11&12, February 2018

  1. National Deworming initiative

Source: PIB

In a bid to tackle the countrywide public health threat of intestinal worm infections in children and related morbidity, all states and Union territories conducted the National Deworming Day on February 10th, as mandated by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.

National Deworming Day:

  • The National Deworming Day is a single fixed-day approach to treating intestinal worm infections in all children aged 1- 19 years, and is held on 10 February and 10 August each year. It will mobilize health personnel, state governments and other stakeholders to prioritize investment in control of Soil Transmitted Helminth (STH) infections one of the most common infections.
  • All the children are provided deworming tablet in schools and anganwadis. Besides the deworming tablet, various health promotion activities related to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are organised in schools and anganwadis.

Background:

  • India carries the highest burden of worm infestation and 64% of Indian population less than 14 years of age are at risk of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) or worms’ infestation (WHO). Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) interfere with nutrients uptake in children; can lead to anaemia, malnourishment and impaired mental and physical development. The situation of undernutrition and anaemia which is linked to STH ranges from 40% to 70% in different population groups across the country (WHO). They also pose a serious threat to children’s education and productivity later in life.

Intestinal parasitic worms:

  • They are large multicellular organisms, which when mature can generally be seen with the naked eye. They are also known as Helminths. They are often referred to as intestinal worms even though not all helminths reside in the intestines.

Why this is a cause for concern?

  • Parasitic worms in children interfere with nutrient uptake, and can contribute to anaemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development. Parasitic worms have also debilitating consequences on the health and education of children, and on their long-term earning potential.
  • According to the 2012 report ‘Children in India’, published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 48% of children under the age of 5 years are stunted and 19.8% are wasted, indicating that half of the country’s children are malnourished.

Way ahead:

  • Anganwadi and school-based mass deworming program is safe, cost-effective, and can reach crores of children quickly. Deworming has been shown to reduce absenteeism in schools; improve health, nutritional, and learning outcomes; and increase the likelihood of higher-wage jobs later in life. Deworming with the safe and beneficial Albendazole tablet is an evidence-based, globally-accepted, and effective solution to controlling worm infections. National Deworming Day has, thus, been designed to reach all children, regardless of socio-economic background.

  1. India Health Fund

Source: PIB

The India Health Fund (IHF), an initiative by Tata Trusts, in collaboration with the Global Fund has come forward to financially support innovations and technologies designed to combat tuberculosis and malaria.

  • The IHF aims to support individuals and organisations with already germinated innovative strategies, services, products, such that they become sustainable and scalable solutions in addressing TB and malaria.

India Health Fund:

  • The India Health Fund is a lead initiative of Tata Trusts, with technical support from the Global Fund. It is a pioneering vehicle by Tata Trusts, designed to not only influence philanthropic capital within India, but also serve as a trusted mechanism to generate significant impact in addressing key health challenges in the country – starting with malaria and tuberculosis.
  • The IHF looks at catalysing agility and innovation within large scaled programmes of The Global Fund and the Government of India. Addressing infectious diseases like TB and malaria, the India Health Fund plans to support programs and projects that develop new products or strategies for innovative business models and innovative partnerships or financing mechanisms that significantly scale existing effective solutions.
  • The investments made by the IHF will be aligned to national strategies and link to clear pathways of scale including government platforms, private health networks, open source technology or sustainable organization growth.

Background:

  • TB and malaria pose long-standing health challenges for India. The two diseases account for over 4.23 lakh deaths and around 15 million lab-confirmed cases every year.

  1. Compensatory afforestation (CA) funds

Source: The Hindu

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is in deliberation with the Ministry of Finance over the future of compensatory afforestation (CA) funds collected by the Centre.

 

  • Currently, the CA funds, amounting to roughly Rs 50,000 crore, are with the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
  • The ad hoc body was created by the order of Supreme Court on July 10, 2009.

Background:

  • Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act 2016 (CAF) has a provision for creating a national fund with contributions from user agencies—any person, organisation, company or department of the Central Government or state government making a request for diversion or de-notification of forest land for non-forest purpose.
  • According to the Act, the fund will be used for “compensatory afforestation, additional compensatory afforestation, penal compensatory afforestation, net present value, catchment area treatment plan or any money for compliance of conditions stipulated by the Central Government while according approval under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.”

CAMPA:

  • The CAMPA was created as National Advisory Council under the chairmanship of the environment minister for monitoring, technical assistance and evaluation of compensatory afforestation activities.

Mandate:

  • Lay down broad guidelines for State CAMPA.
  • Facilitate scientific, technological and other assistance that may be required by State CAMPA.
  • Make recommendations to State CAMPA based on a review of their plans and programmes.
  • Provide a mechanism to State CAMPA to resolve issues of an inter-state or Centre-State character.

  1. Education impact bond for India

Source: The Hindu

Britain’s Prince Charles has launched a new 10-million-dollar Development Impact Bond (DIB) to help improve education for over 200,000 children in India.

The Development Impact Bond:

  • The DIB, the largest bond of its type in South Asia, is the latest fundraising initiative by the British Asian Trust (BAT), set up by the royal 10 years ago to fight poverty in South Asia. This will be the largest bond of its type in the region. It is intended to improve literacy and numeracy learning levels for primary school students from marginalised communities in the country.
  • The new bond has been launched by the trust with the support of the UK government’s Department for International Development (DfID), Comic Relief, the Mittal Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation.
  • The concept of DIB is intended as a result-oriented way to attract new capital into development projects, with a strong emphasis on data and evidence. Under the initiative, the DIB will provide funding to local not-for-profit delivery partners in India over four years, delivering a range of operational models including principal and teacher training, direct school management, and supplementary programmes.

  1. SC stays new Tribunal Rules

Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court effectively stayed the applicability of provisions of the Central Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualification, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017 which gave the government primacy in making key appointments to tribunals, including the National Green Tribunal.

  • The terms and conditions of service of members of the National Green Tribunal shall be governed by the provisions of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010.
  • The Bench also accepted the suggestions made by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Bar Association, represented by senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, which froze the implementation of the new Rules framed under the Finance Act of 2017.

 

Key facts:

  • Primarily, the court accepted the formation of an interim search-cum-selection committee in respect for appointment of both judicial and administrative members to CAT.
  • The panel includes, the Chief Justice of India or his nominee, Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal, and two secretaries nominated by the Government of India.
  • The court has been pushing for an interim arrangement to be arrived at in respect of the composition of the committee appointing members to key tribunals.
  • It is considering the question whether the 2017 Rules were a blow to the independence of the tribunals.
  • It has been argued that the Finance Act (and the rules framed thereunder) strikes at the root of the independence of quasi-judicial bodies, such as the National Green Tribunal.

Background:

  • The Finance Act and the Tribunal, Appellate and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other conditions of Service of Members) Rules, which govern appointments, tenure, removal and other service conditions of chairpersons and members of tribunals, had been challenged on grounds including that they gave more powers to the executive and interfered with the judicial independence of the panels.

CAT:

  • The Central Administrative Tribunal was established by an Act of Parliament namely Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 as sequel to the 42nd amendment of the Constitution of India inserting Article 323 A. The Principal seat of Central Administrative Tribunal is at New Delhi and it has 16 Outlying Benches scattered all over the Country.
  • The tribunal adjudicates disputes and complaints with respect to Recruitment and Conditions of Service of the persons appointed to the Public Services and Posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or any State or of any other Local Authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.
  • The Tribunal is headed by the Chairman and 65 Members, 33 from Judicial (including Chairman) and 33 from the Administrative stream. The Chairman is normally a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.



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