Finance panel for PPPs on health infra

Paper: 

Mains: G.S. II & III, Polity and Governance, Social Justice, Indian Economy

Why in news?

The 15th Finance Commission has mooted a greater role for public private partnerships to ramp up health infrastructure and scale up public spending on health from 0.95% of the GDP to 2.5% by 2024.

Key details

  • Public outlays should focus on primary health care at the panchayat and municipality levels.
  • Private players should be relied on for specialty healthcare.
  • 15th Finance Commission has recommended steps to fix the skewed availability of healthcare across India as poorer states have the worst facility.
  • Chairman, Mr. N.K. Singh recommended substantial improvements in the working conditions for doctors in government hospitals, many of whom are hired on contract basis by the States, and the creation of an Indian Medical Service cadre as envisaged in the Civil Services Act, 1951.
  • Recommendations of the finance commission will turn out to be a shining example of public private partnerships.
  • The total spending of around 0.95% of GDP is not adequate both in relation to our peer groups and in relation to the commitments under the National Health Policy of 2017.
  • Endeavour must be to raise public spending from 0.95% of GDP to 2.5% of GDP by 2024.
  • Seeking greater attention on the role of paramedics and frontline health workers in counting the pandemic has made us know that there is greater need to strengthen the healthcare infra in the country and asserting on public private partnerships can provide a significant answer to that question.
  • A working relationship is needed and this relationship can only be built, if trust deficit that exists between industry and the government is bridged. Private sector investment in health has an exceedingly important role to play.
  • The government is duty bound to address the issue of health deficiency at the level of municipal corporations and village panchayats.
  • The Primary Health Centres shall be the the focus of public outlay.

UN reform being blocked , says Minister

Paper:

Mains: G.S. II International Relations

Why in news?

A day after PM Narendra Modi has reiterated India’s demand for reform of the United Nations, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said one or two countries are obstructing the process of expansion of the UNSC.

Key details

  • The United Nations (UN) was set up, 75 years ago, with the principal aim of maintaining world peace and security. It has been successful in the decolonization process and preventing another World War. However, the 21st century world is very different from that 20th century and poses many new problems and realities.
  • There has been a general trend of increasing the number of challenges that are Trans-national in character (for example, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, pandemics, climate crisis, cyber-security, and poverty). UN being the epitome of multilateral world order will be much needed in dealing with global issues.
  • Therefore, reforms in the UN are necessary in order to strengthen the UN’s effectiveness as a multilateral organization, bring more transparency to the institution and enhance its credibility.

Challenges against multilateralism in present times

  • Rise of new cold war : Conflict between the US on the one hand and China and Russia on the other has become a new reality in West-East Conflict.
  • Divided West : Despite the enduring post-War alliances, there is a growing divergence between US and its European partners on many global issues. Some of the differences between the US and the other powers is very visible in the Iran Nuclear Deal.
  • Ineffectiveness of UN : The UN has been unable to respond effectively to the once-in-a-century global crisis triggered by the coronavirus. At the UN Security Council, China blocked a serious discussion on the origin and sources of the crisis. While the US walked out of the World Health Organisation on allegation of supporting China.

Areas of UN Reform

  • Defunct UNSC : The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the UN’s main executive body with the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. However, the veto powers possessed by the UNSC’s five permanent members are used as an instrument to shore up their geopolitical interests, regardless of the disastrous consequences for the victims of armed conflict. As it can be seen in Syria, Iraq, etc.
  • Further, It does not reflect today’s distribution of military and economic power, nor a geographical balance. Thus, the structure of the 15-member Security Council ought to be more democratic and representative.

  • This has been long overdue on the demand, especially from the so-called Group of 4 (G4) countries — Brazil, Germany, India and Japan — which advocate a permanent seat for all of them.
  • The primary objective of India’s present multilateralism should be to ensure its territorial integrity, especially at a time when China has adopted aggressive posture on the border. India can leverage multilateralism to serve India’s interests. Like aligning with Quad countries or working with mechanisms like FATF to mount pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting cross-border terrorism in India.

Conclusion

Today the world needs multilateralism more than ever. Thus, it is necessary to reform the UN. In this context, India must utilize the next two years of its non-permanent member of UNSC for bringing much needed reforms in the system.


Ramesh Pokhriyal, Education Minister launched AICTE’s Lilavati Awards 2020

Paper:

Mains: G.S. II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

Union Minister of Education virtually launched the Lilavati Award 2020, an initiative by All India Council for Technical Education to promote women empowerment in India.

Key details

  • Theme of lilavati award 2020 is women empowerment.
  • Award is to create the awareness about the issues like sanitation, health, hygiene and nutrition using traditional Indian values.
  • To create awareness on issues like literary, employment, technology, credit, marketing, innovation, skill development and rights among women.
  • To promote and practice the idea of gender equality.
  • To work towards the well being of women and focus on their development.
  • AICTE was setup in 1945 as a national level apex advisory body. It’s purpose was to conduct a survey on the facilities available for technical education and to promote the development in the country in coordinated and integrated manner.

Who won the war over Karabakh?

Paper:

Mains: G.S. II International Relations

Why in news?

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to end fighting in a deal brokered by Russia.

Key details

  • After six weeks of fierce fighting, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to end military operations in and around Nagorno Karabakh in a ceasefire brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • In 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, the newly independent Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over Nagorno Karabakh, which had been an autonomous region within Azerbaijan during the Soviet years.
  • Armenians have made historical claims over the enclave, which is largely populated by ethnic Armenians.
  • By the time the all out war came to an end in 1994, Armenia had captured Nagorno Karabakh and seven surrounding districts from Azeri forces.
  • In September, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev launched the offensive vowing to take back Nagorno Karabakh and other Armenian occupied districts.
  • In six weeks, Azeri forces, backed by Turkey supplied armed drones and other equipment, cut through Armenian defences and retook territories.
  • Russia, which has a security agreement with Armenia, remained neutral in the early days of the war when Turkey threw its weight behind Azerbaijan.
  • When Azerbaijan defeated Armenian troops and captured territories, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sought Russian help.
  • But President Vladimir Putin said the security guarantee is for Armenia, not for the Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh.
  • But Russia was apparently concerned about the rapid change in the status quo and the more assertive security role Turkey was playing in its backyard.
  • By the third week of October, Russia established small military outposts along the Armenian border, apparently to prevent the conflict being spilling into mainland Armenia.
  • Putin accepted Azerbaijan’s victory (as the ceasefire allows Azeri troops to take control of the territories they have seized) but prevented a total defeat of Armenia. Under pressure from a decisive Moscow, both sides agreed to cease the operations.
  • According to the ceasefire, Armenia agreed to withdraw its troops from much of the territories around Nagorno Karabakh.
  • That Russia could enforce the ceasefire and keep Turkey and western countries out of the final talks shows that Moscow remains a dominant power in the South Caucasus.