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07 August, 2019

4 Min Read

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-I Census 2021 may skip caste count
GS-II Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty International Relations
A new medicine for drug-resistant TB
Legislative Councils in States
GS-III Seriousness of the problem unemployment in India
GS-I :
Census 2021 may skip caste count

GS-I: Census 2021 may skip caste count

NEWS

  • Census 2021 is unlikely to collect “caste wise” data as a similar exercise conducted in 2011 by another ministry threw up about 40 lakh caste names that were difficult to tabulate.
  • The Census data would be available by the year 2024-25 as the entire process would be conducted digitally and data crunching would be quicker, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
  • The 2011 caste data, collected as part of the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), is yet to be released by the Centre.
  • As per the National Commission for Backward Classes, there are 2,479 entries in the Central list of the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
  • The Census would restrict itself to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes data.

What’s new in 2021 Census?

  • The Census 2021 will be conducted in 18 languages out of the 23 scheduled languages, while Census 2011 was in 16 of the 18 scheduled languages declared at that time.
  • It will be conducted in two phases: the house listing phase with 34 parameters from April 2020 to September 2020 and the population enumeration phase with 28 parameters from February 9 2021 to February 28 2021.
  • The option of “Other” under the gender category, which roughly 5 lakh people marked in 2011, is now “Third Gender”.
  • In a first time move, the process will now also include an optional mobile application that the 30 lakh enumerators can download on their own personal devices for data entry.
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GS-II : International Relations
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

GS-II: Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Context

The U.S has withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

What’s the issue?

US in early December last year announced that it would suspend its obligations under the INF treaty by Feb. 2, citing Russian “cheating,” unless Moscow comes into compliance with the terms of the pact.

The U.S. government says the new Russian missile violates provisions of the pact that ban production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 310 to 3,400 miles.

What would happen in the absence of treaty?

It is unclear what INF-prohibited systems the United States could deploy to Europe or Asia in the near term. The U.S. military has not developed any land-based missiles within the prohibited ranges for decades and has only just started funding a new ground-launched cruise missile to match the 9M729.

Russia could also effectively reclassify the RS-26 Rubezh, an experimental system that has been tested just above the INF Treaty’s 5,500-kilometer limit. To avoid violating the INF, Russian officials previously described the RS-26 as an intercontinental ballistic missile. However, it could form the basis for a missile of a slightly shorter range if Moscow wished to boost its INF forces — without counting it under the U.S.-Russian New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, governing longer-range systems.

This move is also likely to undermine the 2010 New START treaty governing U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear systems. The INF Treaty’s demise will undercut New START by reopening questions on the relationship between intermediate and strategic systems that have been resolved for 30 years by the elimination of ground-based, intermediate-range missiles.

 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty:

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles) is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Under the INF Treaty, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. agreed to eliminate within three years all ground-launched-missiles of 500-5,500 km range and not to develop, produce or deploy these in future.

 Importance of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in U.S.-Russia relations:

Under the Treaty, the two parties agreed that a whole important class of nuclear weapons would be removed from Europe, and only tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) or short-range missiles mostly deployed on the territory of Germany would remain.

The INF Treaty for years served to mitigate fears of both parties in relation to possibility of military escalation, operational miscalculation, and helping to shift the logic of MAD mutually assured destruction] to the higher “more sensitive” political level.

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GS-II :
A new medicine for drug-resistant TB

GS-II: A new medicine for drug-resistant TB

NEWS

Treating drug-resistant tuberculosis  multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB)  got a shot in the arm when the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug Pretomanid.

Pretomanid

  • It is only the third new anti-TB drug approved for use by FDA in more than 40 years.
  • The drug was developed and tested in clinical trials by New York-based non-profit organisation TB Alliance.
  • It has also provided data to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for consideration of inclusion in treatment guidelines for highly drug-resistant TB.

What makes the new drug so promising?

  • The duration of treatment for drug-resistant TB can be drastically cut from 18-24 months to just six-nine months when pretomanid drug is used along with two already approved drugs — bedaquiline and linezolid.
  • The all-oral, three-drug regimen can also vastly improve the treatment success rate and potentially decrease the number of deaths due to better adherence to treatment.

How is MDR-TB and XDR-TB identified?

  • People with TB who do not respond to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, which are first-line TB drugs are said to have MDR-TB.
  • People who are resistantto isoniazid and rifampin, plus any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs (amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin) are said to have XDR-TB.

Which category of drug-resistant TB patients will benefit from this new drug?

  • Pretomanid drug along with bedaquiline and linezolid is meant for treating adults with XDR-TB.
  • In the case of MDR-TB, the three-drug regimen containing pretomanid can be used only in those patients who cannot tolerate the MDR-TB treatment or do not respond to standard MDR-TB treatment regimen.
  • The three-drug regimen is meant only for treating pulmonary TB and should not be used for treating extra-pulmonary TB, drug-sensitive or latent TB.

How safe is the drug for clinical use?

  • The US FDA has approved the drug based on limited clinical safety and efficacy data, and so should the drug should be restricted to specific population of patients.
  • Safety and effectiveness of the drug has been studied and established only when used in combination with bedaquiline and linezolid.
  • Other than these two drugs, the safety of pretomanid has not been studied when used along with any other anti-TB drug.
  • The three-drug combination should not be used in patients for whom bedaquiline and/or linezolid drug is not recommended.
  • The drug has not been tested in pregnant women. Similarly, safety and effectiveness of the drug has not been established in children.

Why healing TB is deadly?

  • According to the WHO, the treatment success in MDR-TB patients is about 54%, while it is just 30% in the case of XDR-TB patients.
  • India has 24% of MDR-TB cases in the world. By the end of 2017, XDR-TB had been reported from 127 countries, including India.
  • Most drugs are ineffective in people with XDR-TB and so a combination of eight drugs for more than a year is need for XDR-TB treatment.
  • Treatment success in XDR-TB patients depends on many other factors — the extent of the drug resistance, the severity of the disease, whether the patient’s immune system is weakened, and adherence to treatment.
  • Drugs used for treating MDR-TB and XDR-TB can cause serious adverse effects such as deafness. The drugs are highly toxic thus reducing adherence to treatment.
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GS-II :
Legislative Councils in States

GS-II: Legislative Councils in StatesNEWS

The Madhya Pradesh government has indicated that it plans to initiate steps towards creation of a Legislative Council.

Debate over two houses

  • Just as Parliament has two Houses, so can the states, if they choose to.
  • Opinion in the Constituent Assembly was divided on the idea.
  • Among the arguments in its favour, a second House can help check hasty actions by the directly elected House, and also enable non-elected individuals to contribute to the legislative process.
  • The arguments against the idea: a Legislative Council can be used to delay legislation, and to park leaders who have not been able to win an election.

Provision for a second House

  • Article 71 of the Constitution provides for the option of a state to have a Legislative Council in addition to its Legislative Assembly.
  • As in Rajya Sabha, members of a Legislative Council are not directly elected by voters.
  • Under Article 169, a Legislative Council can be formed “if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting”.
  • Parliament can then pass a law to this effect.

Members of LC

  • Under Article 171 of the Constitution, the Legislative Council of a state shall not have more than one-third of the number of MLAs of the state, and not less than 40 members.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, which has 230 MLAs, the proposed Legislative Council can have at most 76 members.
  • As with Rajya Sabha MPs, the tenure of a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) is six years, with one-third of members retiring every two years.

Election of MLCs

  • One-third of the MLCs are elected by the state’s MLAs, another one-third by a special electorate comprising sitting members of local governments such as municipalities and district boards, 1/12th by an electorate of teachers and another 1/12th by registered graduates.
  • The remaining members are appointed by the Governor for distinguished services in various fields.

LC vis-à-vis Rajya Sabha

  • The legislative power of the Councils is limited.
  • Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack a constitutional mandate to do so.
  • Assemblies can override suggestions/amendments made to legislation by the Council.
  • Again, unlike Rajya Sabha MPs, MLCs cannot vote in elections for the President and Vice President.
  • The Vice President is the Rajya Sabha Chairperson, an MLC is the Council Chairperson.

States with LCs

  • Currently, six states have Legislative Councils.
  • Jammu and Kashmir too had one, until the state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
  • Tamil Nadu’s then government had passed a law to set up a Council but the subsequent government withdrew it after coming to power in 2010.
  • Andhra Pradesh’s Legislative Council, set up in 1958, was abolished in 1985, then reconstituted in 2007.
  • The Odisha Assembly recently passed a resolution for a Legislative Council.
  • Proposals to create Councils in Rajasthan and Assam are pending in Parliament.
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GS-III :
Seriousness of the problem unemployment in India

GS-III: Seriousness of the problem unemployment in India

Context

Indian economy is slowing. This is largely a result of weakening demand, mostly in rural areas. Slowing demand has contributed to the declining availability of jobs, where jobless growth is already a problem.

The seriousness of the problem

Employment-unemployment surveys of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO): latest Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) tells us the following total number of workers in the economy was 472.5 million in 2011-12, which fell to 457 million in 2017-18. The absolute number of workers declined by 15.5 million over six years.

  • This is the first time in the history of employment measurement by the NSSO that the total number of workers declined in absolute terms.
  • 16-million decline in the number of workers reported by the Labour Bureau’s Annual Employment Surveys of the fourth and fifth rounds.

Reasons for Unemployment

  • Fall in the number of workers in agriculture and a sharp fall in the absolute number of female workers.
  • Crisis in agriculture in the last six years has only accelerated the process.
  • The trend of declining women workers has absolutely no parallel in any developing or developed country of similar per capita income. In most East Asian countries, the period of rapid growth was also accompanied by a rising number of women workers.

Problems

  • Number of people aged 25-64 years increased by around 47 million during the six-year period.
  • The economy should have created at least 83 million jobs between 2012 and 2018 to accommodate those who have entered the labour force and those forced out of agriculture. But it witnessed a decline in the number of workers by 15.5 million.

Conclusion

Stagnant wages and jobless growth are not just indicators of a weakening economy, but also a recipe for political instability and a crisis in the countryside. The government should acknowledge the extent of the problem and then try to address it.

 

 

 

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