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Indian Express

16- January-2024

1. A jab in time

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Health
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of cervical cancer, its prevalence, prevention strategies, and the role of vaccination. 
Context:
  • The government’s intention to target girls between the ages of nine and fourteen with the cervical cancer vaccine as part of the universal immunisation programme is discussed in the article.
  • This campaign is viewed as a welcome move, given that the second most frequent malignancy among Indian women is cervical cancer.
Cervical Cancer Burden in India:
  • With 1,23,907 new cases and 77,348 deaths from cervical cancer recorded in 2022, India plays a major role in the worldwide cervical cancer burden.
  • The primary reason, in conjunction with a number of confounding variables, is the persistence of high-risk forms of HPV infections.
Early Detection and Prevention Strategies:
  • If caught early enough, cervical cancer is both preventable and treatable.
  • The article emphasises the need of early detection, as most cases can be diagnosed in the reproductive age group.
  • There is a large window of opportunity for detection and treatment during the pre-invasive period, which lasts for 10 to 15 years.
Population-Based Study Findings
  • The Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) published the results of a population-based study in 2021.
  • The study found that lack of screening, cancer fear, and awareness all have a role in the late discovery of cervical cancer.
  • According to the study, individuals frequently seek treatment from traditional healers initially, which causes delays in receiving the necessary medical attention.
Elimination Potential and WHO Strategies
  • In line with Sustainable Development Goal 3.4, cervical cancer is emphasised as the only non-communicable disease that can be eradicated.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) promotes easy, practical, and scalable interventions, such as widespread HPV vaccination, screening, and early diagnosis and treatment.
Government Initiatives and Role of NPCDCS
  • Within the framework of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Stroke (NPCDCS), the Indian government has instituted cancer screening programmes, including in primary healthcare centres.
  • The article emphasises the value of accessible and easy-to-use screening methods including HPV and visual screening tests.
Future Developments and Challenges
  • It mentions promising advancements including self-sampling for HPV testing, single-dose HPV vaccination, and artificial intelligence technology for diagnosis.
  • To guarantee complete care for individuals with cervical cancer, the article emphasises the necessity of awareness campaigns, overcoming vaccination hesitancy, and fortifying health systems.
Call for Collaborative Efforts and Partnerships
  • In order to eradicate cervical cancer, the conclusion highlights the critical need for collaborations at all levels, capacity building, and population-level awareness.
  • It promotes regular screening programmes, the use of cutting-edge technology, the bolstering of cancer registries, the lowering of financial costs, and the development of partnerships with non-governmental organisations and public health experts.
Conclusion:
  • The article emphasises the value of a comprehensive approach that includes palliative care, early diagnosis, screening, vaccination, and treatment.
  • It demands that effective patient care pathways be implemented, that digital technologies be utilised, and that partnerships be fostered in order to work together to eradicate cervical cancer.
PYQ: ‘Mission Indradhanush’ launched by the Government of India pertains to (2016) (a) Immunization of children and pregnant women (b) Construction of smart cities across the country (c) India’s own search for the Earth-like planets in outer space (d) New Educational Policy Ans: (a)
Practice Question: Examine the significance of the government’s decision to include the cervical cancer vaccine in the universal immunization program, focusing on its potential impact on public health in India. (200 words/12.5 m)

2. JUSTICE ON THE UP

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice  – Issues related to women 
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of Uttar Pradesh’s remarkable conviction rate in crimes against women, driven by the Mission Shakti initiative.
Context:
  • With the highest conviction rate in the nation for crimes against women in 202270.8%—Uttar Pradesh has accomplished a remarkable feat.
  • The state’s ambitious flagship programme, Mission Shakti, which was introduced in October 2020, is credited with this accomplishment.
  • The mission addresses the historical issues of a feudal mindset and violence against women in the state, with an emphasis on improving women’s safety, dignity, and empowerment.
Mission Shakti’s Founding Pillars:
  • The two fundamental foundations of Mission Shakti are what makes it successful.
  • First of all, it guarantees that programmes and advantages intended for women’s advancement are carried out efficiently, all the way to the very end.
  • Second, it prioritises women’s safety by making law enforcement agencies easily accessible, enforcing stricter penalties for crimes against women, and guaranteeing prompt justice for offenders.
Operationalizing Women’s Help Desks and Accountability Culture:
  • Special women’s help desks, overseen by female police officers, have been established in all 1,500+ police stations to meet the mission’s safety goals.
  • Over the previous four years, Uttar Pradesh has fostered a culture of timely filing of FIRs, condensed investigations, and maximisation of convictions.
  • 13,099 convictions for crimes against women were recorded in the state in 2022; these convictions accounted for more than one-third of all convictions nationwide.
Building Synergies for Convictions:
  • Communicating that the police are not just responsible for investigations and chargesheets but also for winning convictions is a critical change in the work culture.
  • Uttar Pradesh established surveillance cells in every district, working closely with the judiciary and prosecution personnel.
  • Accountability has increased as a result of this proactive strategy, especially for government attorneys and public prosecutors.
Revitalizing Forensic Science Laboratories:
  • Uttar Pradesh has given forensic science laboratories a boost since it realised how important they were.
  • The state is giving viscera and DNA matching priority to delicate cases of crimes against women.
  • To meet the increasing demand, efforts are being made to extend the network of forensic labs.
  • Improving evidence-based, scientific criminal investigation is the goal of the Uttar Pradesh State Institute of Forensic Science’s operationalization.
Encouraging Healthy Competition and Accountability:
  • To seek the biggest punishment in the shortest amount of time, the state promotes constructive competition across districts.
  • At state-level events, high-achieving personnel such as constables, public prosecutors, and investigative officers get recognition.
  • This method seeks to foster a sense of ownership and dedication to the cases in addition to demanding accountability.
Comparative Achievement and Global Research Support:
  • The enormity of Uttar Pradesh’s accomplishment is highlighted when one compares its conviction rate to that of other sizable states with comparable crime rates, such Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.
  • The conviction rate in this state is approximately 71%, significantly higher than in any other.
  • The assumption that a time-bound justice delivery system acts as a potent deterrent against crimes against women is supported by research conducted worldwide.
Conclusion:
  • The amazing effectiveness of Mission Shakti and a revolutionary approach in the criminal justice system may be seen in Uttar Pradesh’s conviction rate against crimes against women.
  • The state has shown a commitment to women’s protection and a change towards a more accountable and responsible criminal justice system by putting an emphasis on prompt and efficient responses, stakeholder collaboration, and preventive measures in forensic science.
Practice Question: How does the prevalence of high conviction rates in Uttar Pradesh impact the overall effectiveness of law enforcement and criminal justice in the state? (150 words/10 m)

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