Issues related to Health & Education
- NITI Aayog Releases the Second Edition of “Healthy States, Progressive India” Report
- Government is taking several steps to control the spread of Fall Army Worm
- APEDA organises buyers-sellers meet in Manipur
- Beekeeping Development Committee under EAC-PM releases its report
Key Facts for Prelims
- 4 Plastic Parks approved for implementation in Phase-I
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Issues related to Health & Education
NITI Aayog Releases the Second Edition of “Healthy States, Progressive India” Report
NITI Aayog released the Second Edition of ‘Healthy States, Progressive India’ report.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SECOND EDITION OF “HEALTHY STATES, PROGRESSIVE INDIA” REPORT
- The second edition focuses on measuring the overall performance and incremental improvement over a two-year period (2016-17 and 2017-18) in the States and UTs.
- It considers 2015-16 as a Base Year and 2017-18 as a Reference Year.
- Among the Larger States, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Maharashtra ranked on top in terms of overall performance.
- Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand are the top three ranking States in terms of annual incremental performance which showed the maximum gains in improvement of health outcomes from base to reference year in indicators such as Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR), Under-five Mortality Rate (U5MR), Proportion Low Birth Weight among New-borns etc.
- Among Smaller States, Mizoram ranked first followed by Manipur on overall performance.
- Tripura followed by Manipur were the top ranked States in terms of annual incremental performance.
- Manipur registered maximum incremental progress on indicators such as full immunization coverage, institutional deliveries, total Case Notification Rate of Tuberculosis etc.
- Among UTs, Chandigarh (first rank) and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (second rank) were ranked on top in terms of overall performance as well as in annual incremental performance.
- These two UTs showed the highest improvement in indicators such as total Case Notification Rate of Tuberculosis, Average Occupancy of an officer (in months) for 3 Key State posts for last 3 years, Proportion of ANMs positions vacant at Sub Centres etc.
ABOUT THE ‘HEALTHY STATES, PROGRESSIVE INDIA’ REPORT:
- The report ranks states and Union territories on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as, their overall performance with respect to each other.
- The report is aimed at releasing a composite Health Index based on key health outcomes and other health systems.
- The Health Index of the report is a weighted composite Index based on 23 indicators grouped into the domains of Health Outcomes, Governance and Information, and Key Inputs/Processes.
- The ranking is categorized as Larger States, Smaller States and Union Territories (UTs), to ensure comparison among similar entities.
- The States are categorized as Front-runners, Achievers and Aspirants. Further, the States are categorized into four groups based on incremental performance: not improved, least improved, moderately improved and most improved.
PERFORMANCE OF VARIOUS STATES:
- Kerala has emerged as the top-ranking state in terms of overall health performance.
- Uttar Pradesh is the worst when it comes to overall health performance.
- Gujarat, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh stood at fourth, fifth and sixth spots.
- Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have emerged as the top ranking states based on historical performance across health indicators.
- Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand top the index based on incremental performance.
- Among the UTs, Chandigarh jumped one spot to top the list with a score of (63.62), followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli (56.31), Lakshadweep (53.54), Puducherry (49.69), Delhi (49.42), Andaman and Nicobar (45.36) and Daman and Diu (41.66).
- Only about half the States and UTs showed an improvement in the overall score between 2015-16 (base year) and 2017-18 (reference year).
- Among the eight Empowered Action Group States, only three States — Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh — showed improvement in the overall performance.
- Health Index has been developed as a tool to leverage co-operative and competitive federalism to accelerate the pace of achieving health outcomes.
- It would also serve as an instrument for “nudging” States & Union Territories (UTs) and the Central Ministries to a much greater focus on output and outcome-based measurement of annual performance than is currently the practice.
- With the annual publication of the Index and its availability on public domain on a dynamic basis, it is expected to keep every stakeholder alert to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goal number 3.
LIMITATIONS OF THE HEALTH INDEX:
- Some critical areas such as infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health is not fully captured in the Index due to non-availability of acceptable quality data.
- Data for indicators such as Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) were available only for formerly undivided States, which could not be used in the Index.
- As the West Bengal did not submit the approved data, the performance scores were generated by using the pre-filled indicator data for 12 indicators and for the remaining indicators the data were repeated for the Reference Year.
- For several key outcome indicators, data were available only for Larger States. Hence, the Health Index scores and ranks for Smaller States and UTs did not include these indicators.
Government is taking several steps to control the spread of Fall Army Worm
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has taken several steps to control the spread of Fall Army Worm (FAW).
ABOUT FALL ARMY WORM (FAW)
- Fall Armyworm is a species in the order of Lepidoptera and is the larval life stage of a fall armyworm moth.
- The term “armyworm” can refer to several species. The Fall Armyworm is more dangerous than the True Armyworm.
- It is regarded as a pest and can damage and destroy a wide variety of crops, which causes large economic damage.
- It is a native of the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas and was first detected in the African continent in 2016.
- It was reported in India for the first time in 2018 when it affected crops in Karnataka. Within a span of only six months, almost 50 per cent of the country, including Mizoram, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, has reported FAW infestations.
- This was due to its polyphagous (ability to feed on different kinds of food) nature and strong flying ability. Moreover, it has high reproductive capacity as a single female can lay 600 to 700 eggs.
- In its 45-day-long lifecycle, the female moth of this pest lays around 1,500-2,000 eggs on the top of leaves. In the roughly 30-day larval stage, the caterpillar goes through six stages of development or instars.
- This is the most dangerous part of the lifecycle as the caterpillar feeds on leaves, whorls, stalks and flowers of crop plants. Once this stage is completed, the growing moth pupates in the soil — for 8-9 days in summer and 20-30 days in cold weather. The nocturnal egg-laying adults live for about 10 days, during which they migrate long distances.
- FAW larvae are seen in groups. The larva of FAW can be identified by four characteristic spots on the last second segment forming a square. The head has an inverted “Y” mark.
- The lifecycle of the worm can range from 30 to 45 days. In winter, the cycle can extend up to even 90 days.
- The larva is the damaging stage of the insect. It generally causes damage to corn (maize), and can attack millet, vegetables, rice, sugarcane and sorghum.
- Till date, India has reported FAW infestation on maize, sorghum (jowar) and sugarcane crops.
STEPS TAKEN TO CONTROL FAW:
- The Indian Council of Agriculture Research has prepared a detailed Package of Practices (POP) against FAW in Maize crop which contains mechanical, cultural, biological and chemical measures to control FAW.
- Based on the recommendations of the High Power Committee (HPC), various Sub-Committees have been constituted in the various states which are headed by the Director / Commissioner of Agriculture / Principal Secretary of the respective State.
- Regular surveys, surveillance and monitoring were conducted by the Central Integrated Pest Management Centres (CIPMCs) in collaboration with the State Department of Agriculture, SAUs and ICAR etc.
- Certain Bio-control Agents, which have found effective against FAW, have been mass produced.
[Ref: PIB, Indian Express]
APEDA organises buyers-sellers meet in Manipur
Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in association with North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC) organized the second Conference cum International Buyers-Sellers Meet in Imphal, Manipur recently.
- APEDA is an apex body of the Ministry of Commerce to promote the export of agricultural commodities and processed food products.
- APEDA was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act 1985.
- The Authority replaced the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).
- APEDA links Indian exporters to global markets besides providing comprehensive export oriented services.
- APEDA provides referral services and suggest suitable partners for joint ventures.
- APEDA’s export basket ranges from typically Indian ethnic products like pickles, chutneys, sauces, curries etc. to rice, honey, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, beverages, guar gum, poultry, livestock products, confectionery, cut flowers, food grains, aromatic plants and other Indian delicacies.
- Vietnam, UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Iran, Iraq and Nepal are the major destinations for export of food products from India.
- APEDA has marked its presence in almost all agro potential states of India and has been providing services to agri-export community through its head office, five Regional offices and 13 Virtual offices.
COMPOSITION OF THE APEDA AUTHORITY:
- As prescribed by the statute, the APEDA Authority consists of the following members namely:
- A Chairman, appointed by the Central Government
- The Agricultural Marketing Advisor to the Government of India, ex-offical.
- One member appointed by the Central Government representing the Planning Commission
- Three members of Parliament of whom two are elected by the House of People and one by the Council of States
- Eight members appointed by the Central Government representing respectively; the Ministries of the Central Govt.
PRODUCTS MONITORED BY APEDA:
APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the following scheduled products:
- Fruits, Vegetables and their Products.
- Meat and Meat Products.
- Poultry and Poultry Products.
- Dairy Products.
- Confectionery, Biscuits and Bakery Products.
- Honey, Jaggery and Sugar Products.
- Cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds.
- Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.
- Cereal and Cereal Products.
- Groundnuts, Peanuts and Walnuts.
- Pickles, Papads and Chutneys.
- Guar Gum.
- Floriculture and Floriculture Products.
- Herbal and Medicinal Plants.
Beekeeping Development Committee under EAC-PM releases its report
The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister set up a Beekeeping Development Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor Bibek Debroy.
ABOUT BEEKEEPING DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE (BDC):
- BDC was constituted under the chairmanship of Professor Bibek Debroy.
- It was set up by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.
- It was created with an objective of identifying ways of advancing beekeeping in India that can help in improving agricultural productivity, enhancing employment generation, augmenting nutritional security and sustaining biodiversity.
- It provided the recommendations to enhance the contribution of the Honeybee sector in achieving the 2022 target of doubling farmer incomes.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE REPORT OF THE BDC:
- Beekeeping cannot be restricted to honey and wax only, products such as pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom are also marketable and can greatly help Indian farmers.
- The government should recognize honeybees as inputs to agriculture and considering landless beekeepers as farmers.
- It recommended the creation of national and regional infrastructure for storage, processing and marketing of honey and other bee products, along with clear standards for exports.
- Apiculture should be recognized as a subject for advanced research and the National Bee Board should be renamed as the Honey and Pollinators Board of India to strengthen bee development.
- It also suggests to create a honey price stabilisation fund.
- It suggests formation of Indian Institute of Honey Bees and Pollinators Research (LIHBPR) – a New Institute for Strengthening Beekeeping and Pollinator Research in India.
- It proposes Beekeeping Development by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) as a village industry.
- Honey bees shall be kept in locations with elephant – human conflict so as to minimize effect of the conflict.
- Since per capita honey consumption in India is very poor, considering the health benefits of consuming honey, honey and bee pollen shall be included in mid-day meals and child nutrition programmes
- Organizing the beekeepers into effective entities such as Beekeepers’ Federations or Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) like IFFCO for managing their inputs & equipments.
STATUS OF BEEKEEPING IN INDIA:
- The practice of keeping bees in India dates back to ancient times when people hunted honey from feral colonies of the rock bee, the little bee and the Indian hive bee.
- The Indian hive bee was a domesticated species but was kept in wooden logs until the end of 19th
- In south India, Father Paul Newton in 1909 designed a hive for Indian hive bees, a cheap honey extractor. He trained several beekeepers in Kanyakumari district. This smaller hive named, as ‘Newton hive’ is in common use even today for beekeeping in plains.
- In north India, the Indian bee is bigger in size and darker and is usually called the A. cerana cerana, while in south the bee is yellowish and smaller and is called A. cerana indica.
- From 1920-50s, the beekeepers of India introduced ‘A. mellifera Linn.’ Honey bee in India due to its high honey yield and other good attributes.
- Successful introduction of A. mellifera was achieved in the erstwhile Punjab through ‘Interspecific Queen Introduction Technique’ and later on through the import of disease-free nuclei.
- Currently, based on the area under cultivation in India and bee forage crops, India has a potential of about 200 million bee colonies as against 3.4 million bee colonies today.
- India’s honey exports have increased between 2014-15 and 2017-18.
- India ranks eighth in the world in terms of honey production. China tops in Honey production.
- Among the different states of India, the maximum honey production is from four states namely Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab and Bihar which account for more than 50% of total honey production in India.
ROLE OF BEEKEEPING IN AGRICULTURE:
- Honey bees travel from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen grains. The nectar thus collected is later converted into honey.
- As the bee flies from flower to flower, some of the pollen grains are transferred onto the stigma of other flowers.
- Nectar provides the energy for bee nutrition while pollen provides the protein. When bees are rearing large quantities of brood, bees deliberately gather pollen to meet the nutritional needs of the brood.
- Pollination is essential for the production of fruit and seed. There are many plants that cannot produce fruit and seed if pollinated by their own pollen and so require cross pollination. Such plants include those in which male and female parts are either borne on separate plants or on the same flower but they are physically excluded from each other.
- Honey bees, birds, bats and insects are important in pollination of most fruits and vegetables. Over 90% of all flowering plants and over three-quarters of the crop plants rely on animals for pollination.
- Seed and fruit production of cross-pollinated crops can be increased considerably in areas where there is a dearth of natural pollinators by placing honey bee colonies in the crop when it is in bloom.
SIGNIFICANCE OF HONEY AND HONEY BEES:
- As per Food and Agricultural Organization database, in 2017-18, India ranked eighth in the world in terms of honey production (64.9 thousand tonnes) while China stood first with a production level of 551 thousand tonnes.
- Further, beekeeping can be an important contributor in achieving the 2022 target of doubling farmer incomes.
- Honey is an important Minor Forest Produce. About 90% of the Scheduled Tribes of the country live in and around forest areas and the forests provide 60% of the food & medicinal needs of tribals and 40% of their income from Minor Forest Produce (MFP) mostly of which come from Honey.
BENEFITS OF BEEKEEPING:
- Beekeeping has been useful in pollination of crops, thereby, increasing income of the farmers/beekeepers by way of increasing crop yield and providing honey and other beehive products, viz. royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis, bees wax, etc. that serves a source of livelihood for rural poor.
- Therefore, honeybees/ beekeeping has been recognised as one of the important inputs for sustainable development of agriculture/ horticulture.
- USA, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and France are the top honey importers of the world.
- The honey consumption in kg/capita/year was highest in New Zealand (2.02). It was only 0.02 in India much lower than the world average consumption of 0.36 kg/capita/year.
Key Facts for Prelims
4 Plastic Parks approved for implementation in Phase-I
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers stated that there is a scheme in place to establish Plastic Parks across the country.
WHAT IS A PLASTIC PARK?
- A plastic park is an industrial zone devoted to plastic enterprises.
- It includes a whole range of companies required by the plastics processing community from material and machinery suppliers, plastics processing companies, plastic recycling companies etc.
ABOUT THE PLASTIC PARK SCHEME:
- It is a scheme of Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers approved in 2015.
- The objectives of the scheme, inter-alia, are to increase competitiveness and investments, achieve environmentally sustainable growth and adopt the cluster development approach to consolidate the capacities in plastic sector.
- Under the scheme, Government of India provides grant funding up to 50% of the project cost, subject to a ceiling of Rs.40 crores per project.
- A Special Purpose Vehicle set up by the concerned State government, which is the implementing agency is responsible for all statutory approvals.
- The Scheme also provides building common infrastructure to support the plastic production units for hazardous waste management, incinerator, buildings and equipment/machinery for common facilities etc.
- In phase-I of the scheme, four Plastic parks in Assam (Tinsukia), Madhya Pradesh (Raisen), Odisha (Jagatsinghpur) & Tamil Nadu (Thiruvallur) are approved for implementation till 2019-20.
- Moreover, two plastic parks in of Jharkhand (Deogarh) and Madhya Pradesh (Bilaua) were given final approval in 2018-19.