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1. Make EPI an ‘Essential Programme on Immunisation’

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Health, GS2 –  Governance – Government Policies

The topic highlights the evolution, achievements, and challenges of immunization programs, crucial for public health governance and policy.

The article discusses the significant milestones in global and Indian immunization programs, challenges faced, and the need to expand focus from childhood vaccination to include adults and the elderly, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive immunization.

 Overview of Immunization Milestones:

  • 2024 marks 50 years since WHO launched the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in 1974.
  • India initiated EPI in 1978, later renamed Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) in 1985.
  • It’s also two decades since India conducted its last nationwide independent field evaluation of the UIP.

Global Progress in Immunization:

  • From six diseases in 1974, vaccines now cover 13 universally recommended diseases and 17 context-specific diseases.
  • Research ongoing for vaccines against nearly 125 pathogens, many relevant to low- and middle-income countries.
  • Successes include eradication of smallpox, near elimination of polio, and reduction in vaccine-preventable diseases.

Success of Immunization Programs:

  • Coverage of three doses of DPT rose from 5% in the 1970s to 84% globally in 2022.
  • Vaccines estimated to have saved millions of lives and prevented billions of hospital visits.
  • Economic analyses show vaccines as highly cost-effective interventions.

Challenges in Immunization:

  • UNICEF report showed childhood immunization coverage declined in 2021 for the first time in over a decade.
  • Globally, an estimated 14.3 million children were zero dose and 6.2 million partially immunized in 2022.
  • Inequities persist in coverage by geography, socio-economic strata, and other parameters.

Expanding Focus to Adults and Elderly:

  • Vaccines historically available for all age groups, though children prioritized due to limited resources.
  • With increased child vaccine coverage, diseases are becoming common in adult populations.
  • Policy discussions on expanding immunization coverage to additional populations underway.
  • Governments should provide recommendations on vaccines for adults and the elderly.
  • Addressing myths and misconceptions about vaccines is crucial to combat vaccine hesitancy.
  • Professional medical associations and institutions should work to increase awareness about adult vaccination.
  • Research institutions should generate evidence on the burden of diseases in the adult population.

Recommendations for Future Expansion:

  • Expanding coverage of vaccines for adults and the elderly may improve coverage with childhood vaccines.
  • Time for another independent national-level review of the UIP in India.
  • Pilot initiatives like adult BCG vaccination and COVID-19 vaccination highlight the importance of adult vaccination.
  • It’s an opportune moment to make EPI an ‘Essential Program on Immunization’.
Immunization status in India

●  India annually vaccinates over 30 million pregnant women and 27 million children through its Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).

●  Full immunization for children within the first year of life is crucial, but UNICEF reports only 65% of Indian children receive it.

●  The UIP provides free immunization against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.

●  Nationally, vaccines target 9 diseases including Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, and Hepatitis B, among others.

●  Sub-nationally, vaccines address 3 diseases: Rotavirus diarrhea, Pneumococcal Pneumonia, and Japanese Encephalitis.

Major milestones of UIP include the eradication of polio in 2014 and the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2015.

●  Mission Indradhanush (MI), initiated in 2014, aims to vaccinate all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children under UIP.

●  MI operates in phases, targeting areas with low immunization coverage.

Supporting measures like the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) rollout and the National Cold Chain Management Information System (NCCMIS) enhance vaccine distribution and storage infrastructure.

PYQ: (UPSC civil services prelims 2016)

Q. ‘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: Option A

Practice Question:  Discuss the evolution, impact, and challenges of immunization programs in India, emphasizing the need for adult vaccination. (150 Words /10 marks)

2. The need for the use of labour statistics

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Issues arising out of their design & implementation

Understanding labour institution reforms is crucial for UPSC as it reflects economic policy, social dynamics, and governance challenges in India.

●  The article discusses the need for labour institution reforms in India, highlighting challenges in social dialogue, labour statistics, and countering reform arguments, emphasizing the role of trade unions in advocating evidence-based policies.



  • Labour institution reforms are essential due to changing objective and subjective factors in the industrial relations system and labour market (IRS-LM).
  • Two aspects of reforms include substantive issues and procedural aspects.

Social Dialogue and Indian Labour Conference (ILC):

  • Social dialogue through institutions like the Indian Labour Conference (ILC) aids in arriving at consensual conclusions for policy-oriented actions.
  • However, social dialogue often lacks evidence-based reform arguments, leading to the ILC being criticized as a “talking shop”.

Labour Statistics and Reforms:

  • Labour statistics in India lack rigour compared to economic and industrial data.
  • Existing statistics from sources like the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and National Sample Survey Office are limited in their coverage of IRS-LM.
  • The Labour Bureau provides administrative data but lacks comprehensive statistics on critical aspects like labour inspections and retrenchments.

Reform Arguments and Counterarguments:

  • Employers and neoliberal academics advocate labour reforms critiquing labour inspection, retrenchment procedures, and curbs on strikes.
  • Trade unions should counter these arguments with informed data on inspection frequency, retrenchment applications, and strike patterns.
  • Lack of comprehensive data undermines the reform arguments pushed by employers and neoliberal academics.

Trade Union Role and Recommendations:

  • Trade unions should collect and produce statistics on various aspects of IRS-LM at the establishment level.
  • They must engage actively with academics, use evidence-based arguments, and influence policy through platforms like the ILC.
  • By leveraging statistics and research, trade unions can challenge existing narratives and advocate for reforms that benefit workers.


  • Trade unions should prioritize the production of labour statistics, research on IRS-LM, and active engagement with policymakers.
  • Such efforts can lead to reforms in statistical agencies like the Labour Bureau and enhance the quality of labour data in India.


Q.1 Economic growth in the recent past has been led by increase in labour productivity. Explain this statement. Suggest the growth pattern that will lead to creation of more jobs without compromising labour productivity. (250 Words /15 marks)(UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2022)

Q.2 “Success of ‘Make in India’ programme depends on the success of ‘Skill India’ programme and radical labour reforms.” Discuss with logical arguments.
(200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2015)

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of labour institution reforms in India, considering their impact on economic policies, social dynamics, and governance. (150 Words /10 marks)

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