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The Hindu Editorial

22-September-2023

Daily Current Affairs For UPSC ,The Hindu Editorial Summary

1. Propelling India’s development the right way

Topic: GS3 – Science and technology.

Introduction:

  • India’s space research efforts in the 1960s initially faced skepticism.
  • The nation invested in space science and technology as part of a broader strategy for technological advancement.
  • This article discusses India’s early investments in space research and technology, its successes in space exploration, the role of public funding, and the challenges of persistent inequalities in the country’s development strategy.
  • It emphasizes the need for state support to build technological capabilities and make economic growth more inclusive.

Early Investments in Technology:

  • India’s research programs in space science were coordinated by the Department of Atomic Energy.
  • The country established Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management in the 1960s.
  • Public sector units were founded in various industrial areas, including steel, fertilizer, machine tools, and petrochemicals.
  • These investments aimed to accelerate India’s development after two centuries of colonialism.

Criticism of Development Strategy:

  • Criticisms included heavy reliance on public investment and misdirection of resources.
  • Some argued that India should focus on labor-intensive industries rather than capital- and technology-intensive sectors.

Significance of Public Funding in India’s technological advancement:

  • Public funding played a crucial role in India’s space program’s eventual success.
  • Long-term and uncertain benefits of technology made public support essential.
  • Public goods nature of technology required government intervention.
  • State-supported technological capabilities provided the foundation for private enterprise in various sectors.
  • Professionals trained in public universities found leadership positions globally, which strengthened India’s strategic importance.

Challenges and Persistent Inequalities:

  • India’s development strategy faced challenges due to persistent inequalities.
  • Lack of effective land redistribution and asset ownership hindered social development.
  • Ownership of assets remained low among marginalized communities, impacting education and job opportunities.
  • Inequalities negatively impacted industrial and economic growth.
  • Skewed domestic demand from upper-income classes limited the growth of high-quality, mass-consumption goods.
  • Entrepreneurship emerged from a narrow social base.

Looking Forward:

  • India must reinstate efforts to build technological and industrial capabilities with state support.
  • Industrial policy remains relevant in a globalized economy.
  • Inclusive education, particularly in higher education, should be accessible to all, including marginalized communities.
  • Achieving social and human capabilities for upward mobility is crucial for broad-based economic progress.

Conclusion:

  • India’s journey to leverage technology for development has seen success, but addressing persistent inequalities and reinstating state support for industrial growth are vital for sustained progress and broad-based development.

Mains question: Evaluate India’s investment in technology and its role in economic growth. Discuss the challenges posed by inequality and propose strategies for inclusive development in the era of technological advancement.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/propelling-indias-development-the-right-way/article67331513.ece

2. Silent killer: on hypertension and the first World Health Organization report

Topic: GS3 – public health.

Context:

  • A new WHO report highlights that globally, one in three individuals suffers from hypertension, and four out of five don’t have it adequately controlled.
  • Uncontrolled blood pressure is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.
  • In the context of this report, it is important from exam perspective to understand and analyse the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases in Indian population.

The NCD Burden in India:

  • Staggering Numbers: India is currently facing a massive burden of NCDs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs account for approximately 61% of all deaths in India. This equates to over 5.8 million people annually.
  • Growing Diabetes Epidemic: India is often referred to as the “diabetes capital of the world.” The country has the highest number of people with diabetes globally, with over 77 million individuals affected. By 2045, this number is projected to rise to 134 million.
  • Cardiovascular Crisis: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a leading cause of NCD-related deaths in India.

Reasons for increasing NCD Burden in India:

  • Changing lifestyles: Urbanization and modernization lead to sedentary habits and unhealthy diets.
  • Tobacco use: High rates of tobacco consumption contribute to NCD risk.
  • Diabetes surge: Genetic factors, obesity, and dietary choices drive diabetes cases.
  • Cardiovascular risk: High blood pressure is prevalent, increasing heart disease and stroke risk.
  • Rising cancer cases: Longer life expectancy, pollution, and lifestyle choices fuel cancer incidence.
  • Obesity increase: Urban populations see a rise in obesity, a risk factor for NCDs.
  • Stress and mental health: Modern lifestyles and stress can lead to unhealthy behaviors.
  • Lack of awareness: Low awareness about NCD risks and prevention is a concern.

Government efforts in this regard:

  • National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS): This program was launched in 2010 with the aim of reducing the prevalence of NCDs and their associated risk factors. The program provides for a comprehensive range of services, including screening, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
  • National Mental Health Programme (NMHP): This program was launched with the aim of improving the mental health of the Indian population. The program provides for a range of services, including mental health promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.
  • National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP): This program was launched in 2007 with the aim of reducing tobacco consumption in India. The program provides for a range of interventions, including public awareness campaigns, tobacco cessation services, and enforcement of tobacco control laws.
  • Ayushman Bharat Yojana (ABY): This scheme was launched in 2018 to provide affordable healthcare to the poor and vulnerable. The scheme provides for free hospitalization and treatment for a range of diseases, including NCDs.
  • India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI): The IHCI, launched in 2018, has enrolled millions of hypertensive patients for treatment, achieving significant blood pressure control rates.

Way forward:

  • Preventive Education: Expanding public awareness campaigns to educate individuals about NCD risk factors, healthy lifestyles, and early detection is crucial.
  • Promote Healthy Lifestyles: Encourage physical activity, balanced diets, and reduced salt and sugar consumption through educational initiatives and policy measures.
  • Early Detection: Strengthen early detection programs and screenings, especially in rural areas, to identify NCDs at an earlier, more manageable stage.
  • Access to Healthcare: Continue efforts to improve healthcare access, especially in underserved regions, to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.
  • Tobacco Control: Intensify anti-tobacco campaigns, raise taxes on tobacco products, and enforce stringent tobacco control measures.
  • Nutrition Labeling: Make front-of-pack nutrition labeling mandatory to help consumers make informed, healthier food choices.
  • Policy Implementation: Ensure the effective implementation of policies and programs aimed at reducing NCD prevalence and improving overall public health.

Mains question: What are the major contributing factors to the rise of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in India, and what specific actions should the government take to combat this growing health challenge?

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/silent-killer-on-hypertension-and-the-first-world-health-organization-report-on-the-subject/article67330726.ece

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