Contents

  1. Bird census in India
  2. An Indian Counterstrategy – Fighting USA’s Move
  3. Powering the Healthcare Engine with Innovation

BIRD CENSUS IN INDIA

Why in news?

Once-thriving endemic or migrant bird populations have been decimated over the past quarter century in India, as the scientific report, State of India’s Birds 2020, points out.

More about state of India’s birds

  • The analysis, produced by 10 globally influential organisations, is a major addition to ornithology.
  • It is a rare synthesis of scientific understanding and citizen-led initiatives, using over 10 million observations made by over 15,500 bird watchers, achieving what would be difficult for small groups of researchers working alone
  • Sparrow numbers remain stable overall, although the bird has largely disappeared from some of the big cities.
  • But the Western Ghats offer bleak prospects, and the abundance index of 12 endemic species there has dropped by 75% since 2000. 
  • Report is refreshing as it taps into citizen science for good data and should serve as a foundation for further collaborative work.
  • It is essential to revive the Great Indian Bustard, now pushed to precariously low numbers.

AN INDIAN COUNTERSTRATEGY- FIGHTING USA’S MOVE

Why in news?

India has been dropped from the list of developing countries and in future countervailing duty investigations, the U.S. would treat India as a developed country.

India as target

  • Under the WTO rules, any country can “self-designate” itself as a developing country.
  • In fact, the WTO does not lay down any specific criteria for making a distinction between a developed and a developing country member, unlike in the World Bank where per capita incomes are used to classify countries.
  • (USTR) employed an arbitrary methodology that took into consideration “economic, trade, and other factors, including the level of economic development of a country (based on a review of the country’s per capita GNI) and a country’s share of world trade” to exclude India from list of designated developing countries.

GSP 

  • GSP is a special window provided by the U.S. and several other developed countries, through which they import identified products from developing countries at concessional rates of duties.
  • Importantly, GSP confers non-reciprocal benefits
  • India would then lose the ability to use the special and differential treatment (S&DT) to which every developing country member of the WTO has a right.

Shifting to DBT

  • India is a major user of price support measures and input subsidies, and given the constraints imposed by the AoA, the government has spoken about its intention to move into the system of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for supporting farmers.
  • A shift to DBT is attractive for India since there are no limits on spending, unlike in case of price support measures and input subsidies
  • Over the past two years, the government of India has been extensively using import tariffs for protecting Indian businesses from import competition.
  • With increasing use of tariffs, almost across the board, India’s average tariffs have increased from about 13% in 2017-18 to above 17% at present

POWERING THE HEALTHCARE ENGINE WITH INNOVATION

Why in news?

  • Ayushman Bharat scheme is currently being implemented in 32 of 36 States and Union Territories.
  • It has provided 84 lakh free treatments to poor and vulnerable patients for secondary and tertiary ailments at 22,000 empanelled hospitals, countrywide

State of health care 

  • At present, there is one government bed for every 1,844 patients and one doctor for every 11,082 patients.
  • In the coming years, considering 3% hospitalisation of PM-JAY-covered beneficiaries, the scheme is likely to provide treatment to 1.5 crore patients annually.
  • This means physical and human infrastructure capacity would need to be augmented vastly

Startups in health care sector

  • There are more than 4,000 health-care technology start-ups in India.
  • Today, start-ups are working to bring innovative technologies and business models that leapfrog infrastructure, human resources, cost-effectiveness and efficiency challenges in Tier-2 and -3 cities.

Problems with health care start ups

  • Lack of indigenous regulatory mechanism makes startups depend on foreign regulatory certifications such as FDA and CE, especially for riskier devices and instruments.
  • Lack of incentives and adequate frameworks to grade and adopt innovations. Health-care providers and clinicians, given limited bandwidth, often lack the incentives,
  • Face procurement challenges in both public and private procurement.
  • They lack the financial capacity to deal with lengthy tenders 
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