IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 27 September 2019

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Rise in notified Tuberculosis cases

Topic: GS–II: Health

The Centre released the India TB Report 2019, which showed a 16% increase in the number of cases in 2018 as compared to the previous year.

More findings:

  • The report said 21.5 lakh TB cases were notified to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in 2018; India accounted for a quarter of the Global TB burden with an estimated 27 lakh new cases in the year. The majority of the affected individuals (89%) were in the age group 15-69.

State by state

  • Uttar Pradesh, with 17% of the population of the country, reported 4.2 lakh cases, accounting for 20% of all notifications (187 cases/lakh population).
  • Between 2017 and 2018, Haryana saw a large increase in the number of cases, data from the report show (see table). Cases increased significantly in Rajasthan and UP, as well as Delhi.
  • On the other hand, Odisha witnessed a decline in the number of notified cases from over 67,000 in 2017 to 50,244 in 2018, or about 25%. Odisha was the only such state; the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands too witnessed a drop.
  • The two UTs of Delhi and Chandigarh had the highest number of notified patients per lakh population, at 417 and 468, respectively. Their rates of notification are higher because people from many other parts of India get notified from these UTs, the report said.

TB & HIV

  • TB is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV, and HIV co-infection rates among incident TB patients is estimated to be 3% — 86,000 HIV-associated TB patients are emerging annually. The mortality in this group is very high, and 11,000 people with HIV die every year due to TB, the report said.
  • India is the third highest HIV-burden country in the world, with an adult prevalence of 0.22%. The report said people living with HIV are at 21 times higher risk of developing TB. Nearly 25% of all deaths among people living with HIV are estimated to be due to TB.

ABOUT TUBERCULOSIS

  • TB is an infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • It typically affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect other sites (extrapulmonary TB).
  • The disease is spread when people who are sick with pulmonary TB expel bacteria into the air, for example by coughing. Overall, a relatively small proportion (5–15%) of the estimated 1.7 billion people infected with M. tuberculosis will develop TB disease during their lifetime.
  • However, the probability of developing TB disease is much higher among people infected with HIV, and also higher among people affected by risk factors such as under-nutrition, diabetes, smoking and alcohol consumption

Listing India’s residents, citizens

Topic: GS –II: Governance

In the backdrop of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam excluding 19 lakh among the 3.3 crore who had applied, the resurrection of the National Population Register (NPR) project has added to the uncertainty around the idea of citizenship in the country. Even as issues of privacy associated with Aadhaar continue to be debated in the country, the NPR is on a drive to collect detailed data on residents of India. What has added to the conversation is Home Minister Amit Shah floating the idea of “one nation, one card” and asserting that the NRC would be implemented across the country.

What is the NPR?

  • The NPR is a list of “usual residents of the country”. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, a “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least the last six months, or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
  • Unlike the NRC, the NPR is not a citizenship enumeration drive, as it would record even a foreigner staying in a locality for more than six months.
  • The NPR is being prepared under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It is mandatory for every “usual resident of India” to register in the NPR.
  • It will be conducted in conjunction with the house listing phase, the first phase of the Census, by the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) under the Home Ministry for Census 2021. Only Assam will not be included, given the recently completed NRC.
  • The NPR exercise is conducted at the local, sub-district, district, state and national levels. The RGI has already begun a pilot project in over 1,200 villages and 40 towns and cities through 5,218 enumeration blocks, where it is collecting various data from people. The final enumeration will begin in April 2020 and end in September 2020.

What is the controversy around it?

  • It comes in the backdrop of the NRC excluding 19 lakh people in Assam. With the government insisting that the NRC would be implemented across the country, the NPR has raised anxieties around the idea of citizenship in the country. Even as a debate continues on Aadhaar and privacy, the NPR intends to collect a much larger amount of personal data on residents of India.
  • The idea of conducting a nationwide NRC would only happen on the basis of the upcoming NPR. After a list of residents is created, a nationwide NRC could go about verifying the citizens from that list.
  • The NPR is also amongst a host of identity databases such as Aadhaar, voter card, passport and more that Amit Shah said he would like to see combined into one card.

Is the NPR a new idea?

  • The idea actually dates back to the UPA regime and was put in motion by then Home Minister P Chidambaram in 2009. In fact, at that time it had clashed with Aadhaar (UIDAI) over which project would be best suited for transferring government benefits to citizens. The Home Ministry had then pushed the idea of the NPR being a better vehicle because it connected every NPR-recorded resident to a household through the Census. Back then, the Home Ministry push had even put the UIDAI project on the backburner.
  • The data for the NPR were first collected in 2010 along with the houselisting phase of Census 2011. In 2015, this data was further updated by conducting a door-to-door survey.
  • However, with the current government picking out Aadhaar as the key vehicle for transfer of government benefits in 2016 and putting its weight behind it, the NPR took a backseat. Through a notification on August 3 by the RGI, however, the idea has now been revived. The exercise to update the 2015 NPR with additional data has begun and will be completed in 2020. Digitisation of the updated information has been completed.

What kind of data will NPR collect?

  • The NPR will collect both demographic data and biometric data.
  • There are 15 different categories of demographic data, ranging from name and place of birth to education and occupation, that the RGI is supposed collect in the NPR. For biometric data it will depend on Aadhaar, for which it will seek Aadhaar details of the residents.
  • Apart from this, in a test run going on across the country, the RGI is seeking details of mobile number, Aadhaar, PAN card, Driving Licence, Voter ID card and passport (in case the resident is Indian). It is also working to update the Civil Registration System of birth and death certificates.
  • According to Home Ministry sources, while registering with the NPR is mandatory, furnishing of additional data such as PAN, Aadhaar, driving licence and voter ID is voluntary.

Why does the government want so much data?

  • While there are concerns around privacy, the government position on collection of so much data is twofold. The first is the assertion that every country must have a comprehensive identity database of its residents with relevant demographic details. It says it will help the government formulate its policies better and also aid national security.
  • The second, largely to justify the collection of data such as driving licence, voter ID and PAN numbers, is that it will will only ease the life of those residing in India by cutting red tape.

India’s new all-purpose emergency number

Topic: GS –II: Governance

Delhi became the fifth Union Territory after Puducherry, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to implement the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) since it was inaugurated in February by then home minister Rajnath Singh.

Single number in India

  • In India, the decision to launch the ERSS system was taken in the wake of the 2012 Delhi bus gangrape case.
  • A note on the ERSS page of the Home Ministry website says the Ministry “accepted the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee in the backdrop of unfortunate incident of Nirbhaya in December 2012 and has approved a national project by name of ‘Emergency Response Support System’, earlier referred as Nationwide Emergency Response System, with a view to introduce a Pan-India Single Emergency Response Number ‘112’ to address all kinds of distress calls such as police, fire and ambulance, etc.”
  • The Justice Verma Committee was set up to recommend amendments to criminal law with the aim to provide for quicker trial and stronger punishment for sexual assault against women.
  • A single emergency number under the ERSS makes it easier for people travelling across states/UTs, since they don’t have to remember the local emergency numbers of every place.

How it will work

  • Existing emergency numbers such as 100 for police, 101 for fire, 108 for health services, the women’s helplines 1091 and 181, the child helpline 1098, etc., will be gradually integrated under 112.
  • A “112 India” app has been launched as well, through which users, after registering, can reach out to police, health, fire, and other services. 112 is the common emergency number in several other countries as well, including most countries in Europe.

PM’s Economic Advisory Council

Topic: GS –II: Constitution and Polity

Context:

  • The government has reconstituted the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC or EAC-PM). Bibek Debroy, who was appointed Chairman of the Council in 2017, continues in his post.

Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC)

  • PMEAC is non-constitutional and non-statutory, non-permanent and independent body, constituted with the prime and sole aim to analyse all critical issues, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the prime minister and advising him thereon.
  • It is mandate to give advice to prime minister on economic matters such as inflation, GDP changes, export-import changes, creating supporting environment for increased trade and commerce.

Functions

  • Submit periodic reports to PM related to macroeconomic developments and issues which will have implications of the economic policy.
  • Analyse any topics, issues assigned by the PM and provide advice to them.
  • Analyse macroeconomic issues having high importance and present the views to PM and any other task which is assigned by Prime Minister.

Global Goalkeepers Award

Topic: GS-III: Environment

Context:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi was honoured with the Global Goalkeeper award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York.
  • At the same event, Payal Jangid, a 16-year-old activist from Rajasthan, was presented with the Changemaker award for her work against child marriage.
  • The Goalkeeper awards felicitate changemakers around the world for their contributions toward meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the UN General Assembly set in 2015 for the year 2030. The awards are presented at the annual Goalkeepers function; the first such event took place in 2017.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • The website of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals describes the SDGs as “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
  • There are 17 such Goals, which were adopted by the UN in 2015, and which came into force on January 1, 2016 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Goals are universally applicable, and serve as a roadmap for countries to track their progress on complex issues such as poverty, inequality, and climate change.

The 17 Goals that the UN set in 2015 (Goal 1 through Goal 17, respectively) are:

  • No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Reducing Inequality, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life On Land, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, Partnerships for the Goals.

The Goalkeeper awards

  • Since 2017, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been publishing an annual report card called ‘Goalkeepers’ that tracks global progress towards the SDGs. According to the Foundation’s website, the report aims to accelerate this progress by “using powerful stories, data, and partnerships to highlight progress achieved, hold governments accountable and bring together a new generation of leaders to address the world’s major challenges”.
  • A function to honour achievers, called the Goalkeepers event, is held every year. This year’s event coincided with the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, and was held on September 24 and 25 in New York City.
  • There are five categories of awards at the Goalkeepers event: Progress Award (age 16-30), Changemaker Award (age 16-30), Campaign Award (age 16-30), Goalkeepers Voice Award (any age), and the Global Goalkeeper Award (any age).
  • The Global Goalkeeper Award, awarded to PM Modi, “celebrates a political leader who has demonstrated their commitment to the Global Goals through impactful work in their country and/or globally”.
  • In the past, speakers at the Goalkeepers event have included the likes of former US President Barack Obama, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and Nobel Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Nadia Murad.

Editorial section:

Childhoods lost in a troubled paradise- The Hindu

Subject to people’s will- The Hindu

Institutions weakened, economy crippled- The Hindu

Trump & impeachment- The Hindu

A climate emergency- The Hindu

 

 

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