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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 31 January 2020

 

A troubling prescription

  • Novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV
  1. has spread to 20 countries/ regions,
  2. number of cases has risen to 7,711
  3. number of deaths to 170 in mainland China alone.
  • Ministry of AYUSH has published a misleading advisory
  1. certain Unani medicines for “symptomatic management of Corona Virus infection” and certain Ayurvedic practices and homeopathy medicines to help “prevent the infection”
  2. None of the medicines mentioned in the advisory has undergone any form of clinical validation.
  • There is no drug to specifically target the virus.
  1. patients are being provided with symptomatic treatment

  • AYUSH Ministry’s recommendation is highly irresponsible and dangerous.
  1. it has not cared to list the symptoms that people infected with the novel virus exhibit
  2. it has not mentioned which specific medicine should be taken if a particular symptom is noticed
  3. Ministry is encouraging people to self-medicate, which is alarming
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s current practice of quickly isolating patients suspected of carrying the virus to prevent its spread, and providing them with symptomatic treatment if they are found infected.

For the rural poor, a manufactured crisis

  • National Population Register (NPR) and a possible National Register of Citizens (NRC) are being pushed at a time when rural distress is acute.
  • Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) is meant to be conducted once every five years by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
  • CES contains details about the spending patterns of households.
  • Data collected from this becomes a vital source of information to improve economic planning and budgetary allocation.
  • The Central government suppressed the release of the most recent survey data from 2017-2018.
  • Business Standar : consumer spending fell for the first time in 40 years.
  • A remarkable analysis of the report by Professor S. Subramanian in ‘The India Forum’ compares the Monthly Per Capita Consumption Expenditure (MPCE) from the CES 2011-2012 and 2017-2018.
  • It presents a grim picture of rural India.
  • According to his article, if we rank the rural population from the poorest to the richest, and divide them into 10 groups (or deciles), we find that the MPCE fell for every group.
  • This means that consumption — and so income — in the entire cross-section of the rural society decreased.
  1. For example, the average monthly consumption levels of the poorest 50% of the rural population was ₹1,138 in 2011-2012.
  2. This came down to ₹1,082 in 2017-2018.
  3. Overall, the average monthly household consumption reduced from ₹1,430 in 2011-12 to ₹1,304 in 2017-18, a sharp decline of around 9%.
  • In other words, more people have become poorer and hence have less money to spend.
  • The government had kept delaying the release of the 2017-2018 Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data.
  • In January 2019, the PLFS data was leaked, revealing that unemployment under the BJP-led government had reached a 45-year high.
  • The government responded that the leaked report was “a draft report” and didn’t release the data until after the general election results were announced.
  • Such systemic crushing of data corrodes institutional values and the political economy.
  • In the last 5 years, the budgetary allocation for MGNREGA has been abysmal.
  • Payments of most States haven’t been released by the Central government since October.
  • The twin evils of low incomes and high food prices means that the landless poor have to further reduce their food consumption.
  • It is distressing that instead of focusing on increasing rural wages and improving the functioning and payments of MGNREGA, the BJP-led government is wasting resources on divisive policies such as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Population Register (NPR).
  • The estimated cost of the NPR is ₹4,000 crore, an amount that can support 2.2 crore landless labourers through MGNREGA for 100 days at current wage rates.
  • Women, in particular, would pay a huge price as they relocate after marriage and hence don’t have relevant documents.
  • When the Central government can’t get cash transfers correct for rural women under the PM Matru Vandana Yojana programme, owing to variation in documents, implementing NPR-NRC would be a monumental catastrophe.

A deliverance

  • The Centre’s move to extend the limit of medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks.
  • Usually, the foetal anomaly scan is done during the 20th-21st week of pregnancy.
  • When women take the legal route to get formal permission for termination after 20 weeks, the tedium is often frustrating and stressful for a mother already distressed by the bad news regarding her baby.
  • Obstetricians argue that this has also spurred a cottage industry of places providing unsafe abortion services.
  • The extension of limit would ease the process for these women, allowing the mainstream system itself to take care of them, delivering quality medical attention.
  • The question of abortion needs to be decided on the basis of
  1. Human rights
  2. The principles of solid science
  3. In step with advancements in technology
  • In the landmark U.S. Supreme Court judgment in Roe v. Wade, the judges held that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy and defined viability as potentially the ability to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.
  • “Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.”
  • Ultimately, nations will have to decide the outer limit also based on the capacity of their health systems to deliver care without danger to the life of the mother; there is no uniform gestational viability for abortion.
  • Even as the government has struck a winner with its decision, it needs to ensure that all norms and standardised protocols in clinical practice to facilitate abortions are followed in health care institutions across the country.
  • Since everything rests on the delivery, stopping short would undoubtedly make this progressive order a mere half measure.

Amendment to MTP Act

  • Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
  • A brutally raped minor was forced to give birth to her rapist’s child after a high court denied her request for abortion.
  • Examined first by a doctor at 19 weeks of pregnancy, the minor survivor was traumatised when her doctor refused to perform an abortion even though it was permitted under the law.
  • By the time her petition was heard by a court of law, her pregnancy had crossed the 20 week limit beyond which abortion is prohibited under the MTP Act.
  • A 2015 study in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics has observed that 10-13% of maternal deaths in India can be attributed to unsafe abortions.
  • It roughly translates into at least six to seven women losing their life due to unsafe abortions every day.
  • Many of those who survive such methods are compelled to live a life of pain compounded by infertility, sepsis and other internal injuries.
  • Studies have shown that the 20 week limit on abortion is based on outdated medical concepts from the 1970s.
  • Developments in medical science which include medical abortion pills and vacuum aspiration which allow for safer abortions in advanced stages of pregnancy have found no legal resonance in the MTP Act.
  • In 2003 the WHO developed technical and policy guidelines to help governments pass progressive abortion laws.
  • Cabinet decision to approve the MTP (Amendment) Bill, 2020
  • The bill allows abortion up to 24 weeks of gestational age for vulnerable categories of women and there is no limit of gestational age in case of pregnancies with substantial foetal abnormalities, diagnosed by a medical board.
  • Worldwide, abortion is acknowledged as an important aspect of reproductive health of women.
  • At present, 26 countries including Egypt, Angola, Thailand, the Philippines, Madagascar and Iraq do not permit abortion
  • 39 countries including Brazil, Mexico, Sudan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka permit abortion when the woman’s life is at risk.
  • Only some countries like China, Russia, Canada, Australia, South Africa permit abortion on request mostly up to 12 weeks.
  • India will now stand amongst nations with a highly progressive law which allows legal abortions on a broad range of therapeutic, humanitarian and social grounds.

NEWS

  • Slogan-shouting shooter injures Jamia student
  1. Anti-CAA protest comes under attack
  • SC rejects curative plea in Nirbhaya case
  • ‘Address EU’s concerns on CAA’
  1. India should address the concerns regarding the new citizenship law, the envoy of the United Kingdom said here on Thursday.
  • HAL products to hog limelight at DefExpo
  1. LCA ‘Tejas’, LCH copter to be on show
  2. Gandhiji’s killing: The Hindu releases book
  3. Veteran scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan released a special publication on the Mahatma Gandhi assassination trial titled The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi – Trial & Verdict 1948-49 published by The Hindu, as part of the History Series.