Polity & Governance
- Public Affairs Index
Issues related to Health & Education
- Pneumonia vaccine to be part of immunisation drive
- Aquatic animal diseases revisited
- Ebola resurfaces in Africa
Bilateral & International Relations
- India to Skip OBOR summit in China
- Xi evokes Panchsheel as India skips meet
Defence & Security Issues
- Ransomware: Alert sounded on malware
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Polity & Governance
Public Affairs Index
Public Affairs Index (PAI) for the year 2017 has been released.
Aim of the PAI:
- The PAI aims to rank the states of India objectively in the field of governance based on various focus subjects and indicators and is an initiative of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC). The PAC is a not-for-profit think-tank focussed on good governance, which was established in 1994.
Themes of the survey:
- The survey was based on 10 themes, 26 focus subjects and 82 indicators. The report was based on a wide range of themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children, crime, law and order, delivery of justice, environment, transparency and accountability, fiscal management and economic freedom.
Highlights of the study:
- Kerala and Tamil Nadu have secured first and second rankings for the second consecutive year in the best governance in the country.
- Gujarat has been ranked third followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra at the fourth and fifth position respectively in governance indicators.
- The last four positions among the large states has been occupied by Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam.
- Among the 12 small states which have been categorised as small as they have population less than two crore, Himachal Pradesh has been ranked first followed by Goa and Mizoram.
- Delhi which occupied third position in 2016 index has slipped to ninth position in 2017.
- The last four positions among small states have been occupied Meghalaya (12th), Arunachal Pradesh (11th) and Jammu and Kashmir (10th).
- In the category of essential infrastructure, Punjab has been adjudged as the best performer among all States followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
- In the category of human development, Kerala, Maharshtra, and Punjab are the best performers while Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Assam are the worst performers.
- In implementation of social protection policies, Kerala, Assam and Madhya Pradesh are the best performers while Telangana, Haryana and Punjab are the worst performers as they lagged behind other states in executing various State and Central government schemes.
- In the category of women and children, Kerala has been adjudged as the best performer while Jharkhand, Haryana and Maharashtra are poor performers.
- In the category of fiscal management, Telangana has been adjudged as the best performer while Andhra Pradesh has been labelled as the poor performer.
- In maintaining law and order, delivery of justice and environment categories, Tamil Nadu has been adjudged as the best performer but the state has been ranked last in the parameter of transparency and accountability in the administration.
- In the category of economic freedom, Gujarat has secured top rank while Bihar has secured the last rank.
Issues related to Health & Education
Pneumonia vaccine to be part of immunisation drive
India has rolled out the long-awaited anti-pneumonia vaccine as part of the government’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
- The vaccine will protect children against severe forms of pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia and meningitis.
- The three-dose pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) will be rolled out in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, six districts of Uttar Pradesh and 17 districts of Bihar as a part of the first phase.
- The vaccine will give protection against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria which cause pneumonia disease.
Pneumonia is caused by inflammation of the airspaces in the lungs. It is most commonly due to an infection.
- It is a leading cause of death for children under the age of five years around the world.
- It may be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. The most common bacterial type that causes pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae.
- Signs and symptoms: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
- Treatment: Vaccinations are available against several common organisms that are known to cause pneumonia.
- Besides, antibiotics can also treat pneumonia by controlling the bacterial or fungal infection.
Pneumococcal disease condition in India:
- Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in children under five years of age globally and in India.
- India accounts for nearly 20 per cent of global pneumonia deaths in this age group.
- In 2010, pneumococcal pneumonia accounted for approximately 16 per cent of all severe pneumonia cases and 30 per cent of pneumonia related deaths in children under- five years of age in India.
Universal Immunization Programme is a vaccination program launched by the Government of India in 1985. It became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992.
- It is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission(NRHM) since 2005.
The program consists of vaccination for 10 diseases-
- Pertussis (whooping cough),
- Hepatitis B,
- Japanese Encephalitis and
- Hepatitis B was added to the UIP in 2007.
In 2014, it was announced that four vaccines will be added to the program, namely rotavirus, rubella and Japanese encephalitis, as well as the injectable polio vaccine.[Ref: The Hindu]
Aquatic animal diseases revisited
The national surveillance programme for aquatic animal diseases in India, one of the largest fish disease surveillance programme implemented in the country, is all set to begin a new phase.
- A road map proposed for taking the surveillance programme to the next level includes developing disease-free zones and targeted active surveillance for fish pathogens in India.
About the programme:
- The programme is led by the ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBFGR).
- The programme includes monitoring of the disease status of susceptible populations and would provide a general picture of prevalence of diseases in the country.
- It will also provide a means for rapid detection of new and exotic infectious diseases through advanced diagnostic techniques; help in certifying freedom from diseases of concern within a defined geographical area or a specific population and give boost to our aquatic animal exports.
- The programme is currently being implemented in 16 States and three Union Territories.
Objectives of disease surveillance programme
- To provide means for rapid detection of new and exotic infectious disease.
- To provide evidence of freedom from diseases of concern within a defined geographical area or a specific population.
- To collect the information on distribution and occurrence of diseases of concern.
- To assess the efficiency of disease control programmes with a defined geographical area.
- To improve reporting requirements to World organization for Animal Health(OIE) and regional Quartely Aquatic Animal Disease Reporting System and enhance compliance to OIE standards.
Importance of this programme:
- The programme would result in assessing the efficiency of disease control programmes.
- It will also help in developing appropriately trained and dedicated personnel who can understand normal health patterns and describe the abnormalities.
- Finally, this programme will help in providing scientifically accurate and cost-effective information for assessing and managing risks of pathogen transfer associated with trade in aquatic animals and improve production efficiency.
Ebola resurfaces in Africa
The World Health Organization has declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa.
- More than 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
- The last outbreak in the DRC was in 2014 and killed more than 40 people. The region affected lies 1,300 km north-east of Kinshasa, close to the border with the Central African Republic.
- While this outbreak will be worrying for communities in this remote part of the DRC, health workers say the country is experienced in fighting the virus.
- Experts say an experimental vaccine could be used if needed.
Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
- The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
- The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
- Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, infection prevention and control practices, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilisation.
- Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival.
- There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
Bilateral & International Relations
India to Skip OBOR summit in China
Taking its protest over the China’s controversial China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), India boycotted China’s high-profile Belt and Road (B&R) Forum.
- India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a 3000 km project connecting Pakistan’s deep-water port Gwadar and China’s Xinjiang falls under the OBOR initiative of China. The CPEC passes through Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
- The Chinese presence in the disputed region has raised sovereignty concerns for India.
- The Gwadar Port offers China to have its naval presence in the Arabian Sea and to the Indian Ocean. Already, China has plans to station its marines in Djibouti in Horn of Africa in Indian Ocean.
- The other projects under the OBOR in South and South East Asia also have security implications for India.
- Unlike India, none of the other countries have sovereignty related issues with OBOR initiative.
- Apart from India, Bhutan will not participate in the forum as it has no diplomatic relations with China.
Xi evokes Panchsheel as India skips meet
Despite India’s decision to skip the two-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF), the once special relationship between New Delhi and Beijing echoed during the opening session of the conclave.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed five principles of peaceful co-existence or Panchsheel — the brainchild of China, India and Myanmar in the 1950s — as the mantra for advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI), and as a vehicle for achieving sustainable globalisation.
- India’s had decided to boycott the BRF, as a mark of protest against the infringement of its sovereignty by the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- India’s decision to stay away has raised eyebrows here, as other countries such as Japan and Vietnam, which have serious maritime disputes with China, have sent high-level official delegations, to the BRF.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known in Nepal and India as the Panchsheel Treaty, are a series of principles which formed the bedrock of the relationship between India and the People’s Republic of China.
- Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between China and India in 1954.
- They were enunciated in the preamble to the “Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India”, which was signed in Peking on 29 April 1954.
- An underlying assumption of the Five Principles was that newly independent states after decolonization would be able to develop a new and more principled approach to international relations.
- This agreement stated the five principles as:
- Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
- Mutual non-aggression.
- Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
- Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.
- Peaceful co-existence.
[Ref: The Hindu, Wiki]
Defence & Security Issues
Ransomware: Alert sounded on malware
The IT Ministry has reached out to key stakeholders like RBI, National Payments Corporation of India, NIC and UIDAI (Aadhaar) to advise them to protect their systems against ‘WannaCry’ ransomware to ensure that the digital payments ecosystem in the country is protected.
- The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has also instructed cyber security unit CERT-In to gather information of ‘WannaCry’ ransomware that has wreaked havoc across sectors like healthcare and telecommunications in more than 100 countries.
What is Ransomware?
- Ransomware is a type of malicious software when infected restricts the user access until a ransom is paid to unlock it.
Who is responsible for this attack?
- A cyber gang called Shadow Brokers, which is a mysterious organisation is held responsible for this massive cyberattack.
What did they do?
- The organisation has carried out the attack by stealing a hacking tool called ‘Eternal Blue’ from the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s powerful military intelligence unit. The hacking tool Eternal Blue gives unprecedented access to all computers using Microsoft Windows. It was developed by NSA to gain access to computers used by terrorists and enemy states.
How it works?
Consequences of this cyber-attack:
- The cyberattack has crippled many hospitals, schools and universities in Europe and Asia. Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is among badly affected.
- Other affected high profile victims are international shipper FedEx Corp, Spain’s telecommunications company Telefonica, Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina, Germany’s railway operator Deutsche Bahn etc.
- According to Avast, the countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan are the top targets around the world.
- In India, Andhra Pradesh’s police computers have come under the cyberattack. Computers in 18 police units in Chittoor, Krishna, Guntur, Visakhatpatnam and Srikakulam districts have been affected.