05 September, 2019

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Higher Mortality from Cardio-Vascular Disease

GS-II: Higher Mortality from Cardio-Vascular Disease.


  • In India & the world, Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death. More people die annually from CVDs globally than from any other ailment.
  • According to a study conducted by PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology), “the CVD mortality is highest in the Low-Income Countries (LIC) and lowest in the High-Income Countries (HIC).”
  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders that are related to the heart and blood vessels.
  • The study was conducted over 1.6 lacs individuals for over a decade, living in 21 countries.

Findings from the Study

  • Most cardiovascular disease cases and deaths in Low-Income Countries (LIC) are attributed to:
  • Lower quality of health care, and it’s low availability.
  • Lack of insurance - which acts as an affordability barrier.
  • Some of the factors like, hypertension and education have extensive global effects.
  • Household/Indoor air pollution acts as an emerging source of risk for cardiovascular disease in LIC.
  • Other factors include Poor Diet, consumption of dairy-products causing CVD cases, etc.
  • Some of these factors vary as per a country's economic level.
  • Deaths from the cardiac disease were three times that of cancer-related deaths in LIC including India, while in high-income countries- death from cancer was twice that of CVD.
  • The fact that cancer-related deaths are frequent in high-income countries indicates a transition in the predominant causes of death in the middle age group.

Way Forward

  • Health policies should focus on risk factors that have the greatest effects on averting cardiovascular diseases and deaths globally.
  • In specific groups of countries, additional emphasis must be laid on risk factors of greatest importance. Eliminating indoor pollution is the crucial step to be taken in this regard.
  • The need of the hour is to insure each & every individual medically so that the finances do not act as a barrier in availing health facilities.

Source: The Hindu

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Jurisprudence of the judicial rubber stamp

GS-II: Jurisprudence of the judicial rubber stamp


  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (the Act) was enacted to provide for more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations, and for dealing with terrorist activities, and for matters connected therewith.
  • The said Act has been amended in the years 2004, 2008 and 2013 to add certain provisions relating to various facets of terrorism.
  • Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2011 was introduced to make it more effective in preventing unlawful activities, and meet commitments made at the Financial Action Task Force (an intergovernmental organization to combat money laundering and terrorism financing).
  • It expands the definition of ‘terrorist act’ to Acts that threaten the economic security of India and damage its monetary stability by production, smuggling or circulation of ‘high quality’ counterfeit currency. The security features that define ‘high quality’ are laid down in the Third Schedule.

Key Features of the Bill

  • It empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists if the person commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes terrorism or is otherwise involved in terrorism.
  • This has been done as it is seen that when a terrorist organization is banned, its members form a new organization to spread terrorism.
  • The bill also empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is being investigated by the agency.
  • Under the existing Act, the investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police (DGP) to seize properties that bear any connection to terrorism.
  • It has been seen that many times a terror accused own properties in different states. In such cases, seeking approval of DGPs of different states becomes very difficult, and the delay caused by the same may enable the accused to transfer properties.
  • It empowers the officers of the NIA of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • The existing Act provides for investigation of cases to be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
  • No changes being made in arrest or bail provisions. Also, the provision that the burden of proof is on the investigating agency and not on the accused, has not been changed.
  • The International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) has also been added in the Second Schedule through the Amendment.

Why is it being opposed?

  • This is a potentially dangerous amendment which will empower officials of Union Ministry to brand any person ‘a terrorist‘, without following due process. The name of such a person will be included in the ‘Fourth Schedule’ proposed to be added in the parent Act. The only statutory remedy available to such a person is to make an application before the Central Government for de-notification, which will be considered by a Review Committee constituted by the Government itself.
  • The amendment does not provide any legal consequence in case an individual is designated a terrorist. The inclusion of one’s name in the Fourth Schedule as a terrorist per se will not lead to any conviction, imprisonment, fine, disqualifications or any sort of civil penalties. So this is simply a power for the government to brand any one as a terrorist.
  • An official designation as a terrorist will be akin to ‘civil death’ for a person, with social boycott, expulsion from job, hounding by media, and perhaps attack from self-proclaimed vigilante groups following.

Source: The Hindu

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Where does India stand on plastic waste?

GS-III: Where does India stand on plastic waste?


Government to pull out all the stops to cut use of plastics.


On this Independence Day address, PM called for a movement to eliminate single-use plastic in India, beginning on Gandhi Jayanti (October 2).

The move is part of an ambitious drive against Single-Use Plastic (SUP), under the theme “Shramdaan”, for which a detailed plan has been worked out for ministries and departments.

The government is reported to be working on a ban on certain plastic items of common use such as carry bags, cutlery and plates under the Environment (Protection) Act, and this may be announced on October 2, well ahead of the earlier deadline of 2022.

Single-use plastic

  • As the name suggests, single-use plastics (SUPs) are those that are discarded after one-time use.
  • Besides the ubiquitous plastic bags, SUPs include water and flavoured/aerated drinks bottles, takeaway food containers, disposable cutlery, straws, and stirrers, processed food packets and wrappers, cotton bud sticks, etc.
  • Of these, foamed products such as cutlery, plates, and cups are considered the most lethal to the environment.

Plastic waste management

  • The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 notified by the Centre called for a ban on “non-recyclable and multi-layered” packaging by March 2018, and a ban on carry bags of thickness less than 50 microns.
  • The Rules were amended in 2018, with changes that activists say favoured the plastic industry and allowed manufacturers an escape route. The 2016 Rules did not mention SUPs.
  • On World Environment Day in 2018, India pledged to phase out SUPs by 2022.
  • The PM has called for “a new revolution against plastic”, and some government-controlled bodies such as Air India and the Indian Railways have announced they would stop SUPs.

Alternatives to Plastic

Although compostable, biodegradable or even edible plastics made from various materials such as sugarcane bagasse, corn starch, and grain flour are promoted as alternatives, these currently have limitations of scale and cost.

Some biodegradable packaging materials require specific microorganisms to be broken down, while compostable cups and plates made of polylactic acid, a popular resource derived from biomass such as corn starch, require industrial composters.

On the other hand, articles made through a different process involving potato and corn starch have done better in normal conditions, going by the experience in Britain.

Seaweed is also emerging as a choice to make edible containers.

In India, though, in the absence of robust testing and certification to verify claims made by producers, spurious biodegradable and compostable plastics are entering the marketplace.

Source: The Hindu

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Global Liveability Index 2019

GS-III: Global Liveability Index 2019


New Delhi has dropped by six places to rank 118th on a list of the world’s most liveable cities due to increase in cases of petty crimes and poor air quality.While New Delhi registered the biggest decline in Asia, Mumbai also fell two places since last year to rank 119th on the list topped by Vienna (Austria) for the second consecutive year.

About the ranking

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) publishes an annual Global Liveability Ranking.

The EIU ranking of 140 cities is based on their scores in five broad categories stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

Why decline in liveabilty in India?

Abuses against journalists

  1. The EIU also flagged “an escalation in abuses against journalists in recent years” in India.
  2. It cited a decline in the country’s ranking in Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index where India now sits in the bottom quartile of countries.

Rise in Crime rates

Climatic changes Several cities, such as New Delhi in India and Cairo in Egypt received substantial downgrades on their scores owing to problems linked to climate change, such as poor air quality, undesirable average temperatures and inadequate water provision,” the report said.

Constrained liveability conditions

A score between 50-60 points, which is the case for India, indicates constrained liveability conditions.

The 2018 update to the WHO Global Ambient Air Quality Database shows that New Delhi has the sixth highest annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter among cities around the world.

Companies pay a premium to employees who move to cities where living conditions are particularly difficult and there is excessive physical hardship or a notably unhealthy environment.

Source: The Hindu

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