15 February , 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • Boosting Confidence- Social Issues
  • Inter-State boundary issue creating bad blood Polity & Governance
  • PM hands over Arjun Mk-1A tank to Army Defence Technology
  • UAE Hope Probe sends home first image of Mars Science & Technology
  • Fossils of Dickinsonia found at Bhimbetka- Environment
  • Fuzzy law, unclear jurisprudence, trampled rights Polity & Governance
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    Current Affairs:  Boosting Confidence (Vaccine Hesitancy- Causes and Remedies) |  Page 08

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Social Issues

    Sub Theme: Vaccine Hesitancy | Vaccine Adoption | UPSC

    Boosting Confidence

    ( Vaccine Hesitancy- Causes and Remedies)

    Context:

    The rapid advancements in the field of science and technology has led to the development of vaccines for a large number of diseases such as Diphtheria, Flu (Influenza), Hepatitis A, B, HPV, Measles, Rubella, Mumps, Rotavirus, Polio, Tetanus, Whooping cough etc. The development of the vaccines has led to saving of large number of human lives. WHO- prevented around 2-3 million deaths each year.

    However, inspite of the availability of vaccines, the people as such as reluctant to take the vaccines. This form of aversion of the people towards the vaccines is known as "Vaccine Hesitancy". WHO has defined "Vaccine Hesitancy" as "the reluctance or refusal of the people to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines".

    WHO has listed as "vaccine hesitancy" as among the top 10 threats to global health this year.

    Now, recently,  Mystic and Yoga Scholar, Jaggi Vasudev of the Isha foundation has asked the people in India to be more careful with respect to vaccines since the vaccines could lead to many side-effects or negative impact on people's health.

    In this regard, this article raises grave concerns with respect to Vaccine Hesitancy across the world as well as India. It highlights that such kind of misinformation related to vaccines could dissuade the people from getting themselves vaccinated. Accordingly, it highlights  that such kind of wrong perception among the people related to vaccines need to be countered in order to improve the health outcomes in India.

    Now, since WHO has declared the Vaccine Hesitancy as among the top 10  threats  to global health, we will discuss as to what factors could influence the people to get vaccinated? What factors could dissuade the people from getting vaccinated? More importantly, what should be done in order to counter the growing problem of Vaccine Hesitancy?

    The question which arises is why are people reluctant to vaccinate themselves. Is it the poor understand of the efficacy of the vaccines? Is it the low literacy levels among the population? Or is it the socio-religious norms? To understand this, let us look at the vaccination model developed by WHO.

    The vaccination model basically highlights as to what factors contribute to either higher or lower acceptance of vaccines among the population in a country.

    Confidence is defined as extent of trust in the effectiveness and safety of vaccines. If the people perceive that the vaccines are ineffective or may cause adverse impact on their health, then the people may not get themselves vaccinated due to the perceived risk.

    For instance, the article highlights that 95% of the people in South Asia trusts vaccine. However, in case of Europe, the trust in the vaccines is hardly about 55% on an average.

    Case Study:

    For example, in Jan 2019, a famous UK-based scientist known as Martin Gore died after being vaccinated with Yellow fever vaccine. Now, even though it may be a one-off incident of death due to vaccination. However, such instances of death due to vaccination may lead to loss of public trust and confidence in the vaccines.

    Similarly, the WHO has raised grave concerns with respect to poor acceptability of Measles Vaccines in the developed countries such as USA and Europe. People in these countries have developed a perception that if they get their children vaccinated with Measles, then the children may develop autism in the later stages. Now, even though the scientists are trying to change such a flawed perception among the people, the people as such are still reluctant to get their children vaccinated. Because of this, there has been increase in the number of measles cases in the developed countries including those countries where measles was eliminated earlier.

    Now, these two case studies clearly highlight that increase in the literacy rates among the population in a country may not guarantee the increase in the vaccination coverage. Apart from increasing awareness levels, the public trust and confidence in the vaccines is equally important to enhance the vaccination coverage. The public should perceive that vaccines would not have adverse impact on their health. Only then, the people would get vaccinated.

    Complacency:

    Secondly, some of the people may also develop complacency related to vaccines where in they may start perceiving that nothing would happen to them even if they do not take the vaccines.  The complacency of the people towards the vaccines may get developed because of a number of factors.

    For example, the people's acceptance or rejection of vaccines may be in turn shaped by the socio-religious norms. Some of the ultra-orthodox communities such as Jewish community in New York are resisting the MMR vaccines due to religious reasons.

    Similarly, this article highlights that the Muslim communities in the two districts of Kerala were reluctant to get their children vaccinated against the diphtheria disease. The basic reason was the propaganda that was carried out. The propaganda highlighted that diphtheria vaccine may contain microbes, chemicals and animal derived products which are forbidden by the Islamic law.

    Convenience:

    Obviously, one of the most importance aspect of the acceptance of the vaccines is their availability and affordability. It is one of the basic prerequisite for expanding the immunisation coverage. When the vaccines are available across the country at affordable prices, automatically it would lead to expansion in the immunisation coverage within a country.

    For instance, the Government of India has launched the Universal Immunisation Coverage known as Mission Indradhanush so as to increase the availability of vaccines for number of diseases such as tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and measles. The number has since risen to 12 with the inclusion of vaccines against measles rubella, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenza type-B and polio. Because of this, the immunisation coverage in India has increased to around 87%.

    However, as stated before, the availibility of vaccines is just one of the facets for improving the immunisation coverage, other equally important factors influencing the immunisation coverage are Confidence and Complacency in the vaccines.

    How to address the problem of Vaccine Hesitancy?

    Integrating Behavioural Economics: The Economic Survey 2018-19 has recommended for the integration of behavioural economics into our public policies. Through the behavioural economics, we should be able to influence or nudge the people to take decisions in their best interests. This behavioural economics can be used for improving the immunisation coverage in India.

    Regular Publication of Data: The Government should regularly publish the data as to how the improvement in the vaccination coverage has led to improvement in the health outcomes of the people. Such regular publication of data would dispel the wrong perceptions of the people about the vaccines and act as positive reinforcement for the people regarding the benefits of vaccination.

    Counter the Misinformation: As stated before, the vaccine hesitancy could develop among the people due to circulation of fake news as well as propaganda about the unsafe nature of the vaccines. The Government has to proactively counter such fake news and propaganda by demonstrating to the public about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

    Regular updates on pending vaccination: The Government should send regular updates on the mobile phones of the people related to the pending vaccination of their children. Such constant reminders to the people would improve the vaccination coverage.

    Providing Incentives: Recently, the Nobel Prize in the field of Economics has been awarded to Abhijeet Banerjee and his companions. These Nobel laureates have demonstrated as to how the evidence based policy making can improve the development outcomes. In particular, through a experiment which they carried out in the state of Rajasthan, the Nobel Laureates have demonstrated that the immunisation coverage can be improved if the people are provided with certain incentives. For instance, they have showed that if the poor families are provided with the food grains, then they would be incentivised to get their children vaccinated.

    Training the Health Workers: The health workers in India such as the ASHA workers can play a instrumental role in dispelling the wrong perceptions related to vaccines. These ASHA workers have to be suitably trained to communicate to the communities on benefits of the vaccination.

    Engaging with the religious leaders: As discussed before, the socio-religious outlook can sometime contribute to vaccine hesitancy. Hence, the government should engage with the religious leaders who wield considerable influence over the communities. These religious leaders have to be sensitised about the importance of vaccines and they should be asked to communicate the benefits of the vaccines to their community members.

     

    Current Affairs:Inter-State boundary issue creating bad blood’ |

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance

    Sub Theme: Boundary Issues | Inter State Council | UPSC

    Inter-State boundary issue creating bad blood’

    Context: Andhra Pradesh has conducted panchayat elections in three villages in the Kotia cluster, which is at the centre of a border dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Based on this, Union Petroleum Minister has said that it was a matter of concern that a State had conducted panchayat elections inside another State’s geographical boundary. He further stated that the interstate-State boundary dispute is creating bad blood among disputing states.  

    About the region

    These villages, with a population of nearly 5,000, are located on a remote hilltop on the inter-state border and are inhabited by Kondh tribals. The region, once a Maoist hotbed which still reports sporadic incidents of violence, is also rich in mineral resources like gold, platinum, manganese, bauxite, graphite and limestone.

    Historical Dispute

    • 1936 - In the Constitution of Orrisa Order, 1936, published in the Gazette of India in March 1936, the Government of India demarcated Odisha from the erstwhile Madras Presidency. The then Madras Presidency included the present Andhra Pradesh.
    • In 1942 - the Madras government contested the boundary and ordered re-demarcation of the two states. In a joint survey of Odisha, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, seven villages of Kotia gram panchayat were recorded as revenue villages and revenue was collected by the Odisha government, but the exercise left out the 21 villages now under dispute.
    • 1955 - When the state of Andhra Pradesh was created in 1955, the villages were not surveyed by the Andhra Pradesh government either. Hence, the area remained disputed and undemarcated.
    • 1980s - In the early 1980s, Odisha filed a case in the Supreme Court demanding right and possession of jurisdiction over the 21 villages.
    • 2006 – Supreme Court ruled that since disputes belonging to the state boundaries are not within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the matter can only be resolved by Parliament and passed a permanent injunction on the disputed area.
    • 2021 - A day after Andhra notified the panchayat elections for the disputed area, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated projects worth Rs 18 crore. The Odisha government moved the Supreme Court, which posted the matter for hearing on February 19, 2021.

    Present Day Problems

    • The problem is further compounded as in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections the villages participate in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections for both states.
    • They are registered as voters for Salur Assembly and Araku Lok Sabha seats of Andhra, and Pottangi Assembly and Koraput Lok Sabha seats of Odisha.
    • Even the villagers enjoy benefits from both states under various schemes. 

    Article 263 - Provisions with respect to an inter-State Council 

    If at any time it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of a Council charged with the duty of –  

    • inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between States;
    • investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States, have a common interest; or
    • making recommendations upon any such subject and, in particular, recommendations for the better co-ordination of policy and action with respect to that subject,

    it shall be lawful for the President by order to establish such a Council, and to define the nature of the duties to be performed by it and its organization and procedure.

    Government accepted Sarkaria Commission Report

    • The Commission on Centre-State Relations under the Chairmanship of Justice R. S. Sarkaria in its report in January 1988 recommended that:
    • A permanent Inter-State Council called the Inter-Governmental Council (IGC) should be set up under Article 263.
    • The IGC should be charged with the duties set out in clauses (b) and (c) of Article 263, other than socio-economic planning and development.
    • Government of India accepted the recommendation of the Sarkaria Commission to set-up an Inter-State Council and notified the establishment of the Inter-State Council vides Presidential Order dated 28-05-1990.

    Composition of the Council - The Council consists of

    • Prime Minister – Chairman
    • Chief Ministers of all States – Members
    • Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a Legislative Assembly and Administrators of UTs not having a Legislative Assembly – Members
    • Six Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister – Members

    The Presidential Order of 1990 has been amended twice providing for Governor of a State under President’s rule to attend the meeting of the Council and nomination by the Chairman of permanent invitees from amongst the other Union Ministers, respectively.

    Vision & Mission - Inter-Council Secretariat

    The Inter-State Council Secretariat acts as a vibrant organization to support Centre-State and Inter-State coordination and cooperation in India. Thus, the mission is to

    • Create a strong institutional framework to promote and support cooperative federalism in the country.
    • Activate the Inter-State Council and Zonal Councils by organizing its regular meetings.
    • Facilitate consideration of all pending and emerging issues of Centre State and Inter-State relations by the Zonal Councils and Inter- State Council.
    • Develop a sound system of monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the Inter-State Council and Zonal Councils.

    Functions of the Inter-State Council

    • Making recommendations upon such subject and in particular for better coordination of policy and action regarding any issue or subject matter.
    • Inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between/among States.
    • Investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States have a common interest.
    • Deliberating upon other matters of general interest to the states as may be referred by the Chairman.

    Standing Committee

    • In the second meeting of the Inter-State Council held on 15.10.1996, the Council decided to set up a Standing Committee for continuous consultation and processing of matters for consideration of the Council.
    • Accordingly, a Standing Committee was set up under the Chairmanship of the Home Minister vide notification dated 5 December 1996.

    Functions of Standing Committee - The Standing Committee will

    • Have continuous consultation and process matters for consideration of the Council.
    • Process all matters pertaining to Centre-State Relations before they are taken up for consideration in the Inter-State Council.
    • Monitor the implementation of decisions taken on the recommendations of the Council. &
    • Consider any other matter referred to it by the Chairman/Council.

    The Standing Committee may, if necessary, invite experts and persons eminent in specific fields to have the benefit of their views while deliberating upon the related subjects.  

     

    Current Affairs:PM hands over Arjun Mk-1A tank to Army | Page 01

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III – Indigenization of Technology | Prelims: Science and Technology

    Sub Theme: Arjun Mk-1A | UPSC

    PM hands over Arjun Mk-1A tank to Army

    Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun is a multi-laboratory programme of DRDO with CVRDE as the lead Laboratory. It is a state-of-the-art tank with superior fire power, high mobility, and excellent protection.

    Twelve Mk 1 prototypes of MBT Arjun have been manufactured and their performance tests have provided satisfactory results. Some of the breakthroughs achieved by CVRDE during the development of MBT Arjun are in Engine, Transmission, Hydropneumatic Suspension, Hull and Turret, and Gun Control System.

    UAE’s Hope Probe sends home first image of Mars

     

    Current Affairs: UAE’s Hope Probe sends home first image of Mars | Page 15

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance

    Sub Theme: SC Observations on Inter-caste Marriages | UPSC

    UAE’s Hope Probe sends home first image of Mars

     

     

    Current Affairs:Fossils of ‘Dickinsonia’ found at Bhimbetka | Page 10

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper I -Art and Culture

    Sub Theme: Dickinsonia | Bhimbetka | UPSC

    Fossils of ‘Dickinsonia’ found at Bhimbetka

    Researchers have discovered three fossils of the earliest known living animal — the 550-million-year-old ‘Dickinsonia’ — on the roof of the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, about 40 km from Bhopal.

    What is Dickinsonia?

    • Dickinsonia is an extinct genus of basal animal that lived during the late Ediacaran period in what is now Australia, Russia and Ukraine.
    • The individual Dickinsonia typically resembles a bilaterally symmetrical ribbed oval. Its affinities are presently unknown; its mode of growth is consistent with a stem-group bilaterian affinity, though some have suggested that it belongs to the fungi, or even an "extinct kingdom".
    • The discovery of cholesterol molecules in fossils of Dickinsonia lends support to the idea that Dickinsonia was an animal.

    About Bhimbetka Rock Shelters

    • The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India that spans the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period.
    • It exhibits the earliest traces of human life in India and evidence of Stone Age starting at the site in Acheulian times.
    • It is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh about 45 kilometres (28 mi) south-east of Bhopal.
    • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of seven hills and over 750 rock shelters distributed over 10 km (6.2 mi).
    • At least some of the shelters were inhabited more than 100,000 years ago.
    • The rock shelters and caves provide evidence of, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, a "rare glimpse" into human settlement and cultural evolution from hunter-gatherers, to agriculture, and expressions of prehistoric spirituality.
    • Some of the Bhimbetka rock shelters feature prehistoric cave paintings and the earliest are about 10,000 years old (c. 8,000 BCE), corresponding to the Indian Mesolithic.
    • These cave paintings show themes such as animals, early evidence of dance and hunting. The Bhimbetka site has the oldest-known rock art in India, as well as is one of the largest prehistoric complexes.
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