Daily Editorial Analysis for 5th March 2020

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  5. Daily Editorial Analysis for 5th March 2020

Public Spending on Health Care to contain Epidemics like Covd-19

Paper: II

For Mains: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Context of News:

  • The coronavirus outbreak has become a global concern. Globally, around 88,000 cases have been detected, most of which are in China. The death toll is more than 2,870 according to the World Health Organisation. The central government in China has taken efforts towards combating the virus.
  • With this virus becoming epidemic at least in China, concerns have been raised out once again about the amicable public spending on health care by India.

Present Healthcare Spending by India:

  • At present, health spending is only 1.15-1.5% of GDP.  In every budget around 6% of the total amount is allocated to defence, while only 2.2% is allocated to healthcare.
  • India’s per capita expenditure on health remains among the lowest in the world.
  • The presented Interim Budget is responsive to the needs of farmers and the middle class, it does not adequately respond to the needs of the health sector, atlest on ground level.

Challenges for Healthcare System in India:

  • Expensive Private Medical Education: 
  • Increasingly high cost of medical education in the private sector is forcing many students in India to look for cheaper destinations abroad.
  • Countries such as China, Russia, Ukraine, Philippines and Nepal have become popular destinations for aspiring doctors as the cost can be less than half of what private institutes charge in India.
  • Expensive medical studies are responsible for dearth of doctors in India as after acquiring studies from abroad they do not prefer to practice their profession in India because of the necessity to clear the exam conducted by the Medical Council of India.
  • Overburdened Doctors: 
  • Owing to disproportionate Doctor Patient ratio, limited number of doctors, nurses and medical staff have to cater to a large number of patients.
  • Ailing Public health sector: 
  • Meager healthcare budget, overcrowding, long waiting time and the need for multiple visits for investigations and consultations frustrate patients on a daily basis.
  • Paucity of Resources: 
  • Doctors work in extreme conditions ranging from overcrowded out-patient departments, inadequate staff, medicines and infrastructure.
  • Unaffordable Treatments: More than 17% of Indian population spends at least 10% of household budgets for health services.
  • Catastrophic healthcare related expenditure pushes families into debt, more than 24% households in rural India and 18% of the population in urban areas have met their healthcare expenses through some sort of borrowings.
  • Ineffective Implementation of Laws:
  • Inspite of having the laws that envisage imprisonment besides recovery of compensation from perpetrators for loss or damage to Medical professionals and property, states are lacking in its effective implementation.
  • For example West Bengal has also enacted a law for protection of doctors but due to its poor implementation it has failed to curb the ongoing doctor-patient crisis.

How to Reduce Further Losses of Life Post Coronavirus Outbreak:

  • The coronavirus outbreak has made it clear that when instant reaction is required, public hospitals hold the key; Medical reform is a charged issue in most countries. The policy recommendations in favour of marketisation of healthcare normally emphasise three major points:
  1. First, bend the curve of the health share in GDP.
  2. Second, foster competition to provide more efficient healthcare.
  3. Third, mobilise resources from private entities which will ensure the win-win outcome of reducing government intervention as well as relieving its financial burden.


  • The Central and State governments have introduced several innovations in the healthcare sector in recent times, in line with India’s relentless pursuit of reforms.
  • However, while the government’s goal is to increase public health spending to 2.5% of GDP by the year 2025, there are lot of challenges that needs to be filled up in achieving this target.
  • Since a major innovation in universal healthcare, Ayushman Bharat, is being rolled out, it must be matched with a quantum leap in funding. Only if we invest more for the long-term health of the nation will there be a similar rise in GDP.
  • To reach its target, the government should increase funding for health by 20-25% every year for the next five years or more.


Sanskrit; endangered in its own land

Paper: II

For Prelims:  Endangered Language.

For Mains: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Context of News:

  • Under the pressure of globalization, the domains of use of some languages are shrinking with the result that many Indian languages have become threatened and even endangered.
  • Although, Sanskrit has long ago ceased to be the mother tongue of any group, alive only in religious scriptures and other ancient texts, many native languages are facing extinction due to the fact that fewer and fewer people are speaking them. What hastens to the demise of these languages is the fact that most of these languages remain unwritten and undocumented.

Sanskrit in Ancient Times:

  • Since ancient times, Sanskrit has been an important language in India. It contains great wisdom and knowledge. Iranians and Arabs in the ancient and medieval period and Europeans in modern times showed an interest in its classical texts and translated them. They did not disgrace Sanskrit by doing so. On the contrary, they internationalised it,something pandits failed to do. Their conservative outlook will ensure that the language never gains mass popularity. Perhaps this is the reason Sanskrit did not travel beyond India’s frontiers and become a vehicle for it culture and civilisation.
  • Indians often cite “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” to establish their catholicity and the magnanimous ethos of the Indian civilisation. The evolution of Sanskrit once exemplified this spirit, it should do so again.
  • Kabir Das rightly said, “We must not ask a saint his caste. If we have to know anything about him that must be his knowledge.

Constitutional Provisions for Protection of Languages:

  • Article 29 does give the fundamental right to every citizen to conserve her distinct language, script and culture. If an elected representative cannot use her language even in her own oath, which binds only her and demands nothing from others, how can her language or script be preserved?.
  • Article 347 lays down that “on a demand being made in that behalf, the President may, if he is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population of a State desires the use of any language spoken by them to be recognized by that State, direct that such language shall also be officially recognized throughout that State or any part thereof for such purposes as he may specify”.
  • Article 350 provided that every person is entitled to submit a representation for redress of any grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or state in any of the languages used in the Union or state as the case may be.
  • Article 350A enjoins that it shall be the endeavour of every state and of every local authority within the state to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.
  • Article 350B makes a provision for the appointment of a special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under this constitution and report to the president upon those matters.

Endangered Language:

  • An endangered language, or moribund language, is a language that is at risk of falling out of use as its speakers die out or shift to speaking other languages. Language loss occurs when the language has no more native speakers and becomes a “dead language”.
  • Criteria to Declare Languages as Endangered
  • According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), any language spoken by less than 10,000 persons is considered “potentially endangered”. Not every potentially endangered language necessarily faces the threat of immediate extinction. However, that number indicates a threshold.
  1. Safe: language is spoken by all generation; Intergenerational transmission is uninterrupted, not included in the Atlas
  2. Vulnerable: Most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g. home)
  • Definitely endangered: Children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home
  1. Severely endangered: Language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves
    Critically endangered: The youngest speakers are grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves
  2. Critically endangered: The youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently
  3. Extinct: There are no speakers left included in the Atlas if presumably extinct since the 1950s

Reasons for Extinction of Language:

  • Rise of English and Decline of Rest:
  • In India, English is thriving and is used widely by the emerging generation, which is one of the reasons leading to the threat of extinction of native or regional languages.
  • English has become the language of knowledge and employability, as well as the primary language of the internet. The major content of the digital sphere is now in English, and, therefore, other languages have been marginalised. People have started considering native languages as kitchen languages.
  • Avoidance of Mother Tongue Language:
  • Indians do not find it necessary to learn or write in their mother tongue. This means advanced knowledge is not produced in these languages. Therefore, other languages have essentially become languages of translation.
  • Other Reasons:
  • A language dies when its speakers die. For example, a language of Andaman and Nicobar islands, namely, Aka-Bo has died recently when its last speaker died in 2010.
  • Under the pressure of globalization, the domains of use of some languages are shrinking with the result that many Indian languages have become threatened and even endangered. Although, the globalisation is not directly killing local languages, but it is affecting languages in the sense that many languages under pressure are losing oral literature and words related to culture, especially, food items, dress and ornaments, rituals, flora and fauna. But globalisation is not the cause of language death.

Way Forward:

  • Languages never belong to a particular religion. But members of various religious communities do speak different languages to foster understanding among themselves. It is a cultural bond that unites people rather than divides them.
  • If languages disappear, humanity would lose not only a cultural wealth but also important ancestral knowledge embedded, in particular, in indigenous languages.


Aligning Education System with Global Standards

Paper: II

For Mains: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context of News:

  • The World Bank’s recent flagship World Development Report addressed some immediate challenges of quality education. One of the ways that it broke new ground was on the issue of provision for private education. Growing private school enrolment is a global trend and the phenomenon must be taken seriously and discussed on evidence.
  • Education systems in many countries are not performing up to expectation and many families have been turning to private schools since they feel that the latter deliver better education, especially when public schooling itself is not fully free. India too fails to provide free secondary public education.

Existing Problems with Indian Education System:

  • Lack of funds.
  • Expensive higher education.
  • Neglect of Indian languages.
  • Problem of Brain drain.
  • Mass illiteracy.
  • Wastage of resources.
  • General education oriented.
  • Problems of primary education.

Improving Teacher Education System:

  • One of the very few things which are common across these efforts, and would attract neither of the two charges that I have referred to, is the importance of the teacher in school education and its improvement. The teacher is so central to education that this is not surprising. To deal with this centrality of the teacher, four broad approaches have to be adopted.
  • Incentivizing Method:
  • The central idea of the first approach is that teachers must be incentivized to do a better job, which will then lead to improvements. This includes negative and positive incentives: for example, punishment for lack of improvement in learning levels of children or better pay for clear improvements. The hardwired “teacher accountability” versions of this approach (such as “No Child Left Behind” in the US) have only succeeded in causing deep damage to school education. Other variations, such as the attempt to incentivize teachers through market-based competition fostered by privatization have proven ineffective in improving learning levels in school systems, and have worsened inequity.
  • Tracking Down Right Person:
  • The second approach has been to try and attract “better” people to become teachers. The issues that can be worked on to influence this matter for example, reasonable compensation, good recruitment practices, and conditions to support professional satisfaction are important. However, the relative attractiveness of any profession is determined by a complex interplay of economic, sociocultural, geographic and historical factors, in addition to the characteristics of the profession. And given that the number of teachers is a significant proportion of the overall population in employment in any country, this matter is very hard to influence at a systemic level.
  • Equipping Teacher with best Methodology:
  • The third approach is to carry out better teacher preparation. Since models of teacher preparation, including the curriculum and institutional design, are easily comparable, weaknesses (such as with the Indian Bachelor of Education system) are easily identifiable. Fixing all this, however, is another matter. It is about investing significantly more in teacher education and battling vested interests. This calls for political will. But there is no substitute to good teacher preparation; unless teachers are well prepared, their capacity to perform their roles is limited.
  • Improving Teacher Pupil Ratio:
  • The fourth approach is about developing the capacity of teachers currently serving in the system. It’s quite clear that unless this is done, education systems won’t improve for decades, even if other things are somehow done perfectly. Professional development of such a large and distributed workforce, involved in roles that are inherently creative and requiring human empathy, is very complex. But it can be done if attempted on the basis of sound principles and with intent to empower.


  • With the low standard of educational institutions, India still has a far way to go. The problems are multiple and too huge to be solved in a short span of time. A number of factors have to be employed simultaneously to improve the system.
  • The unified system will allow equal growth of all students. It will also lead to better governance. It will also reduce parochialism and discrimination. Further, with equal opportunities given to every child irrespective of his caste, class or social background, the government will get an opportunity to review the reservation system and its need in the society. The government needs to take careful consideration of all facets before enacting any legislation, but ultimately, the unified system will benefit the students. This will further advance the global standing of Indian institutions and bring them at par with the leading institutions of the world.


Providing equal opportunity to women

Paper: II

For Mains: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Context of News:

  • India continues to struggle to provide its women with equal opportunity. On international measures of gender equality, India scores low on women’s overall health and survival and ability to access economic opportunities.
  • Women are performing their duties with full devotion for the development of the country and upliftment of the society. They are working efficiently in various fields, such as academics, literature, music and dance, sports, media, business, information technology, science and technology, politics and social development.

Policy/Steps of Government to provide equal Opportunities to women:

  • Our government is running many schemes for women’s empowerment such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Mahila E-haat Scheme, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Sakhi Yojana, Ladli Yojana, Digital Laado and the Swachh Bharat Mission. Our government is also working extensively on women’s nutrition.
  • Swadhar and Short Stay Homes to provide relief and rehabilitation to destitute women and women in distress.
  • Working Women Hostels for ensuring safe accommodation for working women away from their place of residence.
  • Support to Training and Employment Program for Women (STEP) to ensure sustainable employment and income generation for marginalised and asset-less rural and urban poor women across the country.
  • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) to provide micro-finance services to bring about the socio-economic upliftment of poor women.
  • National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) to strengthen the overall processes that promote all-round Development of Women
  • Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers (including single mother) to provide day care facilities for running a crèche of 25 children in the age group 0-6 years from families having monthly income of less than Rs 12,000.
  • One Stop Centre to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence.

Challenges in providing equal opportunities to women in India:

  • There are several constraints that check the process of women empowerment in India. Social norms and family structure in developing countries like India, manifests and perpetuate the subordinate status of women.
  • Education:
  • While the country has grown from leaps and bounds since independence where education is concerned. The gap between women and men is severe. While 82.14% of adult men are educated, only 65.46% of adult women are known to be literate in India.
  • Poverty:
  • Poverty is considered the greatest threat to peace in the world, and eradication of poverty should be a national goal as important as the eradication of illiteracy. Due to this, women are exploited as domestic helps.
  • Health and Safety:
  • The health and safety concerns of women are paramount for the wellbeing of a country and are an important factor in gauging the empowerment of women in a country. However there are alarming concerns where maternal healthcare is concerned.
  • Missing link from Government:
  • Absence of significantly large budgetary allocations for women-targeted programmes, derail the state government plans towards women. An important focus could be smarter policy and gender-intentional implementation. A key example comes from MGNREGA, a programme whose official policy has long been to pay individual workers in their own bank accounts ,found in recent studies.

Providing Equal opportunities can leverage Economy

  • The large potential increases in GDP that could accrue to India and countries around the world, if they could only close their labour force gender gaps, are often cited. A report by McKinsey Global Institute suggests that if women participated in the Indian economy at the level men do, annual GDP could be increased by 60 per cent above its projected GDP by 2025.
  • Rural women’s relative participation in manufacturing has grown compared to men’s, and manufacturing stands out as a promising means to pull young women, in particular, into the economy. And ensuring better support to small and medium-sized enterprises can help new businesses. Women participation in small and medium enterprises and agriculture can not only provide economic leverage but it can also have spillover effect on sectors like health and education.

Way Forward:

  • In recent times business has made a lot of progress in closing the gender gap ,women now account for about 40 percent of total global workforce and are taking more leadership positions, there are also less limitations on type of job they want to work. This progress is positive, but there’s still a long way to go to close the gender gap for good
  • Create the right working environment:
  • Gender equality starts with the right working culture. Does the business actively promote and support equal opportunities? Is there a fair representation of both men and women in leadership positions? And if not, why? Is the business actively encouraging both men and women to climb up the ranks – and are they provided with the right tools and training to do so? These are all important questions to ask when building an inclusive culture.
  • Equal opportunity for men and women to excel:
  • Taking about in Indian perspective, women’s presence is too low in Parliament; women’s representation in higher post field is very low and rare.
  • We know that women still have limited presence on boards of directors around the world, even though this gender gap can undermine a company’s potential value and growth. Having higher diversity across the board can improve business performance by broadening access to information and encouraging different viewpoints.
  • However, just because a business or industry may have a higher ratio of females, doesn’t mean it’s doing all it can to help women succeed. In the creative industries, for example, there are a large proportion of female employees yet, they only represent a small proportion of director level roles.
  • Create the right balance of personal and professional life:
  • Various Researches found that 90 percent of employees believe taking extended family leave will hurt their career, which is deeply concerning. Modern businesses need to find ways to accommodate these life events, whether that means promoting flexible working or providing paid time-off to look after dependents. Businesses should also be actively encouraging both men and women to take parental leave.
  • We have made great progress in closing the gender pay gap, but as competition heats up, businesses need to put the right strategy in place to build an inclusive culture. Not only will this allow an equal playing field, but it will also enable businesses to improve performance.

Taliban Peace Pact with USA and Role of India

Paper: II

For Mains: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Context of News:

  • The long-awaited deal between the United States and the Taliban was finally signed in Doha last Saturday by U.S. Special Envoy Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and former Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Barada.
  • In its first step towards engaging with the Taliban, India has decided to send its envoy to the signing of the peace pact between the US and Taliban in Doha in last week of February.
  • This is the first time that an official representative will attend a ceremony where the Taliban representatives will be present. When Taliban was in power between 1996 and 2001, India did not recognize it diplomatically and officially.

The road to Doha:

  • Trump’s 2017 policy Regarding Afghanistan Peace aimed at breaking the military stalemate inAfghanistan by authorizing an additional number of up to 5000 soldiers,giving U.S. forces a freerhand to go after the Taliban, putting Pakistan on notice and strengthening Afghan capabilities.
  • The key features of the Doha deal are:
  1. S. troops to be reduced from the current 14,000 to 8,600 by June 15 (in 135 days).
  2. Withdrawal of all remaining U.S. and foreign forces by April 29, 2021 (in 14 months).
  • Removal of the Taliban from UN Security Council sanctions list by May 29.
  1. Up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 Afghan security forces prisoners to be released from Afghan and Taliban custody respectively by March 10.
  2. S. sanctions against Taliban leaders to be lifted by August 27.

India’s position on engagement with the Taliban till now:

  • Though India has softened its position on engaging with the Taliban, it has always maintained that it has three red lines:
  • Representation of all sections of Society:
  • All initiatives and processes must include all sections of the Afghan society, including the legitimately elected government”. This is important as, in the past; the Afghan government has often been sidelined by international interlocutors when they engaged with the Taliban. This also means that there is acceptability in Delhi about talking to the Taliban since they represent a “section of the Afghan society”.
  • Respecting the constitutional legacy and political mandate:
  • Any process should respect the constitutional legacy and political mandate”. This means that the achievement of establishing democratic processes and human rights, including women’s rights, should be respected. Delhi will again monitor whether the “new Taliban” as many Western interlocutors claim will respect these achievements over the last two decades.
  • Not providing space for terrorist organization flourish:
  • Any process “should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorist and their proxies can relocate”. This is crucial for India, as it points out the threat from terrorist groups including the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda and Islamic State, which must not be allowed to operate there. Also, Pakistan-based terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohammed must not be allowed to relocate.

Why India is important in this Peace Accord?

  • A significant withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan may be imminent, reflecting the strategic incoherence of the Trump administration, which is earning notoriety for pursuing an isolationist and anti-interventionist foreign policy to appease its core political base’s is taking out its troop and they need a reliable partner in Afghanistan, so India comes in to the picture.
  • India’s Afghanistan policy has two major objectives: first, to curtail Islamabad’s influence in Kabul and deny Pakistan’s state and non-state agents leverage to plot against Indian interests, and second, to gain access to vast energy markets in Central Asia. In order to achieve these objectives, India has been one of the staunchest supporters of a strong and “independent” government in Kabul since an Afghanistan that is indirectly controlled by Rawalpindi is detrimental to Indian strategic interests. To achieve this objective India also wants to create a channel of Discussion.
  • Despite India’s extensive developmental role, India remains a peripheral player in Afghan political affairs. India’s recent critical stance at the United Nations for its failure to sanction new Taliban leaders and their helpers in the neighborhood may be ethically appropriate, but seems out of sync with emerging ground realities in Afghanistan. There are already growing voices in India who are now asking the government to engage with the Taliban more substantively. It remains to be seen how New Delhi will respond to Trump’s latest policy shifts.

Way Forward:

  • The decision to withdraw precipitously from Afghanistan is likely to have far-reaching consequences for India – an increase in Taliban’s influence in Afghanistan could negatively impact the security situation in the restive Kashmir valley. With the Islamic State currently on the back foot, the Taliban may well emerge as the ideological inspiration of resurgent insurgency in Kashmir. There is additional concern regarding the security of India’s consulates in Afghanistan. Can India afford to remain aloof in this unfolding scenario? Is the question that India should not miss and start a channel of discussion that may be fruitful in controlling Taliban to some extent in the future

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