- Use of Sanitisers and soaps: Antibiotic Resistance and Antimicrobial Resistance
The issue in news
Recently the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Health experts warned that the increased use of antibiotics, the widespread use of hand sanitisers and antimicrobial soaps can worsen the situation of antimicrobial resistance.
- Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest challenges of modern medicine.
- Antibiotic-resistant organisms have become rigidly established in the environment with many infections failing to respond to antimicrobials.
- Antimicrobial resistance mounts problems beyond the geographical as well as species barriers and can transmit from animals to humans.
- Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. It means bacteria are resistant to antibiotics.
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a broader term, encompassing resistance to drugs to treat infections caused by other microbes as well, such as parasites, viruses, and fungi.
National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance
- India released the AMR action plan in 2017, 2 years after the Global Action Plan was released by WHO. Only 2 states Kerala and Madhya Pradesh have State Action Plan.
- To effectively combat antimicrobial resistance in India.
3 Objectives of NAP-AMR
- Define the timeline and allocate the budget to slow the emergence of AMR in India and to strengthen the coordination between various organizations.
- Strengthen the surveillance, optimize the use of antibiotics in all sectors enhanced investments in AMR activities, research, and innovations.
- Monitor and evaluate the NAP-AMR implementations.
5 Strategic Priorities of NAP-AMR
- Improve awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, training, and education.
- Strengthen knowledge and evidence through surveillance
- Reduce the incidence of infection through effective infection prevention and control.
- Optimize the use of antimicrobial agents in health, animals, and food.
- Promote investments for AMR activities, research, and innovations.
- Strengthen India’s leadership on AMR.
AMR needs to be addressed in totality by all sectors, including healthcare, veterinary and agricultural domains.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- China backs Iran nuclear deal, calls for new West Asia forum
The issue in news
China’s Foreign Minister has called for a new forum to defuse tensions in West Asia after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart.
- China reiterated its support for Iran.
- Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with world powers.
- The U.S. withdrew from the accord in 2018.
- Iran has been locked in an acrimonious relationship with Saudi Arabia, the other major West Asian power – over the war in Yemen, Iranian influence in Iraq and Saudi support for U.S.A.’s sanctions on Iran.
- China proposes to build a regional multilateral dialogue platform with equal participation of all stakeholders.
- U.S. turns focus on Dhaka for Indo-Pacific strategy
The issue in news
Bangladesh could be the focus of the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific strategy.
- Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun is expected to arrive in Dhaka for a visit.
- The visit by the senior American official is the first such attempt by the U.S. administration to engage Dhaka directly ever since Beijing undertook several proactive measures to help the South Asian country deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The visit is the clearest sign of the Trump administration’s desire to draw Bangladesh closer as a key Indo-Pacific partner.
- Bangladesh has not hosted a senior U.S. diplomat of this stature since the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry in August 2016 during the last phase of the Obama administration.
Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- RTI Act crippled by huge backlog
The issue in news
Fifteen years after the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005, came into force, more than 2.2 lakh cases are pending at the Central and State Information Commissions.
- Central and State Information Commissions are the final courts of appeal under the transparency law, RTI Act.
- Under the law, every commission should have a chief and up to 10 commissioners.
- Most commissions are functioning at a reduced capacity including the Central Information Commission (CIC).
- CIC has no chief since August 2020 and has only five commissioners.
- Odisha is functioning with just four commissioners, while Rajasthan has only three.
- Jharkhand and Tripura have no commissioners and their commissions have been defunct for months.
- According to a report, Maharashtra has the highest number of pending appeals, with over 59,000 cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh (47,923) and the CIC (35,653).
- At the current rate of disposal, the Odisha commission would take more than seven years to dispose of all pending complaints, while the CIC would take more than two years.
- The analysis also found that government officials face hardly any punishment for violating the law.
- Non-imposition of penalties in deserving cases by commissions sends a signal to public authorities that violating the law will not invite any serious consequences.
- This destroys the basic framework of incentives built into the RTI law and promotes a culture of impunity.
- The need to ensure access to relevant information is greater than ever given the unprecedented crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The role of information commissions is crucial to ensure that people can obtain information on healthcare facilities, social security programs and delivery of essential goods and services meant for those in distress.
- There is a dire need to scrutinise the functioning of information commissions.
Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
- ‘Blue Flag’ tag for Kasarkod, Padubidri beaches
The issue in news
Eight beaches in India have bagged the coveted eco-label ‘Blue Flag’ from the international agency, Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark.
- In 2019, the Indian Government had identified 13 other beaches in the country for blue flag certification.
- The eight Indian beaches which got this tag are Shivrajpur (Dwarka, Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden Beach (Puri, Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
- Kasarkod beach in Uttara Kannada and Padubidri beach in Udupi in Karnataka have grey water treatment plants, solid waste management plants, disabled-friendly equipment to enable them to enter seawater, seating arrangements, clean drinking water, washroom, changing room, bathing facility, disabled-friendly and general toilets, parking facilities, solar power plant, etc.
Blue Flag Certification:
- Blue Flag beach is an eco-tourism model to provide tourists clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.
- The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based agency based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads: environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environment management and conservation and safety and services in the beaches.
Blue Flag Mission
- Promoting and participating in environmental educational programmes for the users of marinas, beaches and boating operators.
- Implementing efficient safety & environmental management systems.
- Committing to collaborative action & partnerships in order to promote sustainable tourism development.
- Monitoring environmental conditions in order to mitigate the impact of human activity at the marinas, beaches and boating operators.
Blue Flag Beaches in India
- Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odisha is not only India’s but also Asia’s first beach to get the Blue Flag certification.
- In 2019, the Indian Government had identified 13 other beaches in the country for blue flag certification. This required relaxing certain rules of the Coastal Regulation Zone notification, to enable certain construction activities on the beaches.
The pilot beaches are given in the table below:
- Ghaghara beach (Diu)
- Shivrajpur beach (Gujarat)
- Bhogave (Maharashtra)
- Padubidri and Kasarkod (Karnataka)
- Kappad beach (Kerala)
- Kovalam beach (Tamil Nadu)
- Eden beach (Puducherry)
- Rushikonda beach (Andhra Pradesh)
- Miramar beach (Goa)
- Golden beach (Odisha)
- Radhanagar beach (Andaman & Nicobar Islands)
- Bangaram beach (Lakshadweep)