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27 March 2019

UPSC Prelims 2020

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

 

Global MPI 2018

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features of MPI.
  • For Mains: Highlights, key findings and significance of the report, concerns for India and measures needed to reduce the poverty.

 

In News: Global MPI 2018 Report prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

Definition of MPI poor: The report measures multidimensional poverty index, which it says can be broken down to show “who is poor” and “how they are poor”. This factors in two measures, poverty rate as a percentage of the population, and intensity as the average share of deprivations that poor people experience. The product of these two is MPI. If someone is deprived in a third or more of 10 weighted indicators, the global index identifies them as “MPI poor”.

Context: The report, covering 105 countries, dedicates a chapter to India because of this remarkable progress. However, India still had 364 million poor in 2015-16, the largest for any country, although it is down from 635 million in 2005-06.

 

Key observations:

  • In India, poverty reduction among children, the poorest states, Scheduled Tribes, and Muslims was fastest.
  • Although Muslims and STs reduced poverty the most over the 10 years, these two groups still had the highest rates of poverty.
  • Bihar was the poorest state in 2015-16, with more than half its population in poverty. The four poorest states —Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh — were still home to 196 million MPI poor people, which was over half of all the MPI poor people in India.
  • Jharkhand had the greatest improvement, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland.

Sources: ie.


Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

 

Note verbale

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Various means of diplomatic communication and their significance.

 

Why in News? India has raised with Pakistan the alleged abduction of two minor Hindu girls in that country and their alleged conversion to Islam. The government raised the matter through a note verbale sent to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry.

 

What is it?

A note verbale is a diplomatic communication from one government to another, delivered through each other’s diplomatic representatives. Like many other diplomatic terms, note verbale is French, and literally means a verbal note, because it was meant to be delivered orally to the recipient. In modern times, it is a written note.

Notes verbale are the commonest method of formal diplomatic communication. They are used to convey information or requests of all kinds.

 

Features of Note Verbale:

  1. A note verbale is written on the sending entity’s letterhead, and stamped with that entity’s seal, but not signed.
  2. It is written in the third person.

 

Other formal types of diplomatic communication:

  1. A demarche is a more formal type of communication of one government’s official position, views, or wishes on a given subject to an appropriate official in another government. Demarches generally seek to persuade, inform, or gather information from a foreign government. Governments may also use a demarche to protest or object to actions by a foreign government.
  2. A demi official (DO) is a first person communication that begins with a “Dear…” and is signed by the writer, usually a high representative of the sending entity. DOs are used only when the addressee and the representative know each other extremely well and occupy high office.

 

less formal kinds of communication between governments:

Non-papers and aide-memoires, which are summaries of discussions between two countries.

  • A non-paper is written on a blank sheet of paper with no signatures and is addressed to no one, giving those party to the discussions deniability; an aide-memoire has to have an addressee, and indicates the sender’s identity, usually with an initial.

 

Sources: ie.


Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation and energy related issues.

 

IEA status report on CO2

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: About IEA.
  • For Mains: Key findings and concerns raised by the report, significance and measures needed to achieve the targets.

 

Context: International Energy Agency (IEA) has released Global Energy & CO2 Status Report.

 

Key findings:

  1. India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018, a 8% rise from last year.
  2. India’s emissions growth this year was higher than that of the United States and China — the two biggest emitters in the world — and this was primarily due to a rise in coal consumption.
  3. China, the United States, and India together accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand.
  4. India’s per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden.
  5. The United States, the largest emitter, was responsible for 14%.

 

Concerns raised:

  • As per its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, India has promised to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. It has also committed to having 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and, as part of this, install 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
  • However, the IEA report showed that India’s energy intensity improvement declined 3% from last year even as its renewable energy installations increased 10.6% from last year.

 

Global scenario:

  • Global energy consumption in 2018 increased at nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a robust global economy and higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world.
  • Demand for all fuels increased, led by natural gas, even as solar and wind posted double digit growth. Higher electricity demand was responsible for over half of the growth in energy needs.
  • Energy efficiency saw lacklustre improvement. As a result of higher energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.7% last year and hit a new record, the authors of the report said in a press statement.
  • The United States had the largest increase in oil and gas demand worldwide. Gas consumption jumped 10% from the previous year, the fastest increase since the beginning of IEA records in 1971.

 

About IEA:

Established in 1974 as per framework of the OECD.

MISSION – The IEA works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 30 member countries and beyond. Our mission is guided by four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide.

Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France.

A candidate country must be a member country of the OECD. But all OECD members are not IEA members (Ex:Chile, Iceland, Israel, Latvia and Slovenia).

 

To become member a candidate country must demonstrate that it has:

  • crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply
  • a demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%
  • legislation and organisation to operate the Co-ordinated Emergency Response Measures (CERM) on a national basis
  • legislation and measures to ensure that all oil companies under its jurisdiction report information upon request;
  • measures in place to ensure the capability of contributing its share of an IEA collective action.

 

IEA mandate:

To focus on the “3Es” of effectual energy policy:

  1. Energy security.
  2. Economic development.
  3. Environmental protection.

 

Reports:

  • Global Energy & CO2 Status Report 2017.
  • World Energy Outlook.
  • World Energy Statistics 2017.
  • World Energy Balances 2017.
  • Energy Technology Perspectives.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  2. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

In News- The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: The Fund, its objectives, need for funding, significance and challenges.

 

Context: Hyderabad-based pharma company Laurus Labs Limited has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Global Fund for a period of 3.5 years. Through this agreement Laurus Labs will have the volume commitments from the Global Fund for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

 

What is it?

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (or simply the Global Fund) is an international financing organization that aims to “attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations.”

Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases.

The organization maintains its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Historical background:

The Global Fund was formed as an independent, non-profit foundation under Swiss law and hosted by the World Health Organization in January 2002. In January 2009, the organization became an administratively autonomous organization, terminating its administrative services agreement with the World Health Organization.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

 

Swine Flu:

What is it? Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. H1N1 is a flu virus. When it was first detected in 2009, it was called “swine flu” because the virus was similar to those found in pigs.

Transmission from Pigs to Humans: The H1N1 virus is currently a seasonal flu virus found in humans. Although it also circulates in pigs, one cannot get it by eating properly handled and cooked pork or pork products.

Pandemic: In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, so the World Health Organization called it a pandemic.

Spread: Swine flu is contagious, and it spreads in the same way as the seasonal flu. When people who have it cough or sneeze, they spray tiny drops of the virus into the air. If a person comes in contact with these drops or touch a surface that an infected person has recently touched, the person can catch H1N1 swine flu.

Pregnant women who contract the H1N1 infection are at a greater risk of developing complications because of hormonal changes, physical changes and changes to their immune system to accommodate the growing foetus.

 

What is SWIFT?

  • It is a messaging network that financial institutions use to securely transmit information and instructions through a standardized system of codes. Under SWIFT, each financial organization has a unique code which is used to send and receive payments.
  • SWIFT does not facilitate funds transfer: rather, it sends payment orders, which must be settled by correspondent accounts that the institutions have with each other.
  • The SWIFT is a secure financial message carrier — in other words, it transports messages from one bank to its intended bank recipient.

SWIFT India is a joint venture of top Indian public and private sector banks and SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). The company was created to deliver high quality domestic financial messaging services to the Indian financial community. It has a huge potential to contribute significantly to the financial community in many domains.


Relevant articles from PIB:

 

Mt Makalu:

Why in News? First Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu (8485m) flagged off.

About Mt Makalu: Among the eight mountains in Nepal above 8000m, Mt. Makalu is the fourth tallest in Nepal and fifth highest Peak on the Earth with its height 8,463m. Mt. Makalu resides in the eastern Himalayas range just 19Km southeast of the giant Mt. Everest in the border of Nepal and China. At the base of Mt. Makalu, there lies a natural wonder: The Barun Valley.

 

Note: Have a brief overview of various peaks located in the region.

Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA):

Context: INS Kadmatt at Langkawi, Malaysia to Participate in LIMA-19.

About LIMA:

  1. The Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) is the largest show of its kind within the Asia Pacific region.
  2. Its impressive list of international exhibitors and suppliers is more than matched by the supportive presence of industry elites, which range from senior Government officials, and military and civil delegates, to industry movers and shakers and more.
  3. Held biennially since its debut in 1991, LIMA is an ideal platform where industry stakeholders could engage and expand their networks towards forging new partnerships and business agreements.

INS Kadmatt (P 29) is an indigenous stealth anti-submarine warfare corvette and was commissioned into the Indian Navy in January 2016. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art weapons, sensors and machinery and is also designed to embark the Seaking anti-submarine helicopter.


Summaries of Important Editorials:

 

Govt. notifies new rules for drugs, clinical trials

Context: The Union Health Ministry has notified the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019. The move is aimed at promoting clinical research in the country.

  • The rules will apply to all new drugs, investigational new drugs for human use, clinical trials, bio-equivalence studies and ethics committees.
  • The aim is to promote clinical research in India, have predictable, transparent and effective regulations for such trials and also make faster accessibility of new drugs to Indian population.

 

The rules include:

  • Reduction in time for approving applications, which has now come down to 30 days for drugs manufactured in India and 90 days for those developed outside the country.
  • Compensation in cases of death and permanent disability or other injury to a trial subject will be decided by the Drug Controller General
  • As per the new rule, the requirement of a local clinical trial may be waived for approval of a new drug if it is approved and marketed in any of the countries (EU, U.K., Australia, Japan and U.S.) specified by the Drugs Controller General with the approval of the government.
  • The new rules will ensure patient safety and an ethics committee will monitor the trials and decide on the amount of compensation in cases of adverse events. Also, in case of no communication from Drugs Controller General of India, the application will be deemed to have been approved.

 

What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. Before a drug is launched in market, it has to be tested for its safety and efficacy. This is done in stages, with a large pool of patients after which the data from the trials is assessed.

In India, Central drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) regulates under Drugs and cosmetics Act.

 

Ethical considerations to be followed while conducting clinical trials:

  • Informed consent and Voluntary Agreement of the participant.
  • Maintain privacy of the participant.
  • Accountability and transparency while conducting trials.
  • Research and trial details should be in public domain.

 

Prevailing Issue in India:

The major issues w.r.t Clinical trials in India are Regulatory failures, Unethical clinical trials, spurious drugs, Collusion between drug companies and doctors.

  • Landmark amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act in 2013 led to better protection of vulnerable groups such as illiterate people, but more regulation is needed to ensure truly ethical research.
  • Clinical research organisations (CROs) have argued that more rules will stifle the industry; the truth is that ethical science is often better science. The big problem plaguing clinical research is an over-representation of low-income groups among trial subjects.
  • Sometimes CROs recruit them selectively, exploiting financial need and medical ignorance; at other times people over-volunteer for the money.
  • Because these subjects are well-paid, and get no therapeutic benefit, their only reward from the trial is financial. This results in an incentive to lie about one’s medical history or enrol in multiple trials to maximise one’s income.

 

Phases of Clinical Trials:

Need for local clinical trials:

  • Epidemiological transition, in recent decades, compounded with the burgeoning population as well as widespread malnutrition and poverty, have resulted in the steep rise in both communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country, across all age groups. To counter this rising burden of disease, there is a compelling need for local clinical trials.
  • After a peak in 2009-2010, the clinical research sector in India is continually contracting. India represents 17.5% of the world’s population but conducts only 1.4% of global clinical research. This is unfortunate, considering we have all the requisite factors, such as English-speaking health-care professionals, a large number of experts, steady economic growth, access to world-class technologies, strong IT- and data-management infrastructure, access to ethnically diverse patient populations and competitive operational costs. All these factors present clear advantages for clinical research.

 

Need of the hour:

To reap the benefits of clinical trials, our objective should be to bring about more clinical research in the country while maintaining high standards to ensure patient safety and accuracy of data.

 

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