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Current Affairs 28 December 2021 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. Kerala tops NITI Aayog’s ‘Health Index’
  2. Gujarat tops in composite Good Governance Index 2021
  3. J&K throws open local real estate to all citizens
  4. Ozone-destroying emissions from China increased

Kerala tops NITI Aayog’s ‘Health Index’

Context:

Kerala has emerged as the state with the best overall health performance for the fourth consecutive year according to federal think tank NITI Aayog’s fourth Health Index report.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Health, Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About NITI Aayog’s Health Index
  2. Highlights of the NITI Aayog’s Health Index Round IV 2019-20
  3. Way Forwards

About NITI Aayog’s Health Index

  • The health index was developed in 2017 by NITI Aayog, with technical assistance from the World Bank, in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The Weighted Composite Index score is prepared based on States’ performance across a large set of 24 indicators (in the latest Round 4 as of 2021) that are divided into three broad domains — health outcomes, governance and information, and key inputs and processes.
  • The Health Index covers some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets and tracer indicators related to SDG-3 on Good health and Wellbeing.
  • The ranking is done under three categories larger states, smaller states and Union territories (UTs) to ensure comparison among similar entities.
  • The learnings from the previous three rounds of the Health Index were taken into account to develop the Health Index Round IV 2019-20 –
    • Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR),
    • the proportion of pregnant women who received four or more antenatal care checkups (ANC) and
    • level of registration of deaths.

Range of Indicators

  • Health outcomes, for instance, includes parameters such as neonatal mortality rate, under-5 mortality rate, sex ratio at birth.
  • Governance includes parameters such as institutional deliveries, average occupancy of senior officers in key posts earmarked for health.
  • The ‘key inputs’ domain consists of proportion of shortfall in health care providers to what is recommended, functional medical facilities, birth and death registration and tuberculosis treatment success rate.

Highlights of the NITI Aayog’s Health Index Round IV 2019-20

All about the ranks

  • For the fourth year in a row, Kerala has topped a ranking of States (larger states) on health indicators.
  • Among the larger states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu ranked first and second in terms of overall performance – However, in incremental performance, the two ranked 12th and 8th respectively.
  • Uttar Pradesh is ranked in the bottom of the Health Index in overall performance.
  • Ten States including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh retained their rank while four States improved their rankings from the base year-to-reference year. Five states saw a decline in their ranking, with Odisha recording the steepest (two spots) and Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttarakhand slipping one each.
  • Mizoram emerged as the best performer, overall as well as incremental, among the smaller states. Nagaland was at the bottom.

What the indicators say?

  • 47% of States showed the highest performance in health outcomes and governance and information domains and only one State showed the highest performance in the key inputs and processes domain.
  • A review of the incremental performance across indicators/sub-indicators revealed that a vast majority of the larger states registered improvement in performance across the key health outcome indicators — ‘neonatal mortality rate’, ‘under-five mortality rate, ‘sex ratio at birth’ and ‘maternal mortality rate’.
  • The better performing States such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra performed comparatively better on the health outcomes domain, but performed badly on key inputs and processes.
  • Based on the reference year values for NMR, U5MR and MMR, the states were classified in three categories, i.e., aspirants, achievers and frontrunners.
  • In case of NMR and U5MR, five states qualified for the ‘frontrunner’ category — Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu — and the NMR in these states ranges between 5 and 13 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already reached the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) NMR target, recording 12 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births, while Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab, with 13 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births, are likely to hit the target soon.
  • Among the larger states, the highest percentage of institutional deliveries was recorded by Kerala in 2014-15 (96 per cent) and Telangana in 2019-20 (96.3 per cent).
  • The lowest percentage of institutional deliveries was registered in Uttar Pradesh, both in 2014-15 (43.6 per cent), and in 2019-20 (60.8 per cent).

Report doesn’t include Covid impact

  • The indicators are selected on the basis of their importance and availability of reasonably reliable data at least annually from existing data sources such as the Sample Registration System, Civil Registration System and Health Management Information Systems.
  • The report, however, does not incorporate the impact of Covid-19 on health outcomes or any of the other indicators as the index performance relates to base year (2018-19) and reference year (2019-20), largely the pre-Covid period.
  • For the fourth edition of the health index report, all states and UTs participated except West Bengal. Ladakh was not included due to non-availability of data.

Way Forwards

  • Several States are significantly better in one domain suggesting that there was scope to improve their performance in the other domains with specific targeted interventions.
  • Intra-State inequalities in health performance have to be addressed.
  • Both the Centre and the States have to scale up their investment on health as a percentage of their budgets.
  • Common challenges for most States and UTs include the need to focus on:
    • addressing vacancies in key staff
    • establishment of functional district Cardiac Care Units (CCUs)
    • quality accreditation of public health facilities
    • institutionalization of Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS).
  • The index could be linked to incentives offered under the National Health Mission by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

-Source: The Hindu


Gujarat tops in composite Good Governance Index 2021

Context:

Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation released the Good Governance Index 2021 prepared by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) on Good Governance Day celebrated annually on 25th December to mark the birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Relevance:

GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives, Accountability and Transparency in Governance)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Good Governance
  2. About the Good Governance Index by DARPG
  3. Highlights of the Good Governance Index 2021
  4. Strategies for good governance
  5. Steps taken to promote Good Governance in India

Understanding Good Governance

Governance’ by itself is a neutral term while `Good Governance’ implies positive attributes and values associated with the quality of governance. Good governance is a dynamic concept and there is much subjectivity involved in defining the aspects of good governance.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recognizes eight core characteristics of good governance:

1Participation:  Participation of all section of society is cornerstone of good governance. Participatory governance provides opportunities for citizens to take part in decision making, implementation and monitoring of government activities. 
2Consensus oriented Good governance requires mediation of the different interests in society to reach a broad consensus on o what is in the best interest of the whole community and o how this can be achieved. It also requires a broad and long-term perspective on what is needed for sustainable human development and how to achieve the goals of such development. 
3Rule of Law Good governance requires fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially. It also requires full protection of human rights, particularly those of minorities and vulnerable sections of the society. 
4Transparent Transparency means that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations. It also means that information is freely available in easily understandable forms and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement. It also means that enough information is provided and that it is provided in easily understandable forms and media. For example, in India the Right to Information (RTI) Act has been a powerful instrument in the hands of people to ensure transparency in the decision-making process of executive. 
5Accountable Accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies. The components of accountability are answerability, sanction, redress and system improvement. Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law. 
6Responsive Good governance requires that institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe. Redressal of citizen grievance, citizen orientation, citizen friendliness and timely delivery of services are key component of responsive governance. 
7Effective and Efficient Good governance means that processes and institutions produce results into the optimum use of resources at their disposal. Thus, it also covers the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment. 
8Equitable and Inclusive A society’s wellbeing depends on ensuring that all its members feel they have a stake in it and do not feel excluded from the mainstream of society. This requires all groups, particularly the most vulnerable, have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being. 

About the Good Governance Index by DARPG

  • The Good Governance Index is prepared by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions envisaged as a biannual exercise.
  • It is a comprehensive and implementable framework to assess the State of Governance across the States and UTs which enables ranking of States/Districts.
  • The Index provides a comparative picture among the States while developing a competitive spirit for improvement.
  • The objective of GGI is to create a tool that can be used uniformly across the States to assess the impact of various interventions taken up by the Central and State Governments including UTs.
  • The Good Governance Index 2021 is based on 58 indicators in 10 Sectors which are:
    1. Agriculture and Allied Sectors
    2. Commerce & Industries
    3. Human Resource Development
    4. Public Health
    5. Public Infrastructure & Utilities
    6. Economic Governance
    7. Social Welfare & Development
    8. Judicial & Public Security
    9. Environment
    10. Citizen-Centric Governance.

Highlights of the Good Governance Index 2021

  • The Index categorises States and UTs into four categories:
  • In Group A – Gujarat has topped the composite ranking in the Good Governance Index 2021 covering 10 sectors, followed by Maharashtra and Goa.
  • In Group B – Madhya Pradesh tops the list followed by Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
  • In North-East and Hill States – Himachal Pradesh topped the list followed by Mizoram and Uttarakhand.
  • Amongst Union Territories – Delhi tops the composite rank registering a 14% increase over the GGI 2019 indicators.
  • Gujarat has topped the composite ranking in the Good Governance Index 2021 covering 10 sectors, followed by Maharashtra and Goa.
  • Gujarat registered more than a 12% increase in scores, performing strongly on 5 of the 10 sectors including economic governance, human resource development, public infrastructure and utilities, social welfare and development, judiciary and public safety.
  • Uttar Pradesh showed an 8.9 per cent incremental growth in the period 2019 to 2021 while the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir registered an improvement of 3.7 per cent in the same period.

Strategies for good governance

  1. Reorienting priorities of the state through appropriate investment in human needs
  2. Provision of social safety nets for the poor and marginalized
  3. Strengthening state institutions
  4. Introducing appropriate reforms in the functioning of Parliament and increasing its effectiveness
  5. Enhancing Civil Services capacity through appropriate reform measures
  6. Forging new alliances with civil society
  7. Evolving a new framework for government-business cooperation

Steps taken to promote Good Governance in India

  1. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), India is under an international obligation to effectively guarantee citizens the Right to Information as per Article 19 of the ICCPR. RTI Act, 2005 marks a significant shift in Indian democracy. It gives greater access of the citizen to the information which in turn improves the responsiveness of the government to community needs.
  2. Various steps taken towards e-Governance such as Digital India Initiative, MyGov, PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation), Common Services Centres 2.0 (CSC 2.0), e-Courts etc., effectively delivers better programming and services in the era of newly emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs), which herald new opportunities for rapid social and economic transformation worldwide.
  3. The think tank called the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) was established replacing the Centralised Planning Commission to  promote “cooperative federalism”.
  4. The Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) was launched in January 2018 to transform the lives of people in the under-developed areas of the county in a time bound manner.
  5. Government has launched the ‘Make in India’ initiative and took various steps to improve business conditions including legislation meant to improve the country’s business environment and policy ecosystems (such as the Bankruptcy Code, the Goods and Services Tax or GST, and the anti-money-laundering law).

-Source: PIB


J&K throws open local real estate to all citizens

Context:

The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory governments, at the first ever ‘J&K Real Estate Conference’ held in Jammu have decided to throw open local real estate for “second homes and summer homes” to all the citizens of the country, in a major push to attract investments from real estate bigwigs.

 

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Changes in land laws of Jammu and Kashmir UT in 2021
  2. Details of the J&K Development Act, 2020
  3. Back to Basics – History: Accession of J&K to India
  4. Land Reforms in Kashmir
  5. Impact of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019

Changes in land laws of Jammu and Kashmir UT in 2021

  • The administration of J&K UT undertook a series of changes in the land laws in 2021, including using private land for industrial purposes and converting agriculture land for developmental projects.
  • In October 2020, the Centre notified ‘Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020′, which states that any Indian citizen can now buy land in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) without being a domicile.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir government has signed 39 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the National Real Estate Development Council “to boost employment and per capita income”.
  • Reacting sharply to the real estate policy, Jammu and Kashmir regional parties, including the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the J&K Apni Party alleged “bid to change Jammu and Kashmir’s demography.”

Details of the J&K Development Act, 2020

  • Under the newly introduced J&K Development Act, the term “being permanent resident of the State” as a criterion has been “omitted”, paving the way for investors outside J&K to invest in the UT.
  • The Centre has been arguing that Article 370 hampered development in the U.T. as investors were unable to purchase land prior to August 5, 2019.
  • The Centre is likely to notify separate land laws for the UT of Ladakh soon.
  • Under a new provision, an Army officer not below the rank of Corps Commander can declare an area as “Strategic Area” within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of the armed forces.
  • Prior to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act Indian citizens from other states could not purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.

Back to Basics – History: Accession of J&K to India

  • Jammu and Kashmir was one among the 565 princely states of India on which the British paramountcy lapsed at the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947 under the Partition Plan provided by the Indian Independence Act.
  • The rulers of princely states were given an option to join either India or Pakistan. The ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh did not exercise the option immediately. He instead offered a proposal of standstill agreement to both India and Pakistan, pending the final decision on the state’s accession.
  • Pakistan entered into the standstill agreement but it invaded the Kashmir from north with an army of soldiers and tribesmen carrying modern weapons. In the early hours of 24th October, 1947, thousands of tribal Pathan swept into Kashmir.
  • The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir appealed to India for help. He sent his representative Sheikh Abdullah to Delhi to ask for India’s help.
  • On 26th October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh fled from Srinagar and arrived in Jammu where he signed an ‘Instrument of Accession’ of J&K state.
  • According to the terms of the document, the Indian Jurisdiction would extend to external affairs, communications and defence. After the document was signed, Indian troops were airlifted into the state and fought alongside the Kashmiris.
  • In 1948, Maharaja Hari Singh announced the formation of an interim popular government with Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah as the Prime Minister.
  • Subsequently, the Maharaja signed a proclamation making Yuvraj Karan Singh as Regent.

Delhi Agreement

  • In 1951, the state constituent assembly was elected. It met for the first time in Srinagar on 31st October 1951.
  • In 1952, The Delhi Agreement was signed between Prime Ministers of India and Jammu & Kashmir giving special position to the state under Indian Constitutional framework.
  • On 6th February 1954, the J&K constituent assembly ratified the accession of the state to the Union of India.
  • The President subsequently issued the constitution order under Article 370 of the Constitution extending the Union Constitution to the state with some exceptions and modifications.

Land Reforms in Kashmir

  • The Kashmir Valley had a history of cruel exploitation of tillers through the periods of Afghan, Sikh and Dogra rule.
  • The Sheikh Abdullah’s government brought the Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, in 1950, through a slogan land to the tiller.
  • The Act placed a ceiling on land ownership at 186 kanals (about 22 acres).
  • The rest of the land of a landlord was redistributed among share-croppers and landless labourers, without any compensation to the landlord.
  • This led to most radical land reform anywhere in the world outside the Communist bloc. It brought a social transformation that has few parallels. It ended landlordism in J&K and paved the way for rural prosperity.
  • This land reform was so popular in Kashmir that it continued to be pushed for the next quarter-century. The ceiling was gradually decreased until the last of the reform Acts in 1975.

Impact of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, provided for reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • The Bill reorganised the state of Jammu and Kashmir into:
  • the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature, and
  • the Union Territory of Ladakh without a legislature.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh comprises of Kargil and Leh districts, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir comprises of the remaining territories of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is administered by the President, through an administrator appointed by him known as the Lieutenant Governor.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh is also administered by the President, through a Lieutenant Governor appointed by him.
  • The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir is the common High Court for the Union Territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.  Further, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir was provided to have an Advocate General to provide legal advice to the government of the Union Territory.
  • The Legislative Council of the state of Jammu and Kashmir were abolished.  Upon dissolution, all Bills pending in the Council lapsed.

-Source: The Hindu


Ozone-destroying emissions from China increased

Context:

According to a new study Emissions of industrially produced chlorocarbon, dichloromethane (CH2Cl2), increased in China from 2011-2019.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Ozone Layer and what are Ozone Holes?
  2. Ozone creation and destruction
  3. Agreements and steps to address the concerns
  4. About China’s Ozone-destroying greenhouse gas emissions

What is Ozone Layer and what are Ozone Holes?

  • Ozone layer, also called ozonosphere, is a region of the upper atmosphere, between roughly 15 and 35 km (9 and 22 miles) above Earth’s surface which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone molecules (O3).
  • Approximately 90 percent of the atmosphere’s ozone occurs in the stratosphere, the region extending from 10–18 km (6–11 miles) to approximately 50 km (about 30 miles) above Earth’s surface.
  • The ozone layer effectively blocks almost all solar radiation of wavelengths less than 290 nanometres from reaching Earth’s surface, including certain types of ultraviolet (UV) and other forms of radiation that could injure or kill most living things.

What are Ozone Holes?

  • The ‘ozone hole’ is not really a hole — it refers to a region in the stratosphere where the concentration of ozone becomes extremely low in certain months.
  • The ‘ozone holes’ most commonly talked about are the depletions over Antarctica, forming each year in the months of September, October and November, due to a set of special meteorological and chemical conditions that arise at the South Pole, and can reach sizes of around 20 to 25 million sq km.
  • Such holes are also spotted over the North Pole, but owing to warmer temperatures than the South Pole, the depletions here are much smaller in size.

Ozone creation and destruction

  • The production of ozone in the stratosphere results primarily from the breaking of the chemical bonds within oxygen molecules (O2) by high-energy solar photons. This process, called photodissociation, results in the release of single oxygen atoms, which later join with intact oxygen molecules to form ozone.
  • The amount of ozone in the stratosphere varies naturally throughout the year as a result of chemical processes that create and destroy ozone molecules and as a result of winds and other transport processes that move ozone molecules around the planet.
  • Over the course of several decades, however, human activities substantially altered the ozone layer.
  • Ozone depletion, the global decrease in stratospheric ozone observed since the 1970s, is most pronounced in polar regions, and it is well correlated with the increase of chlorine and bromine in the stratosphere.
  • Those chemicals, once freed by UV radiation from the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other halocarbons (carbon-halogen compounds) that contain them, destroy ozone by stripping away single oxygen atoms from ozone molecules.
  • As the amount of stratospheric ozone declines, more UV radiation reaches Earth’s surface, and scientists worry that such increases could have significant effects on ecosystems and human health.

Agreements and steps to address the concerns

  • The concern over exposure to biologically harmful levels of UV radiation has been the main driver of the creation of international treaties such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer and its amendments, designed to protect Earth’s ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol has been a success, with some 99 percent of the ozone-depleting chemicals regulated by the treaty having been phased out since its adoption in 1987. Compliance with international treaties that phased out the production and delivery of many ozone-depleting chemicals, combined with upper stratospheric cooling due to increased carbon dioxide, is thought to have contributed to the shrinking of the ozone holes over the poles and to slightly higher stratospheric ozone levels overall. Continued reductions in chlorine loading are expected to result in smaller ozone holes above Antarctica after 2040

About China’s Ozone-destroying greenhouse gas emissions

  • Chlorocarbon, dichloromethane (CH2Cl2) emissions increased in China from 2011-2019, with an average annual increase of 13 per cent primarily from eastern China.
  • If global dichloromethane emissions remain at 2019 levels, they could lead to a delay of around five years in Antarctic ozone recovery compared to a scenario with no dichloromethane emissions.
  • China accounted for 30-35 per cent of global dichloromethane emissions in 2011-2012. After 2012, emissions from China accounted for 50–60 per cent of the global total.
  • The eastern part of China, including part of the North China Plain and the Yangtze River Delta region, are shown to be the main source regions for dichloromethane over the study period.
  • The Yangtze River Delta region, which consists of the highly populated provinces Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Anhui, was one of the biggest emitters.
  • The increase in emissions from China plays an important role in the global emissions growth, and these increases have the potential to impact the recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer. If global dichloromethane emissions remain at 2019 levels, they could lead to a delay of around five years in Antarctic ozone recovery compared to a scenario with no dichloromethane emissions.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine

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