For online IAS classes

For online IAS classes, Click Here, Click here.

Accessible India Campaign

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 News?

  • The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD)under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has developed a Management Information System (MIS) for stakeholders of Accessible India Campaign (AIC)
  • The portal will bring all the nodal ministries, and States/UTs on a single platform for monitoring the progress being made against each target of AIC. Further, it will be useful in maintaining all the function on digital platform and capture data on a real-time basis

Accessible India Campaign

  • “Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)”is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society
  • The campaign was launched to fulfill the government’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which mandates the signatories to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas
  • Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) has the following three important components
    • Built Environment Accessibility
    • Transportation System Accessibility
    • Information and Communication Eco-System Accessibility


Zonal Council

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Why in News?

  • Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah will be chairing the 29th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council (NZC) at Chandigarh, on September 20, 2019. The Chief Minister of Haryana is the Vice Chairman and host for the meeting

Zonal Councils – a mechanism for interstate and centre-state coordination:

  • Zonal councils are statutory bodies set up vide Part-III of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956. The present composition of each of these Zonal Councils is as under:
  • The Northern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh;
  • The Central Zonal Council, comprising the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh;
  • The Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Sikkim and West Bengal;
  • The Western Zonal Council, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli;
  • The Southern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry
  • The Zonal Councils provide an excellent forum where irritants between Centre and States and amongst States can be resolved through free and frank discussions and consultations. Being advisory bodies, there is full scope for free and frank exchange of views in their meetings
  • Each Zonal Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in that Council, or the Union and one or more of the States represented in that Council, have a common interest and advise the Central Government and the Government of each State concerned as to the action to be taken on any such matter.
  • In particular, a Zonal Council may discuss, and make recommendations with regard to:
      • any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning;
      • any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport;
      • any matter connected with or arising out of, the re-organization of the States under the States Reorganisation Act

Organizational structure of Zonal Councils:

  • Chairman – The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
  • Vice Chairman – The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.
  • Members- Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone
  • Union Ministers are also invited to participate in the meetings of Zonal Councils depending upon necessity



Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger

Why in News?

The state-wide data on malnutrition presented by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) highlights malnutrition being the leading cause of mortality among children under five

Major highlights of the report:

  • Malnutrition was the predominant risk factor for death in children younger than five in every state of India in 2017, accounting for 68.2 per cent of the total under-5 deaths, translating into 706,000 deaths (due to malnutrition)
  • The prevalence of low birthweight in India in 2017 was 21.4 per cent, child stunting 39.3 per cent, child wasting 15.7 per cent, child underweight 32.7 per cent, anaemia in children 59.7 per cent, anaemia in women 15–49 years of age 54.4 per cent, exclusive breastfeeding 53.3 per cent and overweight child 11.5 per cent
  • The DALY (disability adjusted life years) rate due to malnutrition was found to be highest in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, and Rajasthan
  • The prevalence of stunting and underweight has been decreasing, however, the prevalence has remained very high in India at 39 per cent and 33 per cent respectively, in 2017. The prevalence of anaemia has been extremely high in India at 60 per cent in children and 54 per cent in women in 2017, with only moderate decline during 2010–17

Government Steps against Malnutrition:

  • A multipronged approach to counter malnutrition consists components like food availability, accessibility and affordability, along with targeted interventions for particular problems. Major government initiatives in the area of reducing malnutrition include:
    • Schemes such as Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) which have elements related to supplementary nutrition; counselling on diet, rest and breastfeeding etc.
    • A comprehensive National Nutrition Strategy 2017, outlining a plan to fight the menace of malnutrition in the country
    • National Nutrition Mission(POSHAN Abhiyaan) having specific targeted approaches to lower Stunting and wasting in children, and anemia in pregnant and lactating mothers
    • Programmes such as Mothers’ Absolute Affection (MAA) to bring undiluted focus on promotion of breastfeeding and provision of counselling services for supporting breastfeeding through health systems, as according to WHO universalization of  breastfeeding has the potential to reduce malnutrition in children to a major extent
    • Programmes such as MGNREGA, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, and various pension schemes for income support to marginalized groups improves accessibility to food
    • Use of biotechnology for food fortification to counter hidden hunger