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17 March 2017 Question Bank

 

17th MARCH 2017 

QUESTION BANK 

(2 Question)

 

Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.

Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers

GS II : SOCIAL - HEALTH

1.    Recently, Government has cleared the National Health Policy. In this context discuss it's objectives and focus areas?

The World Health Report of 2016 recently released by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that India is one of the worst performing regions in health after Africa. In this context the Centre cleared the long-awaited National Health Policy 2017, which promises to move away from sick-care to wellness, with a thrust on prevention and health promotion.

The objectives of the policy are:

1. Ensure the objective of ''Health for all''.

2. To move towards a phase wise increase in healthcare expenditure, to 2.5 % of the GDP.

3. To transition from the current strategy of providing sick-care, to focusing on wellness, and on promoting good health.

The focus areas of the policy are as follows:

1. Universal access to healthcare services.

2. Delivery of services to the socially vulnerable.

3. Research on tribal medicine.

4. Establishment of a Public Health Management cadre for each state.

5. Ensuring universal access to drugs and diagnostic facilities.

6. Targeted increase in life expectancy at birth, from the current 67.5 years to 70 years.

7. Regulation in the usage and prescription of medical devices.

8. Establishment of a tribunal for redressal of citizen's grievances.

Analyzing these objectives and focus areas, the following points can be observed:

1.The treatment of health-care, as a public service has received a significant promotion.

2.The attention towards the preventive aspects of health, rather than the curative aspects, is indeed laudable.

3.The research on indigenous, tribal medicines, is indeed a way of recognizing the heritage of tribal modes of healthcare and natural medication.

However, certain aspects like treatment of health as a fundamental right, or the issue of regulation of health-care practices by the private sector, especially the malpractices, have not been mentioned elaborately in the focus areas.

The National Health Policy, 2017, is indeed a significant step to address the woeful state of public healthcare sector in India. But, there is still a long way to go, as the implementation, and not the mere policy formulation, matters the most.

 

GS II : Social - Vulnerable Groups

Q2. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) is formulating a Vision 2030 document. Discuss some of strategies/measures so that it can formulate a disability-inclusive development agenda.

  • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) is formulating a Vision 2030 document.
  • This document is coterminous with the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all 17 of which equally affect persons with disabilities as they do any other citizen.
  • The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People conducted a seminar in December 2016. The government, the private sector, and leaders from various development fields participated to take stock of the current situation and deliberate on how disability could be integrated in Vision 2030.
  • A starting point was that the government, the NITI Aayog, and all the associated stakeholders should interpret the provisions of the SDGs in line with the requirements and spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
  • Disability is still seen as an opportunity for dispensing charity rather than as a development or a human rights issue.
  • The knowledge of MPs and State legislatures must be refreshed on the rights, needs and issues of persons with disabilities based on the changing disability landscape, the UNCRPD, and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
  • The NITI Aayog must invest effort in building awareness for NGOs, academics, civil society, the private sector, etc., in order to articulate a disability-inclusive development agenda.
  • Persons with disabilities must be seen as integral to the decision-making process and not as an afterthought.
  • They must be mentioned in the outcome metrics defined for each goal, target or indicator, and these matrices must elaborate specific strategies for persons with disabilities.
  • There must be seven-year checkpoints for ministries or departments to assess the outcomes.
  • Fair and adequate representation of disability groups during the consultation process is imperative.
  • The NITI Aayog has mapped each goal to a nodal ministry and each target with the government's key programmes and departments to make these targets accountable and realise them within a specified time period.
  • However, disability is an issue that cuts across several ministries; it is not just a subject for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Analysis on this issue indicates that there are 26 ministries where there needs to be a dedicated focus towards persons with disabilities and a specific cell to address their concerns.
  • Specific budgets need to be allocated across initiatives and ministries to address the needs of persons with disabilities.
  • The NITI Aayog too must have a dedicated cell which acts as a focal point and works with all ministries to monitor implementation and track progress across all initiatives for persons with disabilities.
  • The document must insist that data for persons with disabilities are appropriately collected, maintained and disaggregated.
  • This must include all government initiatives that capture any data related to population or human resources or human development, including employment, education, poverty and hunger.
  • While reporting from the SDGs' point of view, the NITI Aayog must ensure that the process of data collection and disaggregation for disability must not be relegated to the silos of seven targets which explicitly mention persons with disabilities, or the additional six targets which mention people in vulnerable situations.
  • In addition, there are universal targets, which must also be achieved for persons with disabilities.
  • Analysis indicates that there are more than 85 targets across 15 goals encompassing more than 100 indicators where there is a need to collect, analyse, disaggregate and report data for persons with disabilities.
  • All data must be available in the public domain, and published in an accessible format and in a timely manner.
  • It is important for India to have the addition of a universally accepted disability question(s) on all existing data instruments.
  • The UN recommends the Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Disability, while India has been using a different question.
  • A standard question needs to be developed, taking into account the socio-cultural sensitivities of people with disabilities and their families.
  • The NITI Aayog should call for a national-level consultation with cross-disability groups and arrive at a consensus on the right question, which should then be unified across all data instruments of all sources of demographic information, including the impending Unique Disability ID, the population census, civil registration, sample surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation, Sample Registration System and for all social schemes.

     These measures/strategies can help to formulate a disability-inclusive development agenda.

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