s higher education institutions to invite world-class scholars, scientists and researchers.
  • Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration:It was launched to promote joint research and collaboration with top 500 QS (Quadrelli Symonds) ranking institutions.
  • Study in India programme: It identified 30 Asian and African countries (now 42) from where meritorious students would be drawn to study in top 100 NIRF ranked institutions.
National Education Policy vision to internationalise
The NEP aims to attract top 100 QS World Ranking universities to open offshore campuses in India.
For Against
· Reduce the migration of Indian students and give those who cannot afford to go abroad an opportunity to study in foreign universities at home.

· Bring knowledge, technology and innovative pedagogy to the country.

· Enhance India’s exposure to global intellectual resources.

· Ensure the entry of quality institutions

· Increase the cost of education and widen the already existing disparities in matters of accessing quality and affordable higher education.

· Accentuate the existing hierarchies in the country, and have a bearing on the diversity on campuses. There could be a scramble for meritorious students with the lion’s share going to foreign campuses.

 

Challenges associated with internationalisation:

  • Widening the scope of internationalisation: Several world-class institutions such as the Max Planck Institute could fall through the policy’s cracks because they do not participate in any world rankings, let alone the QS World Ranking.
  • Growing body of literature critiquing the world rankings.
  • STEM and professional courses have greater market valuecompared to social sciences and humanities. There is thus a possibility of foreign campuses turning their back on disciplines in these streams.
  • Vocational and skill education cannot be internationalised in the same manner as academic education.
  • No clarity on whether the foreign varsities actually agree with the overall vision of NEP.

Since India is an open economy, a policy to attract foreign universities in the country is now inevitable.

3.‘The deletion of Question Hour’- Politics of avoidance

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 2- Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Context- The deletion of ‘Question Hour’ from the announced agenda of the day.

Question Hour

  • It is the first hour of a sitting sessionof India’s Lok Sabha.
  • Members of Parliament raise questions to the concerned minister about matters of public interest and administrative activity whether domestic or foreign.
  • The concerned Minister is obliged to answerto the Parliament, either orally or in writing.
  • It is one of the ways Parliament can hold the Executive accountable.
  • Copies of answers given are available to members at the Notice office before the start of the day’s proceedings and on the websites.
  • There are four types of question-

1.Starred Questions-

    1. It requires an oral answer.(Supplementary questions can follow by the permission of speaker)
    2. These questions are printed in green colour and are marked with asterisk sign ‘*’, in order to distinguish from other questions.

2.Non- starred-

    1. It requires a written reply.(No supplementary questions allowed)
    2. These questions are printed in white colour and not more than 230 questions can be listed for a day in Lok Sabha.

3.Short notice questions

    1. Those which are asked on matters of urgent public importance and thus, can be asked on a shorter notice i.e. less than 10 days.
    2. These questions can be answered orally and supplementary questions can be asked.
    3. These questions are printed in yellow-pink colour.

4.Questions to private members– Those which are asked to members who are not ministers. These questions are related to private member bill, parliamentary committees and private member resolutions.

5.Supplementary questions– If a Member seeks to ask a question urgently and cannot wait for the duration of the notice period, then the member can do so provided it is accepted by the Speaker.

Effect of COVID- 19 on Parliamentary Sessions

  1. Working of legislature-Legislative bodies have continued to function with new sets of ‘dos and don’ts’.
  2. Question Hour- Due to thesituation created by the COVID- 19 pandemic, there will be no ‘Question Hour’ in the forthcoming session of Parliament.
    1. Starred Questions- Theywill be the only questions to delete.
    2. Unstarred Questions- They will continue to be received and answered.
    3. Supplementary questions- They will be required to be answered orally.

Way Forward

The test of a functioning democracy is its ability to face crises — social, economic, political — and seek correctives premised on institutions of democracy. A resort to what has been called ‘the politics of avoidance’ does not help the process. Executive accountability upfront cannot be allowed to become a thing of the past.

4.COVID – 19 and India’s road to economic revival

Source – The Indian Express

Syllabus – GS 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Context – ‘Unlocking’ and ‘Revival package from the government’ are the two basic factors that will determine the course of India’s economy for the rest of the year.

Impact of COVID-19 on GDP

GDP contraction– India’s economy shrank nearly 25 percent in last quarter, the most drastic fall in decades. The following sectors reflects how deep the problem is-

  1. Public administration– Higher government spending was in the form of transfer payments rather than spending on goods and services, which resulted in a negative growth number.
  2. Manufacturing and Services– The sector has been in the negative zone across the board due to the national lockdown since end of March.

Factors that influence the growth prospects for the coming quarters

 1st Factor – Unlocking economy activity-

  1. Unlocking frictionsin nine core sectors and the MSME segment, which make up 75 per cent of the pre-pandemic GDP, can significantly uplift the economy.

The following sectors are-

Challenges

  1. Industries in which it is harder
  • Travel or Entertainment— It will still be in a gradual normalization process, and probably won’t rebound completely until a vaccine is available.
  • Real estate– The present stress on home loans can hinder a revival in the residential real estate.
  1. Unchanged scenarios– Based on the first quarter performance, 25 per cent of the economy, which would be in the services category, would probably still be struggling in the fourth quarter.

2nd Factor – Revival package from the government

  1. Additional capital expenditure- By increasing capital expenditure [capex], the government can begin a virtuous cycle of creating assets as well as providing employment. This will create a dual impact on the economy.
  2. Transfer of Cash benefits– Money in the hands of people can provide an immediate sense of security and confidence, which is the cornerstone to restoring economic normalcy. This will raise the consumption and demand of the economy and can bring back the virtuous cycle in play.
  3. Banking system-COVID-19 assistance measures undertaken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government such as interest rate reductions, credit guarantee and liquidity enhancement schemes are welcome steps.

Way forward

Government can certainly make a difference by altering its stance on fiscal policy, going in for some pump-priming. It is important to address and resolve ground level issues sector-wise and industry-wise in order to formulate the new policies.


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