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Current Affairs 08 January 2022 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS

CONTENTS

  1. NEET UG, PG COUNSELLING 2021
  2. ACTION PLAN FOR INTRODUCTION OF CHEETAH IN INDIA
  3. READING GDP EARLY ESTIMATES
  4. UNIFORM CIVIL CODE

 

NEET UG, PG COUNSELLING 2021

Focus: GS II- Government Policies and Interventions

Why in News?

The Supreme court permits NEET counselling under present OBC, EWS quota.

  • Petitioners in the matter had challenged the July 29 notification of the Medical Counseling Committee (MCC) providing 27 per cent reservation for OBCs and 10 per cent for the EWS category in the NEET-UG and PG (All India Quota).
Dimensions of the Article:
  1. Details
  2. What is the All India Quota?
  3. The present situation of Medical Education and Healthcare workforce

Details:

  • The court also upheld the 27% reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10% for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) seats in accordance with a July 29, 2021 government order.
  • The ₹8 lakh gross annual family income limit criterion for identifying the EWS, as originally notified by a January 2019 official memorandum would be now implemented for the admission year 2021-2022.
  • Courts uploads the validity of the 27% OBC reservation in AIQ seats in NEET-PG and NEET-UG admissions.
What is the All India Quota?
  • The AIQ scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free, merit-based opportunities to students from any state to study in a good medical college in any other state.
  • A student domiciled in Uttar Pradesh, for example, may be eligible for admission to a seat in a state government medical college in West Bengal, provided she scores high enough in the national merit list. If her score is not high enough for AIQ, she may still hope for admission under the state quota in her home state.
  • In deemed/central universities, ESIC, and Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), 100% seats are reserved under the AIQ.

The present situation of Medical Education and Healthcare workforce

Regarding Medical Education
  • In the last six years, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56% and the number of PG seats by 80%. In the last six years, almost 180 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has more than 500 medical colleges (of which only around 290 are government colleges).
  • Medical education is the bedrock on which the needs of ‘human resources for health’, one of the major building blocks of any health system, are met.
  • Today’s health professionals are required to have knowledge, skills, and professionalism to provide safe, effective, efficient, timely, and affordable care to people.
Regarding Healthcare workforce
  • India’s availability of doctors per thousand population does come close to the World Health Organisation’s prescribed doctor-patient ratio of 1:1000 if we include all the registered allopathic, homeopathic, ayurvedic and unani doctors. But the number of doctors who practise is much lower.
  • It is also far lower than many countries including Russia, the USA, and all the European Union countries where the ratio is above 3 doctors per one thousand population. Unless we increase the ratio to the level of better performing countries on the health front, poor people in India will continue to suffer.
  • As a major impediment for achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) there is a serious shortage of health workers, especially doctors, in some northern States.
  • Health workers are critical not just for the functioning of health systems but also for the preparedness of health systems in preventing, detecting and responding to threats posed by diseases such as COVID-19.
  • The doctor-population ratio in northern States is far short of the required norm, while the southern States, barring Telangana, have enough doctors in possession- hence, the healthcare workforce crisis has been aggravated by the imbalances within the country.
  • The problem of shortage of doctors and other support staff has been allowed to linger for the past several decades due to short-sighted policies of the institutions such as Medical Council of India

-Source: The Hindu


ACTION PLAN FOR INTRODUCTION OF CHEETAH IN INDIA

Focus: GS III- Environment

Why in News?

The Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change has launched the ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India’ under which 50 of these big cats will be introduced in the next five years.

The action plan was launched at the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Dimensions:
  1. About Reintroduction Action Plan::
  2. Reasons for the Extinction:
  3. About the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
  4. About Cheetah

About Reintroduction Action Plan:

  • ‘Reintroduction’ of a species means releasing it in an area where it is capable of surviving.
  • Reintroductions of large carnivores have increasingly been recognised as a strategy to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystem functions.
  • The cheetah is the only large carnivore that has been eliminated, mainly by over-hunting in India in historical times.
  • the ministry will be translocating around 8-12 cheetahs from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana with help from the Wildlife Institute of India and the Wildlife Trust of India, .
  • The big cats will live at Kuno Palpur National Park (Madhya Pradesh) owing to its suitable habitat and adequate prey base.
Reasons for the Extinction:
  • Hunting
  • Diminishing habitat and non-availability of enough prey
  • Climate change 
  • growing human populations have only made these problems worse.

About the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force, constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganised management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.
  • The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide for constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger plan to protect endangered tigers.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority is set up under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Environment and Forests.
  • The Authority will have eight experts or professionals having qualifications and experience in wildlife conservation and welfare of people including tribals, apart from three Members of Parliament of whom two will be elected by the House of the People and one by the Council of States.
  • The Authority, interalia, would lay down normative standards, guidelines for tiger conservation in the Tiger Reserves, apart from National Parks and Sanctuaries.
  • It would provide information on protection measures including future conservation plan, tiger estimation, disease surveillance, mortality survey, patrolling, report on untoward happenings and such other management aspects as it may deem fit, including future plan for conservation.
  • The Authority would also facilitate and support tiger reserve management in the States through eco-development and people’s participation as per approved management plans, and support similar initiatives in adjoining areas consistent with the Central and state laws.
  • The Tiger Conservation Authority would be required to prepare an Annual Report, which would be laid in the Parliament along with the Audit Report.
  • Every 4 years the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) conducts a tiger census across India.

About Cheetah:

  • The cheetah is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era.
  • The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal that lives in Africa and Asia.
African Cheetah
  • IUCN status – Vulnerable
  • CITES status – Appendix-I of the List. This List comprises of migratory species that have been assessed as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
  • Habitat – Around 6,500-7,000 African cheetahs present in the wild.
  • Physical Characteristics – Bigger in size as compared to Asiatic Cheetah.
Asian Cheetah
  • IUCN Status – Critically Endangered.
  • CITES – Appendix 1 of the list
  • Habitat – 40-50 found only in Iran.
  • Physical Characteristics – Smaller and paler than the African cheetah. Has more fur, a smaller head and a longer neck. Usually have red eyes and they have a more cat-like appearance.

Source- Indian express


READING GDP EARLY ESTIMATES

Focus: GS III- Indian Economy

Why in News?

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released the First Advance Estimates (FAE) for the current financial year (2021-22 or FY22).

  • According to MoSPI, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) — the total value of all final goods and services produced within the country in one financial year — will grow by 9.2 per cent in 2020-21. 
Dimensions:
  1. What are the First Advance Estimates of GDP?
  2. Significance
  3. What are the main takeaways?
What are the First Advance Estimates of GDP?
  • It was first introduced in 2016-17, are typically published at the end of the first week of January.
  • They are the “first” official estimates of how GDP is expected to grow in that financial year.
  • They are also the “advance” estimates because they are published long before the financial year (April to March) is over.
  • It is important to note that even though the FAE are published soon after the end of the third quarter (October, November, December), they do not include the formal Q3 GDP data, which is published at the end of February as part of the Second Advance Estimates (SAE).
Significance
  • They are the GDP estimates that the Union Finance Ministry uses to decide the next financial year’s budget allocations.
  • From the Budget-making perspective, it is important to note what has happened to nominal GDP — both absolute level and its growth rate.
  • That’s because nominal GDP is the actual observed variable. Real GDP, which is the GDP after taking away the effect of inflation, is a derived metric. All Budget calculations start with the nominal GDP.
  • Real GDP = Nominal GDP — Inflation Rate
  • However, from the perspective of the common people, real GDP is what matters. The difference between the real and nominal GDP shows the levels of inflation in the year.
What are the main takeaways?

Real GDP Growth: 

  • At 9.2%, the real GDP growth rate for FY22 is slightly lower than most expectations, including RBI’s, which pegged it at 9.5%.
  • These estimates are based on data before the rise of the Omicron variant. As such, there is a possibility that the final rate may be revised further downwards by May-end when the full financial year’s “provisional” estimates will be published.
  • As things stand, aggregate GDP in FY22 is estimated to cross the pre-Covid level (see Chart 1). This also holds true for the absolute level of Gross Value Added (GVA).
  • While the GDP maps the economy from the expenditure (or demand) side — that is by adding up all the expenditures, the GVA provides a picture of the economy from the supply side. GVA maps the “value-added” by different sectors of the economy such as agriculture, industry and services.

Role of High Inflation: 

  • For FY22, while real GDP (that is, GDP calculated using constant 2011-12 prices) will grow by 9.2%, nominal GDP (that is GDP calculated using current market prices) will grow by a whopping 17.6%.
  • The difference between the two growth rates — about 8.5 percentage points — is essentially a marker of inflation (or the rate at which average prices have increased in this financial year).

Low Private Consumption: 

  • An analysis of the three main contributors to GDP — private consumption demand, investments in the economy, and government expenditures — shows that while the latter two are expected to claw back to the pre-Covid level, the first engine will continue to stay in a slump.
  • Private consumption expenditures typically account for more than 55% of all GDP.
  • As Chart 2 shows, its level is expected to stay substantially the 2019-20 level.
  • Such weak levels of private demand will make it difficult to sustain economic growth in the months and years ahead.

Average Indian is much worse off: 

  • While aggregate GDP and GVA numbers may recover the same cannot be said about an average Indian. Two data points prove this.
  • Chart 3 maps per capita GDP (a proxy for average income) and per capita Private Final Consumption Expenditure (a proxy for average spending).
  • In other words, an average Indian has lost 2 years in terms of income levels and 3 years in terms of spending levels.
  • Even these average numbers do not capture the acute pain because of the growing inequalities in the country. For the bulk of the Indian population, thus, aggregate data recovering to pre-Covid levels may be largely academic.

Source- Indian express


UNIFORM CIVIL CODE

Focus: GS II- Polity

Why in News?

Seeking dismissal of a petition which prays for drafting of Uniform Civil Code, the Centre has told Delhi High Court that it is a matter of policy for elected representatives of the people to decide, and no direction in this regard can be issued by the court.

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?
  2. Positive aspects of Uniform Civil Code include
  3. Challenges in Implementing Uniform Civil Code Include
  4. Does India not already have a UCC for civil matters?
  5. How does the idea of UCC relate to the Fundamental Right to religion?

What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?

  • The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen.
  • The constitution has a provision for Uniform Civil Code in Article 44 as a Directive Principle of State Policy which states that “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

Article 44 is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.

Fundamental Rights are enforceable in a court of law. While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall in particular direct its policy”; “shall be obligation of the state” etc.

Article 43 mentions “state shall endeavour by suitable legislation”, while the phrase “by suitable legislation” is absent in Article 44. All this implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.

Positive aspects of Uniform Civil Code include
  • UCC will divest religion from social relations and personal laws and will ensure equality in terms of justice to both men and women regardless of the faith they practice.
  • There will be uniform laws for all Indians with regard to marriage, inheritance, divorce etc.
  • It will help in improving the condition of women in India as Indian society is mostly patriarchal
  • Informal bodies like caste panchayats give judgements based on traditional laws. UCC will ensure that legal laws are followed rather than traditional laws.
  • It can help in reducing instances of vote bank politics. If all religions are covered under same laws, politicians will have less to offer to communities in exchange of their vote.
Challenges in Implementing Uniform Civil Code Include
  • Implementation of UCC might interfere with the principle of secularism, particularly with the provisions of Articles 25 and 26, which guarantee freedom relating to religious practices.
  • Conservatism by religious groups, which resist such changes as it interferes with their religious practices.
  • It is difficult for the government to come up with a uniform law that is accepted by all religious communities. All religious groups- whether majority or minority have to support the change in personal laws.
  • Drafting of UCC is another obstacle. There is no consensus regarding whether it should be a blend of personal laws or should be a new law adhering to the constitutional mandate.
Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?
  • Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters — Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act, etc.
  • States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and, therefore, in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws. Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.
  • If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List. But “personal laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List.
  • In 2020, the Law Commission concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.
How does the idea of a Uniform Civil Code relate to the fundamental right to religion?
  • Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion; Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”; Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture. An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to fundamental rights, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights.
  • In the Constituent Assembly, there was division on the issue of putting Uniform Civil Code in the fundamental rights chapter.
  • The matter was settled by a vote. By a 5:4 majority, the fundamental rights sub-committee headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel held that the provision was outside the scope of Fundamental Rights and therefore the Uniform Civil Code was made less important than freedom of religion.

-Source: Indian Express


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