National Suicide Prevention Strategy
Paper 1 – Governance
Why You Should Know?
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare onNovember 21, 2022 unveiled the National Suicide Prevention Strategy — the first-of-its-kind policy formulated by the government to prevent suicides as a public health priority.
In detail –
What is India’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy?
- According to the ministry, the policy that will set the stage for promotion of mental health and prevention of suicides in the coming decade.
- The goal of the strategy is to reduce suicide mortality in the country by 10 per cent by 2023.
- The strategy provides a framework for multiple stakeholders to implement activities for prevention of suicides in the country.
There are three main objectives of the strategy.
- First, it seeks to establish effective surveillance mechanisms for suicide within the next three years.
- Second, it seeks to establish psychiatric outpatient departments that will provide suicide prevention services through the District Mental Health Programme in all districts within the next five years.
- Third, it aims to integrate a mental well-being curriculum in all educational institutions within the next eight years.
- The fourth objective of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy is to strengthen surveillance of suicide and further generation of evidence through evaluation, that will ensure improvement in the programme quality.
- The implementation framework of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy envisions five key stakeholders responsible for realising the objectives.
- These include
- national-level ministerial stakeholders,
- state-level governmental stakeholders,
- district-level governmental stakeholders,
- NIMHANS-Bangalore and
- other top mental health institutes, and strategic collaborators.
- Reinforcing leadership, partnerships and institutional capacity in the country
- Enhancing the capacity of health services to provide suicide prevention services
- Developing community resilience and societal support for suicide prevention and reduce stigma associated with suicidal behaviours.
Suicides in India
- According to the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), released in August, 1.64 lakh people died by suicide in 2021 — an increase of 7.2 per cent from 2020.
- This is 10 per cent higher than the COVID deaths (1.48 lakh) in India in 2020, and 6.8 times the maternal deaths (23,800) in the same year.
- The NCRB report also stated that more than 1,00,000 people die by suicide in the country every year.
- A total of 25,891 suicides were reported in the 53 megacities of the country during 2021, with the highest in Delhi.
- In the past three years, the suicide rate in the country has increased from 10.2 to 11.3 per 1,00,000 population.
- Most suicides in India are by youth and middle-aged adults — with 65 per cent of the suicides in 2020 being reported in the age group of 18-45 years.
Ongoing suicide prevention initiatives in India
- The National Mental Health Policy (2014) sees prevention of mental disorders, reduction of suicide and attempted suicide as core priority areas.
- The Mental Healthcare Act 2017 brought in some necessary changes.
- The Act that came into force from May 2018 effectively decriminalised attempted suicide, which was punishable under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.
- It ensured that the individuals who have attempted suicide are offered opportunities for rehabilitation from the government as opposed to being tried or punished.
- Several national programmes such as the National Mental Health Program, National Palliative Care Program, Ayushman Bharat and Nasha Mukti Abhiyaan Task Force are also in place.
Sources – IE
Online RTI portal
Paper 2 –Polity
Why You Should Know?
Recently The Supreme Court launched an online portal that will help citizens file and access applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in matters related to the court.
In detail –
What is the online RTI portal?
- The online RTI portal has been initiated to make it convenient for people to access information about the Supreme Court.
- So far, RTI applications at the Supreme Court had to be filed only via post.
- Various public interest litigation (PILs) had been filed before the Supreme Court seeking an online RTI portal for the Court.
- Students said that though the committee had provided a mechanism for filing petitions online, it did not provide the same when it came to the filing of RTI applications.
- Earlier last week, the bench headed by the CJI was hearing a petition filed by two law students, Akriti Agarwal and Lakshya Purohit, and said that the portal was “practically ready for being launched.” The online portal is likely to streamline responses of the Supreme Court under the Right to Information Act.
How it works?
- The online portal can be accessed at through a weblink.
- Essentially, the process of filing an RTI in the Supreme Court is the same as how one normally files the application.
- This web portal can be used only by Indian citizens to file RTI applications, first appeals and to make payment for fees, and copying charges, under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act).
- The website makes it clear that only those who wish to obtain information on the Supreme Court can access it and any other information from public authorities can be done through the respective Central/State government portal.
About Right to Information Act, 2005
- The Right to Information (RTI) is an act of the Parliament of India which sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens’ right to information.
- It replaced the former Freedom of Information Act, 2002.
- Under the provisions of RTI Act, any citizen of India may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
- In case of matter involving a petitioner’s life and liberty, the information has to be provided within 48 hours.
- The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
- The RTI Bill was passed by Parliament of India on 15 June 2005 and came into force with effect from 12 October 2005.
- Although Right to Information is not included as a Fundamental Right in the Constitution of India, it protects the fundamental rights to Freedom of Expression and Speech under Article 19(1)(a) and Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 guaranteed by the Constitution.
Source – IE
Batagur Kachuga Turtle
Paper 3 –Biodiversity
Why You Should Know?
India proposes moving Batagur Kachuga to CITES Appendix I for better protection.
In detail –
- The 19th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP 19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is being held at Panama City from 14th November to 25th November 2022.
- India, presented a proposal for uplifting Batagur Kachuga from Appendix II to Appendix I of the CITES.
- Batagur Kachuga, commonly known as Red-crowned Roofed Turtle, is a species of freshwater turtle native to India and Bangladesh. The turtle is currently on the verge of extinction.
- India’s abovementioned proposal received overwhelming support and was recommended for adoption with consensus.
- India expressed concerns about the global conservation status of all tortoises and freshwater turtles.
- “Chelonians are the world’s most endangered vertebrates with half being categorized as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered by the IUCN,” India was quoted as saying during the address.
- It also highlighted the high levels of reported legal and illegal trade of Chelonian species and called for the convention to do more to protect them.
- Batagur Kachuga is a large, shy riverine turtle, known to only inhabit the Gangetic basin of India and Bangladesh.
- It has selective habitat requirements and slow recruitment with a generation time estimated over 25 years.
- Moreover, the Indian delegation highlighted the menace of illegal trade that the species faces, particularly, the male population due to their brilliant coloration.
- The species faces the threat of illegal pet trade and habitat loss. The proposal has asked to move the turtle from Appendix II (species not necessarily threatened with extinction but where trade must be controlled) to Appendix I (species threatened with extinction).
- Batagur Kachuga or the Red-crowned roofed turtle is a hard-shelled turtle species restricted to the Ganga River System with a maximum carapace length of 600 mm.
- The bright red colored stripes on the head of the males during the breeding season give it the name “Red-crowned”.
- Less than 500 adults are suspected to remain in the wild, most in the National Chambal Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.
- Further, threats to this species include sustained exploitation for meat and eggs across decades, accidental fishing net mortalities, and alteration of riverine habitats due to pollution, hydro projects, and more.
- According to the delegation at CoP19, the population of Batagur has declined by at least 80% in the past 50 years and is an ongoing decline.
- To protect the animal, it is enlisted in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
- Therefore, their hunting and trade are illegal in India. However, their poaching and illegal trade remain a challenge faced in the country.
- India asserted that it qualifies for listing in CITES Appendix I and added that the listing will ensure –
- legal international trade of the species does not take for commercial purposes;
- international trade in captive bred only takes place from registered facilities;
- higher and more proportionate penalties are provided for the illegal trade of the species
- Meanwhile, India has also presented a proposal for the inclusion of the Jeypore Hill Gecko in Appendix II of the CITES in the ongoing CITES CoP-19 at Panama.
- At CoP of CITES, also known as the World Wildlife Conference, all 184 Parties to CITES have the right to attend, to put forward proposals for the Conference to consider, and to vote on all decisions.
- 52 proposals have been put forward so far that would affect the regulations on international trade for: sharks, reptiles, hippos, songbirds, rhinos, 200 tree species, orchids, elephants, turtles and more.
- CITES is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere voluntarily.
- Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws.
- Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
Source – TOI
Global High-Level Conference on AMR
Paper 2 –Health
Why You Should Know?
Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health participates in the Third Global High-Level Conference on Anti-Microbial Resistance in Muscat, Oman.
In detail –
- 22 participants from more than 15 countries attended the conference. The event witnessed the launch of Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform on AMR by the Quadripartite Organizations.
- Focusing on the steps taken by India in battling AMR, MoS Health stated that, various initiatives have been taken to address AMR. India organized an AMR conference in 2016 at New Delhi.
- She highlighted that countering AMR features prominently on the national health agenda and further mentioned that various initiatives undertaken by way of awareness & capacity building, laboratory strengthening, surveillance, infection prevention & control, antimicrobial stewardship and research on newer drugs, diagnostics and innovations have garnered political will at the highest level.
- MoS Health accentuated the collaboration of Health Ministers of 11 Member States had signed the Jaipur Declaration on AMR in 2011, signifying their commitment and political support towards One Health approach for containment of AMR.
What are antimicrobials?
- Antimicrobials – including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics – are medicines used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals and plants.
What is antimicrobial resistance?
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
- As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.
A global concern
- The emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens that have acquired new resistance mechanisms, leading to antimicrobial resistance, continues to threaten our ability to treat common infections.
- Especially alarming is the rapid global spread of multi- and pan-resistant bacteria (also known as “superbugs”) that cause infections that are not treatable with existing antimicrobial medicines such as antibiotics.
- The clinical pipeline of new antimicrobials is dry. In 2019 WHO identified 32 antibiotics in clinical development that address the WHO list of priority pathogens, of which only six were classified as innovative.
- Furthermore, a lack of access to quality antimicrobials remains a major issue. Antibiotic shortages are affecting countries of all levels of development and especially in health- care systems.
- Antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective as drug-resistance spreads globally leading to more difficult to treat infections and death. New antibacterials are urgently needed – for example, to treat carbapenem-resistant gram-negative bacterial infections as identified in the WHO priority pathogen list.
- However, if people do not change the way antibiotics are used now, these new antibiotics will suffer the same fate as the current ones and become ineffective.
- The cost of AMR to national economies and their health systems is significant as it affects productivity of patients or their caretakers through prolonged hospital stays and the need for more expensive and intensive care.
- Without effective tools for the prevention and adequate treatment of drug-resistant infections and improved access to existing and new quality-assured antimicrobials, the number of people for whom treatment is failing or who die of infections will increase.
- Medical procedures, such as surgery, including caesarean sections or hip replacements, cancer chemotherapy, and organ transplantation, will become more risky.
Spread of antimicrobial resistance
- AMR occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes.
- Antimicrobial resistant organisms are found in people, animals, food, plants and the environment (in water, soil and air).
- They can spread from person to person or between people and animals, including from food of animal origin.
- The main drivers of antimicrobial resistance include
- the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials;
- lack of access to clean water,
- sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for both humans and animals;
- poor infection and disease prevention and control in health-care facilities and farms;
- poor access to quality, affordable medicines, vaccines and diagnostics;
- lack of awareness and knowledge; and
- lack of enforcement of legislation.
Sources – AIR
Exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahr’
Paper 2–International Relations
Why Should You Know?
bilateral exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahr’ (Sea Breeze)conducted between the Indian Navy (IN) – Royal Navy of Oman (RNO).
In details –
- The Indian Navy’s guided missile stealth frigate, INS Trikand, offshore patrol vessel, INS Sumitra, and Maritime Patrol Aircraft, (MPA) Dornier, participated in the 13th Edition of the Indian Navy (IN) – Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) bilateral exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahr’ (Sea Breeze).
- The exercise was conducted from 19 to 24 Nov 22 off the coast of Oman and had three phases: harbour phase, sea phase and debrief.
- Activities undertaken during the harbour phase included professional interactions between IN and RNO operations teams and friendly sports fixtures between the two navies.
- IN Ships Trikand and Sumitra, along with RNO Ships Al Shinas and Al Seeb, sailed for the sea phase. IN – MPA Dornier, RNO MPA and shore based RAFO fighter aircraft Hawks joined the exercise at sea.
- The sea phase included tactical maritime exercise involving surface action, air defence, maritime surveillance and interdiction/VBSS.
- These operations helped in strengthening interoperability as well as enhancing understanding of each other’s procedures.
- The last phase of exercise, debrief, was conducted at the RNO Naval Base at Duqm on 23 Nov 22.
- India and Oman have traditionally enjoyed warm and friendly relations, sharing common cultural values.
- Naval exercises have added strength and substance to these bilateral ties. The first IN-RNO exercise was conducted in 1993.
- This year marks 30 years of IN-RNO bilateral exercises.
- INS Trikand, a frontline frigate, is equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors. The ship is a part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet, based at Mumbai.
- INS Sumitra, a multirole offshore patrol vessel is part of the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy, based at Visakhapatnam.
Sources – AIR
UNESCO India Africa Hackathon
Paper 3 – Science & Tech
Why You Should Know?
The Vice President of India, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar is going to addressing the valedictory session of UNESCO India Africa Hackathon as a Chief Guest at Gautam Buddha University, Uttar Pradesh on November 25, 2022.
In detail –
- UNESCO India Africa Hackathon was inaugurated at Gautam Buddha University with a grand opening ceremony on 22nd November, 2022.
- The UNESCO INDIA – AFRICA Hackathon is an annual 36 hours event that brings together students, educators, teachers, and the research community of India and its African partners to tackle the common challenges faced by their countries and serves as a facilitator for cultural amalgamation.
- The central theme of UIAH 2022 is “LiFE”
- The 5 sub themes are – Education, Renewable Energy/ Sustainability, Drinking water and sanitation, Agriculture and Health & Hygene.
- The UNESCO INDIA – AFRICA Hackathon provides a suitable platform allowing young innovators to come together and find solutions for social, environmental and technical problems faced by the collaborating nations.
- It serves as the foundation for creating potential start-ups with the potential to transform the world.
- It allows the participating students to unleash their creativity and explore new technologies to solve real-world problems under the guidance of experts – thus, spearheading business innovation in the modern world.
- The Hackathon also serves as a symbol of the close relations cherished by India and its African counterparts and embodies the spirit of collaboration – bringing them together to solve problems for the betterment of humankind.
About UNESCO –
- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
- UNESCO was established on 16 November 1945 in London. Its headquarter is in Paris, France.
- It provides international cooperation in the field of education, science and culture. UNESCO is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG).
Sources – LM
Exercise ‘Samanvay 2022’
Paper 3 – Disaster management
Why You Should Know?
Indian Air Force is conducting the Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise ‘Samanvay 2022’ from 28 November 2022 to 30 November 2022 at Air Force Station Agra.
In detail –
- With an aim to assess the efficacy of institutional Disaster Management structures and contingency measures, the exercise will comprise a seminar on Disaster Management, a ‘Multi Agency Exercise’ involving static and flying displays of various HADR assets and a ‘Table Top Exercise’.
- Along with involvement of various stakeholders from the country, the exercise will see participation by representatives from the ASEAN countries as well.
- Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, Shri Rajnath Singh will be Chief Guest for the Capability Demonstration events planned during the exercise on 29 November 2022.
- Samanvay 2022 will promote a synergistic approach towards HADR by various national and regional stakeholders involved in Disaster Management including the Civil Administration, the Armed Forces, NDMA, NIDM, NDRF, DRDO, BRO, IMD, NRS and INCOIS.
- This multi agency engagement is expected to contribute in the evolution of institutional frameworks for effective communication, interoperability, cooperation and their application for successful conduct of HADR.
- The exercise also aims to provide a unique platform for exchange of domain knowledge, experience and best practices with the participating ASEAN member countries.
Sources – PIB
Mormugao Guided Missile Destroyer Ship
Paper 3 – Security
Why You Should Know?
Y 12705 (Mormugao), the second ship of Project 15B stealth guided missile destroyers being built at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), was delivered to the Indian Navy on 24 Nov 22.
In detail –
- The contract for four ships of Project 15B was signed on 28 January 2011.
- This Project is a follow-on of the Kolkata class (Project 15A) destroyers commissioned in the last decade.
- the lead ship of the Project – INS Visakhapatnam has already been commissioned into the Indian Navy on 21 Nov 21.
- Designed by the Warship Design Bureau, Indian Navy’s in-house organisation; and built by M/s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd, Mumbai; the four ships of the Project are christened after major cities from all four corners of the country, viz. Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Surat.
About Mormugao ship
- The keel of Mormugao was laid in June 2015 and the ship was launched on 17 Sep 2016.
- The design has largely maintained the hull form, propulsion machinery, many platform equipment and major weapons & sensors as the Kolkata class to benefit from series production.
- The ship is 163 metres long and 17 metres wide, displaces 7400 tonnes when fully loaded and has a maximum speed of 30 knots.
- Apart from myriad indigenous equipment in the ‘Float’ and ‘Move’ categories, the destroyer is also installed with under-mentioned major indigenous weapons.
- The overall indigenous content of the project is approx. 75%.
- Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (BEL, Bangalore)
- BrahMos Surface-to-Surface Missiles (BrahMos Aerospace, New Delhi)
- Indigenous Torpedo Tube Launchers (Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai)
- Anti-Submarine Indigenous Rocket Launchers (Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai)
- 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (BHEL, Haridwar)
- The ship had sailed out for her maiden sea sortie on 19 Dec 21 to coincide with the Goa Liberation Day and the ship has now been delivered.
- The delivery of Mormugao is an affirmation of the impetus being given by the Government of India and the Indian Navy towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as part of celebration of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
- The early induction of the destroyer, almost 03 months prior to the contractual date, despite the COVID challenges, is a tribute to the collaborative efforts of large number of stake holders and would enhance the maritime prowess of the country in the Indian Ocean Region.
- The Visakhapatnam-class destroyers, also classified as the P-15 Bravo class, or simply P-15B, is a class of guided-missile destroyers currently being built for the Indian Navy.
- The Visakhapatnam class is an upgraded derivative of its predecessor, the Kolkata class, with improved features of stealth, automation and ordnance.
- Designed by the Warship Design Bureau (WDB), a total of four ships are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), under the Make in India initiative.
- The first vessel of the class, INS Visakhapatnam was commissioned on 21 November 2021.
- The Indian Navy plans to have all four destroyers in active service by 2024.
- In accordance with naval traditions, the P-15B destroyers were christened after major Indian cities with historical and cultural connections, namely, Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Surat – representing the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Manipur and Gujarat.
- Notably, INS Imphal and INS Mormugao were the first two destroyers to be christened as namesakes of important cities from the regions of Northeastern India and Goa, respectively
Source – PIB
Pre-launch of International Year of Millets 2023
Paper 3 – Agriculture
Why Should You Know?
Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar and Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar presided over the pre-launching celebration of the International Year of Millets among High Commissioners and Ambassadors at Sushma Swaraj Bhawan in Delhi.
In detail –
- The pre-launch celebration was held with representatives from around 60 countries in Delhi.
- In his address, Foreign Minister Jaishankar stressed that millets are important for food security as well as international relations.
- Millets are grown in 131 countries and are a traditional food for 59 crore people in Asia and Africa.
- He suggested that in international relations, much greater attention ought to be given to food security.
The International Millet Luncheon
- High Commissioners and Ambassadors to India from over 60 countries attended the pre-launch celebration.
- The key objective of the event was to spread awareness about millets and engage with other nations for a successful global celebration of the IYM 2023.
- The lunch served included a variety of millet cuisines and around 30 millet-based Indian start-ups participated in an exhibition at the event.
- In the exhibition, various food products, including ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook millet items were presented.
- The launch is done in a grand way so that the year-long celebration can be successful.
- The government of India has also planned around 23 international events through the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and MEA.
- The international events will encourage multi-stakeholder collaboration and include B2B, B2G and G2G interactions, showcasing millet-based value-added products.
- The planning for next year’s celebration involves the Indian diaspora, embassies, chefs, media and most importantly people.
Mission mode promotion of millets:
- Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is working in mission mode to increase millet production and consumption in collaboration with other Central Ministries, all State Governments and other stakeholder organizations.
- Under the National Food Security Mission (NFMS), nutritious cereal component for Millets is being implemented in 212 districts of 14 States. Apart from this, many types of assistance is given to the farmers by the states.
- Funding is also being done by the Ministry of Agriculture for supporting sustainable production, creating awareness for higher consumption, developing market and value chain and research-development activities.
- more than 66 Startups have been given more than Rs.6.25 crore, while 25 Startups have been approved for further funding.Government is providing support to Start-up entrepreneurs for recipes and value-added products to promote consumption of millet.
- India has more than 500 startups working in the millet value-added chain, while Indian Institute of Millets Research has incubated 250 startups under RKVY-Raftar.
- climate friendly crop millet can be grown with less water consumption, less carbon emission and even in drought.
- Millet is a storehouse of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- International Year of Millets will raise awareness about the contribution of millets for Food Security and Nutrition, motivate stakeholders for continuous production and quality improvement of millets and attract attention to increase investment in research and development services.
- Asia and Africa are the major production and consumption centres of millet crops. India, Niger, Sudan and Nigeria are the major producer of millet.
- Jowar and Proso Millets (Common Millet) are the most cultivated millets in the 112 and 35 countries respectively.
- Sorghum and pearl millets covers more than 90% area and production. Remaining production comes from Ragi (Finger Millets), Cheena (Proso Millets), Foxtail Millets (Kangni) and other non-segregated millets.
- India is the major production country of Millet in which Kangni, Kutki or small millet, Kodon, Gangora or Barnyard, china and Brown top are included with Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and small millets.
- Most of the states in India grow one or more millet crop species. During the last 5 years, our country produced more than 13.71 to 18 million tonnes of millets with the highest production in 2020-21.
- According to the fourth advance estimates for the year 2021-22, about 16 million tonnes millets have been produced in India, which is about 5 percent of the national food grain basket.
- It has the highest market share of 9.62 million tonnes, followed by jowar with a production of 4.23 million tonnes.
- Ragi is another important millet, which contributes to the production of 1.70 million tonnes and the production of other millets is 0.37 million tonnes.
- Millets provide an alternative food system in times of increasing demand for vegetarian foods.
- Millets contribute to a balanced diet as well as a safe environment. These are the gifts of nature to mankind.
Sources – AIR