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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Sep 30, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Report on Best Practices in the Performance of District Hospitals framework

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NITI Aayog, the Government of India think-tank, released the country’s first performance assessment of government district hospitals September 30, 2021.

The assessment, Report on Best Practices in the Performance of District Hospitals framework, evaluated 707 district hospitals on 10 key performance indicators (KPI). It was based on data from 2017-18.

For this performance assessment, district hospitals were categorised into small (up to 200 beds), mid-sized (201-300 beds) and large hospitals (more than 300 beds). Of the total hospitals, 62 per cent were small.

Here are some key findings of the assessment:

  1. On an average, a district hospital had 24 beds for 100,000 people. For the assessment, it was set that a hospital should have 22 beds for those many people. The World Health Organization recommends five hospital beds for every 1,000 people. According to the assessment, Puducherry had the highest average beds in the country while Bihar had the lowest average of six beds per 100,000 citizens.
  2. Only 27 per cent of the total 707 districts assessed met the doctor-to-bed ratio of 29 doctors per 100 beds in a hospital.
  3. 88 hospitals out of 707 had the required ratio of staff nurses.
  4. Only 399 hospitals were found to have a ratio of paramedical staff in position as IPHS norms laid down. IPHS norms based on corresponding bed category. Madhya Pradesh had the highest proportion (14.8 per cent) such hospitals, followed by Delhi (12.5 per cent) and UP (11.4 per cent).
  5. On an average, every district hospital in India had 11 support services, compared to the required 14. Only 89 hospitals had all support services. Tamil Nadu had the highest proportion (20.2 per cent) of hospitals with all support services, followed by Rajasthan (11.2 per cent), UP (10.1 per cent), Karnataka (10.1 per cent), and West Bengal (9 per cent).
  6. Only 21 hospitals fulfilled the criteria of having all diagnostic testing services available. Karnataka had the highest proportion (28.6 per cent) of hospitals with all support services, followed by Telangana (19 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (14 per cent) and Gujarat (9.5 per cent).
  7. 182 hospitals out of the 707 had bed occupancy of 90 per cent or more. Occupancy of 80-85 per cent is considered ideal. Uttar Pradesh (14.8 per cent) had the highest proportion of hospitals with bed occupancy rate greater than or equal to 90 per cent, followed by Madhya Pradesh (10.9 per cent), Maharashtra (8.2 per cent), Odisha (8.2 per cent), West Bengal (7.1 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (5.5 per cent).
  8. At an average a doctor in a district hospital attends to 27 OPD patients.

Current Affair 2:
Conserving Chitkul: ‘last village of India’

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A small controversy: Remember Chitkul and Mana both

Chitkul is basically the last inhabited village located on the Indo-Tibet/China border, but Mana in Uttarakhand is officially recognised as the 'last village of India'.

The news is very simple, i.e., lot of waste is generated due to large number of tourists in this area. Locals have to manage this as lot of revenue is generated due to tourists.

The local populace and administration also have an opportunity to adopt principles of responsible tourism.

  1. First, as is the norm in many fragile destinations across the country, vehicles passing through should not only pay user-fee for tourism development but also be vigorously checked for plastic wrappers, bottles and non-biodegradable material.  Ancillary tourism benefits from trekking should be transferred to the local panchayat.
  2. Second, a carrying capacity assessment to fix a limit of tourist visitation should be undertaken.
  3. Third, ecologically responsible construction should be adopted that restricts unsustainably built high rises, even by locals. New construction permits should be restricted and allowed under strictly agreed guidelines.
  4. Fourth, activities such as loud music and campfires should be disallowed before they become the norm.

Current Affair 3:
Dismantling Ordinance Factory Board

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The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), established in 1801 will cease to exist and the assets, staff, and operations of its 41 ordnance factories will be transferred to seven defence public sector units (DPSUs).

A large chunk of the weapons, ammunition, and supplies used by the armed forces, and paramilitary and police forces, come from OFB-run factories. Their products include civilian and military-grade arms and ammunition, explosives, propellants, and chemicals for missile systems, military vehicles, armoured vehicles, optical and electronic devices, parachutes, support equipment, troop clothing, and general store items for the armed forces.

Corporatization of the OFB will bring the seven PSUs under the purview of Companies Act 2013 and will lead to following benefits:

(a) Improvement in efficiency

(b) Cost-competitive products

(c) Enhancement in quality of the products

(d) Professionalism in the overall organization and quick decision making at the top level

(e) Corporatization will lead to improvement in autonomy and accountability

As per the past experience, corporatization leads to privatization: let me explain

OFB used to function as kind of Govt. department and they were not allowed to retain profits means if there are some extra receipts/revenues it was used by the defence ministry.

Since, it was functioning as a Board under the Defence ministry, the assets of the OFB are not valued as per the market and the assets and liabilities are not properly separated from the Govt. So, if Govt. wants private companies to invest in OFB then it was not possible.

But when OFB is converted into corporate entities like PSUs, then everything is separated from the Govt. of India and the assets & liabilities are totally separated in the PSU's account. Balance sheet is prepared and all the assets are valued. Now if Govt. wants to bring in private investors, then the private investors can see what is the worth of the PSU and accordingly, they can invest and involve in decision making through appointment of Board of Directors. So, this is true that when Govt. corporatize a Board/Department/Trust  (into a PSU) .... then Govt. is thinking of bringing in private sector.

Minister of State for Defence submitted in Rajya Sabha that "The employees…shall continue to be subjected to all rules and regulations as are applicable to the Central Government servants. The pension liabilities of the retirees and existing employees will continue to be borne by the government. "   When the OFB is converted into a PSU only (and not private company) then why this submission was required ??

Answer: OFB employees were treated as Govt. of India employee. So, they were subject to Pay Commission increments and Pensions and all other benefits applicable to Central Govt. employees. BUT PSUs employees are not considered Govt. of India employees. They are not subject to Central Pay Commission increments and pensions. That is why the Minister is saying that all the benefits as applicable to Central Govt. employees will continue even after corporatization.

Current Affair 4:
Demand-Driven Electricity Networks Initiative (3DEN)

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Today, at the Pre-COP26 in Milan, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), with the support of the Italian Government, launched the Demand-Driven Electricity Networks Initiative (3DEN) – a new project to accelerate progress on power system modernisation and the effective utilisation of demand-side resources.

The energy sector accounts for approximately 65% of total global GHG emissions; these need to be halved by 2030, and eliminated by 2050, to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. At the same time over 750 million people lack access to electricity and 2.6 billion still cook and heat with wood, charcoal, and other unhealthy fuels. This will require new power capacity and infrastructure expansion.

With more decentralized electricity production based on intermittent energy sources, there is a need to invest in new physical infrastructure to enable the energy transition.

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