DAILY EDITORIAL (UPSC) |01 Feb 2021| RaghukulCS

Editorial analysis

Index:

  • Building a robust healthcare system
    • Source: The Hindu
  • The Mahatma and the empowerment of the other
    • Source: The Hindu
  • The problem of ageing dams
    • Source: The Hindu

Building a robust healthcare system

Source: The Hindu

Written by: R. Poornalingam (former Health Secretary, Tamil Nadu)

Topic in the syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health (GS-2)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about the issues related to the health sector by highlighting the disparities between northern and southern states.

Introduction:

  • During the COVID-­19 pandemic, there have been major demands to strengthen the country’s public health system.
  • Many scholars have stressed the need to revamp the healthcare system quickly so that we are better prepared to handle such health care emergencies in the future.
  • We can easily be judge how good a public health system is, by looking at certain health parameters such as Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Ratio and Total Fertility Rate.

The poor performance of the northern states:

  • Because of the poor performance of the northern States, India failed to achieve the earlier Millennium Development Goals.
    • It is very difficult to achieve Goal 3 (good health and well­being) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.
  • The northern States are performing very bad in vital health parameters.
    • In Madhya Pradesh, the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 livebirths is as high as 48 compared to7 in Kerala.
    • In Uttar Pradesh, the Maternal Mortality Ratio is 197 compared to Kerala’s 42 and Tamil Nadu’s 63.
    • The deliveries percentage by untrained personnel is very high in Bihar, 190 times that of Kerala.
    • Total Fertility Rate is very high in Bihar (3.2)against the stabilisation rate that is 2.1.

What are the concerning things?

  • Some of these northern States are performing so badly that they are comparable to the poorest countries in the world, pulling down the average for India.
  • The Government of India is just looking at the averages of these performances throughout the country.
  • Sadly, this is the outcome despite Finance Commissions giving non­ Plan funds into these northern States in addition to substantial Plan allocation from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the Empowered Action Group States. (focus is on funds only)

How did the southern States achieve this?

  • It is because of enlightened and focused political leadership which was interested in the health and well­being of their people.
    • g. The family planning drives, initiatives and in numerable camps organised to eradicate cataract in the 1970s.
  • The district administration was heading these health initiatives because of the focus and drive of the government.
  • The government encouraged healthy competition among the districts & gave prizes to the well­ performing ones.
  • Tamil Nadu also has the advantage of a  public and preventive health structure, in addition to a clear focus by the political executive.
  • Tamil Nadu and Kerala have done so well in managing their population that their population will decline over the years.
    • This has been made possible because of the effective Maternal and Child Health and Family Welfare services provided by these southern States.

What is the way forward?

  • Each State government must focus on public health and aim to improve the health indicators
    mentioned above as health is a state subject.
  • The close monitoring of all above-mentioned parameters at the highest level may improve things.
  • Just money cannot produce results. We need a clear focus and better governance.
  • All the stakeholders should realise that public health and preventive care is a priority and take steps to bring these States on a par with the southern States. Importantly The Government of India has a vital role to play.
  • Investing in health and education is the primary responsibility of the centre and state government. They should give health its due importance.

 

The Mahatma and the empowerment of the other

Source: The Hindu

Written by: Ramin Jahanbegloo (Professor and Vice Dean of Law School and the Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Non-violence and Peace Studies at the O.P.Jindal Global University)

Topic in the syllabus: Contributions of Moral Thinkers and Philosophers from India and World.(GS-4)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi related to society & the idea of empowerment of the other.

Introduction:

  • We should think of Gandhi as a pure spirit who continues to be among us and who contributes to the betterment and the wellbeing of the world.
  • If there is only one idea that Gandhiji should be identified with and remembered for, it is the idea of empowerment of the other.
How Gandhi ji considered Different opinion as right?
  • The essence of Gandhi’s political philosophy is the empowerment of the other and gender, race, class or creed does not matter.
  • That is why Gandhiji consider democracy as a socio­political institution which seeks to empower the other by asserting its right to speak freely and to act differently.
  • Gandhiji considered the empowerment of the other as a right to express various opinion than that of the majority and to be heard openly and transparently.
  • Gandhiji looked for the cultivation of a public culture of citizenship that guaranteed everyone the right to opinion and action.
Why Gandhi ji considers opinion as a right?
  • Because it is a way to civilise modern politics from within, by shortening the circuit of conquest, domination and violence.
  • Gandhi was trying to cultivate the individual’s capacity for ethical citizenship and empathetic friendship, through addressing the question of the otherness of the other.

His work as a manifesto:

  • In his work Hind Swaraj, Gandhi introduces his readers to a new model of civilisation which takes humanity to a higher moral level.
  • For Gandhi, people have to give primacy to the moral progress of humanity, rather than just generate tendencies towards futility and violence.
  • Gandhi’s view of civilisation is the strong conviction that civilisation should help humanity realise the path of righteousness and compassion, by giving morality the first place before materialism.
How this idea of Gandhi ji can be achieved? What is the mode?
  • Gandhi’s idea of empowerment of the other is possible only in a political community where people have the art of listening.
  • The art of listening, like the freedom of speech, is a mode of emphasizing the otherness of the other against all forms of tyranny.
  • Gandhiji refuses to reject the otherness of the other in the situation of intolerance and exclusion.

Conclusion:

  • Even after Seventy-three years what Mahatma Gandhi continues to teach us is that all life is interconnected, and a human spirit which remains indifferent to the otherness of the others, including the natural world, has no nobility left in it.

 

The problem of ageing dams

Source: The Hindu

Written by: J. Harsha (Director, Central Water Commission, Government of India. Views are personal and not that of the Central Water Commission)

Topic in the syllabus: Governance | Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation. (GS-2)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about the problem of ageing dams in India.

Introduction:

  • Dams and reservoirs secure our water needs for the future. However, many studies show that they can threaten our water security.
  • India’s dams are now ageing and simultaneously, reservoir water is being replaced by soil, technically known as silt or sediment.

Issues:

  • India is ranked 3rd in the world in terms of building large dams. Out of 5,200 large dams built so far, about 1,100 large dams have reached 50 years of age and some are older than 120 years. This number of such dams will be 4,400 by2050.
  • The situation with many medium and minor dams is even more precarious as their shelf life is even lower than that of large dams. E.g. Krishna Raja Sagar dam was built in 1931 and is now 90 years old.
  • As dams age, soil & silt replaces the water in the reservoirs. Hence, the storage capacity cannot be the same as it was in the 1900sand 1950s.
  • According to a study the observed siltation rate in India’s iconic Bhakra dam is 139.86%higher than originally assumed.
    • Similarly, the siltation rate observed for many dams like the Hirakud, Maithan and Ghodare way higher at141.67%, 808.64% and 426.59%, respectively.
  • Indian reservoirs are designed with a less understanding of the science of sedimentation.
    • The designs of reservoirs underestimate the rate of siltation and overestimate live storage capacity created. hence, the storage space in Indian reservoirs is receding at a rate faster than anticipated.

What are the consequences of these problems?

  • When soil replaces the water in reservoirs, supply gets choked therefore the cropped area start receiving less and less water as time progresses.
  • The net sown water area shrink in size or it gets depended on rains or ground water, which is over­exploited.
  • It disrupts the farmer’s income as Crop yield gets affected severely.
  • The farmer’s income may also get reduced because water is one of the crucial factors for crop yield along with a credit, crop insurance and investment.
  • No plan on climate change adaptation will be successful with sediment­-packed dams.
  • The designed flood cushion within many reservoirs across many river basins may have depleted substantially hence which floods have become more frequent downstream of dams.
    • The flooding of Bharuch in2020, Kerala in 2018 and Chennai in2015 are some examples of down stream releases from reservoirs.

Conclusion:

  • It will be very difficult to find sufficient water in the21st century to feed the rising population by 2050, grow abundant crops, create sustainable cities, or ensure growth. Therefore, all stakeholders must come together to address this situation urgently. 

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