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28th February Current Affairs

Trends in maternal mortality 2000 to 2020

(GS-I: Issues related to women/ Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health)

In News:

Every day in 2020, approximately 800 women died (a woman every two minutes) globally from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.


Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 (target 3.1) is to reduce maternal mortality to less than 70 deaths per 100 000 live births by 2030.

The report has been published by the United Nations Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group (MMEIG) – comprising WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, the WB Group and the UNDESA/Population Division has collaborated on a new round of estimates (2000 to 2020).

The report presents global, regional and country-level estimates and trends for maternal mortality (between 2000-2020).


As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) report by the Registrar General of India (RGI), the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has reduced from 130 per 100,000 live births in 2014-16 to 113 per 100,000 live births in 2016-18.


The global MMR in 2020 was estimated at 223 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births, down from 227 in 2015 and 339 in 2000 – a reduction of one-third (34.3%) over the full 20-year period.

Three countries had more than 10 000 maternal deaths in 2020:

  • India (24 000)
  • DR Congo (22 000)
  • Ethiopia (10 000)

IFR Review: States do dubious paperwork, cite baseless reasons for refusing forest rights to tribals

(GS-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation)

In News:

Individual Forest Rights (IFR), without which forest dwellers stand to be evicted from their native habitations, have been awarded to very few applicants across the country.


The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA), recognizes the rights of the forest-dwelling communities to forest resources.

The Act encompasses –

  • Individual rights: Rights of Self-cultivation and Habitation
  • Community Rights: Grazing, Fishing and access to Water bodies in forests, access to biodiversity, etc.

It also provides rights to the allocation of forest land for developmental purposes to fulfil the basic infrastructural needs of the community.

In conjunction with the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Settlement Act 2013, FRA protects the tribal population from eviction without rehabilitation and settlement.

The Gram Sabha is a highly empowered body under the Act, enabling the tribal population to have a decisive say in the determination of local policies and schemes impacting them.

The procedure for granting the IFR:

Gram Sabha → sub-divisional-level committee (SDLC) → district-level committee (DLC)

The Forest Rights Committee (FRC) is elected from Gram Sabhas in order to assist a Gram Sabha in the process of vesting the rights/reviewing the decision of the above committees.

As per the FRA, IFR claims cannot be rejected because of a lack of documents.


High rate of IFR claim rejection. According to the MoTA, almost half the IFR applications that were previously rejected and sent for review were rejected once again.

In 2019, the SC directed the states to evict (1,191,273 tribals across 20 states) those FRA claimants whose IFR claims were rejected.

The SC (in 2019), while staying its eviction order asked states:

  • To supply information on the number of rejections,
  • Procedure followed,
  • Reasons for rejection and
  • If the tribals had been given the chance to produce evidence before the rejection of claims.

Best practice (MP Govt.’s Van Mitra Portal): To simplify the process, an online portal called MP Van Mitra would allow the claimants whose claims had been rejected to re-apply for review.

Renaming of Cities

In News:

Supreme Court said that the attempts to erase the imprints of foreign invaders on cities and towns by rechristening them with their ancient identities were fraught with danger.


Recently, Maharashtra’s Aurangabad and Osmanabad cities have been renamed Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar and Dharashiv respectively

 Process of changing the name of a city or place in a state:

State Assembly: A resolution is proposed by any Member of the Legislative Assembly as a request to change the name of a particular city or place in the state.

Discussion: In the discussion, the reasons for and possible consequences of altering the name are discussed

The passing of the resolution in the state assembly: Only a simple majority is required.

The resolution sent to central government: The resolution as a proposal is submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Approvals: The Home Ministry seeks approval from the Ministry of Railways, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Survey of India, and Registrar General of India.

A ‘No Objection’ certificate is issued by the Ministry if the proposal is approved by the ministry and all the agencies.

After getting approval from the ministry, the State Government can issue an official notification in the Gazette.

There is no constitutional provision which talks about changing the name of a city or any area in a state.

‘Organ on a chip’

In News:

The recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act 2.0 has approved computer-based and experimental alternatives to animals to test new drugs.

Although using animals, as drug testbeds, will continue.

What are Organ-on-a-Chips?

They are small devices containing human cells that are used to mimic the environment in human organs, including blood flow and breathing movements, serving as synthetic environments in which to test new drugs.


Boost the research and development of Organ chips

Reduce the cost of R&D of drugs

Animal models often poorly mimic human diseases, which has led scientists to develop alternative models

Reduce the chances of contamination and spread of disease from animals being experimented on.

Organ chips can be used to develop personalised therapies for individual patients

Minimize ethical dilemmas associated with the use of animals for testing (treatment of animal and their well-being)

In India: Researchers in India are also developing organ-on-a-chip models, including a skin-on-chip model, which is being tested for studying skin irritation and toxicity, and a retina-on-chip model.