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National Health Profile

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 for Health and Family Welfare released the 14th National Health Profile (NHP) 2019 & its e-book (digital version).
  • The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) and covers comprehensive information on demographic, socio-economic health status, health finance indicators, health infrastructure and health of human resources in the country. This 14th edition of NHP is the continuation of the publication since 2005.
  • The NHP highlights substantial health information under major indicators viz. demographic indicators (population and vital statistics), socio-economic indicators (education, employment, housing and amenities, drinking water and sanitation) and health status indicators (incidence and prevalence of common communicable and non-communicable diseases andRCH) etc. 
  • The health finance section provides an overview of health insurance and expenditure on health, both public and Out of Pocket Expenditure (OOP)etc. The section on human resources provides an overview of the availability of manpower working in the health sector, while health infrastructure section provides details of Medical and Dental Colleges, AYUSH Institutes, Nursing Courses and Paramedical Courses etc.

What are the major findings of the National Health Profile?

  • Life expectancy in India has increased from 49.7 years in 1970-75 to 68.7 years in 2012-16. For the same period, the life expectancy for females is 70.2 years and 67.4 years for males.
  • On the non-communicable diseases, the survey notes that out of 6.51 crore patients who attended NCD clinics, 4.75 per cent people are diagnosed with diabetes, 6.19 per cent are diagnosed with hypertension, 0.30 per cent are diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases, 0.10 per cent are diagnosed with stroke and 0.26 per cent are diagnosed with common cancers.
  • According to the survey, the highest population density of 11,320 people per square kilometre was reported by the NCT of Delhi whereas Arunachal Pradesh has reported the lowest population density of 17.
  • On demographics, the survey found the high incidence of the young and economically active population. The survey notes that 27 per cent of the total estimated population of 2016 were below the age of 14 years and majority (64.7 per cent) of the population were in the age group of 15-59 years i.e. economically active population and 8.5 per cent population were in the age group of 60 to 85 plus years.
  • There has been a consistent decrease in the birth rate, death rate and natural growth rate in India since 1991 to 2017. As of 2017, India has registered birth rate of 20.2 per 1,000 population and death rate of 6.3 per 1,000 population while the natural growth rate was 13.9 per 1,000 population in India. The birth rate in rural areas was higher than in the urban. Similarly, the death rate and natural growth rate were also higher in rural areas as compared to the urban.
  • The population, however, continues to grow, as the decline in the birth rate is not as rapid as the decline in the death rate.
  • The infant mortality rate has declined considerably (33 per 1,000 live births in 2016), however differentials of rural (37) & urban (23) are still high.
  • The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for the country was 2.3 whereas in rural areas it has been 2.5 and it has been 1.8 in urban areas during 2016 as per the latest available information.
  • On the health status indicators, the survey finds that on communicable diseases, in 2018, maximum number of cases and deaths due to malaria have been reported in Chhattisgarh (77,140 cases and 26 deaths). The overall prevalence of the disease has diminished in 2012 and 2013 but there was a slight increase in 2014 and 2015 before it again started decreasing from 2016.
  • Dengue and Chikungunya, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, are a cause of great concern to public health in India. Every year, thousands of individuals are affected and contribute to the burden of health care. Dengue outbreaks have continued since the 1950s but severity of disease has increased in the last two decades. However, the reported cases of Chikungunya in the country has shown a slight decrease from 67,769 to 57,813 in 2018 as compared to 2017.
  • There has been considerable decrease in the number of swine flu cases/deaths in the year 2014 as compared with 2012 and 2013. However, the number of cases and deaths has been drastically increased in the year 2015. The numbers decreased in 2016 but again increased significantly in 2017 and 2018.
  • During the year 2015, 4.13 lakh people lost their life due to accidental injuries and 1.33 lakh people died because of suicide. Suicide rates are increasing significantly among young adults and the maximum number of suicide cases (44,593) is reported between the age group 30-45 years.
  • The total number of cases and deaths due to snake bite are 1.64 lakh and 885, respectively, in 2018.
  • The total number of disabled persons in India is 2.68 crore.


International Solar Alliance

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Why in the news?

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is hosting the second Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 30 and 31 October 2019 New Delhi.  While on 30 October 2019, coordination and consultation meetings on different aspects of ISA programmes and initiatives will be held, the Assembly would meet on 31 October 2019. 

What is the International Solar Alliance?

  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 122 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, now extended to all members of UN. 
  • The Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.
  • 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.
  • As an action-oriented organisation, the ISA brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale, and promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity building.
  • When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty based International Intergovernmental Organization, headquartered at Gurugram, India.


Air Independent Propulsion (AIP)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in the news?

  • DRDO successfully reached a milestone with its indigenously developed Air Independent Propulsion system with the successful operation of the land based prototype. 
  • All Scorpene submarines are planned to be equipped with an AIP module in due course.

What is Air Independent Propulsion?

  • AIP is any marine propulsion technology that allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen.
  • It can augment or replace the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels.
  • Notably, a submarine is about stealth. It is a weapons platform not visible to the naked eye. AIP significantly improves stealth because it enables a submarine to generate electricity for services and battery charging and propulsion while completely submerged.
  • AIP systems are auxiliary, like a smaller hull inserted in the main body. They generate electricity, powering a submarine’s to operate and also generate oxygen, lighting and amenities for crew. Accordingly, they enable conventional diesel-electric submarines to remain submerged for two to three weeks at a time. Without AIP, diesel-electric submarines have to come up to snorkeling depths just below the surface or surface at shorter intervals so that the diesel engines can recharge their batteries. This significantly increases the risk of detection.
  • A submarine’s diesel engines can only be started once the snorkel has cleared the surface to take in oxygen in the fresh air. Snorkeling depth is about the same as periscope depth. AIP significantly improves stealth because it enables a submarine to generate electricity for services and battery charging and propulsion while completely submerged.
  • A benefit of this approach is that it can be retrofitted into existing submarine hulls by inserting an additional hull section. AIP does not normally provide the endurance or power to replace the atmospheric dependent propulsion, but allows it to remain submerged longer than a more conventionally propelled submarine. A typical conventional power plant will provide 3 megawatts maximum, and an AIP source around 10% of that. A nuclear submarine’s propulsion plant is usually much greater than 20 megawatts. Another advantage is that the Non-nuclear submarines running on battery power or AIP can be virtually silent.




Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks

Why in the news?

  • Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited confirmed  that a malware had indeed infected a system at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant but critical plant systems had not been affected.
  • The matter was conveyed by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) when it was noticed by them on September 4, 2019.

What is malware?

  • Malware is the shortened form of malicious software.
  • Malware is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software including Ransom wares, Computer Viruses, Worms, Trojan Horses, Spyware, Adware, Scareware etc.
  • This is any program or file that is harmful to a computer user. The term refers to software that is deployed with malicious intent.
  • Malware can be deployed even remotely, and tracking the source of malware is hard.
  • It can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software.
  • These malicious programs can perform a variety of functions, including stealing, encrypting or deleting sensitive data, altering or hijacking core computing functions and monitoring users’ computer activity without their permission.
  • This combination has enabled commercial malware providers to supply sophisticated black markets for both malware and the information that it collects.


What is CERT-IN?

  • CERT-In stands for Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). CERT-In is nodal government agency that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing in India. It comes under the aegis of Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY)
  • It was established in 2004. The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country. According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing the administration of the Act.