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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 30 September 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. Right to be forgotten plea in HC to remove verdict from Net
  2. Mid-day meal scheme is now ‘PM Poshan’
  3. UNICEF official on maternal and child under nutrition in India

Right to be forgotten plea in HC to remove verdict from Net

Context:

The Delhi High Court sought replies from the Centre, Google and India Kanoon on a plea seeking removal of a judgment and an order in connection with a seven-year-old FIR under ‘Right to be Forgotten’, and asked how far this rule can be stretched.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Fundamental Rights, Government Policies and Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Right to be Forgotten (RTBF)
  2. ‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Indian context
  3. What does the Personal Data Protection Bill say about this?

Right to be Forgotten (RTBF)

  • Right to be Forgotten (RTBF) is the right to have publicly available personal information removed from the internet, search, databases, websites or any other public platforms, once the personal information in question is no longer necessary, or relevant.
  • This right has been recognised as a statutory right in the European Union under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Indian context

  • The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy, which is governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.
  • In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict.
  • The court said at the time that, “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.

What does the Personal Data Protection Bill say about this?

  • The Personal Data Protection Bill aims to set out provisions meant for the protection of the personal data of individuals.
  • The draft bill mentions the “Right to be Forgotten” and states that the “data principal (the person to whom the data is related) shall have the right to restrict or prevent the continuing disclosure of his personal data by a data fiduciary”
  • (A data fiduciary means any person, including the State, a company, any juristic entity or any individual who alone or in conjunction with others determines the purpose and means of processing of personal data.)
  • Therefore, broadly, under the Right to be forgotten, users can de-link, limit, delete or correct the disclosure of their personal information held by data fiduciaries.
  • Even so, the sensitivity of the personal data and information cannot be determined independently by the person concerned, but will be overseen by the Data Protection Authority (DPA).
  • This means that while the draft bill gives some provisions under which a data principal can seek that his data be removed, but his or her rights are subject to authorisation by the Adjudicating Officer who works for the DPA.
  • While assessing the data principal’s request, this officer will need to examine the sensitivity of the personal data, the scale of disclosure, degree of accessibility sought to be restricted, role of the data principal in public life and the nature of the disclosure among some other variables.

-Source: The Hindu


Mid-day meal scheme is now ‘PM Poshan’

Context:

The mid-day meal scheme will now be known as PM POSHAN, with the Centre initiating a major political push pivoted around ‘child nutrition’, and announcing that around 24 lakh students receiving pre-primary education at government and government-aided schools will also be brought under the ambit of the scheme from 2022.

Relevance:

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

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the PM POSHAN (Poshan Shakti Nirman) scheme (New MDM)
  2. How the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme came to be?
  3. Has the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme helped?
  4. About the recent study on long term impact of MDM scheme
  5. Criticism of MDM scheme and Implementation
  6. PM Poshan Shakti Nirman scheme is not to be confused with: Poshan Abhiyaan

About the PM POSHAN (Poshan Shakti Nirman) scheme (New MDM)

  • The PM Poshan Shakti Nirman scheme aims to give a hot cooked meal to 11.8 crore government school students from Classes I to VIII.
  • From FY 2022-23 it will also cover the 24 lakh children studying in balvatikas, the pre-primary section of government schools. The balvatikas offer one year of pre-school classes.
  • The PM POSHAN scheme has been approved for the next five-year period until 2025-26, with a collective outlay of ₹1.31 lakh crore, including ₹31,733 crore as the share to be borne by the State governments.
  • It has been rebranded to provide a new shape to the policy “to enhance the nutrition levels of schoolchildren”.
  • It is expected to improve nutritional status, encourage education and learning and increase enrolments in government schools.
  • The extension of mid-day meals to pre-primary students, who are to be incorporated into the formal education system, was a key recommendation of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.
  • However, there has been no progress on the NEP’s other recommendation to start offering breakfasts to school students.

How the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme came to be?

  • Post-Independence, Tamil Nadu was the first state to introduce the MDM scheme in the 1960s.
  • The Central scheme to provide meals to school children began in 1995, however, most states just limited themselves to providing dry rations.

Supreme Court Order: The Game Changer

  • A Supreme Court order of 2001 provided for all states to introduce cooked meals.
  • The Supreme Court order specified the states to provide “at least 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days in a year”.

Supreme Court on MDM during Pandemic

  • The SC alerted state governments “Non-supply of nutritional food to the children as well as lactating and nursing mothers may lead to large-scale malnourishment, particularly in rural and tribal areas.”
  • Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter the Court asked states to ensure that “schemes for nutritional food for children are not adversely affected”.

Has the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme helped?

  • Research has shown how hot, cooked food attracted students to schools and improved their nutritional status.
  • MDM has been proven to attract children from disadvantaged sections (especially girls, Dalits and Adivasis) to school.
  • Along with Improvement of regularity, educational and nutritional benefits, socialisation benefits and benefits to women are also highlighted.
  • Hence, the main positives of this scheme are:
    1. Avoiding classroom hunger.
    2. Increased school enrolment and attendance.
    3. Improved socialisation among castes.
    4. Reducing malnutrition.
    5. Empowering women through employment.

About the recent study on long term impact of MDM scheme

  • Girls who had access to the free lunches provided at government schools, had children with a higher height-to-age ratio than those who did not.
  • The prevalence of stunting was significantly lower in areas where the mid scheme was implemented in 2005.
  • The linkages between midday meals and lower stunting in the next generation were stronger in lower socio-economic strata and likely work through women’s education, fertility, and use of health services.

Criticism of MDM scheme and Implementation

  • Despite the success of the program, child hunger as a problem persists in India, 42.5% of the children under 5 are underweight.
  • Some simple health measures such as using iodised salt and getting vaccinations are uncommon in India.
  • Many children don’t get enough to eat, which has far-reaching implications for the performance of the country as a whole.
  • A 2005 study found that Caste based discrimination continued to occur in the serving of food.
  • Media reports have also highlighted several implementation issues, including irregularity, corruption, hygiene, caste discrimination, etc.
  • Poor food quality is a major concern, affecting the health of children (as many media reports show students falling sick dur to lapses in quality checking and control). There are provisions for regular social audit, field visits and inspections but these are seldom carried out.
  • The schools do not function during holidays and vacations which deprives children of their one daily meal.

PM Poshan Shakti Nirman scheme is not to be confused with: Poshan Abhiyaan

  • The term ‘POSHAN’ in the name of the programme stands for ‘Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition’.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan launched in 2018 aims at improving the nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers.
  • According to ‘Mission 25 by 2020’, the National Nutrition Mission aims to achieve a reduction in stunting from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan focuses on convergence among partner Ministries leveraging technology and Jan Andolan among other things, to address issue of malnutrition comprehensively.
  • Near-real time reporting by field functionaries and improved MIS is aimed at smooth implementation of scheme and better service delivery.
  • It also targets stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and low birth rate.
  • It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and utilize existing structural arrangements of line ministries wherever available.
  • Its large component involves gradual scaling-up of interventions supported by on-going World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country by 2022.
  • Its vision is to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.
  • Implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan is based on the four-point strategy/pillars of the mission:
    1. Inter-sectoral convergence for better service delivery
    2. Use of technology (ICT) for real time growth monitoring and tracking of women and children
    3. Intensified health and nutrition services for the first 1000 days
    4. Jan Andolan

-Source: The Hindu


UNICEF official on maternal and child under nutrition in India

Context:

Head, Nutrition, UNICEF India talked about how high levels of maternal and child under nutrition continue to plague India, and the impact COVID-19 has had on the gains India has made in economic and human development in recent decades.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Health, Issues related to Women and Children)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of what the UNICEF official said
  2. Impact of COVID-19 on Nutrition Standards
  3. Way Forward

Highlights of what the UNICEF official said

  • The head of nutrition, UNICEF, COVID-19 has heightened the risk of increasing malnutrition.
  • While India has made impressive gains in economic and human development in recent decades, high levels of maternal and child undernutrition continue to plague the country.
  • The future of children in India, controlling COVID-19 and ending malnutrition are equally important and urgent.

Prevalence of malnutrition in India

  • The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) and National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS), show that about one-third of children under five years of age in India are stunted. Also, one-third of children under 5 years of age are underweight and almost two out of 10 children are nutritionally wasted.
  • Many of the children suffer from multiple anthropometric deficits.
  • The CNNS also highlights the emerging problems of overweight, obesity and micro-nutrient deficiencies.

Impact of COVID-19 on Nutrition Standards

  • Health and social services, such as anganwadi centres, nutrition rehabilitation centres, and village health sanitation and nutrition days (VHSND), were disrupted.
  • The distribution of iron and folic acid tablets to children in schools was significantly reduced, and awareness campaigns in schools on nutrition were suspended.
  • The launch of the Poshan Abhiyan in March 2018 refocused the national development agenda on nutrition. However, with the pandemic, there is a heightened risk of increasing malnutrition, and parts of progress made in the past may get undone.
  • As the period of pandemic prolongs, food insecurities and nutritional challenges will intensify too.
  • Food insecurity arising out of the pandemic may cause families to shift to cheap food with low nutritive value, causing long-term adverse impacts on the cognitive development of children.
  • COVID-19 related priorities could threaten the delivery and financing of nutrition and nutrition security responses.

Way Forward

  • Strong leadership at all levels, from national to the district is essential to bring back focus to address food, income and nutritional security.
  • Uninterrupted, universal, timely and high-quality coverage of essential evidence-based nutritional services must be ensured, with a special focus on children below two years of age, pregnant women and adolescent girls, which are critical development periods.
  • Pandemic calls for strategies adapting to COVID-19 guidelines and innovations in the service delivery mechanism.
  • Adequate financing is needed to ensure the delivery of high-impact interventions, and additional financing will be required for ensuring food and nutritional security, especially for the vulnerable population groups.
  • Multisectoral interventions that directly or indirectly impact nutrition like health, nutrition and social protection schemes need to be delivered effectively. Migrant labourers and urban poor need special focus.
  • Nutrition needs to be retained as a key indicator for development.

-Source: The Hindu

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