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List of Contents
Supreme Court Directions on Migrants Without Ration Cards
What is the News? The Supreme Court of India has given directions to the Centre to provide benefits to crores of migrant labourers without ration cards.
What is the issue?
During a hearing of PIL for schemes on migrant workers, SC raised the following concerns regarding benefits to migrant workers.
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- The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana does not cover the migrant workers who do not have the ration cards. Then how the migrant labourers without ration cards will receive the food.
- The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana aims to ensure sufficient food for the poor and needy during the coronavirus crisis.
- Why centre is delaying the completion of a national database to identify and register migrant workers.
- Center put forward the delay in software database as a reason behind that.
What are the directions by SC given to the government?
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- Firstly, the Central Government and the State Governments should complete the registration process of the National Database for Unorganised Workers(NDUW).
- The database would make it easier for the government to identify and provide food and dry rations to stranded migrant labourers and workers.
- Secondly, all States must implement the” One Nation One Ration Card” scheme. The scheme allows migrant labourers to get ration benefits from any part of the country, irrespective of the place where their ration card is registered.
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Source: The Hindu
Steps to Prevent Frequent Building Collapse in Mumbai
Source: click here
Synopsis: Every Year Mumbai witnesses incidents of building collapse during monsoon. However, the steps taken are not adequate.
In Mumbai, recently an unsafe multi-storeyed building has collapsed in a core area of the city. It resulted in the loss of the lives of at least 11 people.
The disaster is a repetition of incidents like that every year. People are inhabiting unsafe and illegal buildings, and civic authorities are failing to act in time, as usual.
- Mumbai needs a time-bound and accountable system of ensuring the safety of its housing stock.
- The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority identified 21 structures in Mumbai as being extremely dangerous in this year’s monsoon. It advised 700 occupants to move to temporary accommodation, while reconstruction takes place.
- However, the people who live there are reluctant as the alternative housing is far away from their education and work locations. This is a challenge that Maharashtra will have to address.
What should be done?
Coastal Maharashtra is vulnerable to extreme monsoon weather events. Such events are increasing in frequency due to the ongoing warming of the Arabian Sea. It should be treated as a crisis that will only get worse by changes to monsoon rainfall intensity over time. Thus following steps are required: –
- Firstly, scientists of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology have suggested that accurate monsoon forecasting would help governments prepare better to save lives and agriculture.
- Secondly, Mumbai needs to accelerate its repair and restoration program for weak buildings and replace those that cannot be recovered.
- Thirdly, the city urgently needs canals for huge volumes, for water to flow out. A plan to create new urban wetlands where it is possible to store the rainfall is required.
- Fourthly, a revival of Mithi river is needed as it could offer some relief. Its planned clean-up was delayed by the COVID-19 crisis. More such water bodies are required, and it will take a mass housing program to make life safer for the thousands in shacks.
- Fifthly, a far-sighted plan to shift people from filthy buildings to modern ones is important on health grounds as well. This process should begin with the most dangerous structures first.
FSSAI bans blending of mustard oil with other cooking oil
Source- Down To Earth
Syllabus- GS 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Synopsis – FSSAI has banned the blending of Mustard oil with other edibles oils. This step offers a ray of hope to farmers as well as to the public.
- With effect from June 8, Food regulator FSSAI ended practice to add other edible oil (like from palms, rice bran, etc.) to mustard oil.
- This would end the practice to add other edible oil to mustard oil. It may also eliminate the adulteration in mustard oil, especially for domestic consumption.
- The decision will benefit mustard growers as well as consumers.
What is dropsy epidemic and how it impacted the sale of Mustard oil?
- The government allowed blending in edible vegetable oil by a notification in 1990.
- In 1998, Delhi and other north Indian states witnessed the dropsy epidemic. It killed at least 60 people and 3,000 were hospitalized.
- Dropsy epidemic – It is an acute non-infectious disease that causes swelling in the body due to the build-up of fluid in tissues. As per experts, disease resulted from the use of mustard oil.
- It resulted in massive campaigns against the consumption of the oil.
- The epidemic eventually impacted the sales of mustard oil.
Impact of allowing blending of edibles oil with mustard oil
- The sales of mustard oil dropped drastically.
- Increases India’s dependency on oil import over the last two decades- The processing sector profited from the practice of blending since low-cost palm oil was blended up to 80% in mustard oil. As a result, mustard producers’ income dried up, discouraging them from growing the crop.
- The agricultural land for mustard farming hasn’t increased in the last 25 years. It has consistently been at 5.5-6 million hectares.
- Lack of support from the government– The new policies have not been effective, and farmers producing it are not supported either.
- The blending of mustard oil is also dangerous to health.
- The decision would encourage mustard growers to increase the sowing area under the mustard crop.
- The higher domestic production of mustard oil will lead to a fall in edible oil imports.
Need for Equity-focused Vaccination Plan in Vaccine Drive
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS:2 Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
To control the Covid-19 pandemic, India needs an equity-focused vaccination plan and a road map to provide equity and justice in vaccination.
According to WHO’s strategic advisory group of experts on immunisation, prioritizing socio-demographic groups is essential for universal vaccination. So, an equity-focused vaccination plan is essential for controlling the pandemic.
What is an equity-focused vaccination plan?
Instead of focussing on vaccinating the public, the plan facilitates vaccinating vulnerable sections of society. This plan should include the following sectors of people to prevent disease and death among them. Such as, prioritizing the poor, religious minorities, socially disadvantaged castes, Adivasi communities, those living in remote areas, urban slums, and women.
- For example, the Chhattisgarh government prioritised ration cardholders in vaccination.
- Under this, the Chhattisgarh government vaccinated high-risk persons such as the poor, people who live in multi-generation for the same house, larger household.
- Further, these are the people who lack access to mobile phones and the Internet (Crucial for registering vaccines).
Challenges in providing equity-focused vaccination plan
- Lack of data on various parameters: India’s Covid-19 impact data does not provide the impact of virus infection among gender, caste, religious, and indigenous identities. Though crowd-sourced data is available, they too lack geographic and other meta-data for tests conducted in India.
- Vaccination through digital registration: Digital technologies can create a digital divide among age, gender, economic dimensions, rural-urban differences. The government’s CoWIN data also shows inequitable vaccination between tribal and non-tribal areas.
- Role of developed countries: The developed countries do not always help other countries in vaccination drives. For example, During the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, wealthy countries secured more doses than they need to vaccinate every member of their population. Similar such behavior is also observed in the Covid-19 pandemic also. Poor countries in the world depend on the mercy of the European Union and the United States for vaccinating their population.
How to improve the equity-focused vaccination plan?
- Trying out vaccination camps or door-to-door campaigns: Vulnerable sections of people often have poor access and low levels of trust in the healthcare system. So, the camps and campaigns can provide the following advantages. Such as,
- Older adults can get the vaccine from their homes.
- Essential workers will not face any interruption in their service delivery.
- Similarly, the poor and vulnerable people will not face any loss in daily wages
- The government can try women-only vaccine days to ensure that women are getting equal importance in vaccination. Women are often neglected in vaccine drive for reasons such as, they are not the breadwinner of the family, historically marginalized stature of women, etc. But this might lead to gender inequities in vaccine uptake. This will only lead to more Covid-19 infection among women
- For example, During the 1918 influenza pandemic in India, the mortality rate of women is higher than men.
- The government has to ensure vaccinating older people completely before opening vaccination to younger adults.
- In Indian villages, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives (ANMs) have enough experience and expertise with pulse polio vaccination and newborn vaccination. So, the government has to utilize its expertise to vaccinate Indian villages.
- Local governments and municipalities should prioritise vaccines for historically marginalised persons in the locality. Such as,
- Adivasi’s communities often live in remote and forested areas. The government should prioritize these regions.
- Religious minority areas such as Muslim-dominated tier-3 cities and villages should also get priority on vaccination drive.
- At the global level: WHO is consistently highlighted vaccine equity at global level. The COVAX facility can play a greater role in the equity distribution of vaccines around the world. The world leaders also need to follow the lead of WHO in vaccination and ensure global solidarity in this pandemic.
The central procurement of vaccines and providing free vaccines are not alone enough to vaccinate the entire population. So, refocused rejuvenated local, national, and global vaccination campaigns alone can provide equity-focused vaccination in the world.