IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th August, 2019



PM-JAY to include cancer treatment soon, say health officials

Government is planning to include multiple therapies of cancer like Chemotherapy, surgery and radiation under the umbrella of PM-JAY (Ayushman Bharat Yojana).

Why Inclusion of Cancer:

-        Financial burden can drive patients families into poverty.

-        According to WHO, Cancer is second most common disease, responsible for maximum mortality close to 0.3 million deaths per year.

-        Cancer treatments are expensive so people do not opt for treatment.

Ayushman Bharat Yojana or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana or National Health Protection Scheme

-        This centrally sponsored health insurance scheme will provide free coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year at any government or even empanelled private hospitals all over India for secondary and tertiary medical care facilities.

-        Target of 10 crore families or 50 crore Indian citizen.

-        Identification of beneficiary based on Socio –Economic Caste Census.

-        No restriction on the basis of Family Size, age or gender.

-        Unlike other insurance schemes, there is no waiting period for pre-existing diseases.

-        The benefit cover pre and post hospitalization expenses.

-        Incurred expenditure will be shared between Central and State government in a specified ratio.

-        It will subsume the existing Rashtriya Sawasthya Bima Yojna, launched in 2008 and the Senior Citizens Health Insurance Scheme.

-        It will create  a network of health and wellness infrastructure across the nation (for primary health care services).

-        The Government aims to open 5 lakh health and wellness center by 2022 that will be equipped to treat various diseases.

-        States have enough flexibility in terms of packages, procedures, scheme design, entitlements as well as other guidelines.

-        States can implement the scheme through an insurance company or directly through the Trust/Society/Implementation Support Agency or a mixed approach.

 Spending on Healthcare in India:

-        Public health expenditure (Centre and State Governments combined) is constant at 3% of GDP.

-        It is well below world average of 6%.

-        It has resulted into poor infrastructure and lack of human resources.

-        About 70% services are provided by Private sector.

-        Massive healthcare expenditure can push back significant population into Poverty. It erases gains made out of rapid inclusive development.

-        Out of pocket expenditure on healthcare is about 85.9% (World Bank). 

-        Providing subsidized healthcare will provide people to have more discretionary expenditure enabling higher investment.

-        Healthcare expenditure is self-selective in nature meaning it targets most poor people directly.

Challenges :

-        Many states have not joined the scheme.

-        The proposed rates are loss making for hospitals. Many big hospitals like Apollo have not joined this scheme.

-        Focus on tertiary and secondary services have leg to neglect of primary health care services.

-        40% of Health worker posts are lying vacant.

-        There is an absence of large-scale Information Technology network for Cashless treatment.

Amartya Sen and Jean Dreeze had identified and numerated issues around the Public healthcare through insurance medium.

-        Distortion Issue: It is against preventive health services and more generally, against non – hospitalization services. Most non-communicable diseases like diabetes, circulatory problems and cancer can be treated with pre-hospitalization where system focusses on Hospitalization.

-        Targeting issue:  Whom to cover? In absence of universal health care, targeting of families will always pose an issue. Another issue is, a person, relatively better off can be in dire need of public health insurance due to its cost.

-        Equity Issue: Poor people having (social discrimination, low education and powerlessness) face inequality in accessing health insurance schemes. There is generally a large unsubsidized component in the health system, which further creates inequality.

-        Irreversibility Issue: The health insurance industry can easily become a powerful lobby and establish a strong hold on health policy, making it very difficult to move away from that model if it proves ineffective.

-        Efficiency issue:  Insured patients – and health care providers – have little incentive to contain the costs. 

-        Reimbursing costs on some sort of ‘presumptive’ basis (e.g. fixed amounts for specific procedures such as a delivery or treatment of tuberculosis). Then the health care providers (doctors, hospitals and so on) have strong incentives to use the cheapest possible method for each procedure, even if it goes against the interests of the patient. 

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/pm-jay-to-include-cancer-treatment-soon-say-health-officials/article29036010.ece




Centre asks Twitter to block accounts ‘spreading falsehood

The Centre asked microblogging website Twitter to take down several accounts on its platform posting “objectionable and malicious” content, particularly relating to Kashmir.

Reasons behind the steps:

-        Circulation of Fake news.

-        Presenting a wrong picture of Kashmir situation to the world.

-        Sharing through unverified accounts.

-        Creating rift in security forces by communalizing them.

Fake News:

Fake news includes news, stories or hoaxes created to deliberately misinform or deceive readers.

-        It is done to mislead or malign a person , entity or an institution.

-        Gain Financially ( through clickbait stories).

-        Gain politically.

Impact of Fake News:

-        Spreading rumors leading to mob lynching and killing of people. (Muzzafarnagar riots of 2013: fake video fuelled communal passions)

-        Creates law and order problem.

-        Unnecessary inconvenience to local population ( as happened through Salt Shortage rumors).

-        Affects neutrality and fairness of elections (Fake news regarding opposition candidates or exaggerating individual’s achievements are published in newspapers leading to misguidance of locals.)

-        According to Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2017, Fake news are used to suppress global opinions and dissents. Governments use it for “Opinion Shapers” to spread government views drive particular agendas, and counter government critics on social media use it.

Steps to curb it:

-        Need of a regulating authority and law. As there is no specific law to curtail the fake news.

-        Under Indian Penal Code (IPC), Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) can be invoked to guard against fake news.

-        Section 66 in Information Technology act can be invoked to curtail fake news on social media.

-        Google rolled out a set of features and updates that allow users to flag potentially false stories as “disputed,” triggering a review for validity by independent organizations.

-        WhatsApp has limited no of forwards on its platform. It has attached tag of “forwarded” to such messages.

-        Shifting of datacenters of global giant companies like Twitter, Whatsapp and Google will enable law authority to take shift actions.

-        An awareness campaign, sensitization by the local police and specific law with proper check and balances can further reduce the spread of fake news.


-        Encryption of messages by social media giants like WhatsApp, Twitter.

-        Strict action can lead to violation of Freedom of Speech.

-        Earlier government attempt to curtail fake news through amended circular “Guidelines for Accreditation of Journalists” had attracted strong protest and government had to withdraw it.

-        Embedded commercial interests of media, political parties also act as deterrent.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-asks-twitter-to-block-accounts-spreading-falsehood-about-kashmir-happenings/article29035506.ece




Decision on Kashmir doesn’t affect LAC, Delhi tells Beijing

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar reassured China that New Delhi’s decision to exercise greater administrative control over Ladakh would have no implications for India’s external boundaries or the Line of Actual Control with China.

-        Decisions are aimed at better governance and socio-economic development.

-        No implications for Line of actual control with China or for the external boundaries of India.

-        It is an internal matter for India.

-        Chinese side should assess India – Pakistan relations based on realities. And decisions have no bearings with Pakistan.

-        India always want normalization of relations without fear of terror.

Chinese Earlier Arguments :

-        It (revocation of article 370) damages China’s territorial sovereignty.

-        They termed it as “unacceptable”.

-        China had made reference to UN Charter and UN security councils resolutions for solving Kashmir dispute between India –Pakistan.

These developments are in light of recent revocation of article 370 by Indian government. Indian government has passed Reorganization of Jammu-Kashmir act where Jammu & Kashmir has been made into a Union Territory with a legislature. While, Ladakh has been converted into a centrally administrated union territory. It has led to hostile responses from Pakistan.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-china-ties-should-be-a-factor-of-stability-in-uncertain-world-jaishankar/article28988639.ece




Two ways to look at GDP, In January 2015 India’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) introduced a new series of National Account Statistics. It made several new changes.

-        Base year has been changed from 2004-05 to 2011-12.

-        GDP at Constant Market prices will be calculated than earlier Factor cost method.

-        Calculation of GDP will take place on better datasets and widened datasets.

Based on it, the statistical establishment released two back-series (that is, recalibrating the GDP data for past years based on the new methodology) that contradicted each other.

-        The first back – series, presented by the National Statistical Commission (NSC) in July 2018, found that the average economic growth between 2005-06 and 2011-12 was 8.6% instead of the 8.3% according to the old series. 

-        The second back series, calculated by CSO found this average to be just 7%.

Recently, Former Economic advisor Arvind Subramaniam argued that new GDP series overestimated GDP growth rate by 2.5% .

Key Points:

-        GDP growth rate between 2011 and 2016 is not in sync with other macro parameters like Exports, Credit growth and Investment.

-        Indian GDP growth rate declined lesser compared to other emerging economies despite its macro parameters being worse hit.

-        Corporate Profits have declined in this period so productivity has also not enhanced.

-        There is no surge in consumption otherwise consumer confidence and industry utilization wouldn’t have declined sharply.

-        GDP deflator used in calculation of real GDP from nominal GDP has been less than retail inflation. This leads to overestimation of GDP.

Arguments in Favor of new series of GDP:

-        Nominal growth rate has not changed much in both the series (first back series and second back series).

-        There was no comprehensive CPI before 2011 hence comparison between GDP deflator and CPI is unfounded.

-        If one attaches more weight to new production activities then both series don’t show any discordant.

-        Tax collection, macro parameters can tell about the direction of GDP but cant tell the exact numbers.


Reference : https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/india-gdp-growth-explained-national-statistical-commission-modi-govt-indian-economy-5899839/