Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Daily Current Affairs 2nd October -2021

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 2nd October -2021

Daily Current Affairs 2nd October -2021

  

Topics                                                                                                                                                

  • One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG)
  • ‘Best Practices in the Performance of District Hospitals’ report by Niti Aayog
  • DigiSaksham Programme
  • SACRED portal for the Elderly
  • Covid-19 ex-gratia

 

 

1) One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG)

 #GS3 #Conservation #International Environment Agencies & Agreements

 Context: India and the UK are likely to announce a joint declaration on Green Grid or OSOWOG at the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP26).

  • COP26(UN Climate Change Conference) is scheduled to be held between 31st October and 12th November in Scotland.
  • The climate parliament secretariat is handling details of the proposal and more than 100 energy ministers from across the world is ready to sign the proposal.

About OSOWOG:

  • The concept of OSOWOG is also called as green grid by the British.
  • The fundamental concept behind OSOWOS is to develop a trans-national grid that will be laid all over the globe to transport the solar power generated across the globe to different load centres.
    • It would thus help in realizing the vision of “One Sun, One World, One Grid” articulated by India.
  • The idea was first floated by PM Modi in 2018 at the first meeting of International Solar Alliance, which will also take a lead on this venture.
    • The climate secretariat will put a road map in place at COP26, on how to achieve this vision.
    • This is seen as India’s counter to China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) that is primarily an economic diplomacy strategy to boost its domestic economy by improving connectivity and cooperation among the current 78 partner countries.
  • The vision behind the OSOWOG is ‘The Sun Never Sets’ and is a constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given point of time.
  • This is by far one of the most ambitious schemes undertaken by any country (India) and is of global significance in terms of sharing economic benefits.
  • It has been taken up under the technical assistance program of the World Bank.
  • With India in the middle, the solar spectrum can easily be divided into two broad zones, which are:
    • Far East including countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Lao, Cambodia etc.
    • Far West covering the Middle East and the Africa Region.

The OSOWOG study will be implemented in three phases.

  • In the first Phase, the Indian Grid interconnects with the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia grids to share solar and other renewable energy resources for meeting electricity needs including during peak demand.
  • It is then interconnected with the African power pools in the second Phase and
  • The third phase would contend for global interconnection of the power transmission grid to achieve the One Sun One World One Grid’s vision.

Significance of the Project:

  • The initiative will help to realize “three transitions” of energy development.
    • The transition of energy production from fossil fuel to clean energy dominance.
    • The transition of energy allocation from local balance to cross-border and global distribution and
    • The transition from coal, oil, and gas in energy consumption to electric-centric consumption.
  • OSOWOG can catalyse investments in sustainable energy solutions, expand energy access, create jobs, improve health, make economies more competitive and resilient and advance the SDGs.
  • Resultant economic benefits would positively impact poverty alleviation and support in mitigating water, sanitation, food and other socioeconomic challenges.
  • At the same time, OSOWOG can reinstate the global interdependencies threatened by the pandemic.

 Possible Bottlenecks:

  • Cost Sharing: The mechanism of cost-sharing will be challenging, given the varied priorities of participating countries depending on their socio-economic orders.
  • Complex process: The OSOWOG will turn out to be an expensive, complex and very slow progress project.
    • The strategic benefits, if any, of having a single grid will be obliterated in the wake of any geopolitical problem.
    • Energy supply is necessary for a range of activities including defence and essential services like hospitals, etc. Under the project, these will be exposed to this common grid.
    • Any disruption caused due to any bilateral / multilateral issues can potentially affect critical services in multiple continents and countries. Hence, not many countries may be willing to participate.
  • Multiplicity of regulations: In India, the major issue of renewable energy developers is to deal with different state governments and hence, different laws and regulations.
  • Further, the project also contradicts the Prime Minister’s Aatma nirbhar Bharat vision, as it extends the reliance for a major strategic entity, energy supply, to other countries through this grid.

Road Ahead:

  • This is the key to future renewable-based energy systems globally because regional and international interconnected green grids can enable sharing and balancing of renewable energy across international borders.
  • Institution building is key to fulfilling the ambitions of a multi-country grid project. In this context, ISA (International Solar Alliance) can act as an independent supranational institution to take decisions about how the grid should be run and conflicts settled.

  

2) ‘Best Practices in the Performance of District Hospitals’ report by Niti Aayog

#GS2 #Government policies and intervention in various sectors – Health #Statutory, Regulatory & Quasi-Judicial Bodies

 

Context: Recently, NITI Aayog Launches Report on Best Practices in the Performance of District Hospitals.

 Key Details:

  • The report is an outcome of collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and WHO India.
  • The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers, a constituent board of the Quality Council of India, conducted the on-ground data validation.
  • A total of 707 district hospitals across all States and UnionTerritories participated in the performance assessment.
    • The Health Management Information System (HMIS) data for 2017 18 was used as the baseline for this exercise.
  • For this performance assessment, district hospitals were categorised into small (up to 200 beds), mid-sized (201-300 beds) and large hospitals (more than 300 beds).

The assessment framework covers 10 Key Performance Indicators across the domains of Structure and Output.

  • Number of functional hospital beds per 1,00,000 population
  • Ratio of doctors, nursing staffs and paramedical staff in position to Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) norm;
  • Proportion of support services available
  • Proportion of core health care services available
  • Proportion of diagnostic services available
  • Bed occupancy rate
  • C-section rate
  • Surgical productivity index
  • OPD per doctor
  • Blood bank replacement rate

Highlights of the report:

  • Beds per Population: On an average, a district hospital had 24 beds for 1,00,000 people.
    • With Bihar having the lowest average of six beds and Puducherry the highest of 222.
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends five hospital beds for every 1,000 people.
    • The Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) 2012 guidelines recommend district hospitals to maintain at least 22 beds per 1 lakh population.

  • Bed Occupancy: One of the means of determining the efficiency of a district hospital is its bed occupancy rate.
    • The average bed occupancy rate in district hospitals in India is 57%.
    • IPHS guidelines for district hospitals (2012) recommend at least 80% bed occupancy. 263 district hospitals were found to have a bed occupancy rate of more than 80%.
  • Doctor-to-Bed Ratio: Only 27% of the total 707 districts assessed met the doctor-to-bed ratio of 29 doctors per 100 beds in a hospital.
    • 88 hospitals out of 707 had the required ratio of staff nurses.
    • Lower number of doctors per bed may make it difficult to treat the complex medical conditions and the imbalance may negatively affect patient outcomes.
  • Ratio of Paramedical Staff: Only 399 hospitals were found to have a ratio of paramedical staff in position as IPHS norms laid down (100 paramedical staff for 500 bed hospital).
    • Paramedics provide an immediate assessment of life threats and initiate care to stabilize the patient prior to and during transportation to the hospital emergency department. They primarily work as part of the emergency medical services, most often in ambulances.
  • OPD Patients: On an average, a doctor in a district hospital attends to 27 OPD patients.

Suggestions:

  • A periodic review of the vacancies must be conducted in all district hospitals in order to ensure timely recruitment of doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff, thereby contributing to better health outcomes.
  • States may utilize flexibilities under National Health Mission to engage HR and assume availability of full contingent of HR as per IPHS norms.
  • Nurses and paramedical staff should be well trained, and have periodic refresher training sessions.
  • Ensuring 24×7 availability of support services, diagnostic testing facilities, pharmacy, and well-planned shifts of medical and paramedical staff would contribute to an optimal bed occupancy and resource utilization.
  • Regular maintenance and upkeep of medical equipment reduces its downtime and increases its optimal utilization.
  • Periodic monitoring of processes will help analyse gaps and acts on addressing it thereby eventually ensuring smooth processes, reduced waiting time, and redressal of any other administrative lacunae.
  • Bi-annual trainings for nurses and paramedical staff may be conducted at the nearest medical college.
  • District hospitals may be linked to the nearest medical college by employing a hub and spoke distribution model, which is a cost-effective and time-saving transport and service distribution mechanism.
  • Hospitals should encourage care seeking among the community through extension services, as also make seeking care a hassle-free and productive experience. Tele-medicine services can help increase OPD footfalls, with convenience to patients.

Significance of the findings:

  • The findings of the study are significant as it was conducted just before the outbreak of Covid-19.
  • The findings mean that when the country faced the wrath of the pandemic, public health infrastructure, particularly at district level, was not adequate. This was experienced during the second wave of Covid-19, when the country’s health facilities were overwhelmed.
  • The report also highlights some key issues faced by the health system and provides some sustainable solutions to strengthen the condition of district hospitals in the country, primarily involving improving data reporting in HMIS, and encouraging such performance assessment exercises to bring about greater accountability for health care services in district hospitals.
  • This report can serve as a foundation for a roadmap of action for developing upgraded and improved district hospitals in the country.

 

3) DigiSaksham Programme

 #GS2 #Government policies and interventions #GS3 #Employment #Linkage Between Economic Reforms and Economic Outcomes

 Context: Recently, the Union government launched a digital skilled platform — DigiSaksham.

 Key Details:

  • It is a joint initiative of Labour Ministry with Microsoft India to enhance the employability of youth.
  • Free of cost training in digital skills including basic skills as well as advanced computing, will be provided to more than 3 lakh youths in the first year.
  • The initiative gives priority to the job-seekers of semi urban areas belonging to disadvantaged communities, including those who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Under the initiative, there will be basically three types of training namely, Digital Skills – Self paced learning, VILT mode training (Virtual Instructor led) and ILT mode training (Instructor led).
    • The ILT training which is in person training would be conducted at the Model Career Centres (MCCs) and National Career Service Centres (NCSC) for SCs/STs across the country.
  • Implemented by: Aga Khan Rural Support Programme India (AKRSP-I).
    • AKJRSP-I is a non-denominational, non-government development organization. It works as a catalyst for the betterment of rural communities by providing direct support to local communities.
  • The DigiSaksham initiative will equip more than 300,000 youth in technical skills in the first year and Jobseekers can access Microsoft learning resources such as programming languages, data analytics, software development fundamentals and advanced digital productivity on the National Career Service (NCS) Portal.
    • The Ministry of Labour and Employment is implementing the National Career Service (NCS) Project as a Mission Mode Project for transformation of the National Employment Service to provide a variety of employment related services like job matching, career counselling, vocational guidance, information on skill development courses, apprenticeship, internships etc

Significance:

  • To bridge the gap of India’s digital divide, placing the country on the path to inclusive economic recovery and preparing India’s talent to thrive in a digital future catering not only to the needs of the domestic economy but also to tap the overseas employment opportunities.
  • Today the job market is more competitive and employers are now looking for employability skills along with expertise in subject matter as essential traits in their potential employees.
    • Employability skills are those skills that go beyond qualifications and experience
  • The initiative gives priority to the job-seekers of semi urban areas belonging to disadvantaged communities, particularly the candidates from the socially and economically backward communities, marginalized communities, people who have been displaced or lost jobs due to Covid-19.

 

 4) SACRED portal for the Elderly

 #GS1 #Salient Features of Indian Society #Population and Associated Issues #Population Aging in India #Family System

Context: Recently, Vice President of India launched the Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity (SACRED) portal to connect senior citizens with job providers in the private sectorto cater to senior citizens seeking job opportunities.

  • He also emphasized the need to sensitize the society towards the challenges faced by the elderly and appealed to media and NGOs to take up sensitization drives to educate people in this regard.

 Key Details:

  • Aim: To devise ways to ensure Senior Citizens live healthy, happy, empowered, dignified and self-reliant life
  • Developed by: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Eligibility: Citizens above 60 years of age can register on the portal and find jobs and work opportunities
  • Funding: An amount of Rs. 10 Cr would be provided for funding for the platform development along with maintenance grant of Rs. 2 Cr per year for 5 years.
  • The portal is shaped on the recommendations of the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) report on start-ups for the elderly.
  • Any job provider – individual / firm/ company/ partnership/ Voluntary Organisation etc. can also register on the portal. The job provider will specify the task involved and the number of senior citizens that are required to complete it.

Significance:

  • The SACRED job portal will serve as an enabler for people looking for work and not as a platform guaranteeing employment.
  • The Employment Portal will serve not only the senior citizens seeking employment, but also the employers, the Self-Help Groups (SHGs), the senior citizens gaining skills, and other agencies or individuals.

Need:

  • There has been a steady rise in the population of senior citizens in India.
    • General improvement in the health care facilities over the years is one of the main reasons for continuing increase in proportion of population of senior citizens. Ensuring that they not merely live longer, but lead a secure, dignified and productive life is a major challenge.
    • These older persons are facing a lot of problems in the absence of adequate social security. This reveals that ageing has become a major social challenge and there is a need to provide for the economic and health needs of the elderly and to create a social milieu, which is conducive and sensitive to the emotional needs of the elderly.
    • An active Sr citizen feels alone without having work at home although equally competent to work and provide services as mature challenger.
  • The number of elderly persons increased from 1.98 crore in 1951 to 7.6 crore in 2001 and 10.38 crore in 2011.
  • Thrust is on creating an ecosystem that supports their needs more holistically.
  • According to the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI), India will have over 319 million elderly by 2050 compared to the 120 million now.
  • More than 50% senior citizens are found active as per the LASI report 2020. Many senior citizens having experience, time and energy can be used by the business enterprises looking for stable employees with experience.

 

5) Covid-19 ex-gratia

 #GS1 #Social Empowerment #GS2 #Government policies and intervention #GS3 #Disaster management

 Context: Recently, Union government has issued orders for ex-gratia of Rs. 50,000 to the families of those who died of Covid-19.

  • This was in response to a plea filed in the Supreme Court seeking Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia payment to families of Covid victims.

Key Details:

  • The union ministry of Home Affairs approved ?50,000 as compensation for kin of people who died due to the deadly disease of Covid.
  • Ministry in its letter to all states and UTs asked them to disburse the amount from State Disaster Response Fund.
  • The amount has been recommended by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  • Last year, Covid-19 was notified as a disaster by the Ministry.
  • The ex-gratia will also be given to the kin of Covid-19 victims including those involved in relief operations.
  • The assistance would be applicable from the date of the first case in the country and continue till the de-notification of Covid-19 as a disaster or till further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • As per Union Health Ministry data, India’s death toll due to Covid-19 exceeds 400,000.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has already approved the release of over Rs 7,400 crore to 23 states as second instalment of the Centre’s share in the SDRF for this purpose.
  • The compensation will be paid for any future deaths as well.
  • The disbursement is to be made following claims by next of kin of the deceased and the claims are to be finalised within 30 days.

About State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF):

  • State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) is constituted under the section 48 of (1) (a) of Disaster Management act 2005 is a primary fund available with State Government for responses to notified disaster.
  • It was constituted based on the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal ministry for overseeing the operation of the SDRF and monitors compliance with prescribed processes.
  • Since financial year 2010-11, the Union Government has been financing the NDRF through the levy of a cess and the SDRF as grants-in-aid.
  • In the post GST era, with regard to the contribution of states and the centre in SDRF, it has been decided to implement the 14th FC recommendation. Accordingly, all states will contribute 10 per cent to the SDRF and rest 90 per cent will be contributed by the Union Government during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • The annual contribution is released in two equal instalments as per the recommendation of the finance commission.
  • SDRF shall be used only for meeting the expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims.
  • SDRF is located in the ‘Public Account’ under ‘Reserve Fund’. (But direct expenditures are not made from Public Account.)
  • It is audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) every year.

Disaster (s) Covered under SDRF:

  • Cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves.

Local Disasters:

  • A State Government may use up to 10% of the funds available under the SDRF for providing immediate relief to the victims of natural disasters that they consider to be ‘disasters’ within the local context in the State and which are not included in the notified list of disasters of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Daily Current Affairs 2nd October -2021

 

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