Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – June 9

1. In an effort to curb antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has divided the drugs into three categories – access, watch and reserve. Discuss the steps taken by WHO to tackle the same.(GS 2)

The Hindu

Introduction:

  • WHO recently made the biggest revision of the antibiotic section in the 40 year history of essential medicines list by dividing the antibiotics into three categories specifying for what ailments they need to be taken.
  • The new WHO list should help health system planners and prescribers ensure that people who need antibiotics have access to them, and ensure they get the right one, so that the problem of resistance doesn’t get worse.

Other measures taken by WHO to tackle antibiotic resistance are:-

  • WHO recently updated the treatment guidelines for gonorrhoea to address emerging resistance. The new WHO guidelines do not recommend quinolones (a class of antibiotic) for the treatment of gonorrhoea due to widespread high levels of resistance.
  • In addition, treatment guidelines for chlamydial infections and syphilis were also updated.
  • In consultation with countries, partners and stakeholders, WHO is currently developing a new “Global Action Plan for HIV Drug Resistance (2017-2021)“.
  • WHO is providing technical assistance to help countries develop their national action plans, and strengthen their health and surveillance systems so that they can prevent and manage antimicrobial resistance. It is collaborating with partners to strengthen the evidence base and develop new responses to this global threat.
  • WHO is working closely with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in a ‘One Health’ approach to promote best practices to avoid the emergence and spread of antibacterial resistance, including optimal use of antibiotics in both humans and animals.
  • A global action plan on antimicrobial resistance was adopted by Member States .
    • The goal of the global action plan is to ensure, for as long as possible, continuity of successful treatment and prevention of infectious diseases with effective and safe medicines that are quality-assured, used in a responsible way, and accessible to all who need them.
  • A high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance at the United Nations General Assembly was held to accelerate global commitments and enhance national multi-sectoral efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance.
  • WHO today published its first ever list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens” – a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.
    • The list was drawn up in a bid to guide and promote research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics, as part of WHO’s efforts to address growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.
  • While more R&D is vital, alone, it cannot solve the problem. To address resistance, there must also be better prevention of infections and appropriate use of existing antibiotics in humans and animals, as well as rational use of any new antibiotics that are developed in future.

2.  Do you think that the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will result in any major supply disruption?(GS 3)

The Hindu

Yes:-

  • In the run-up to the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST), distributors and wholesalers in various sectors could be tempted to de-stock, in a bid to avoid losses on the tax credit front.
  • Concerns over potential losses arising from mismatch between tax payout and tax refund once GST is in place, has led to traders reducing stock-in-trade.
  • The GST Council has guided for lower tax on items of mass consumption such as spices, tea and mustard oil. This means certain items of this category may attract lower taxes in the GST regime than currently levied on them, thus presenting a case for holding lower stock levels of such goods.
  • Apart from these factors, transition difficulties in getting excise set-off on inventory have the potential to create disturbances in the supply chain.
  • Supply disruption is expected to begin from the business to business (B2B) segment and trickle down to the business to consumer segment (B2C).
  • SMEs and MSMES will feel more heat because many of these small and medium-sized players have banking arrangements that mandate them to maintain a certain quantum of stock as security. They may be caught between meeting loan pre-requisites and claiming input credit tax. So, there could be an initial disruption in the B2B segment on launch,.

No:-

  • Logistics, outsourcing, distribution and warehousing is going to see a major change with the onset of GST law. Currently these decisions are based on the tax laws of the state but with the coming in of GST the need for state wise warehouses to avoid CSTwill be eliminated.
    • This will reduce the need for having multiple warehouses, make the supply chain more efficient and make interstate transactions between two dealers tax neutral.
  • Trucks are idle for about 40% of the total travel time due Central Sales Tax/Octroi payment
    • GST’s implementation will mean that time taken at various check posts while transporting goods will come down, which will, in turn, reduce costs for customers and logistics companies, making the latter more efficient and profitable. Supply will also be able to match demand to a large extent.
  • Target of constructing 30 kilometers of road every day. While this is not related to GST per se, improved infrastructure will save Supply chain management(SCM) companies funds on time, maintenance of vehicles and much more which will have a positive impact on their balance sheets.
  • Profitable SCM companies will attract investment and technology, making them efficient and improving the overall state of logistics and supply chain management..
  • Interstate sourcing of raw materials will be easier.
  • These will provide greater flexibility in factory setup and manufacturing.
  • Raw material quality will be improved and price negotiation will be facilitated.
  • With the introduction of GST, the tax barriers on cross-border sales will be removed. Due to imposition of GST, all the operational costs are minimized and thus its efficiency is also improved.
  • After GST implementation, the design of the supply chain will be based on customer service and logistics cost.
  • It somewhat approaches positively in the way that smaller warehouses can now be merged into one bigger warehouse thus achieving the maximum optimization.

3.  Do you think that Social boycotts and no-triple-talaq conditions in prenuptial contracts will bring gender justice?(GS 2)

The Hindu

No:

  • Gender justice is a much broader concept.Just by rejecting triple talaq and social boycott justice does not prevail.
  • Gender justice needs to surpass the predominant problems in the society like :-
    • Patriarchal mindset of society which believes that women are property of men and women are not entitled the same rights as men.
    • Personal laws of many communities:-The severe flaw in these laws is that they are heavily weighted in favour of men.
    • Several discriminatory aspects of Hindu cultural practices that govern the laws of marriage, divorce and matrimonial life are seldom held up to scrutiny.
    • Though Hindu marriage was transformed into a contract in 1955, sacramental aspects still dominate the social psyche and parents prefer to send the daughter back to her matrimonial home rather than risk having a divorcee on their hands. Despite acute domestic violence, girls are sent back to their homes even when there is a risk of them being killed or driven to suicide.
    • Gender inequality in India is not one homogenous phenomenon but a collection of disparate and interlinked problems’. It is visible in mortality rates and natality inequality where the parent prefers a male child to a female.
    • Moreover this is reinforced by inequality of basic facilities to women and lack of opportunities, further deepened by cultural attitudes of women’s roles in the public domain.
    • Later in life this is also seen in property rights in rural societies and rights to inheritance in patriarchal family systems.
    • India ranks 132 out of 187 countries on the gender inequality index – lower than Pakistan (123), according to the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report 2013.
    • Root cause of all the evils practices faced by the women are:
      • Illiteracy, economic dependence, caste restrictions, religious prohibition,lack of leadership qualities and apathetic and callous attitude of males in the society.

Yes:-

  • No triple talaq conditions and social boycotts provide a sense of appeasement to the aggrieved women in this way justice is provided to them  but they don’t ensure gender justice.

So social awareness need to be made to make social boycotts effective and there is a need to amend Muslim laws and remove triple talaq.


 

 

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