HINDU Editorial Analysis 16 Oct 2017

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TOPIC NO. 1 – TOXIC FARMING ON INSECTICIDE REGULATION :- 

Farmers are dying from insecticide exposure in Maharashtra has shown the governments efforts to regulate toxic chemicals in agriculture has failed.

Why they use Insecticides ? 

  • Farmers rely on the insecticides in case of severe pest attacks.
  • To protect their investments in agriculture.
  • Rely on the advice of commercial outlets agents rather than agriculture officers.

What steps have been taken so far ?

During UPA Govt, new Pesticides management bill was introduced in 2008 was studied by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, but it is still pending.

PESTICIDE MANAGEMENT BILL, 2008

Proposed as a step towards promoting safe use of pesticides, this Bill seeks to regulate the manufacture, inspection, testing and distribution of pesticides. It establishes a system of licensing as well as the setting up of a registration committee to register pesticides.

Highlights of the Bill :-

=> The Bill replaces the Insecticides Act, 1968.It defines a pesticide as a substance used to destroy or control the spread of pests in agricultural commodities or animal feed.  The Bill sets criteria by which a pesticide is to be classified as mis-branded, sub-standard, or spurious.

=> The Bill establishes a Central Pesticides Board to advise the government on matters related to pesticide regulation, manufacture, use and disposal.  It establishes a registration committee to register pesticides.

=> No pesticide can be registered unless tolerance limits for its residues on crops and commodities are specified under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

=> The Bill establishes a procedure to licence manufacturers, distributors and retailers of pesticides, to be administered by state governments.  Pesticide inspectors shall inspect facilities and collect pesticide samples while pesticide analysts shall test the samples collected.
Failures :-
  • Agricultural products from India, including fruits and vegetables, have been subjected to import restrictions internationally for failing to comply with safety norms.
  • Centre has failed to use its vast communication infrastructure, including DD Kisan to address distressed farmers.

What needs to be done now ?

  • There is a need for a high-level inquiry into the nature of pesticides used across the country, and the failure of the regulatory system.
  • Central Pesticides Board be formed to advise on use and disposal of pesticides on sound lines, as envisaged under the law proposed in 2008.
  • Aligning the new pesticides regulatory framework with food safety laws and products used in health care will make it broad-based.

Conclusion :- A forward-looking farm policy would minimise the use of toxic chemicals, and encourage organic methods where they are efficacious. This will benefit both farmer and consumer.


TOPIC NO.2 – BETWEEN DISARMAMENT & DETERRENCE :-

This year the Nobel Committee awarded its annual peace prize to the laudable goal of nuclear disarmament taken by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons birth at the United Nations reflects the ambition of many states to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

But civil society actors and governments concerned about disarmament should not be tempted to rest on the laurels of this achievement. If they are to make further progress, they must also focus on practical steps to reduce the risks of nuclear weapons being used. Without such work, the prohibition treaty risks becoming merely a moral victory, rather than contributing to concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Awarding of ambition :-

The Nobel Committee’s choice reflects an awarding of ambition. As much as the prohibition treaty creates a legal basis for proscribing nuclear weapons among adhering states, it hasn’t actually banned such weapons. Nuclear arsenals exist and will continue to exist for years to come. The treaty establishes no new mechanisms to encourage states with nuclear weapons to dismantle them. Instead, it seeks to de-legitimise nuclear weapons as tools of statecraft on the grounds of indiscriminate humanitarian effects. Ironically, the Nobel Committee essentially rewarded the same ambition just eight years ago, when it gave the prize to former U.S. President Barack Obama for offering a vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Since 2009, when Mr. Obama won the prize, nuclear dangers have increased, as have nuclear arsenals in several states.

International security problems :- 

For states facing nuclear threats in particular, the logic of nuclear deterrence remains seductive. It is hardly surprising, For example, that opinion polls consistently show more than 60% of South Korean citizens supporting the idea of acquiring nuclear weapons in order to counter the growing nuclear threat from North Korea.

It is such international security problems that the current ban movement and the nuclear prohibition treaty have trouble addressing. States facing potentially existential threats find few alternatives to nuclear deterrence.

Indeed, states with nuclear weapons are now engaged in efforts to modernise their arsenals to be useful for decades to come.

  • The U.S., for instance, is considering building smaller nuclear weapons to target buried facilities.
  • Pakistan has tested nuclear weapons that could be deployed on the battlefield.
  • Russia may be developing new, intermediate-range missiles in contravention of an arms control treaty with the U.S.
  • India is deploying nuclear weapons on new submarines.
  • China is fielding new long-range missiles with multiple nuclear warheads.
  • North Korea is racing to test and field a scary array of nuclear missiles.

None of the weapons possessors seems particularly concerned with the stigma created by the prohibition treaty.

What can be done to address the problem of disarmament & deterrence ?

In states possessing nuclear weapons, civil society actors can :-

  • Challenge the most expansive and dangerous ideas that extend nuclear deterrence objectives to absurd ends.
  • Sharp analysis can highlight the magical thinking offered by many nuclear weapons advocates to paper over flaws in logic or distract from improbable assumptions.
  • It is useful to foster debate that forces policymakers to justify their investment in nuclear weapons.

In states desiring to prohibit nuclear weapons, civil society actors can :-

  • Encourage actions and policies that aim to mitigate security threats that drive demand for nuclear weapons.
  • Strengthening international institutions and mechanisms that prevent proliferation and enhance the credible peaceful uses of nuclear technology is a critical enabler of disarmament.
Conclusion :-

In expanding the middle ground between nuclear disarmament and nuclear deterrence will require the same ambition and idealism that drove the conclusion of the nuclear prohibition treaty. It will require innovation and perseverance to identify and promote mechanisms to reduce risks of nuclear use. And it will require building trust that states and civil society actors on either side of the debate share the objective of mutual security.


TOPIC NO. 3 :-
THE CASE FOR A PUBLIC HEALTH CADRE

Idea of having dedicated personnel for public health management goes back to

  • In 1959, when advocated by the Mudaliar Committee, which observed that “personnel dealing with problems of health and welfare should have a comprehensive and wide outlook and rich experience of administration at the state level”.
  • In 1973, by the Kartar Singh Committee, which said that “doctors with no formal training in infectious disease control, surveillance systems, data management, community health related problems, and lacking in leadership and communication skills, with no exposure to rural environments and their social dynamics, nor having been trained to manage a facility or draw up budget estimates, were ill-equipped and misfits to work in public facilities”.
The 12th Five Year Plan and the National Health Policy, 2017 have also strongly advocated establishing a public health management cadre to improve the quality of health services by having dedicated, trained and exclusive personnel to run public health facilities.
 Issues faced by Health Care System:-
  • Lack of standardisation
  • Financial management
  • Appropriate health functionaries and competencies
  • Technical expertise
  • Logistics management
  • Social determinants of health and leadership.
Present Scenario :-
  • Doctors with clinical qualifications and even with vast experience are unable to address all these challenges, thereby hampering the quality of our public health-care system.
  • An anaesthetist or an ophthalmologist with hardly any public health knowledge and its principles is required to implement reproductive and child health or a malaria control programme.
  • At the Ministry level, the highest post may be held by a person with no formal training in the principles of public health to guide and advise the country on public health issues.
Why to have such a cadre ?
  • Having dedicated, professionally trained personnel to address the specific and complex needs of the Indian health-care delivery system .
  • We will have personnel who can apply the principles of public health management to avoid mistakes such as one that led to the tragedy in Uttar Pradesh as well as deliver quality services.
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Indian health system.
  • With quality and a scientific implementation of public health programmes, the poor will also stand to benefit as this will reduce their out-of-pocket expenditure and dependence on prohibitively expensive private health care.
  • We will also be saving the precious resources of specialists from other branches by deploying them in areas where they are definitely needed.
What this cadre will lead to in future ?
  • Developing the recruitment, training, implementation and monitoring of public health management cadre.
  • Doctors recruited under this cadre may be trained in public health management on the lines of the civil service with compulsory posting for two-three years at public health facilities.
  • Improved planning and providing much-needed public health leadership.
  • Freeing up of bureaucrats and their utilisation in other much needed places.

 

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