GS 1: Population and associated issues
- The paper titled ‘the national suicide prevention strategy in India: context and considerations for urgent action’ was published.
- India reports the highest number of suicide deaths in the world. At this time when the Indian Government is formulating a national suicide prevention strategy, this report has reviewed the current status of suicides in India, focusing on epidemiology, risk factors, and existing suicide prevention strategies to identify key challenges and priorities for suicide prevention.
- The suicide rate among Indian girls and women continues to be twice the global rate. Suicide accounts for most deaths in the 15–39 years age group compared with other causes of death.
- Hanging is the most common method of suicide, followed by pesticides poisoning, medicine overdose, and self-immolation.
- In addition to depression and alcohol use disorders as risk factors, several social and cultural factors appear to increase risk of suicide.
- The absence of a national suicide prevention strategy, inappropriate media reporting, legal conflicts in the interpretation of suicide being punishable, and inadequate multisectoral engagement are major barriers to effective suicide prevention.
- A scaffolding approach is useful to reduce suicide rates, as interventions provided at the right time, intensity, and duration can help navigate situations in which a person might be susceptible to and at risk of suicide.
- This report emphasized on multilevel action priorities for suicide prevention across various sectors.
- There is an urgent action in India by integrating suicide prevention measures at every level of public health, with special focus on the finalisation and implementation of the national suicide prevention strategy.
GS 2: Government Policies & Interventions
- Parliament passed the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill to accord the status of ‘institute of national importance’ to six more institutes of pharmaceutical education and research, and also set up an advisory council for them.
- The bill seeks to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998.
- The 1998 Act established the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Punjab and declared it as an Institution of National Importance.
- The Bill seeks to give the coveted ‘institute of national importance’ status to pharmaceutical education and research institutes – NIPERs.
- The Bill also envisages establishment of a Council, a central body, to coordinate the activities of all the institutes to ensure coordinated development of pharmaceutical education and research and maintenance of standards.
- Functions of the Council include:
- advising on matters related to course duration, and admission standards in the institutes
- formulating policies for recruitment, conditions of service, and fees,
- examining and approving development plans of the institutes, and
- examining annual budget estimates of the institutes for recommendations to the central government for allocation of funds.
- Besides, the Bill rationalises the Board of Governors of each NIPER from its existing strength of 23 to 12 members and widens the scope and number of courses run by the institutes. The Board will be chaired by an eminent academician or professional.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme
GS 2: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of Population & their Performance
- Recently, Committee on Empowerment of Women tabled its fifth report on “Empowerment of women through education with special reference to Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme’’. The performance of Centre’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme in the states has not been up to the mark.
- Nearly 80% of the funds for the scheme has been used for its advertising and not on sectoral interventions such as in health and education for women.
- Since its inception in 2014-15 till 2019-20, the total budgetary allocation under the scheme was Rs 848 crore, excluding the Covid-stricken financial year of 2020-21. During this period, an amount Rs 622.48 crore was released to the states.
- However, to the committee’s dismay, only 25.13% of the funds, i.e. Rs 156.46 crore, has been spent by the states, reflecting not up to the mark performance of the scheme.
- The committee further observed that out of a total of Rs 446.72 crore released during 2016- 2019, “a whopping 78.91% was spent only on media advocacy”.
- Though the committee understands the necessity to undertake a media campaign to spread the message of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao among the people, they have felt that it is equally important to balance the objectives of the scheme.
- The government should focus on planned expenditure allocation for sectoral interventions in education and health.
- The government should reconsider spending on advertisements under the BBBP scheme and should focus on planned expenditure allocation for sectoral interventions in education and health.
- The committee has recommended the WCD ministry must immediately take up the issue with states/UTs and ensure proper utilisation of BBBP funds for the benefit of the girl child.
What is the scheme?
- The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme, launched to address the decline in Child Sex Ratio and related issues of empowerment of girls, is implemented by states with 100% central assistance.
- It is a tri-ministerial scheme with the Women and Child Development Ministry as the nodal ministry. The other two ministries involved are Health and Family Welfare and Education (Department of School Education and Literacy).
- It is implemented by states with 100% central assistance.
- Under, BBBP scheme there is no provision of direct benefit transfer.
- The scheme has resulted in increased awareness and sensitization of the masses regarding the prevalence of gender bias and the role of the community in eradicating it.
- Progress in terms of monitorable targets:
- Sex Ratio at Birth: Promising trends of improvement in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) have been observed at the National level. SRB has improved by 16 points from 918 (2014-15) to 934 (2019-20), as per the HMIS data of MoH&FW.
Human Rights Day
- Human Rights Day is celebrated across the world on December 10 to mark the adoption of the UDHR, which is seen as a milestone document.
- The world celebrates Human Rights Day to raise awareness about the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being.
- This day is also a celebration of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations in 1948.
- Various programmes are organised across the world to encourage governments, social organisations to further the cause of equality and protection of the rights of all individuals – irrespective of race, colour, religion or sex.
- The United Nations has announced that the theme of Human Rights Day this year will be “equality”.
- It has taken the theme from Article 1 of the UDHR, which says: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
- Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations.
- It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.
- The UDHR is widely recognized as having inspired, and paved the way for, the adoption of more than seventy human rights treaties, applied today on a permanent basis at global and regional levels (all containing references to it in their preambles).
GS 2: Government Policies & Interventions
- Minister of Road Transport and Highways has informed in a written reply to the Lok Sabha about the death due to Road Accident in India.
- The Ministry has introduced several safety measures to prevent road accidents on National Highways in the wake of India ranking 3rd across the 199 countries, as reported by the world road statistics, 2018.
- The total number of road accidents in the year 2020 were 3,66,138.
- India’s incidence of accidents (36 per lakh people) is much lesser than the developed and developing countries like USA (684), Japan (393), Iran (365), and Turkey (233).
- Road Accidents killed as many as 47,984 people on National Highways (NHs), including on expressways, during 2020 and 53,872 people killed in 2019.
- Globally, road accidents account for 3 million deaths and 50 million injuries. Of this, India’s contribution to the fatalities is 11%.
- India was in first place in terms of number of road crash deaths and injuries in the world. India has just 1% of the world’s vehicles but accounts for 11% of all road crash deaths. Further, India is also witnessing 53 road crashes every hour, killing 1 person every 4 minutes.
Socio-Economic Impact of Road accidents in India:
- More loss to poor families: The risk of a victim undergoing disability after a crash is 2 times higher among poor families.
- Accidents result in a decline of 75% of the total household income among low-income groups. Whereas, the decline among high-income groups is only 54%. It underlines poor access to insurance schemes among the less privileged.
- Impact on women: About 40% of women reported a change in their working patterns post-accident. While around 11% reported taking up extra work to deal with the financial crisis.
- The reasons for road accidents in India can be categorized broadly into four categories. (i) human error, (ii) road environment and (iii) vehicular condition (iv) post accidental care-related issues.