Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 19, 2017

Health News

Gabon – a polio – free country

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Gabon a “polio-free country”.
  • This comes after lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country in recent times.
  • But the UN health agency has recommended taking necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease.

Enlighten about Polio

  • Polio is highly-infectious viral disease caused by the poliovirus.
  • It mainly affects young children and can result in permanent paralysis.
  • The virus is transmitted from person-to-person.
  • It mainly spreads through the faecal-oral route (e.g. contaminated water or food).
  • After entering body, it multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
  • Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs.
  • In some cases, it causes permanent paralysis.
  • There is no cure for polio virus, it can only be prevented by immunization.
  • Global Polio Prevalence Cases of polio have decreased by 99% since 1988, when it was endemic in 125 countries and 350,000 cases were recorded worldwide.
  • Now the disease is endemic is prevalent only in two South Asian countries Afghanistan and Pakistan, where WHO recorded four cases—two in each country this year.
  • In 2016, there were 37 cases globally

Karnataka H.C struck down pictorial health warnings rule of 85%

  • The Karnataka High Court has struck down 2014 amendment rules that mandated pictorial health warnings to cover 85% of tobacco product packaging space, holding that they violated Constitutional norms.
  • However, it made it clear that 40% pictorial health warning rule, which existed prior to amendment rules, will remain in force.
  • The HC passed the order on batch of petitions led by various tobacco manufacturing companies and others from across country, challenging the 85% pictorial warning rule noticed by the Union Health Ministry.

Enlighten about it -

  • The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Amendment Rules (COTPA), 2014 came into effect from April 2016.
  • It had increased mandated pictorial health warnings of tobacco product packaging space to 85% from 40%.
  • In May 2016, Supreme Court had transferred all petitions against the 85% rule led in various high courts to Karnataka High Court and asked it to hear and dispose of them.

The Case

  • The Tobacco Institute of India and others had challenged enforcement of the COTPA which required printing of pictorial health warnings covering 85% of tobacco product packages.
  • The petitioners argued that these rules were impractical and will boost smuggling of imported cigarettes.

The Verdict :

  • Union Health Ministry does not have any jurisdictional power to make such rules.
  • Even if the health ministry enjoyed power to make such rules, they violated constitutional norms as it was an unreasonable restriction on the right to do business guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution.
  • From perspective of tobacco growers, such rules violated the Right To Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution because there was no connection between images and the warnings.
  • Rules cannot be made to scare people but to issue notifications.

National AYUSH Mission

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for continuation of centrally sponsored scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) from April 2017 to March 2020 with an outlay of Rs. 2400 crore over 3 year period to provide cost effective AYUSH services.
  • NAM was launched in September 2014.
  • It is being implemented by Ministry of AYUSH with the objective of providing cost-effective universal access to AYUSH Services.
  • It aims to address gaps in health services through supporting efforts of State/UTs for providing AYUSH health services and education in country, particularly in vulnerable and far-flung areas.
  • It intends to build on India’s unmatched heritage represented by its ancient systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Yunani, Sidhha, Unani and Homeopathy (AYUSH), which are treasure house of knowledge for preventive and promotive health care.
  • Better access to AYUSH healthcare services through increased number of healthcare facilities offering them and better availability of medicines and trained manpower.
  • Improvement in AYUSH education through well-equipped enhanced number of AYUSH Educational institutions.
  • Improved availability of quality AYUSH drugs by increased number of quality pharmacies and Drug Testing Laboratories coupled with stringent enforcement mechanism. Increased awareness and acceptance of Yoga and Naturopathy as promotive and preventive health-care systems.
  • Meet increasing domestic demand for herbal raw-materials and also to promote export


National Medical Commission Bill

  • The Union Cabinet has approved National Medical Commission Bill, 2017.
  • It will replace the Medical Council, 1956 Act and enable a forward movement in medical education reform.
  • The bill aims at bringing reforms in medical education sector of the country which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices.

Enlighten about the bill -

  • The bill replaces existing apex medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) with National Medical Council (NMC), a new body to ensure transparency.
  • It empowers NMC to lay down policies for maintaining high quality and high standards in medical education and make necessary regulations in this behalf and ensure coordination among Autonomous Boards.
  • It provides for constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under NMC.
  • The commission will have 25-members including Chairman and Member Secretary.
  • It will have 12 ex-ocio members and 11-part-time members of which ve will be doctors elected to the commission.
  • The selected members will be picked by a search committee headed by Cabinet Secretary.
  • The bill proposes a common entrance exam and national licentiate examination which every candidate, who completes ve years of MMBS course need to clear to become medical practitioner or get entry into post-graduation studies.
  • This examination will also bring those students who do medical education from abroad at par with those who graduate from Indian institutions.
  • The bill aims to move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education rather than process oriented.
  • It will ensure proper separation of functions within regulator by having autonomous boards, create accountable and transparent procedures for maintaining standards in Medical Education


KEN – BETWA Link :

  • The Union Government is planning to club phase I and phase II of its ambitious Ken-Betwa inter linking river (ILR) project.
  • The phases will be clubbed after Madhya Pradesh, one of the two beneficiary states (Uttar Pradesh in another), demanded so.
  • It will result in revision of project’s cost. The costs for first phase was estimated at Rs. 18,000 crore and second phase was Rs. 8000 crore.
  • The Centre’s ambitious Ken-Betwa river linking project, which had received almost all major environmental clearances had hit roadblock earlier this year after Madhya Pradesh government allegedly objected to it.
  • The state government had allegedly warned that rst phase of project would not be allowed to take off if as it has not reworked to incorporate three other smaller projects – Bina complex, Lower Orr dam and Kotha barrage projects – in initial phase.
  • These three projects were to be implemented in the second phase which aimed to connect the rivers Ken in Madhya Pradesh and Betwa in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Union Government has sorted out issues raised by Madhya Pradesh. These works will be now carried out in one phase.
  • The cost will accordingly have to be revised.
  • Now the whole project may be executed based on a 90:10 funding pattern between Centre and the states respectively.

Enlighten about the Link :

  • The Ken-Betwa ILR project aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken River to the Betwa basin through concrete canal to irrigate India’s worst drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
  • On completion, the multipurpose project will benefit Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in terms of meeting irrigation, drinking water and electricity needs of people across 6 districts in the two states.


Indian Diaspora is World’s Largest
UN World Migration Report - 2018

  • According to UN World Migration Report (2018) Indian diaspora is world’s largest, with slightly more than 15.6 million people from India living overseas.
  • The report was released by International Organisation for Migration.
  • The Indian diaspora constitutes 6% of the total number of international migrants (people living outside the country of their birth), which was estimated at 243 million in 2015.

Enlighten about the report

  • Mexico has the second largest diaspora after India followed by Russia (3rd), China (4th), Bangladesh (5th) and Pakistan (6th).
  • The Gulf nations house biggest share of the Indian diaspora — nearly 3.5 million or 22% of total Indian diaspora.
  • The global migrants figure has risen by 10% over that recorded in 2010.
  • Out of global population of 7.3 billion, one of every 30 people was migrant in 2015.
  • However, if computed as percentage of world’s population, the growth of diaspora has been largely static, from 3.2% in 2010 to 3.3% in 2015.
  • Notably, people in working age group, between 20 to 64 years, account for nearly 72% i.e. significant chunk of international migrant population.
  • Nearly half of all the international migrants worldwide in 2015 were born in Asia, primarily originating from India, China and other South Asian countries
  • The US has been the main destination for international migrants.
  • The number of foreign-born people residing in US has almost quadrupled from fewer than 12 million in 1970 to 46.6 million in 2015 of which nearly 2 million are of Indian origin

Enlighten about International Organisation for Migration

  • IOM is an intergovernmental organization that provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, including refugees, internally displaced persons and migrant workers.
  • IOM was established in 1951 as Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) to help resettle people displaced by World War II.
  • It was granted Permanent Observer status to UN General Assembly in 1992.
  • Cooperation agreement between IOM and the UN was signed in 1996.
  • IOM works in four broad areas of migration management: Migration and development, Facilitating migration, Regulating migration and Forced migration.
  • It has 166 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, It has more than 9,500 staff and 450 offices worldwide.