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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 22 September 2023


  1. WHO On Hypertension
  2. Coal Availability

World Health Organization Publication On Hypertension


Worldwide, approximately one-third of the population experiences hypertension, and an alarming four out of five individuals fail to maintain proper control over this condition, as reported in the inaugural World Health Organization (WHO) publication on hypertension, unveiled in September.



Mains Question:

India’s strategy in dealing with hypertension has been largely inadequate. Analyse. (10 marks, 150 words).

Hypertension and associated issues:

Elevated blood pressure that exceeds 140/90 represents a significant contributing factor to cardiovascular ailments like heart attacks and strokes, making it the leading cause of both illness and mortality.

It’s crucial to understand that the health hazards linked to hypertension don’t suddenly emerge when blood pressure crosses the 140/90 threshold.

Instead, they exist along a spectrum, even at levels below the clinical definition of hypertension, particularly in individuals with diabetes, obesity, and those who use tobacco and alcohol.

More on the WHO Report:

  • According to the WHO report, which relies on data from 2019, approximately 188 million Indian adults aged 30 to 79 years suffer from hypertension.
  • Among them, only 37% have received an official diagnosis, while 30% are undergoing treatment, and a mere 15% have their hypertension effectively controlled.
  • Interestingly, women seem to fare slightly better than men when it comes to the diagnosis, treatment, and control of the condition.
  • A February 2022 study, albeit with incomplete data from some regions in India, revealed that stroke incidence ranged from 108 to 172 cases per 100,000 people per year, with a one-month case fatality rate of 18% to 42%.
  • Furthermore, the 2019 Global Burden of Disease report identified heart attacks as the leading cause of death and disability in India.

India’s efforts in this direction:

India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI)Launched in 2018, IHCI has effectively enrolled 5.8 million individuals with hypertension for treatment across 27 States as of June 2023. Significantly, as of March 2021, 48% of patients enrolled at primary health centers and 55% at health wellness centers achieved successful blood pressure control.

Shortcomings in India’s approach:

  • Research findings indicate that consuming more than five grams of salt daily is linked to causing hypertension in a significant proportion of cases, ranging from 17% to 30%.
  • Despite the international mandate for member States to achieve a 30% relative reduction in the average salt intake of their populations by 2025, India has not fully adopted many of the recommended strategies outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce salt consumption.
  • A study conducted in four Indian States in 2021 uncovered elevated levels of salt and sugar in packaged food products.

Way Forward:

It is crucial to swiftly mandate front-of-pack nutrition labeling, promote the reformulation of food products to reduce salt content, and enhance public awareness about reducing salt intake. Equally important is the urgent need to significantly expand the access to treatment for individuals with hypertension and maintain effective blood pressure management.

Coal Availability


An 11 percent deficit in the monsoon season compared to the long-term average, along with a significant 36 percent shortfall in August, has led to an increased demand for electricity. Simultaneously, this has put pressure on the sources of power supply. As a result, there has been a heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation to meet the surging demand. This heightened demand is a consequence of elevated temperatures and the necessity to extract more groundwater for agricultural irrigation.


GS3- Mobilisation of Resources

Mains Question:

How has the deficit in monsoon put a pressure on the hydel power generation? What can be done to ease this pressure? (15 marks, 250 words).

Hydel Power takes a hit:

  • The decrease in hydel power production is a direct result of the dry conditions affecting most of peninsular India. According to an announcement from the Power Ministry, this year’s maximum hydropower generation has fallen below 40 GW, compared to 45 GW in the previous year.
  • Consequently, thermal power generation has had to shoulder the majority of the load. The significant surge in electricity demand in July and August serves as a reminder that coal will remain India’s primary energy source, despite the fact that nearly all new capacity expansions are occurring in renewable energy sources, accounting for 93 percent in FY23.
  • Solar power (71 GW) and wind power (44 GW) make up approximately one-quarter of the total installed capacity of 423 GW but contribute only 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively, to the total power generated. In contrast, thermal power accounts for 73 percent, as per an analysis by the Vasudha Foundation.
  • The absence of practical battery storage technologies means that solar and wind power cannot be relied upon to meet sudden spikes in power demand, especially during “non-solar hours” such as evenings and beyond.
  •  According to the Ministry’s statement, the power shortfall is particularly pronounced during these times, even though peak demand, which reached a record 241 GW on September 1st, was comfortably met during the “solar hours.”

Way Forward:

  • The Ministry has appropriately emphasized that power generation companies should secure coal imports for blending purposes to prevent any power cuts in the upcoming months.
  • To minimize generation downtime, maintenance of power units should be scheduled during periods of low demand. Currently, due to these unplanned outages, the thermal capacity of 12-14 GW is unavailable.
  • This strategy should be coupled with efforts to smooth out the demand curve throughout the day using time-of-day tariffs. This will help prevent excessive strain on the power grid and its infrastructure during demand spikes.
  • Additionally, it’s imperative for battery storage technologies to become economically feasible. Only then can India’s power systems effectively handle the increased power supply from renewable sources.


Nevertheless, the current power situation is not a cause for alarm. Coal production during both July and August exceeded 60 million tonnes each month, representing an increase of at least 13-18 percent compared to last year. Additionally, coal reserves at coal-fired power plants, amounting to approximately 30 million tonnes, are sufficient to meet around 11 days’ worth of demand. However, it is vital to emphasize the need for coordination among the coal, power, and, most importantly, Railway ministries to ensure the timely transportation of coal from mines to power plants in the upcoming months when the power situation tends to deteriorate.

July 2024