News & Events
In this section, we are presenting our readers/aspirants compilation of selected editorials of national daily viz. The Hindu, The live mint,The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, PIB etc. This section caters the requirement of Civil Services Mains (GS + Essay) , PCS, HAS Mains (GS + Essay) & others essay writing competition.
1.Against an infodemic: Good health communication is key to public health
The Covid pandemic has underscored that effective communication is at the heart of winning any public health challenge. For example, almost as important as the decision to increase the Covishield dosing gap to 12-16 weeks is the work of reassuring citizens that this is protective and so were the four-weekly jabs, and afterwards everyone has to stay masked up. Authorities aren’t just fighting Covid-related morbidities, there is also an infodemic cutting both ways: Awareness and misinformation.
Social media is awash with treatment protocols based on prescriptions from doctors to their patients. These aren’t universal or sanction for self-medication. Yet countless cases of patients self-administering steroids prematurely have surfaced. Fake remedies flooding WhatsApp are just as insidious. Even the US is struggling with effective communication: The latest CDC guidelines to drop masking for those fully vaccinated come barely two weeks after advising against it in crowded spaces. Health communication was instrumental in frustrating HIV-AIDS spread. But to date Covid is being considered just another “fever” by many rural Indians struggling against it. Bridging this unacceptable information divide is essential.
With rampant infections, Indians need more clear and persuasive guidance. Confusion among doctors on convalescent plasma has pushed families of patients to hellish exhaustion. Doctors’ forums like IMA could have averted this mess. Convincing a large society to undertake collective preventive measures requires sustained public interventions. The daily press briefings by Union health ministry and ICMR officials, which helped disseminate key information at the pandemic’s start in March-April 2020, must restart. Science is constantly learning and updating itself as it tracks the fast-evolving virus and authorities are grappling with unprecedented uncertainties in this process. But bringing citizens and all stakeholders aboard their decisions is crucial for achieving the desired health outcomes.
2.Women say no: To family virtues of the Chinese nation
Beneath China’s rise in recent decades lies a potential time-bomb for Beijing itself: A falling birth rate. The country’s population is currently growing at its slowest pace since the 1960s. So, from ruthlessly controlling births Chinese leaders today are fretting over a greying workforce. And as with the old so with the new, the brunt of population policies is borne by Chinese women. Only, unlike in the past, many of them are ignoring the communist party diktats.
Buoyed by their economic empowerment but in a society with a serious gender skew, many Chinese women are defying traditional notions of marriage or repudiating the institution altogether. Even notions of the family are changing with affluent Chinese single women choosing to have IVF pregnancies abroad – not the kind of births the state encourages.
In the 1960s Mao Zedong proclaimed that women hold up half the sky. Then followed the disastrous one-child policy.These days President Xi Jinping says that women should take care of the elderly, educate the children, and uphold “family virtues of the Chinese nation”. This 180-degree turn illustrates how deep-rooted patriarchal mores continue to undermine women’s autonomy. That Chinese authorities have also cracked down on feminist groups in recent years further shows their discomfort with women’s economic progress when it doesn’t serve patriarchal political objectives. But for all societies today, the future lies in reforming gender roles rather than seeking a return to atavistic pasts. Today’s women just won’t accept that.
3.Review the Char Dham project
From the very start, the Char Dham project has bypassed several legal requirements (including the mandatory environmental impact assessment); there have been several flip-flops by the ministries involved, and warnings by several green activists, scientists and geologists have gone unheeded. The Himalayas are a fragile region. The government must rethink and consider all perspectives before pushing though the 900-km all-weather project in the name of national security.
A spate of cloudburst-type events and heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand since May 3 — the latest one happened on May 11 in Tehri Garhwal district — once again highlights the vulnerability of the region and the dangers of continuing with the Char Dham project. The cloudburst events have caused extensive damage to the route. And environmen-talists and geologists have warned that any further hill-cutting in the pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons to widen the existing highway will aggravate risks of landslides and other disasters. More rain is expected over the western Himalayan region. Scientists have also warned that the series of cloudbursts may have happened because March, April and May have been warmer than normal, a plausible impact of the climate crisis.
Yet, the Centre seems to be in a hurry to work on the road-widening project, citing “national security” as a compelling reason, even though the road has been motorable since 1962 and only three of the five roads are “feeder roads” to the border and not border roads. Hearing the road-widening case, the Supreme Court (SC) in September, 2020, directed that the width of the road be 5.5 metres, based on the 2018 notification issued by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) and the minority report of a 26-member High Powered Committee. The ministry of defence filed a separate application in November, 2020, asking the court to review its order and allow it to increase the road width to seven metres. Later, MoRTH partially amended its notification for three feeder routes of the project, and allowed the road width to be 10 metres. The case is due to be heard next week by SC’s vacation bench. Environmentalists have demanded that the “intricate and complex” case should be heard by a regular bench and not a vacation bench since there’s no urgency in the matter.