Monday, November 30, 2015

Drug Resistant Bugs - Antibiotics Resistance

Drug Resistant Bugs / Antibiotics Resistance is a growing health concern and has been appearing in news quite often in recent times. This appears to me as one of the important topic for IAS UPSC Civil Services Exam and for that matter any competitive examination and it would be handy to know what the issue is all about and keep in mind some important points about the topic which I have listed below for easy remembrance.

What is Antibiotics Resistance?

  • It is the phenomena when the bacteria changes or mutates and becomes resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infection caused by it earlier
  • Over-use and misuse of antibiotics cause bacteria to become resistant
  • Compromising our ability to treat infectious diseases and undermining many advances in medicine

How Drug Resistant Bugs or Antibiotic Resistance Develops?
  1. Overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is one of the reasons for growing drug resistance
  2. Antibiotics is given to farm animals to keep them healthy and promote growth
  3. These antibiotics protect animals from known strains of bacterial infection
  4. Overuse of antibiotics sometimes results in mutated form of bacteria which resists anti-biotic and contaminates meat
  5. Humans get infected by bacteria after consuming the infected meat
  6. Same antibiotic given to humans has no effect as the pathogen has already become immune to it

Antibiotics Resistance - A growing public health concern

  • Common infections are becoming difficult to treat due to growing Antibiotics Resistance
  • Antibiotics Resistance - serious threat to public health across the world, especially for a country like India where access to quality health care is not available to a large section of population
  • No new antibiotics have been developed in last three decades - future of antibacterial therapy looks grim
  • November 16-22 is being observed as World Antibiotic Awareness Week by WHO
  • WHO Campaign "Antibiotics: Handle with Care"
  • India needs to work towards prohibiting misuse of antibiotics which is leading to antibiotics resistance 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Climate Action Plan and India's Stand - Important Topic For IAS UPSC Civil Services Exam

Climate Action Plan

Climate Change is one of the most pressing concerns facing the world in present times. The extreme weather events have started to recur with alarming frequency and with great loss of life and property. Though a consensus is gradually emerging globally through UNFCCC, but still a lot needs to be done to slow if not reverse the process of climate change brought upon by human actions. A Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a set of strategies intended to guide efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I have listed below some of the key points that summarise what all one must know about Climate Action Plan as it is an important topic for IAS/UPSC Civil Services Examination.

-       China, US and EU (European Union) are the top three emitters in the world
  •        India is 4th biggest emitter but its rank is 120th in terms of per capita emission
  •         EU (28 countries grouping) promised to cut emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2030
  •        US has promised to cut emissions by 26-28% below its 2005 levels by 2025
  •        China has committed to peak its emission around 2030 and also promised to cut its carbon intensity (emissions per unit of GDP) by 60-65% from 2005 levels by 2030
  •    All countries have to submit their INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) to UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)
  •        INDCs is a country’s voluntary pledge of emission cuts (mitigation) and other proposed measures which it will eventually take up as its post 2020 contribution to fight climate change
  •        These INDCs will form the basis of final negotiations for arriving at a global climate deal in Paris in December 2015

India’s Stand 
  • -       India will not announce its peaking (peak emission) year unlike China in its Climate Action Plan which is to be submitted to UN body on Climate Change
  • -   Instead of specifying any timeline to cap its emission of GHGs, India will focus more comprehensively on all 5 key elements which are identified as vital components of global efforts to fight adverse impact of Climate Change which are:

o   Mitigation (emission cuts)
o   Adaptation
o   Finance
o   Technology Transfer
o   Capacity Building
  •      Focus of India’s Climate Action Plan is expected to be on seeking a global commitment on ‘finance’ and ‘technology transfer’ to support its adaptation measures to the growing impact of Climate Change
  • -       India’s stand on negotiations for a global climate deal is based on climate justice and the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities, under the UNFCCC

                                                                     (c) Civil Services Synopsis

Saturday, November 21, 2015

European Migrant Crisis - Important Topic For IAS UPSC Civil Services Exam

Migrant Crisis in Europe

There has been a steady influx of migrants seeking refuge in European countries who are basically fleeing from war zones in West Asia and North Africa as well as poorer European countries in search of a better life. This is an area from where question might be asked in IAS UPSC Civil Services Examination and I have collated information from reliable sources in point-wise format for easier re-collection.

Nature of Migrant Crisis
·      Approximately 438,000 people have sought asylum in European countries till July 2015 this year while 571,000 people had taken refuge in 2014
·      Growing tide of refugees have created a crisis in EU (European Union), especially among the Schengen countries where movement of people is unrestricted
·      Most of these immigrants are undertaking perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea and approximately 3000 people have died in these attempts
·      European Countries receiving this influx of immigrants are finding it difficult to provide shelter, food and health-care to them
·      Largest number of immigrants are from Syria where a civil war has been raging for over 4 years
·      Some immigrants are also from Afghanistan and Iraq which have also been in a state of civil unrest following the invasion by USA
·      Libyan civil war after the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi has also forced people to flee
·      Refugees are also coming from Sub-Saharan Africa
·      From within Europe the refugees are from Serbia and Kosovo
·      The largest number of asylum seekers have been detected at Greek borders – mostly Syrians who had fled to Turkey and from there travelled by dinghies (small boats) to scattered Greek islands

Stand of European Governments
·      So far no common approach
·    A quota system to take refugees has been rejected, but there is mutual tension as some countries are affected more
·      Germany has said that all Syrians will be taken in, calling for generosity and a sharing of burden
·     Hungary has built a 175 km fence along its Serbian border to control the influx of refugees
·      UK has accepted only 216 Syrian refugees since Jan 2014

European Union Law (Dublin Regulation)
·      Under Dublin Regulation refugees should apply for asylum in the country in which they arrive and are first registered.
·      But as the numbers have increased, the rules have been ignored and many migrants have been allowed through borders

Challenges and Issues
·      Root cause of migrant crisis will have to be addressed by bringing a stop to civil wars in Syria and Libya as well as creating credible democratic institutions with participation from all ethnic groups in Iraq and Afghanistan
·      All EU countries should share the refugee burden equitably and not allow xenophobic elements to incite racial tension especially in the aftermath of Paris Attacks (13/11)
·      EU is working with African governments to stop distress migration by helping to create better job opportunities and improved quality of life in areas from where illegal migration is taking place

     © Civil Services Synopsis

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Death Penalty or Capital Punishment - Important Topic For IAS UPSC Civil Services Examination

Death Penalty or Capital Punishment

The issue of Death Penalty and its deterrent effect has been in news lately and it is one topic on which there are strong arguments available both for and against abolition of Death Penalty. I have listed below some of the key points and arguments that can be used while answering a question concerning Death Penalty either in IAS UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam or at the Personality Test/Interview stage.

·      The Law Commission in its report has argued strongly for adopting the UK approach, which gradually abolished Death Penalty in 1999 by first reducing the number of crimes that invited this penal provision, and then gradually doing away with it altogether.
·      Citing observations from the American Courts and recommendations of Justice JS Verma Committee, the Law Commission has argued against retaining the Death Penalty even for the rarest of rare crimes as it is a “regressive step” and in no ways acts as deterrent on serious crimes like rape.
·      Supreme Court has also admitted that its own Death Penalty jurisprudence is arbitrary. The present law as laid down in 1980 in the Bachan Singh Vs. State of Punjab case established the “rarest of rare” doctrine is subjective and opinions on this differ.
·      If the Death Penalty is to be dispensed with for all except terrorists, it must also be ensured that life sentences for heinous crimes should actually be life sentences and not just 14 years as is often the case at present.
·      Arguments in favor of continuing with death penalty include:
o   Only in rarest of rare cases
o   Acts as a deterrent in society
o   Less expensive than life imprisonment
o   Ensures that criminals beyond reform do not commit any more crime
                                      © Civil Services Synopsis