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Longevity of Tribal People

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

Why in the news?

  • According to the report of the expert committee of Tribal Health,  the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai analysed data from the national Census 2011 to estimate, by indirect methods, the life expectancy for the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and non-ST population in India. These estimates, as published in the Lancet, 2016, show that life expectancy at birth for ST population in India is 63.9 years, as against 67 years for general population. 
  • The reasons for shorter lifespan include gaps in various health and nutritional indicators, education level, poverty level, between ST and non-STs, traditional life styles, remoteness of habitations & dispersed population.

What are the steps being taken to improve the longevity among tribals?

  • Under the National Health Mission (NHM), support is being provided to States for strengthening their healthcare system including for upgradation of existing and setting up new public health infrastructure based on requirements posed by the States/UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans. Under NHM, tribal areas already enjoy relaxed norms for setting up public health facilities i.e., against the population norms of 5000, 30,000, and 1,20,000 for setting up of Sub Centre, Primary Health Centre and Community Health Centre in plan areas respectively, the norms in tribal and desert areas  are 3000, 20,000 and 80,000 respectively. A new norm of ‘time to care’ has also been adopted for setting up Sub Centres in tribal areas within 30 minutes of walk from habitation and relaxed norm for Mobile Medical Units (MMU) for tribal areas; extra one MMU if it exceeds 30 patients per day against 60 patients per day in plain areas for bringing healthcare delivery to the doorsteps of the population.
  • All tribal districts whose composite health index is below the State average have been identified as High Priority Districts(HPDs) and receive more resources per capita under the NHM as compared to the rest of the districts in the State. Out of 256 identified new HPDs, 101 are tribal districts. Further, all the tribal districts which are not covered under HPDs have been designated as special focus districts. These districts would receive higher per capita funding, relaxed norms, enhanced monitoring and focussed supportive supervision, and encouraged to adopt innovative approaches to address their peculiar health challenges. Technical support from all sources is also being harmonised and aligned with NHM to support implementation of key intervention packages.
  • As per the budget announcement 2017-18, 1.5 lakh Health Sub Centres and Primary Health Centres are being transformed into Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) for provision of comprehensive primary care that includes preventive and health promotion at the community level with continuum of care approach across the country for all population including tribals.
  • The Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) aim to provide an expanded range of services to include care for non – communicable diseases, palliative and rehabilitative care, Oral, Eye and ENT care, mental health and first level care for emergencies and trauma as well as Health promotion and wellness activities like Yoga apart from services already being provided for Maternal and Child Health including immunization and communicable diseases.So far, approvals for 52,744 AB-HWCs have been accorded and as reported by the States/UTs, 19,501 AB-HWCs are operationalized till 1st July, 2019.
  • The schemes implemented by Ministry of Human Resource Development include,Saakshar Bharat, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs), SamagraShikha on Scheduled Tribe Children, the Right of Children of Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development is implementing major programmes namely Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for wage employment, DeendayalAntyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission(DAY-NRLM) for livelihoods promotion through self-employment, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana for rural connectivity, National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) for social assistance to rural poor.  These programmes are aimed at betterment of rural livelihoods and overall development of rural areas through creation of employment opportunities, infrastructures and providing social assistance to the rural poor including the scheduled tribes and backward categories of the country.
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development is also implementing a number of schemes such as Anganwadi Services under which six services i.e. Supplementary Nutrition, Pre-school Education, Health & Nutrition Education, Immunization, Health Check-up and Referral Services are provided at the AWCs; Pradhan MantriMatruVandanaYojana (PMMVY) under which cash incentives are given to the pregnant women for first child birth; Scheme for Adolescent Girls under which nutritional support is provided to the  11-14 years out of school Adolescent Girls, etc., for improving the health conditions of women and children including those in the tribal areas. 


Forest Rights Act, 2006

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Why in the news?

The Madhya Pradesh Government has begun organising Gram Sabhas in villages to consider afresh rejected claims of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers to the forest land rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006

What is the Forest Rights Act, 2006?

  • This Act not only recognizes the rights to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood, but also grants several other rights to ensure their control over forest resources which, inter-alia, include right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce, community rights such as nistar; habitat rights for primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities; right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use. 
  • The Act also provides for diversion of forest land for public utility facilities managed by the Government, such as schools, dispensaries, fair price shops, electricity and telecommunication lines, water tanks, etc. with the recommendation of Gram Sabhas. In addition, several schemes have been implemented by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for the benefit of tribal people, including those in the forest areas such as “Mechanism for marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of Value Chain for MFP”. 
  • Funds are released out of Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Plan for infrastructure work relating to basic services and facilities viz. approach roads, healthcare, primary education, minor irrigation, rainwater harvesting, drinking water, sanitation, community halls, etc. for development of forest villages. 
  • Under Section 3(1)(h) of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, the rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitations, un-surveyed villages and other villages in forest, whether recorded, notified, or not, into revenue villages have been recognized as one of the forest rights of forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers on all forest lands. 
  • As per the provisions of the Act and the rules framed thereunder, the forest right related to conversion of forest villages into revenue villages is to be adjudicated by the Gram Sabha, Sub-Divisional Level Committee and the District Level Committee as per the laid down procedure, like any other forest right specified in the Act. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has issued guidelines on 8.11.2013, inter-alia, impressing upon all the State/ UT Governments to convert all such erstwhile forest villages, un-recorded settlements and old habitations into revenue villages with a sense of urgency in a time bound manner. The conversion would include the actual land use of the village in its entirety, including land required for current or future community uses, like, schools, health facilities, public spaces etc. 


National Digital Health Blueprint

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in the news?

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare released the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) report in the public domain for inputs from various stakeholders.

What is the National Digital Health Blueprint report?

  • The Committee constituted by the Health Ministry to create an implementation framework for the National Health Stack (NHS) proposed by NITI Aayog, has come up with the National Digital Health Blueprint, after surveying the global best practices in adoption of digital technologies holistically. 
  • The blueprint is not merely an ‘architectural document’. It has specific details of the building blocks required to fulfil the vision of NHP 2017 as also the institutional mechanism and an Action Plan for realizing Digital Health in a comprehensive and holistic manner. 
  • The key features of the blueprint include a Federated Architecture, a set of architectural principles, a 5-layered system of architectural building blocks, Unique Health Id (UHID), privacy and consent management, national portability, EHR, applicable standards and regulations, health analytics and above all, multiple access channels like call centre, Digital Health India portal and MyHealth App. 
  • The vision of NDHB is to create a National Digital Health Ecosystem that supports Universal Health Coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely and safe manner, through provision of a wide-range of data, information and infrastructure services, duly leveraging open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems, and ensuring the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.
  • Ministry of Health has accordingly initiated efforts in the direction of a comprehensive, nationwide integrated e-Health system under National Digital Health Blueprint


National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Why in the news?

The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister for Home Affairs,. The Bill amends the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008.  The Act provides for a national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences). Further, the Act allows for the creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.

What are the major features of the Bill?

  • Scheduled offences: The schedule to the Act specifies a list of offences which are to be investigated and prosecuted by the NIA.  These include offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.  The Bill seeks to allow the NIA to investigate the following offences, in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iv) cyber-terrorism, and (v) offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.       
  • Jurisdiction of the NIA: The Act provides for the creation of the NIA to investigate and prosecute offences specified in the schedule.  The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to investigation of such offences, across India.  The Bill states that in addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.  The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases. 
  • Special Courts: The Act allows the central government to constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.  The Bill amends this to state that the central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.  The central government is required to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court.  When more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, the senior-most judge will distribute cases among the courts. Further, state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.    

What is the National Investigation Agency?

National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India. It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states. The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008. NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised.   


Blue Flag Certification

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

  • The Union Environment Ministry has selected 12 beaches in India to vie for a ‘Blue Flag’ certification, an international recognition conferred on beaches that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety.
  • These beaches are at Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Bhogave (Maharashtra), Ghoghla (Diu), Miramar (Goa), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Eden (Puducherry), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha), and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).

What is the Blue Flag Certification?

  • The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education). It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001
  • There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
  • If approved, beaches are given the qualification for a year and must apply annually to continue meriting the right to fly the flag at their locations. To help Indian beaches meet these criteria, the Ministry has allowed structures such container toilet blocks, change rooms, shower panels, mini grey water treatment plants in an enclosed structure, mini solid waste recycling plants and off-grid solar photovoltaic panels, provided they are a minimum 10 metres from the high tide line.