Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 28th September 2021

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1.  PM launches health ID for every citizen

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper II, III: Government initiatives
Sub Theme: Health ID card | UPSC

Vision & Aim of National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) 

  • The vision of NDHM is to create a national digital health ecosystem which provides timely and efficient access to  inclusive, affordable, and safe healthcare to all citizens.
  • NDHM will significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health service delivery and will  be a major stride towards achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 of Universal Health Coverage.
  • Every Indian citizen will get a Health ID which will be a repository of all health-related information of a person  such as medical tests, previous prescriptions, diagnosis, treatments, all historical health records etc. All these  records will be stored in a common database through a single National Health Identity Card.
  • The National Digital Health Mission includes health ID, digidoctor, telemedicine, e-pharmacy, healthcare registry  and personal health records digitally stored.

Benefits:

People

  • Seamless flow of Health Information across Healthcare providers.
  • Continuum of care from Primary to Secondary to Tertiary
  • Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenditure on Lab tests
  • Provide for Immediate Treatment based upon Medical History

Healthcare providers

  • Address the problem of Absence of centralized database of all Healthcare providers.
  • Greater Choice to the People
  • Efficient Utilization of Healthcare providers through Telemedicine.
  • Enable patients to seek medical assistance only from licensed and registered Medical Practitioners; Weed out Fake  Medical professionals.

Government

  • Help Government identify the infrastructural Gaps and healthcare issues.
  • Facilitate Data Driven Evidence based Policy making.
  • Optimize Government’s expenditure on healthcare.
  • Increase Enrolment of Beneficiaries under Government Schemes.

Challenges: 

Poor Participation: Increasing Enrolment of People in the Mission.

Digital Infrastructure: Problems related to Digital Infrastructure and Digital Literacy.

Inter-operability of databases by different Hospitals

Data Security and Privacy: Data to be maintained with the Healthcare providers; Data prone to be misused. Over-Emphasis on Digital Technology: Address the Ground realties- Lower Expenditure on Health, Higher Out of Pocket  Expenditure, Poor Insurance Coverage, Low Access, and Utilization etc.

Empirical Evidence: Failure of UK’s National Programme for IT (Electronic Healthcare Records) – Lower Enrolment of  People, Lack of Integration of Hospital database with Electronic health records, Higher Expenditure. Finally ended in 2011.

 

2.  Disaster Risk Insurance- Rationale, Need and Benefits

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS III: Disaster Management
Theme: Disaster insurance | UPSC

India has become highly prone to the economic impact of natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, landslides,  earthquakes, droughts etc. In India, most of the losses suffered in natural disasters are not insured and hence most of  the financial burden falls on the Government for providing relief and rehabilitation. 

Hence, there is a need for providing Disaster Insurance for better management of Disasters. Just like how we have  insurance schemes such as PM-JAY, PMFBY etc, we need to have government funded Insurance schemes to deal with the  disasters. 

India’s vulnerability to Disasters 

India is very vulnerable to natural hazards because of its unique geo-climatic conditions. Almost 85% of the country is  vulnerable to single or multiple disasters and about 57% of its area lies in high seismic zones. Approximately 40 million

hectares (12%) of the country’s land area is prone to flood, about 8% of the total land mass is vulnerable to cyclone and  68% of the area is susceptible to drought.

Impact of Disasters 

According to the Global Climate Risk Index published by Global Environmental thinktank ‘German Watch”, India is the 5th  most vulnerable country. The report also noted that India lost around 2,736 lives in 2017 due to disasters, second only to  Puerto Rico, that saw 2,978 lives lost. Further, economic losses in India due to such calamities accounted for around  $13,789 million, the 4th highest in the world.

Problems with Disaster Financing in India 

Insufficient Funds: The large events like Kerala Flood, Chennai Flood or Cyclone Fani clearly show that one cannot entirely  depend on Government’s support.

Over- reliance on Government’s funding: Less of private sector investment in providing relief and rehabilitation,  construction of infrastructure projects.

More focus on Relief and Rehabilitation: less focus on Disaster Mitigation

Less emphasis on bringing about behavioural changes in the people– Discouraging people from building houses in flood  plain areas; Encouraging people to build disaster resilient infrastructure etc.

Disaster Risk Insurance- Rationale and Benefits 

Rationale: The Government of India has launched quite a few social protection schemes leveraging on insurance solutions  like Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). On similar lines, we need to  have insurance schemes to cover protection against disasters such as Floods, Droughts, Earthquakes, landslides etc. Design of the Disaster Risk Insurance: 

Coverage of Disasters: Insurance against all types of Disasters in India.

Applicability: Government, Private Sector and Household sector. ( For the poor households, Insurance premium should be  entirely paid by the Government)

Working Mechanism: Pay the premium to an Insurance company–> Get Insured for losses such as Property damage,  business interruption, livelihood costs, disability, loss of lives etc–> Insurance mechanism gets trigged in event of Disaster- -> Insurance company pays for the loss–> Reduces the financial burden.

Benefits: 

  • Reliable and timely financial relief for recovery of livelihoods and reconstruction.
  • prevent people from falling into poverty
  • Diversification of risk from the Government towards the private sector
  • Amount of premium depends upon the risk involved–> Higher premium for higher risk such as construction of  houses in flood prone areas–> Encourage people to construct disaster Resilient houses in safe zones. • States limited capacity to deal with Disasters–> Allocate finances meant for the purpose of development towards  Relief and Rehabilitation–> Less funds available for development–> Growth Gap.

Important Case Studies: 

Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Program (DRFIP): World bank funded Program; Helps the governments to improve  the disaster risk insurance in close coordination with the Private sector.

South East Asian Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (2018): Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Singapore, and Japan  agreed to establish SEADRIF as a trust to own a general insurance company in Singapore.

 

3.   Revitalising PM-KUSUM

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS II, III: Government initiatives
Theme: SOLAR POWER | UPSC

Article 3: Revitalising PM-KUSUM 

PM-KUSUM SCHEME 

  • Setting up of 10,000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar and Other Renewable energy plants on Barren/Uncultivable  land–> Sell Power to DISCOMs and earn Income.
  • Off-Grid Areas: Replacement of diesel agriculture pump sets with 20 lakh Solar Agriculture Pumps–> Reduce the  dependence of farmers on diesel and meet their irrigation needs.
  • Grid-connected Areas: Replacement of diesel agriculture pump sets with 15 lakh Solar Agriculture Pumps–> Use  the generated solar power to meet the irrigation needs and the excess solar power will be sold to DISCOMs.

 

4.  Official Labour Survey Reports

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS III: Indian economy
Theme: Labour status | UPSC

Article 4: Official Labour Survey Reports 

Official Employment Statistics Reports 

Payroll Reporting: Published by National Statistical Office (NSO). Measures employment related statistics in the formal  sector using information on the number of subscribers who have joined social security schemes – Employees’ Provident  Fund (EPF) Scheme, the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme and the National Pension Scheme (NPS). Quarterly Employment Survey Report: Published by Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment. Measures  employment situation in selected non-farm Industrial sectors. Covers 8 major sectors- Manufacturing, Construction, Trade,  Transport, Education etc.

Periodic Labour Force Survey(PLFS) Report: Published by the National Statistical Office (NSO). Replaced the earlier  quinquennial (5-year) Employment-Unemployment Surveys (EUS) surveys in India. It involves quarterly employment survey  in Urban areas and Annual Survey in the Rural Areas.

Key Highlights of the first round of Quarterly Employment Survey 

  • The most impressive growth of 152 percent has been recorded in the IT/BPO sector.
  • Nearly 90 percent of the establishments have been estimated to work with less than 100 workers • The over-all participation of female workers stood at 29 percent, slightly lower than 31 percent reported during  6th EC.
  • Regular workers constitute 88 percent of the estimated workforce in the nine selected sectors, with only 2 percent  being casual workers. However, 18 percent of workers in the Construction sector are contractual employees and  13 percent are casual workers.
  • Only 9 percent of the establishments (with at least 10 workers) were not registered with any authority or under  any act. While 26 percent of all the establishments were registered under the Companies Act with 71 percent  registration in IT/ BPO, 58 percent registration in Construction, 46 percent in Manufacturing, 42 percent in  Transport, 35 percent in Trade and 28 percent in Financial Services.
  • Around 18 percent of the establishments have provision of on-job skill training programmes.

 

5.  AKASH Prime Missile

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS III: National security
Theme: Defence equipment | UPSC

Context: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested a new version of the Akash  surface-to-air missile Akash Prime. It intercepted and destroyed an unmanned aerial target mimicking enemy aircraft, in  its maiden flight.

About Akash Prime Missile 

  • Akash Prime is based on the existing Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. It is equipped with an improved  active radio-frequency (RF) seeker for improved accuracy.
  • Missile has also been optimized for low temperature and high-altitude operations with the modified ground  system. It can intercept aerial targets mimicking enemy aircraft.

About Akash Missile System 

  • Akash is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.
  • It was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)  has produced these missiles.
  • It can target aircraft up to 50–80 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000m.
  • These missiles can also neutralise aerial targets such as fighter jets, cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles as well  as ballistic missiles.
  • It is in operational service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.
  • Akash-NG (new generation) missile: It is a new variant of the Akash missile which has a better range(60kms)  compared to the original version (25 kms).
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