Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) | PIB

Introduction –
As per latest data, IMR has reduced by 58% in India during the period of 1990-2015 which is more than to Global decline of 49% during the same period. The full immunization coverage also improved from 43.5% in 2005 to 62.0% in 2015 and mortality due to Tuberculosis has reduced from 76 per 1,00,000 in 1990 to 32 per 1,00,000 in 2015.
Steps taken to combat IMR and increasing vaccine coverage under National Health Mission –

  • Promotion of Institutional deliveries through cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free ante-natal check-ups, delivery including Caesarean section, post-natal care and treatment of sick infants till one year of age.
  • Strengthening of delivery points for providing comprehensive and quality Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) Services.
  • Newborn Stabilization Units (NBSU) and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) units for care of sick and small babies.
  • Early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for first six months and appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices are promoted in convergence with Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) is being supported to provide vaccination to children against many life threatening diseases such as Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Measles.
  • Name based tracking of mothers and children till two years of age (Mother and Child Tracking System) is done to ensure complete antenatal, intranatal, postnatal care and complete immunization as per schedule.
  • Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) for health screening, early detection of birth defects, diseases, deficiencies, development delays including disability and early intervention services has been Operationalized to provide comprehensive care to all the children in the age group of 0-18 years in the community.
  • Iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation is being done for the prevention of anaemia among the vulnerable age groups, home visits by ASHAs to promote exclusive breast feeding and promote use of ORS and Zinc for management of diarrhoea in children.
  • Capacity building of health care providers – Various trainings are being conducted under National Health Mission (NHM) to build and upgrade the skills of health care providers in basic and comprehensive obstetric care of mother during pregnancy, delivery and essential newborn care.
  • Low performing districts have been identified as High Priority Districts (HPDs) which entitles them to receive high per capita funding, relaxed norms, enhanced monitoring and focused supportive supervisions and encouragement to adopt innovative approaches to address their peculiar health challenges.

For more information keep visiting Raj Malhotra IAS Academy Chandigarh

Regulating Online Pharmacy Business

A sub-committee had been constituted by the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) to examine issues relating to Online Pharmacy Business and sale of drugs. The Sub-Committee has submitted its report to the Drugs Consultative Committee.

The Sub-Committee has inter alia recommended

  • Creation of a National Portal to act as the nodal platform for transacting and monitoring Online Pharmacy Business and sale of drugs.
  • Necessity of evolving a mechanism to register e-pharmacies. 
  • Geographical restrictions for operation of e-pharmacies.
  • Existing licensees involved in retail sale of drugs could also register on the National Portal for carrying out online sale of drugs.
  • Requirement of registration with CDSCO under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. 
  • Certain categories of drugs viz. the Narcotic and Psychotropic drugs, tranquilizers, habit forming drugs and Schedule X drugs that are prone to being abused or misused be excluded from sale through e-pharmacies. 

Analysis

  • Online pharmacies laws in India are still in nascent stage and there are no dedicated online pharmacy laws in India. The Information Technology Act 2000 governs some of the legal issues pertaining to online dealings but it is silent on the aspect of online pharmacy. As a result, illegal online pharmacies have been increasing in India. If properly regulated, Online pharmacies in India could prove beneficial to various stakeholders.
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, have guidelines on the sale of Schedule H and Schedule X drugs. These can be sold only on prescription and there are specific rules, including for labelling. As most of the online pharmacies in India are not complying with Indian laws and the laws of other jurisdictions, they have been facing regulatory sanctions.

Conclusion

The Government has issued a notice seeking public comments on regulation of sale of drugs including introduction of an electronic platform for regulation of sale of drugs in the country.

Defence Agreements With Russia

Details of Defence Agreements signed with Russia over the past five years is as under

  • Defence Agreements for training of Indian armed forces personnel in the military educational establishments of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation. (Date of signing 11.12.2014).
  • Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on cooperation in Aircraft flight safety. (Date of signing 21.01.2015).
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation on cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering. (Date of signing 24.12.2015).
  • Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India on supply of S-400 Triumph Air Defence Missile systems to the Republic of India. (Date of signing 15.10.2016).
  • Defence Agreements between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India for construction of follow-on-ships of project 11356 in Russia and in India (Date of signing 15.10.2016).

India-Russia defence relations

India and Russia have several major joint military programmes including –

  • BrahMos cruise missile programme
  • 5th generation fighter jet programme
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKI programme (230+ to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics)
  • Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft

Additionally, India has purchased/leased various military hardware from Russia 

  • S-400 Triumf 12.
  • Kamov Ka-226 200 to be made in India under the Make in India initiative.
  • T-90S Bhishma with over 1000 to be built in India.
  • Akula-II nuclear submarine (2 to be leased with an option to buy when the lease expires).
  • INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier programme.
  • Tu-22M3 bombers (4 ordered).
  • US$900 million upgrade of MiG-29.
  • Mil Mi-17 (80 ordered) more in Service.
  • Ilyushin Il-76 Candid (6 ordered to fit Israeli Phalcon radar).
  • The Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan is currently jointly operated by Indian Air Force and Tajikistan Air Force.

Defence Agreements | Conclusion

The Government makes all efforts to encourage greater manufacturing of defence equipment in India through the ‘Make in India’ framework, including through transfer of technology arrangements.  Several licensed production agreements have been implemented with Russian companies in India, such as for Sukhoi-30 aircraft, T-90 tanks, BMP-2 armoured personnel carriers etc. Divulging the texts of such Agreements will not be in the interest of national security.

Doklam Standoff – India China Border

Doklam StandoffDoklam Standoff near Bhutan between India and China is becoming a major concern, near the Chumbi Valley at the corner of India-China-Bhutan tri-junction. This month long border Doklam Standoff has become the longest ever between the two nations. This is also the first time when Indian troops have confronted the People’s Liberation Army of China on the soil of a third country i.e. Bhutan. There are two reasons for this standoff – India has a long standing commitment to Bhutan’s defence and serves as a virtual security guarantor to Bhutan through the 2007 friendship treaty. Secondly, the Doklam sector is critical to India as it brings China even closer to the Indian border in a vulnerable location towards the 27-kilometres long Siliguri Corridor or “Chicken’s neck” that connects the Northeastern states of India with the rest of India. China has repeatedly disputed Bhutan’s claims over Doklam. Beijing considers this plateau as vital to fortify the dagger-shaped Chumbi valley by piercing the tri-junction.

Doklam Standoff | History

Intrusions in Sikkim area may be new but there is a general pattern of such incursions are traced back to 2008 Beijing Olympics. In Ladakh and other places, the Chinese troops have been repeatedly working towards ingression in such areas. In 2009, the Chinese refused to give visas on Indian passports for several months for citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Commander-in-Chief of the then Northern Command.Three factors started emerging in 2008 which are converging now in 2017 – the first being Pakistan’s renewed animosity against India which was earlier demonstrated during the Mumbai attacks, the second was the street rage which was demonstrated within the Kashmir valley, and the last being China’s attempts to stymie India’s growth trajectory while it still can do it in the long term.

Actually, the border dispute in the region dates back to the 19th century when the states in the region were expanding in the areas which were loose in nature – North East Frontier Agency, North West Frontier Agency by the British Empire, and the Qing dynasty under the warlordswas expanding the Empire in Tibet and Sichuan. The 1890 treaty was signed between the British Empire and the Qing dynasty in China, 1914 Shimla Agreement between the British Empire, the Tibetans and the nationalist China are the two agreements being cited by China to stake legal claims over the region. The treaty of 1890 was signed but the delineation and demarcation did not happen subsequently, specifically in the Sikkim sector. In the 1914 Shimla Agreement, China was represented by Ivan Chen, LonchenShatra represented Tibet and McMahon represented the British-India Empire, yet this agreement is labelled as Imperialist in nature by the Chinese authorities. They have ignored the 1885 Treaty between France-controlled Vietnam and the Qing dynasty at the time. Therefore, selectively implementing treaties according to their own convenience is the issue at hand with China.

It is being said that one of the objectives of China is to test India’s resolve to defend its ally Bhutan in the case of a border dispute turning into a war. This current Doklam Standoff around the tri-junction of India-China-Bhutan border is an extension to the policy of encirclement being pursued by the Chinese around India. India has spent too much time on the ‘principles of Panchsheel in dealing with an aggressive state like China, the current standoff between the two neighbours at a strategic territory is a reflection of the change in this decades old approach by India towards China.

The May 2015 ‘White Paper on National Defence’ by China talks about Chinese armed forces protecting China’s interests abroad. In November 2014, President Xi Jinping addressed the fourth Foreign Affairs Work Conference and mentioned that the foreign ministry has to protect the interests of China abroad. Hence, the Foreign Ministry and the military is now showcasing a synchronised effort to secure their strategic interests at the Tibet region. China has adopted a strategy of legal, media and psychological warfare which was initiated in 2005. China is playing a psychological warfare through its state controlled media, cash-controlled global think tanks and tactical strategies by the PLA troops on the ground to aggravate India to enter into a war. It is using legal strategies to point out that India is entering a third-country i.e. Bhutan, forgetting for the moment that the Chinese entered the Korean war in the 1950s.

Doklam Standoff | Present

China can roughly mobilise about 28-30 divisions in all in the case of a conventional war which includes mobilisation of around 5 divisions in the Sikkim-Bhutan sector, 8 in the Arunachal sector, about 3 divisions in Barahoti (middle sector of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) and roughly about 14 divisions in the Western sector. These divisions would be mobilised through the narrow passages because of the high Tibetan plateau region that makes it easier for the Chinese to push through such forts. Currently, China possesses around 62-63 division in the PLA, out of which they would have to muster around half of the strength towards India which is actually difficult for them, considering the volatile situation in China’s other long boundaries with other hostile nations. In the Sikkim-Bhutan sector, the Chinese face geographical issues because India is at the high ground over the hills, so the casualties can roughly be regarded as 33,000 on the other side. Hence, the Chinese would take a backseat in the conventional warfront. At the sub-conventional level, it is quite possible that the 158 monasteries that India has in the trans-Himalayan belt will come under stress due to the current standoff between India and China. Therefore, India needs to worry more about the sub-conventional warfare techniques of China, more than the conventional warfare strategies because it is untenable for China to go for it.

India is successfully holding to all the semantics played by China and the Government is responding to such semantics with appropriate responses at the most opportune times. As rightly pointed out by the India’s Defence Minister ArunJaitley,

“India is not the same as that of 1962.”

SASEC Road Connectivity Programme | PIB Summary

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur at a cost of Rs. 1630.29 crores.

SASEC  | Details

  • Manipur being a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain presently has only road transport as a means of mass transport system within the state. Hence development of the road infrastructure is of paramount importance to improve connectivity and progress of the State and to ensure that the administrative set up reaches the isolated and remote habitats.
  • The project will improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of the state. Based on the existing and projected traffic requirements the NH-39 will be widened to 4 lane between Lilong village and Wanginj village, while the stretch between Wanginj village to Khongkhang will be upgraded to 2 lane with paved shoulder.

SASEC  | Financing of the project

The project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program which aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity among BBIN nations.

SASEC  | Significance

  • The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India’s Gateway to the East. Thus trade, commerce and tourism in the region will get a boost.
  • The workers of Manipur who specialize in creating bamboo and wood based handicraft items and uniquely designed hand woven textile items will get a new market among the Myanmar’s customers.
  • Small scale industries such as those making farm implements and tools, stationery, plastic extrusion items, carpentry units, could also develop markets beyond the border.
  • Besides socio-economic development the project will also lead to reduction in average travel time along the project road by nearly 40%.
  • In addition, the new features of road safety namely vehicular underpasses, crash barriers, road signs & markings, service roads for segregation of slow and high moving traffic, truck lay-by, bus-bays etc. will help in greatly reducing accidents.
  • Improved highway and lesser travel time will lead to savings in terms of fuel cost.

SASEC  | Background

For fulfilling India’s “Look East” Policy and to promote and enhance trade link with South East Asia, the Government of India has notified an Integrated Custom Post (ICP) at Moreh. The development of this project is essential in order to support the increased traffic volume due to coming up of ICP.

For more information keep visiting Raj Malhotra IAS Academy

South Asia Regional Centre ( ISARC ) | PIB Summary

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) in Varanasi. 

ISARC | Details

  • Under the proposal, a Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) will be set up in Varanasi.
  • This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.
  • The Centre will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.
  • This Centre will be the first international Centre in the eastern India and it will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.

Benefits from ISARC

  • The Centre will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties.
  • This will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents.
  • India’s food and nutritional security issues will also be addressed.
  • The Centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country. This will reduce wastage, add value and generate higher income for the farmers.
  • The farmers in Eastern India will benefit in particular, besides those in South Asian and African countries.

Management of ISARC

  • ISARC will operate under the governance of the IRRI Board of Trustees who will appoint an appropriate IRRI staff member as Director.
  • A Coordination Committee will be headed by Director General, IRRI as Chair and Secretary, Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW) as Co-Chair.
  • The other members of Coordination Committee are Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR; Director, NSRTC; IRRI representative in India, representative of Government of UP and representatives of Governments of Nepal & Bangladesh and Private Sector.

Air-Sewa Web Portal Upgraded

The Ministry of Civil Aviation held a meeting of all stakeholders last week to invite suggestions for designing Air Sewa 2.0, the upgraded version of the Air-Sewa Web Portal and mobile app that was launched in November last year to make air travel convenient and hassle-free.

Air-Sewa Web Portal | The Need

To provide a safe, and comfortable air travel experience to users. Flight delays, problem in refunds, long queues, inadequate facilities at airports and complaints of lost baggage are the most common problems that air travellers face.

­There was a need to respond to these problems in a systematic manner rather than on ad-hoc basis. ­The Ministry had launched AirSewa web portal and mobile app on 26.11.2016 to address this need.

Air-Sewa Web Portal

AirSewa is operated through an interactive web portal and a mobile app for both Android and iOS platforms. ­e-portal includes a mechanism for grievance redressal, back office operations for grievance handling, flight status/schedule information, airport Information and FAQs.

Air-Sewa Web Portal | New Features

  • Users can now check live flight status for all inbound and outbound flights in a single click.
  • Information regarding weather conditions and services for some selected airports is also available on this portal.
  • Flights can be searched by flight number or for all flights to or from a particular airport. Information such as airport services like wheel chair, transport/parking, rest and relax, Wifi services etc. can also be easily accessed.
  • Timely and satisfactory grievance redressal was an important priority as users had to approach several stakeholders to get their grievances redressed.
  • AirSewa is a one-stop solution for grievance redressal as passengers can now register any grievance on the mobile app or web portal.
  • Th­ey can also upload voice or video along with an elaborate description of their issues.

Air-Sewa Web Portal | Significance

  • Th­e portal has helped make the grievance redressal system responsive, transparent, accountable andefficient by using technology.
  • Users can now track the status and response through reference number provided. ­There are stipulated timelines in place to address the issue.
  • ­The portal is closely monitored by control room to ensure timely and effective redressal. A message is sent to the concerned nodal officer if any grievance remains unattended or unresolved.
  • To improve the user experience an option to provide feedback and rate the overall experience and satisfaction has been provided.

Mission Parivar Vikas

Mission Parivar Vikas is a new family planning initiative launched on World Population Day.

Mission Parivar Vikas  | Details

  • Mission ParivarVikas will focus on 146 high fertility districts in 7 states with high TFR. Under this, specific targeted initiatives shall be taken for population stabilisation through better services delivery.
  • Mission ParivarVikas is a new initiative conceived by the Ministry with a strategic focus on improving access through provision of services, promotional schemes, commodity security, capacity building, enabling environment and intensive monitoring.
  • The Governmenthas enhanced the basket of contraceptive choices to meet the changing needs of people and have taken steps to ensure quality assured services and commodities are delivered to the last-mile consumers in both rural and urban areas.
  • Also launched was a new injectable in the public health system under the “Antara” program and a new software – Family Planning Logistics Management Information System (FP-LMIS) – designed to provide robust information on the demand and distribution of contraceptives to health facilities and ASHAs to strengthen supply chain management. 
  • The Health Minister also launched a new consumer friendly website on family planning and a 52-week radio show for couples to discuss issues related to marriage and family planning, which will be aired across the country.
  • The Health Minister further highlighted the life cycle approach of the Ministry and stated that a continuum of care approach has been adopted by the Ministry with the articulation of ‘Strategic approach to Reproductive Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent health (RMNCH+A), bringing focus on all the life stages.

Mission Parivar Vikas  | Conclusion

The population dynamics have a significant influence on sustainable development. The changes in population growth rates and age structures are closely linked to national and global developmental challenges and their solutions. The issue of population stabilization is so gigantic in its proportion that the government alone cannot address the issue and thus the collective involvement of NGOs, private sector and corporate sector shall play a pivotal role.

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Malabar Exercise 2017

Naval co-operation between India, US and Japan epitomises the strong and resilient relationship between the three democracies. The Malabar Exercise series, initiated in 1992 between the Indian and US Navies, have steadily grown in scope, complexity and participation into a multifaceted exercise with the participation of Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF).

Details of Malabar Exercise 2017

  • The 21st edition of the exercise, MALABAR-17 will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal from 10 to 17 July 2017.
  • The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
  • The scope of MALABAR-17 includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase at Chennai and a diverse range of operational activities at sea.
  • The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on Aircraft Carrier operations, Air Defence, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Warfare, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), Search and Rescue, Joint Manoeuvres and Tactical procedures.

Indian Navy – Malabar Exercise

The Indian Navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with its air wing, guided missile destroyer Ranvir, indigenous stealth frigates Shivalik and Sahyadri, indigenous ASW corvette Kamorta, missile corvettes Kora and Kirpan, one Sindhughosh class submarine, fleet tanker INS Jyoti and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I. 

Conclusion | Malabar Exercise

MALABAR-17 will be another milestone with participation of 16 ships, two submarines and more than 95 aircraft, towards strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability as well as sharing of best practices between the Indian, Japanese and US Navies. The exercise is a demonstration of the joint commitment of all three nations to address common maritime challenges across the spectrum of operations and will go a long way in enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region, for the benefit of the global maritime community.

Creative India Innovative India Scheme

Taking forward the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy 2016, a Scheme for IPR Awareness – Creative India Innovative India was launched by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the aegis of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

Creative India Innovative India | Details

  • The Scheme aims at raising IPR awareness amongst students, youth, authors, artists, budding inventors and professionals to inspire them to create, innovate and protect their creations and inventions across India including Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 cities as well as rural areas in the next 3 years.
  • The Scheme for IPR Awareness aims to conduct over 4000 IPR awareness workshops/seminars in academic institutions (schools and colleges) and the industry,including MSMEs and Start-ups, as also IP training and sensitization programmes for enforcement agencies and the judiciary.
  • Workshops will cover all vital IP topics including international filing procedures, promotion of Geographical Indications and highlighting the ill effects of piracy and counterfeiting.
  • The Scheme for IPR Awareness would be implemented through partner organizations to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

Highlights of National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, 2016

  • The new policy calls for providing financial support to the less empowered groups of IP owners or creators such as farmers, weavers and artisans through financial institutions like rural banks or co-operative banks offering IP-friendly loans.
  • The work done by various ministries and departments will be monitored by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), which will be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of IPRs in India.
  • The policy, with a tagline of Creative India: Innovative India, also calls for updating various intellectual property laws, including the Indian Cinematography Act, to remove anomalies and inconsistencies in consultation with stakeholders.
  • For supporting financial aspects of IPR commercialisation, it asks for financial support to develop IP assets through links with financial institutions, including banks, VC funds, angel funds and crowd-funding mechanisms.
  • To achieve the objective of strengthening enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms to combat IPR infringements, it called for taking actions against attempts to treat generic drugs as spurious or counterfeit and undertake stringent measures to curb manufacture and sale of misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs.
  • The policy will be reviewed after every five years to keep pace with further developments in the sector.
  • IPR friendly loans to less empowered groups like artisans, weavers etc.
  • Motivating industries to use CSR funds to support IP development.