CLEAR UPSC MAINS (IAS) EXAM:- DAILY ANSWER WRITING PRACTICE: DAY 1

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Q.1) Municipal Solid Waste Management created big challenges in Urban planning. Comment. (250 words)- 15 Marks

Topic:- GS paper-1 :-  Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Answer:-

Introduction:

Waste management rules in India are based on the principles of “sustainable development”, “precaution” and “polluter pays”.

These principles mandate municipalities and commercial establishments to act in an environmentally accountable and responsible manner—restoring balance, if their actions disrupt it.

The increase in waste generation as a by-product of economic development has led to various subordinate legislations for regulating the manner of disposal and dealing with generated waste are made under the umbrella law of Environment Protection Act, 1986 (EPA).

India alone generates more than 1,00,000 metric tonnes of solid waste every day, which is higher than many countries’ total daily waste generation taken together.

Almost all municipal authorities deposit solid waste at a dump yard within or outside the city haphazardly. Experts believe that India is following a flawed system of waste disposal and management.

The key to efficient waste management is to ensure proper segregation of waste at source and to ensure that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery.

Body:

Current Situation of MSW in India:

ULBs are responsible for segregated waste collection, transporting waste in covered vehicle, processing, recyclables, separating domestic hazardous waste and disposing inert material in sanitary landfills.

A report by IIT Kanpur (2006) found the potential of recovering at least 15 per cent or 15,000 MT of waste generated every day in the country. This, the report said, could also provide employment opportunities to about 500,000 rag-pickers. The report added that despite immense potential in big cities in this area, participation from non-profits or community is limited.

Sanitary landfills are the ultimate means of disposal for unutilised municipal solid waste from waste processing facilities and other types of inorganic waste that cannot be reused or recycled. Major limitation of this method is the costly transportation of MSW to far away landfill sites.

Various studies reveal that about 90% of MSW is disposed of unscientifically in open dumps and landfills, creating problems to public health and the environment.

Disappearance of urban water bodies and wetlands in urban areas can be attributed to illegal dumping of Construction & Demolition waste.

Some of the major issues concerning solid waste management are:

(i)   Lack of community participation towards waste management and hygienic conditions

(ii) Lack of sewage management plan.

(iii)  Absence of segregation of waste at source

(iv)   Lack of funds for waste management at ULBs.

(v) Unwillingness of ULBs to introduce proper collection, segregation, transportation and treatment/ disposal systems.

(vi)   Lack of technical expertise and appropriate institutional arrangement

(vii)    lack of infrastructure and technology

(viii)  lack of involvement from the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

(ix)       Indifference of citizens towards waste management due to lack of awareness.

Steps needed:

(a) State governments should provide financial support to ULBs to improve their waste management system under various schemes and programs.

(b) Initiatives like Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT should provide significant funding to improve civic services infrastructure.

(c)  The key to efficient waste management is to ensure proper segregation of waste at source and to ensure that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery as stated in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

(d)Waste to energy is a key component of SWM. Installation of waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants would reduce the load of landfill sites

(e)  There is a need to encourage research and development so as to reinvent waste management system in India.

(f)   The focus should be on recycling and recovering from waste and not landfill. Further, it is important to encourage recycling of e-waste so that the problem of e-waste

(g) Public- Private Partnership models for waste management should be encouraged.

(h)Construction and demolition waste should be stored, separately disposed off, as per the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016.

(i)   Responsibilities of Generators have been introduced to segregate waste in to three streams, Wet (Biodegradable), Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty containers of cleaning agents, mosquito repellents, etc.) and handover segregated wastes to authorized rag-pickers or waste collectors or local bodies.

(j)    Sensitization of citizens as well as government authorities, community participation, involvement of NGOs. Littering should be prohibited.

(k) International Best practices should be emulated. South Korea is one of the few countries to separate and recycle food waste. It has also launched landfill recovery projects such as the Nanjido recovery project which have successfully transformed hazardous waste sites into sustainable ecological attractions.

 

Conclusion:

Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is one of the major environmental problems of Indian cities. The need of the hour is scientific, sustainable and environment friendly management of wastes.

CSE (Centre for Science and Environment) has advocated a waste management strategy that emphasises segregation at source and recycle and reuse, instead of centralised approaches like landfills. Solid waste management should move towards behaviour change and local solutions, without which the ‘clean India’ goal cannot be met, according to the CSE.

2) Write down the highlights of National Health Policy, 2017. What are the challenges are involved facing it? What steps can be adopted for ensuring quality health care in India? Discuss.(250 words).

Topic- GS Paper 2- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Answer:-

The National Health Policy, 2017 (NHP, 2017) seeks to reach everyone in a comprehensive integrated way to move towards wellness.  It aims at achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality health care services to all at affordable cost.

The policy envisages as its goal the attainment of the highest possible level of health and well-being for all at all ages, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence. This would be achieved through increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost of healthcare delivery.

Major Highlights of National Health Policy, 2017

(a) Assurance Based Approach– Policy advocates progressively incremental Assurance based Approach with focus on preventive and pre-emptive healthcare

(b) Health Card linked to health facilities – Policy recommends linking the health card to primary care facility for a defined package of services anywhere in the country.

(c)  Patient-centric Approach – Policy recommends the setting up of a separate, empowered medical tribunal for speedy resolution to address disputes /complaints regarding standards of care, prices of services, negligence and unfair practices. Standard Regulatory framework for laboratories and imaging centers, specialized emerging services, etc

(d)Micro-nutrient Deficiency – Focus on reducing micro-nutrient malnourishment and systematic approach to address heterogeneity in micro-nutrient adequacy across regions.

(e)  Quality of Care – Public hospitals and facilities would undergo periodic measurements and certification of level of quality. Focus on Standard Regulatory Framework to eliminate risks of inappropriate care by maintaining adequate standards of diagnosis and treatment.

(f)   Make in India Initiative – Policy advocates the need to incentivize local manufacturing to provide customized indigenous products for Indian population in the long run.

(g) Application of Digital Health – Policy advocates extensive deployment of digital tools for improving the efficiency and outcome of the healthcare system and aims at an integrated health information system which serves the needs of all stake-holders and improves efficiency, transparency, and citizen experience.

(h) Private Sector engagement for strategic purchase for critical gap filling and for achievement of health goals.

The challenges are involved in it are:

(a) Fails to make health right as justiciable right:- It fails to make health a justiciable right in the way the Right to Education 2005 did for school education. This May lead to lack of care by Government with respect to implementation.

(b) Silent on Health Governance: Health is in state List. NHSO (the National Healthcare Standards Organisation) can work effectively, if Health will be brought in Concurrent List.

(c)  Low Public funding for health:- Public health funding in india is  still lower than other comparable nations.

(d)Less focused other health-related aspects like mental health, genetic disorders.

(e)  Flawed one-size fits all approach regarding allocation of resources.

Steps needed:

(a) More Professionals doctors need to be deployed for primary care in rural India.

(b) Private sector participation & NGO Participation in health services may be inevitable in the short term.

(c)  To reduce high out-of-pocket expenditure, early deadlines should be set for public institutions to offer essential medicines and diagnostic tests free to everyone.

(d)India can learn from UK, uses ‘a weighted capitation formula’ that accounts for a locality’s socio-economic characteristics to equitably allocate funds.