TOPIC: CHALLENGES AND ISSUES OF DEVELOPMENT ON ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY.
DELHI GETS ITS FIRST SMOG TOWER
Context: Gautama Gambhir, BJP MP from East Delhi, on January 3rd inaugurated a prototype air purifier at Lajpat Nagar in the national capital.
In November, 2019, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre and the Delhi government to prepare a plan to install ‘smog towers’ across the capital to deal with air pollution.
- Smog towers are structures designed to work as large-scale air purifiers.
- They are usually fitted with multiple layers of air filters, which clean the air of pollutants as it passes through them.
- The smog tower installed at Lajpat Nagar is capable of treating 6, 00,000 cubic metres of air per day and can collect more than 75 per cent of particulate matters (PM) 2.5 and 10,
- After the cleaning, the tower releases clean air.
- The Delhi government is planning to install a smog tower at Central Park in Connaught Place.
- The 20-metre (65 feet) high tower will trap particulate matter of all sizes suspended in the air.
- Large-scale air filters shall draw in the air through fans installed at the top before passing it through the filters and releasing it near the ground.
- The filters installed in the tower will use carbon nanofibres as a major component and will be fitted along its peripheries. The tower will focus on reducing particulate matter load.
- The project is collaboration between the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT-Delhi and the University of Minnesota, the latter having helped design a similar tower of over 100 meters in China’s Xi’an city.
- The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will also be involved with the project.
OTHER EXAMPLES IN THE WORLD
- China, which has been battling air pollution for years, has two smog towers in its capital Beijing and in the northern city of Xi’an.
- The Xi’an tower is dubbed the world’s largest, and has reportedly brought down PM 2.5 by 19% in an area of around 6 sq km in its vicinity.
- The 100-metre (328 feet) high tower has produced 10 million cubic meters of clean air every day since its launch, and on severely polluted days, is able to bring down smog close to moderate levels
- The tower in Beijing, built by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, has been able to compress the carbon waste generated during purification to produce gemstones, according to the TED Conferences website.
- Upon compression for 30 minutes, the smog particles turn into dark gems, which are used for rings and cufflinks.
TOPIC: HISTORY & CULTURAL HERITAGE
(INDIA AND KARNATAKA)
MARBLE DOMES OF AURANGABAD’S BIBI KA MAQBARA TO GET NEW GLOW
Context: According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) the domes and other marble parts of the mausoleum Bibi ka Maqbara will undergo scientific conservation.
BIBI KA MAQBARA
- Bibi Ka Maqbara is a famous 17th century Mughal-era monument.
- The tomb is located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India.
- It was commissioned in 1660 by the Mughal emperorAurangzeb in the memory of his first and chief wife Dilras Banu Begum (posthumously known as Rabia-ud-Daurani) and is considered to be a symbol of Aurangzeb’s ‘conjugal fidelity’.
- The structure bears a striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal of Agra. Due to the strong resemblance, it is also called the Dakkhani Taj(Taj of the Deccan).
- Bibi Ka Maqbara is the “principal monument” of Aurangabad and its historic city.
- An inscription found on the main entrance door mentions that this mausoleum was designed and erected by Ata-ullah, an architect and Hanspat Rai, an engineer respectively.
- Ata-ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the principal designer of the Taj Mahal.
- Aurangzeb’s son, Azam Shah, was in later years put in charge of overseeing the repair-work of the mausoleum by Aurangzeb.
TOPIC: ROLE AND IMPACT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN DEVELOPMENT OF INDIA
ISRO’S ASTRONAUT TRAINING HUB AT CHALLEKERE
Context: A world-class facility for training astronauts is being set up at Challakere in the next three years on the Bengaluru-Pune NH4 in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.
ABOUT THE FACILITY
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a 2,700-crore master plan to create top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
- It will become the single-stop consolidating infrastructure and activities related to space travelers.
- HSP work is split across various centres such as the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and the U R Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru.
- This facility will help India in the long run as it currently pays considerable amount for training and using such facilities in foreign countries.
- This is the reason why four astronaut candidates for the first Gaganyaan mission scheduled for 2022 are being sent to Russia.
- Four pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) who are in their 30s and early 40s will train at the “Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre” for 15 months as candidates for Gaganyaan.
- The facility will establish a self-contained facility so that in future, whatever training and activities are being done in Russia for the Gaganyaan crew can all be done by us in India itself.
- Challakere, is about 400 km away from Bengaluru, and is home to premier scientific establishments of the country.
- It is also called the Science City, as it houses facilities of the ISRO, the Defence Research & Development Organization’s Advanced Aeronautical Test Range, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Indian Institute of Science.
PAPER IV: GENERAL STUDIES 3
TOPIC: LIFE SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE, HEALTH AND HYGIENE
PRIVATE HOSPITALS THREATEN TO STOP CASHLESS FACILITY
Context: With dues to the tune of 1,200 crore pending for treatment of patients under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) and Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), private hospitals across the country have threatened to stop cashless facility under the scheme from February 1st ,2020.
- If implemented, it will impact nearly 36 lakh Central government employees, including their dependants, and pensioners under CGHS and over 52 lakh ex-servicemen and dependants covered under ECHS in over 1,000 empanelled hospitals and nursing homes in 71 cities.
- Of these, over 1.23 lakh beneficiaries are from Bengaluru.
- A majority of the empanelled hospitals are in Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
- Hospital representatives claimed that the pendency has worsened ever since the launch of Ayushman Bharat or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana healthcare scheme.
- Thus, the healthcare industry is on the brink of financial unsustainability due to pendency of dues.
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT HEALTH SCHEME
- The Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) was started under the IndianMinistry of Health and Family Welfare in 1954 with the objective of providing comprehensive medical care facilities to Central Government employees, pensioners and their dependents residing in CGHS covered cities.
- This health scheme is now in operation with cities such as Bhubaneswar, Bhopal, Chandigarh, and Bangalore.
- The Central Government Health Scheme offers health services through Allopathic and Homeopathic systems as well as through traditional Indian forms of medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani, Yoga and Siddha.
- The scheme offers reimbursement and cashless facilities to enrolled members.
EX-SERVICEMEN CONTRIBUTORY HEALTH SCHEME
- ECHS is a flagship Scheme of the Ministry of Defence, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.
- The Scheme aims to provide allopathic and AYUSH Medicare to Ex-servicemen pensioner and their dependents through a network of ECHS Polyclinics, Service medical facilities and civil empanelled/Govt hospitals/specified Govt AYUSH hospitals spread across the country.
- The Scheme has been structured on the lines of CGHS to ensure cashless transactions, as far as possible, for the patients and is financed by the Govt of India.
- As on 01 April 2019, an estimated 55 lakhs beneficiaries including dependents are being served by this Scheme.
AYUSHMAN BHARAT YOJANA
- Ayushman Bharat Yojanaor Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) or National Health Protection Scheme is a national scheme that aimed at making necessary interventions in primary, secondary and tertiary health-care systems, in a holistic fashion.
- It was launched in 2018, under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfarein India.
- The National Health Protection Scheme(NHPS) scheme is formed by subsuming multiple schemes including Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Senior citizen health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS), Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), Employees’ State Insurance Scheme (ESIS), etc.
- The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system which the scheme aims to establish.
- There is a urgent need for the Government to clear the dues pending to the hospitals, as the hospitals are on a brink of financial unsustainability.
- Even the rates per procedures need to be revised which is long pending demand of the hospitals.
QUESTION: Discuss the important health schemes of central government and their significance towards making healthcare affordable and accessible. (20 marks)