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Editorials/Opinions Analysis for UPSC 18 January 2022

Editorials/Opinions Analysis for UPSC 18 January 2022

Contents:

  1. Red lines
  2. Just what the doctor ordered for the livestock farmer

Red lines

Context:

The European Union (EU) has found itself caught in a bind over the worsening tensions between Lithuania and China. 

Relevance:

GS Paper – 2: Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests, India and its Neighbourhood

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Recent Developments
  2. What is the issue?
  3. China’s response
  4. Way Forward

Recent Developments:

  • Recently, top EU diplomats met to find a way to de-escalate tensions before a planned EU-China summit, expected in the coming weeks.
  • The EU has watched nervously as one of its members faces the full weight of coercive Chinese diplomacy, even as the grouping keeps one eye on its substantial $828 billion annual trade with Beijing.
  • European Union expressed “solidarity” with Lithuania, which is a member of the EU and NATO.

What is the issue?

  • The tensions began last year after Lithuania announced the setting up of a Taiwanese Representative Office.
    • Such offices are hardly unusual across Europe, or in much of the world. The difference, however, was in the naming.
  • The offices elsewhere are not called Taiwanese but are named, as in New Delhi, Taipei Economic and Cultural Centres because of the “one China policy” followed by most countries, including India, that do not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
  • Lithuania has said the name did not change its “one China policy”, but for Beijing, the move crossed one of its most sensitive red lines.
  • The opening of the office followed a number of developments that strained relations after the election of a coalition government that has underlined the importance of “democratic values” in the foreign policy of the first former Soviet republic that declared independence, as well as pushed closer ties with Washington.

China’s response:

  • If the rest of Europe is unlikely to similarly test Beijing’s Taiwan red lines, what has alarmed the EU is the forcefulness of China’s response.
  • China’s response ranged from:
    • downgrading ties,
    • recalling its ambassador,
    • an effective trade blockade, and
    • Most importantly the moves to pressure European companies to stop sourcing from Lithuania should they wish to continue exporting to China.
  • China’s response suggests an attempt to, as Chinese strategists like to say, “kill the chicken to scare the monkeys”, and ensure other countries do not contemplate a similar move. 

Way Forward:

  • Beyond the Lithuania-China tensions, of particular salience to India is how the EU, as a major power, will take forward ties with China as it similarly weighs strategic considerations against a booming trading relationship.
  • China’s use of trade as leverage and as a method of coercion, which stands in stark contrast to its declaration in October, on the 50th anniversary of its UN membership, that it eschews “power politics” and “hegemony”, is another matter of concern.
  • Lithuania is an exception in having both a trade surplus with China and no pressing need to access the China market.
  • How the EU assesses the benefits and costs of taking on China on a core concern — the Taiwan issue — will be closely watched by India as it continues to recalibrate its own modus vivendi with China.

-Source: The Hindu

Just what the doctor ordered for the livestock farmer

Context:

The twentieth livestock census indicated that India today has a livestock population of approximately 537 million; of this, 95.8% is concentrated in rural areas.

Relevance:

GS Paper – 2, GS Paper – 3: Health, Economics of Animal-Rearing

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are the Issues?
  2. Government Initiatives
  3. The problem of Antibiotic resistance
  4. Significance of Mobile Veterinary Units
  5. Milk Loss-a serious concern
  6. Way Forward

What are the Issues?

  • Given the fact that most of the country’s livestock is in rural and remote areas, access to veterinary services is a major challenge.
  • Accessibility: Livestock farmers are often compelled to travel far from their villages whenever their animals need treatment.
    • It adversely impacts the longevity and the productivity of their livestock.
  • Testing and treatment: Inadequate testing and treatment facilities for veterinary diseases pose a major challenge, especially now where there is a drastic rise in cases of zoonotic diseases. 
    • Most villages in the country lack testing facilities, and even when samples are collected, they need to be sent to blocks/districts nearby for test results.
  • So, MVUs can play a major role in plugging the gap in this regard.

Government Initiatives:

  • The Government has been providing doorstep services related to artificial insemination and vaccination for livestock.
  • Livestock Health and Disease Control (LH&DC) programme: The Government has identified a slew of measures within the revised provisions of the program.
    • Major focus has been on the ‘Establishment and Strengthening of Veterinary Services – Mobile Veterinary Units (MVUs)’.
    • The MVUs will build on the doorstep delivery model, as stationary hospitals cannot be easily accessed by most livestock farmers.

The problem of Antibiotic resistance:

  • Untrained Personnel: Quacks or untrained animal health workers have been popular in rural India as they charge less for consultations and are easily accessible.
    • This has led to the inappropriate administration of antibiotics because of flawed prescriptions especially in cases of mastitis (inflammation of the udder in cattle). 
  • So, problems pertaining to antimicrobial resistance occur when the animal no longer responds to a drug to which it was originally responsive.
  • Causes of antimicrobial resistance: It can be caused because of factors such as
    • high or low dosages,
    • incorrect duration of medication, and
    • overprescription. 
  • World Health Organization (WHO): It has listed antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens” — a catalogue of 12 species/families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.
  • The MVU model will mitigate the issue of antimicrobial resistance and is in alignment with the ‘One Health vision’ laid down by the Global Action Plan of WHO.

Significance of Mobile Veterinary Units:

  • Livestock farmers v/s Agricultural farmers:
    • M.K. Jain Committee Report : It has highlighted that livestock farmers face greater challenges in comparison to traditional agricultural farmers especially while accessing credit and livestock insurance. 
    • Since a majority of livestock farmers have two to four animals per household, enhancing the longevity and the productivity of their livestock will go a long way towards alleviating rural poverty.
  • Improved Accessibility: Presently, there are an estimated 66,000 veterinary hospitals, polyclinics, dispensaries, aid centres across the country.
    • LH&DC scheme seeks to plug the challenges posed by the limitations of stationary hospitals by providing veterinary diagnostic and treatment facilities at a farmer’s doorstep for ailments, diseases or any other emergency veterinary conditions by MVUs.
    • The animal health issue is compounded by the growing presence of salesmen of drug distributors in rural communities.
    • MVUs have been successfully running either on hire or on State ownership basis in several States (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, West Bengal, etc.) with positive results and increased outreach, especially in geographically difficult terrains.
  • The main thrust for the near future will be on focused upgradation of veterinary health-care services, disease surveillance and training (CVE), and disease reporting in real time.
  • Mobile Veterinary Units (MVUs):
  • A typical MVU is a four-wheeler van, with working space for one veterinarian, one para-veterinarian and a driver-cum-attendant.
  • It also has space for essentials such as equipment for diagnosis, treatment and minor surgery, other basic requirements for the treatment of animals, audio-visual aids for awareness creation and GPS tracking of vehicle.
  • The LH&DC scheme envisages one MVU for one lakh animals; however, the number of vans in use could be higher in regions with difficult terrain.

Milk loss-a serious concern:

  • As approximately 70% of India’s milk supply is sourced from farmers who own less than five animals.
  • Losses due to mastitis alone amount to a milk loss of approximately 10 litres per day per farm (this translates into approximately Rs.300-Rs.350 per day.
  • So for most farmers, death of or disease in livestock could mean the difference between sustenance and starvation.

Way Forward:

  • The increasing adoption of MVUs across the country will also lead to a surge in employment opportunities for veterinarians and assistants.
  • The lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic witnessed innovations by start-ups that provided video consultation sessions between livestock farmers and veterinarians, along with apps that provide detailed information to farmers on livestock health and nutrition.
    • Thus, there is a great deal of scope for innovations and intervention by the private sector in the context of animal health and MVUs.
  • Further, with the growing prevalence of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, the MVU model is poised to generate higher returns on investment.

-Source: The Hindu

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