World Gold Council
As per WGC, Gold demand in India hit a 25-year low at 446.4 tonnes in 2020, compared with 690.4 tonnes in 2019 due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown and on account of record high prices.
Gold & Economy:
As Currency: Gold was used as the world reserve currency up through most of the 20th century. The United States used the gold standard until 1971.
As a hedge against inflation: The demand for gold increases during inflationary times due to its inherent value and limited supply. As it cannot be diluted, gold is able to retain value much better than other forms of currency.
Strength of Currency: When a country imports more than it exports, the value of its currency will decline. On the other hand, the value of its currency will increase when a country is a net exporter. Thus, a country that exports gold or has access to gold reserves will see an increase in the strength of its currency when gold prices increase, since this increases the value of the country’s total exports.
About World Gold Council:
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
India has joined the world to Light Up Qutub Minar as a sign of unity to combat the Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The second annual World NTD Day will be marked on 30th January.
Why are some tropical diseases called “neglected”?
The people who are most affected by these diseases are often the poorest populations, living in remote, rural areas, urban slums or conflict zones. Neglected tropical diseases persist under conditions of poverty and are concentrated almost exclusively in impoverished populations in the developing world.
Challenges and concerns:
Lacking a strong political voice, people affected by these tropical diseases have a low profile and status in public health priorities.
Lack of reliable statistics and unpronounceable names of diseases have all hampered efforts to bring them out of the shadows.
Neglected tropical diseases affect more than 1 billion people, primarily poor populations living in tropical and subtropical climates.
They are frequently clustered together geographically and individuals are often afflicted with more than one parasite or infection.
More than 70% of countries and territories that report the presence of neglected tropical diseases are low-income or lower middle-income economies.
Infections are caused by unsafe water, poor housing conditions and poor sanitation.
Children are the most vulnerable to these diseases, which kill, impair or permanently disable millions of people every year, often resulting in life-long physical pain and social stigmatization.
Policies on neglected diseases research in India:
The National Health Policy (2017)sets an ambition to stimulate innovation to meet health needs and ensure that new drugs are affordable for those who need them most, but it does not specifically tackle neglected diseases.
The National Policy on Treatment of Rare Diseases (2018)includes infectious tropical diseases and identifies a need to support research on treatments for rare diseases. It has not yet prioritised diseases and areas for research funding or how innovation would be supported.
As per the latest economic survey:
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) contributed to improvement in many health outcomes in States that implemented the programme.
States that joined the PM-JAY, compared to those that did not, experienced greater penetration of health insurance, reduction in infant and child mortality rates, realised improved access and utilisation of family planning services and greater awareness of HIV/AIDS.
Across all the States, the proportion of households with health insurance increased by 54% for States that implemented PM-JAY while falling by 10% in States that did not.
Key Features of PM-JAY:
The world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government.
It provides cover of 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empaneled hospitals in India.
Coverage: Over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) are eligible for these benefits.
Provides cashless access to health care services for the beneficiary at the point of service.
No restrictions on family size, age or gender.
All pre–existing conditions are covered from day one.
Covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines.
Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country.
Services include approximately 1,393 procedures covering all the costs related to treatment, including but not limited to drugs, supplies, diagnostic services, physician’s fees, room charges, surgeon charges, OT and ICU charges etc.
Public hospitals are reimbursed for the healthcare services at par with the private hospitals.
NCAVES India Forum 2021
Organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
What is it?
Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum-2021 is a part of NCAVES project of United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).
It aims to help five countries for addressing the concerns of sustainability and conserving the environment for future use while charting the course for economic development.
India is one of the five countries taking part in this project – the other countries being Brazil, China, South Africa and Mexico.
The project seeks to advance the theory and practice of environmental and ecosystem accounting in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.
The project has been jointly implemented by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).
It aims to assist the five participating partner countries, to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental-economic accounting, in particular ecosystem accounting.
The project will have a duration until the end of 2021.
The participation in the project has helped MOSPI commence the compilation of the Environment Accounts as per the UN-SEEA framework.
The MOSPI has also released environmental accounts in its publication “EnviStats India” on an annual basis since 2018.
Several of these accounts are closely related to the social and economic attributes, making them a useful tool for the Policy.