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6th September Current Affairs

Public health need not be led by doctors alone

(GS-II: Issues related to development of social sector related to health, measures to develop healthcare system in India etc)

In News:

There is suboptimal representation of public health professionals in State and Central advisory bodies of health.

Public Health:

It is the science of protecting the safety and improving the health of communities through education, policy making and research for disease and injury prevention.

What constitutes a public health worker?

All those who work for the State or Central government are public sector health workers.

What is expected out of Public health workers?

‘A’ s for public health workers: Academics, activism, administration and advocacy.

Epidemiology and biostatistics: Good understanding of evidence generation and synthesis by having a good grounding in epidemiology and biostatistics.

Able to monitor and evaluate programmes: By conducting surveillance, interpreting data and routine reporting.

Role of administration in public health:

Administering: From a primary health centre to the district, State, and national level.

Implementing: Managing health programmes, addressing human resource issues, supply and logistical issues, etc.

Microplanning: For programme delivery, team building, leadership as well as financial management to some extent.

Principles of organizational management: A good understanding of the principles of organizational management and health administration is key to acquiring this competency.

Four competencies for specific or general problem(environment or nutrition or infectious disease):

  • Health policy
  • Health economics
  • Health Advocacy
  • Global Health


Resistance from medical fraternity: Resistance of the medicalised public health fraternity for public health professionals to have a medical degree.

It has resulted in denying nursing, dental, and other health professionals to contribute more to public health.

Lack of skills: Many doctors and other health professionals work at the grassroots level.

But they do not become public health professionals as they may not have the necessary skills.

Clinicians with training in epidemiology and biostatistics: They are not qualified to be public health professionals as they lack essential and critical expertise along with appropriate perspective.

Training duration: Short training or even a year-long distance learning course cannot create a public health professional the way it cannot create a physician or a cardiologist.


Recognition of public health: It is critical that health professionals, the government, and the public recognise public health as a specific set of competencies and give it the importance that it deserves.

The Health Ministry’s recent proposal: Creation of cadres for public health professionals and health management at the State, district and block levels is a welcome step.

Quality of public health training: There is a need to look at the quality of public health training being provided which will attract the best and the brightest people into this discipline.

Natural farming

(GS-III: Agriculture)

In News:

It is an editorial article (yesterday’s) by eminent agriculture economist Ashok Gulati, in which he emphasizes the need to promote natural/organic farming.

Issues with the current farming methods?

Degradation of land (almost 30%)

Depletion of Groundwater

Polluted air e.g., stubble burning

Extreme weather events

Ecological imbalance: The pace of human population growth has not been in line with the earth’s carrying capacity.

What should be done?

Focus on precision farming: It can give India “more from less”.

Focus on natural and organic farming

  • Organic farming in India: Sikkim was declared an organic state, etc.
  • Arth Ganga: Initiated a major programme on natural farming along the Ganga, five kilometres on each side of its banks.
  • Many states like Andhra Pradesh are also scaling up natural farming.

Focus on emerging technologies: GIS (Geographical Information System), and AIML (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) can use enormous data and bring about precision in farming.

Reduction of subsidies: The government’s heavy subsidy (80 to 90% subsidy on urea) can be significantly reduced. It will also help prevent water pollution due to the overuse of fertilizers.

Natural Farming:

Natural Farming is a chemical-free alias traditional farming method. It is considered an agroecology-based diversified farming system which integrates crops, trees and livestock with functional biodiversity.

Concerns:  Research by ICAR in India shows that the adoption of natural farming yields goes down for major staple crops like wheat and rice by as much as 30 to 50%. But the yields recover back to normal levels after some time.


So, India needs a proper policy decision with better and more scientific evidence if India wants to avoid a Sri Lanka-like fiasco.


In News:

Pakistan’s Department of Archaeology has said that Mohenjo-Daro might be removed from the world heritage list if urgent attention to its conservation and restoration is not given.

 Importance of Mohenjo-Daro:

Mohenjo-Daro, a group of mounds and ruins, is a 5000-year-old archaeological site located about 80 km off the city of Sukkur.

Known to be a model planned city of the ancient civilisation, the houses here had bathrooms, toilets and drainage systems. The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggest a high level of social organisation.

Its excavation started in 1921 and continued in phases till 1964-65. The site went to Pakistan during Partition.

Mohenjo-Daro is considered the most advanced city of its time, with sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning.

When the Indus Valley Civilisation went into sudden decline around the 19th century BC, Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned.

PM-SHRI Yojana

In News:

On the occasion of Teacher’s Day, the Prime Minister has announced the development and upgradation of 14,500 schools across India under the Pradhan Mantri Schools For Rising India (PM-SHRI) Yojana.

Key Highlights:

Holistic methods: The PM-SHRI schools will have a modern, transformational and holistic method of imparting education.

Learning centric: Emphasis will be on a discovery oriented, learning centric way of teaching.

Technology: Focus will also be on modern infra including latest technology, smart classrooms, sports and more.

Model Prison Act

In News:

After introducing a model prison manual in 2016, the centre will bring a Model Prisons Act by amending the British-era law Prisons Act 1894.

Previously in 2016, the centre brought Model Jail Manual containing several remedial points:

  • emphasizing computerization,
  • uniformity in human rights,
  • rehabilitation of prisoners.
  • information to control gangs inside jails

However, only 11 states and Union territories have so far adopted the manual

Issues with the jail system:

  • Overcrowding: About 70% are undertrials.
  • No separate arrangements for hardcore and radicalized criminals.
  • Prison being a ‘state’ subject, each state follows different manuals and standards

Other measures: Committee on Prison reform (headed by Amitava Roy), Draft national policy on prison reforms and correctional administration, 2007.