UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Nov 11

Hausala 2017

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development will celebrate the Child Rights Week (Hausala 2017) from 16thto 20th November, 2017
  • The country celebrates the Children’s Day on 14thNovember and the International Child Rights Day is celebrated on 20th November every year. The period between the two important events will be celebrated as Child Rights Week by WCD Ministry by hosting an Inter CCI Festival for the children who reside in Child Care Institutions (CCIs).

How will this Help?

  • The commemoration of the festival “Hausala 2017” will provide an occasion to showcase the talents of children from CCIs   from various child care institutions across the country and provide them with a space to express their dreams and aspiration. 
  • Children will be participating in various events like Bal Sansad, painting competition, athletics meet, football, chess competition and speech writing.

 

 

Measles & Rubella

  • The India Expert Advisory Group on Measles & Rubella (IEAG-MR) has commended India on the progress of the measles and rubella vaccination campaign, as it reviewed the existing strategies and efforts towards measles elimination and control of rubella 

Facts

  • Measles kills an estimated 49,000 children in India each year, which is about 37% of the global deaths due to this disease.
  • India has set an ambitious goal to eliminate measles from the country. Measles Rubella vaccine has been introduced in 13 states. 

 

Rubella/ German Measles

  • It is a contagious respiratory viral infection that causes a distinctive red rash.
  • Though there are no statistics on its prevalence, the health ministry says the disease is endemic in India.
  • It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can also be passed on from mother to the newborn.
  • Experts say more than two lakh children in India are born deaf, blind, or with heart or brain damage every year due to the congenital rubella syndrome.
  • Since measles is caused by a virus, there is no specific medical treatment for it and the virus has to run its course.
  • But a child who is sick should drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, and be kept from spreading the infection to others.

Signs and Symptoms

  • While measles is probably best known for its full-body rash, the first symptoms of the infection are usually a hacking cough, runny nose, high fever, and red eyes.
  • Children who get the disease also may have Koplik’s spots, small red spots with blue-white centers that appear inside the mouth.

 

 

Graded Response Action Plan

  • A graded response lays down stratified actions that are required to be taken as and when the concentration of pollutants, in this case particulate matter, reaches a certain level.
  • At the level of 100 microgrammes per cubic metre of PM 2.5, for example, mechanised sweeping and water-sprinkling along roads has to start.
    • Traffic police personnel have to ensure smooth flow of traffic, and all pollution control measures that are already in place — such as stopping landfill fires, and enforcing Pollution Under Control (PUC) norms and a ban on firecrackers — have to be imposed strictly
  • The response will change as pollutant levels increase.
    • In January 2016, the average PM 2.5 concentration was 211 µg/m³, with concentrations crossing 300 µg/m³ on a few days. If this level persists for more than 48 hours, an emergency will be declared, which means a return of the odd-even road rationing scheme, ban on construction activity, and no entry of trucks in Delhi unless they are carrying essential commodities.
  • The plan was prepared by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), which held meetings with stakeholders from all states over several months.

How will the system work practically?

  • The concentration of pollutants will be communicated to EPCA by a task force that will primarily comprise officials from the respective pollution control boards and India Meteorological Department. This will be an average for the entire city
  • The job of ensuring implementation of the action plan will be EPCA’s, which will delegate the responsibility to the concerned departments. According to EPCA’s report, at least 16 agencies will have to work together to implement the various parts of the plan.

What are the challenges in implementing the plan?

  • A large number of agencies, from different states, will have to work together — this in itself is a huge challenge. That a coordination agency — EPCA — has been appointed is the silver lining.
  • Some agencies have already pointed out problems in implementing the plan. During an air quality emergency, for example, odd-even has to be imposed. The Delhi government has, however, stated that it will be very difficult to implement the scheme without a notice of at least a week, so that alternative arrangements for public transport can be made and an awareness drive launched.
  • The municipal corporations, which have to hike parking rates by 3-4 times if the air quality is very poor, have to hold an elaborate meeting each time they change these rates.

Has such a system been tried elsewhere?

  • Beijing and Paris, most notably, have implemented graded action plans over the past few years. Paris recently implemented the odd-even road rationing scheme when PM 2.5 levels crossed 95 µg/m³. It also made public transport free to encourage people to leave their vehicles at home.
  • Several Chinese cities have a road rationing scheme when pollution reaches severe levels. They also shut schools and industries when particulate matter levels stay higher than around 300 µg/m³ for more than two days in a row, and a Red Alert is triggered

 

 The Environment Minister added that some of the immediate short-term measures initiated include: 

  • Ban on diesel gen-sets, brick kilns, stone crushers, hot mix plants as per GRAP is being effectively enforced;
  • Ban on entry of trucks with non-essential supplies to Delhi is being strictly enforced.
  • Enhanced parking fee and capacity augmentation of public transport. Metro has increased its frequency and number of coaches by 25%.
  • Civil construction activities have been stopped for the moment.
  • Watering over unpaved roads to contain road dust is being carried out on a large scale. Fire tenders, water tankers of corporations have been pressed into service for sprinkling water. 
  • Regulated emission from industries in NCR region advised the State governments to issue directions to the concerned authorities.
  • Impose fines on defaulters through Municipal Corporations/State Pollution Control Boards and other organizations.
  • Enforce ban on garbage burning.

 

 

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