1. True mettle
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper I, II, III: Indian society, Social justice, Economy, International relations, culture and Essay paper
Sub Theme: India’s performance in sports | UPSC
Performance is on account of –
- Government support for the sport has been increasing. The government has launched many initiatives for the promotion of the sports sector in India.
- National Centre of Sports Sciences and Research
(NCSSR): It aims to support high-level research, education, and innovation with respect to the high performance of elite athletes.
oThe scheme has two components: One is setting up of NCSSR and the other is focused on funding the creation of Sports Sciences Departments in Six Universities and Sports Medicine Departments in Six Medical Colleges.
- Khelo India (2017-18): It is a national program that aims to develop grassroots-level talent by providing them with a national-level platform.
o It is a Pan India Sports Scholarship scheme that would cover 1,000 most talented young athletes each year across select sports disciplines.
o Each athlete selected under the scheme shall receive an annual scholarship worth Rs. 5.00 lakh for 8 consecutive years.
o It is based on Gujarat’s model of “Khel Mahakumbh” in which schools and colleges from across the country participate in 27 different disciplines.
- Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS)(2014): It aims to identify,
groom and prepare potential medal prospects for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Under this scheme, athletes and sportspersons will get customized training from top coaches at modern and well-equipped sports facilities and institutions. In 2020, the government also launched Junior TOPS, a similar scheme to produce Olympic winners in 2028 targeting children as young as 10 – 12 years.
- National Sports Development Fund (NSDF): It was established in
November 1998 under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1890 with the aim of promoting sports and games in the country.
- Private sector involvement in the sport has increased.
Furthermore, the rise of private academies that are involved in the development of sport at various levels is helping strengthen the facilities available to our sportspeople.
- Corporations have come forward to support individual
athletes with potential, showing a depth of commitment that was absent earlier.
Reasons hampering India’s success in Sports
Lack of sports culture: In India sporting culture is sacrificed at the altar of academic excellence. Sports is not considered a lucrative career option in our country. Parents encourage their children to become doctors and engineers rather than sportspeople.
Funding crunch: Indian Government spends way less than China, the US, and other better-performing countries in international sporting events. This induces athletes to do private spending for arranging good quality equipment, training and travelling, thereby creating a very big hurdle for poor people.
Resource Deficit: There is a dearth of good-quality sporting infrastructure available across the country. The government has developed some good stadiums in urban regions, but the situation is very poor in rural regions.
Lack of good coaches: India lacks good coaches in almost all track and field events. With few coaches with international standard, most of the times the players are forced to cooperate and compromise.
High-Performance Pressure: A high degree of pressure is inflicted upon a sportsperson to perform or else be prepared to live a vulnerable life. This sometimes creates excessive mental stress in them or induces them to resort to unethical means like doping. For instance, Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav wasn’t able to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics due to doping scandal.
Governance Issues: Sports governance is marred with multiple issues –
- The expenditure on sports is highly skewed in favour of male athletes and urban regions, in comparison to females and rural areas.
- There is more focus on post-success incentivization rather than pre-success support in India. For instance, the
Haryana Government announced a 6 crore reward after Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal in Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Cricket overshadows other sports India doesn’t have a sports culture wherein people enthusiastically watch sports and promote the same. However, enthusiasm is shown mainly to cricket due to which it easily attracts investment and pays the cricketers a hefty sum of revenue.
- The Government should increase fund allocation to other sports and also ensure equitable allocation of funds across gender and regions.
- It must offer deserving players more jobs and remuneration in order to encourage them to take sports as a career.
- Further, Transparency must be brought in the selection procedure of office bearers of the association in order to reduce nepotism in the selection of candidates.
- Parents and educational institutions must also encourage the students to excel in sports, not just in academics. This requires an increase in the Sports quota in Universities along with the opening of more universities. Parents can be sensitized with the support of NGOs and civil society groups to put their children in sports. For instance, Bridges of Sports is sensitising the Siddi Community of coastal Karnataka to send their children in sports and also providing the requisite support for the same.
- The focus should also be placed on opening more domestic premier leagues like the Indian Pro Kabaddi league. This will bring more money and attention to sports other than cricket. It would also attract the youth to take up diverse sports that were otherwise seen as a risky career.
- Apart from sportsperson, the focus should be placed on creating more coaches and physiotherapists. It will help in increasing the trained manpower experts in Sports Sciences and Sports Medicine and will, in turn, reduce the dependency of the foreign experts.
Lack of good coaches: India lacks good coaches in almost all track and field events. With few coaches with inte High-Performance Pressure: A high degree of pressure is inflicted upon a sportsperson to perform or else be pdoping. For instance, Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav wasn’t able to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics due to do Cricket overshadows other sports India doesn’t have a sports culture wherein people enthusiastically watch sphefty sum of revenue.
2. Differently abled issues
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS II: Indian society and social justice
Theme: Social security of disabled population | UPSC
DIFFERENTLY ABLED POPULATION
# Persons with Disabilities # Challenges faced by Disabled
What is a disability? Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 Defines “Person with disability” means a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments
which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others. DISABLED POPULATION IN OUR COUNTRY
- Disabled Population in India as per census 2011 (2016 updated) – In India out of the 121 Cr population, 2.68 Cr persons are disabled which is 2.21% of the total population.
- Among the disabled population 56% (1.5 Cr) are males and 44% (1.18 Cr ) are females. In the total population, the male and female population are 51% and 49% respectively.
- Majority (69%) of the disabled population resided in rural areas (1.86 Cr disabled persons in rural areas and 0.81 Cr in urban areas). In the case of total population also, 69% are from rural areas while the remaining 31% resided in urban areas.
|Category – wise Number of Persons with Disabilities as per Census : 2011|
|Total||2,68,14,994||1,49,885,93 (55.89%)||1,18,264,01 (44.11%)|
ISSUES RELATED TO DIFFERENTLY ABLED
Let us begin the discussion with a very good quote: which summarises the overall issues faced by the disabled:
Unavailability of data and statistics: And the reason for that is:
ο Difficult to define disability
ο Coverage: Different purposes require different disability data.
ο Reluctance in reporting disability as disability is considered to be a stigma in many places/societies. • Health
ο There is lack of affordable access to proper health care, aids and appliances.
ο Healthcare facilities and poorly trained health-workers in rehabilitation centres is another concern •
ο The education system is not inclusive.
ο Inclusion of children with mild to moderate disabilities in regular schools has remained a major challenge.
ο There are various issues such as availability of special schools, access to schools, trained teachers, and availability of educational materials for the disabled.
ο Further, reservations for the disabled in higher educational institutions has not been fulfilled in many instances. •
ο Even though many disabled adults are capable of productive work, disabled adults have far lower employment rates than the general population.
ο The situation is even worse in the private sector, where much less disabled are employed •
ο Physical accessibility in buildings, transportation, access to services etc still remain a major challenge. •
ο Negative attitudes held by the families of the disabled, and often the disabled themselves, hinder disabled persons from taking an active part in the family, community or workforce.
ο Differently-abled people face discrimination in everyday life. People suffering from mental illness or mental retardation face the worst stigma and are subject to severe social exclusion.
Hence these issues create a vicious cycle:
INITIATIVES TAKEN FOR DIFFERENTLY ABLED
- Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016
ο Defines “Person with disability” means a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others.
- Accessible India Campaign : Creation of Accessible Environment for PwDs:
ο A nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.
- DeenDayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme:
ο Under the scheme financial assistance is provided to NGOs for providing various services to Persons with Disabilities, like special schools, vocational training centres, community based rehabilitation, pre-school and early intervention etc.
- Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP):
ο The Scheme aims at helping the disabled persons by bringing suitable, durable, scientifically-manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances within their reach.
But Poor implementation of policies and schemes hinders the inclusion of disabled persons. Though various acts and schemes have been laid down with an aim to empower the disabled, their enforcement face many challenges.
So in essence we can say that the disabled people have to go through everyday pain of being excluded from a whole host of normal life activities.
Not only that, they have to constantly find ways of living with equal productivity and dignity as others which the able bodied often simply do not have to think about.
Because of which there exists a massive gap between what people with disabilities, when provided appropriate tools and resources, are capable of achieving and what they are allowed to achieve, on account of the multiple impediments placed in their path.
ο A lot of disabilities are preventable: (Example wasting of muscles due to Polio)
▪ large number of disabilities are preventable, including those arising from medical issues during birth, maternal conditions, malnutrition, as well as accidents and injuries.
▪ However, the health sector especially in rural India has failed to react proactively to disability. ο Preventive health programs need to be strengthened and all children need to be screened at a young age.
ο Case Study: Kerala has already started an early prevention programme. Comprehensive Newborn Screening (CNS) programme seeks early identification of deficits in infants and reduce the state’s burden of disability.
ο People with disabilities need to be better integrated into society by overcoming stigma. ο There should be awareness campaigns to educate and aware people about different kinds of disability. ο Success stories of people with disabilities can be showcased to inculcate positive attitude among people. •
ο Disabled adults need to be empowered with employable skills. The private sector needs to be encouraged to employ them.
- Better measurement:
ο The scale of disability in India needs to be better understood by improving the measurement of disability. •
ο State-wise strategies on education for children with special needs need to be devised.
ο There should be proper teacher training to address the needs of differently abled children and facilitate their inclusion in regular schools.
ο Further there should be more special schools and ensure educational material for differently-abled children. •
ο Safety measures like road safety, safety in residential areas, public transport system etc, should be taken up. Further, it should be made legally binding to make buildings disabled-friendly.
- Policy Interventions:
ο More budgetary allocation for welfare of the disabled. There should be a disability budgeting on line of gender budget.
ο Proper implementation of schemes should be ensured. There should be proper monitoring mechanisms and accountability of public funds.
2. Nipah virus
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS II: Health and social issues
Theme: viral diseases | UPSC
After a gap of over three years, a case of the zoonotic Nipah virus infection was reported in Kozhikode district of Kerala on Sunday morning, with the death of a 12- year-old boy from Pazhoor, near Chathamangalam, at a private hospital.
What is the Nipah virus?
The virus takes its name from the village in Malaysia where the person in whom the virus was first isolated died of the disease.
Since it was first identified in 1998-99, there have been multiple outbreaks of the Nipah virus, all of them in South and Southeast Asian nations. In Bangladesh, there have been at least 10 outbreaks since 2001. In India, West Bengal had seen an outbreak in 2001 and 2007, while Kerala had reported several cases in 2018. How does it spread?
It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it has been transmitted from animals to human beings. The transmission happens mainly through consumption of contaminated food. But human-to-human transmission is also considered possible. The animal host reservoir for this virus is known to be the fruit bat, commonly known as flying fox. Fruit bats are known to transmit this virus to other animals like pigs, and also dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
Humans get infected mainly through direct contact with these animals, or through consumption of food contaminated by saliva or urine of these infected animals. Person-to-person transmission is not fully established, but a recent study, published by two Bangladeshi researchers in March this year, said that previous outbreaks in Bangladesh, the Philippines and India suggested “that respiratory droplets of an infected person can transmit the virus”. During previous outbreaks, people in close contact with the infected person, mainly hospital staff and caregivers, have contracted the disease.
Does it spread as fast as Covid-19?
The Nipah virus is known to spread far more slowly than SARS-CoV-2. However, it is its ability to kill that is the biggest concern. During the first outbreak in Siliguri, 45 of the 66 people confirmed to have been infected died. That is a mortality rate of 68%. In the next outbreak, in Nadia district of West Bengal, in 2007, all the five infected people died.
During the most recent outbreak in Kerala in 2018, 17 of the 18 patients confirmed to have been infected died. In 2019, one case of Nipah virus infection was detected in Ernakulam, but prompt response restricted any further spread. The infected person survived.
In the Malaysian outbreak in 1999, a total of 265 people had been found infected, of whom 105 had died, according to a study, ‘Nipah Virus: Past Outbreaks and Future Containment’, by researchers from Cochin University of Science and Technology published in the April 2020 issue of the journal Viruses.
In comparison, the mortality rate of Covid-19 epidemic is expected to be around one per cent.