10 , March 2018

1.National Health Policy
Source: PIB

The Government has formulated and brought out National Health Policy, 2017, which aims at attainment of the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.

The National Health Policy,2017 states following targets for reduction in incidence and prevalence of certain disease conditions:

  • HIV/AIDS: Achieve global target of 2020 (also termed as target of 90:90:90)
  • Eliminate Leprosy by 2018, Kala-Azar by 2017 and Lymphatic Filariasis in endemic pockets by 2017
  • Eliminate Tuberculosis by 2025: Achieving and maintaining a cure rate of >85% in new sputum positive patients and reduce incidence of new cases.
  • Reduce prevalence of blindness to 0.25/ 1000 by 2025 and disease burden by onethird from current levels.
  • Reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases by 25% by 2025.

“Public Health and Hospitals”  being a State subject, the primary responsibility for providing affordable health services lies with respective State/UT Governments. Technical and financial support under the National Health Mission (NHM) is being provided to States/UTs for strengthening their health system for provision of universally accessible affordable and quality healthcare.

2. Rajasthan passes Bill to give death penalty for child rape

Rajasthan has passed a Bill providing for death penalty to those convicted of raping girls of 12 years and below. The State Assembly passed the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeking to amend the Indian Penal Code with the insertion of new provision by voice vote.

  • The Bill is aimed at protecting the girl child by laying down a deterrent punishment, including death sentence, to the offenders.
  • The Bill provides for capital punishment or rigorous imprisonment ranging between 14 years and lifelong incarceration.
  • It also makes a similar provision for gang-rape of a girl child, while laying down death penalty or imprisonment from 20 years to lifelong incarceration for those convicted of the offence. Each of the persons constituting the gang will be deemed to be guilty of the offence.
  • The Bill will become a law after it gets the Presidential assent.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2016 report, the cases of crimes against children have seen a steady increase in Rajasthan. The State recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which was 3.8% of the crimes against children registered across the country. In 2015, the State had registered 3,689 cases of crimes against children.

Note:
Rajasthan has become the second State, after Madhya Pradesh, to pass a Bill providing for death penalty to those convicted of raping girls of 12 years and below.

3.International Solar Alliance Membership Open For All
Source: The Hindu

India, a founding member of the International Solar Alliance said that membership of the body will be thrown open to all countries that want to join the grouping. There will be no restrictions on duration of sunlight or geographical location

Previous criteria for membership:

When the International Solar Alliance was announced in 2015, 121 nations situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and receiving 300 days of sunlight were deemed eligible for membership

About ISA:

  • The initiative was launched by PM Narendra Modi at the India Africa Summit, and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015.
  • The Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, and 121 countries have joined. The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization
  • The alliance was formed with the intent to reduce the dependence on the non-renewable sources of energy like fossil fuels.
  • The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.
  • The alliance is also called International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA)
  • The interim secretariat of ISA is located at Gwalpahari in Gurugram, India and its headquarters is also proposed to be built on the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram.

The ISA seeks to do three things to bring down the costs of technology as well as of finance needed for a solar project.

  • It seeks to boost global demand, which will result in further reduction in the prices of solar energy deployment.
  • It seeks to promote standardisation in the use of equipment and processes for generating electricity. Standardisation will make the manufacturing of equipment and other hardware cheaper.
  • And it seeks to boost research and development, particularly in areas of efficient storage systems

4.SC upholds passive euthanasia
Source: The Hindu

A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, allows ‘living wills’ with safeguards Holds that right to die with dignity is a part of the basic right to life Says that quality of life is as important as prolonging it .They ruled that the fundamental right to life and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution includes the “right to die with dignity.

The Supreme Court has upheld passive euthanasia and the right to give advance medical directives or ‘Living Wills’ to smoothen the dying process as part of the fundamental right to live with dignity.

What is Passive euthanasia?

It is the act of withdrawing or withholding medical support to a dying patient who has no hope for revival or cure.

Previous verdict on passive euthanasia:

Passive euthanasia was recognised by a two-judge Bench in Aruna Shanbaug in 2011; now the Constitution Bench has expanded the jurisprudence on the subject by adding to it the principle of a ‘living will’, or an advance directive, a practice whereby a person, while in a competent state of mind, leaves written instructions on the sort of medical treatment that may or may not be administered in the event of her reaching a stage of terminal illness.

What is Living Will?

Living will is a practice whereby a person, while in a competent state of mind, leaves written instructions on the sort of medical treatment that may or may not be administered in the event of her reaching a stage of terminal illness.

How is the living will declared?

  • The “Living Will” document should be written and signed by the patient in the presence of two attesting witnesses, preferably independent, and counter-signed the jurisdictional Judicial Magistrate of First Class (JMFC) so designated by the concerned district judge.
  • The JMFC shall preserve one copy of the document in his office, keep another in digital format, forward one copy of the document to the registry of the jurisdictional district court, inform the immediate family members of the executor.
  • A copy be handed over to the competent officer of the local body. A copy of the directive be handed over to the family physician, if any.

When and how the “Living will” be executed?

  • Guidelines prescribed by the Supreme Court on Friday while upholding passive euthanasia and ‘Living Will’, place a huge burden on the treating physician and hospital.
  • In the event the patient becomes terminally ill and is undergoing prolonged medical treatment with no hope of recovery and cure of the ailment, the treating physician, when made aware about the advance directive, shall ascertain the genuineness and authenticity thereof from the jurisdictional JMFC before acting upon the same.
  • The physician or hospital where the patient has been admitted for medical treatment shall constitute a medical board that shall visit the patient and form an opinion whether to certify or not to certify carrying out the instructions of withdrawal or refusal of further medical treatment.
  • The Chairman of the board nominated by the collector, that is, the Chief District Medical Officer, shall convey the decision of the board to the jurisdictional JMFC before giving effect to the decision to withdraw the medical treatment administered to the patient.
  • The JMFC shall visit the patient at the earliest and, after examining all aspects, authorise the implementation of the decision of the board.
  • It will be open to the executor to revoke the document at any stage before it is acted upon and implemented.
  • If permission to withdraw medical treatment is refused by the Medical Board, it would be open to the patient or his family members or even the treating doctor or the hospital staff to approach the high court and its chief justice will have to constitute a division bench to decide upon case.

The court has invoked its inherent power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant legal status to advance directives, and its directives will hold good until Parliament enacts legislation on the matter.

5.Diu becomes the first and only Union Territory to be 100% solar energy efficient:
Source : The Hindu

In a major boost for utilisation of renewable energy in the country, Diu has become the first and only Union Territory to be fully solar energy efficient. It generates total of 13 megawatts (MW) of electricity from solar power generating facilities daily. Of this, 3 MW is generated by rooftop solar plants.

Diu’s geographical area is limited only to 42 square kilometres, for water and electricity; the Union territory was solely dependent on Gujarat government. The electricity supplied from power grid owned by Gujarat government was causing huge line losses. To overcome this limitation, UT’s administration has decided to set up solar power plants.


 



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