9 PM Daily Brief – August 28th,2020

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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9 PM for Main examination


  1. Digital Health ID- India’s primary health ecosystem
  2. GST compensation
  3. India-China Border Dispute
  4. National Institutional Ranking Framework for higher education

9 PM for Preliminary examination


 1.Digital Health ID- India’s primary health ecosystem

Source- The Hindu

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

Context- Digital health id scheme will revolutionise the Indian health system for providing good governance to all citizens.

National Digital Health Mission

  • Prime Minister Modi launched National Digital Health Missionunder the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
  • The Digital health ID will be in a form of mobile application.
  • The national digital health ID will be a repository of all health-related information of a person.
  • According to the National Health Authority(NHA), every patient who wishes to have their health records available digitally must start by creating a Health ID.
  • Each Health ID will be linked to a health data consent manager — such as National Digital Health Mission — which will be used to seek the patient’s consent and allow for seamless flow of health information from the Personal Health Records module.
  • The Health ID is created by using a person’s basic details and mobile number or Aadhaar number. This will make it unique to the person, who will have the option to link all of their health records to this ID.

Purpose of Digital Health ID Scheme

  1. Integrated health information- It improves efficiency, transparency and citizens experience with linkage across public and private healthcare.
  2. Increase quality of treatment-It will reduce the risk of preventable medical errors and significantly increase quality of care.
  3. Improve health system-It will also help in improving the functioning of the basic health system.
  4. High end technology- It will strengthen open digital systems to provide high quality healthcare for all.

Challenges in implementing Digital Health ID Scheme

  1. Data collection- India has a population 10 times or 20 times that of a developed country. There is shortage of healthcare facilities and also shortage of staff which is makes it impossible to collect the data for this huge population.
  2. Data security-Government has not provided any legal act for the security of the people’s health data which could make this data vulnerable and it violates right to privacy in case on any cyber- attack on the system.
  3. Healthcare infrastructure- India’s primary health care system is not so developed to implement this scheme efficiently. Private practitioners, smaller hospitals, larger private hospitals would have to regularly report their cases to make this scheme successful.
  4. Mass rollouts not possible-This scheme is entirely based on digital platform, However India’s most of the population still lacks in receiving better technology at their end. It will make them helpless in participating.
  5. Lack of technology- Theneed of digital dentistry platform, digital blood screening platform and a digital stethoscope is necessary to implement this scheme successfully.
  6. Clinical Establishment Act-To digitalise all the data, it requires mandatory information. There is no reliable source of information, so it needs to be accessed from private providers. States still don’t have an effective Clinical Establishment Act.

Way Forward

Government should expand their primary health services in the public sector and engage local private practitioners and bring them into the system to create an effective digitised health infrastructure.

2.GST compensation

Source: The Hindu

GS2: Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States, Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure, Devolution of Powers and Finances up to Local Levels and Challenges Therein.

Context: The Centre should reconsider ‘conditionalities’ for the States to exceed the FRBM limit by more than 0.5 per cent of the SGDP.

More on news:

  • The estimated figure of ₹3 lakh crore due as compensation to States is falling short of the 14 per cent annual target.
  • The Centre has proposed that it give only ₹1.62 lakh crore, writing off the rest as the result of an act of God.

Issues associated:

  • Issues of compensation: Recently held GST Council meeting has deepened the discord between the Centre and States over the issue of compensation arrears due to them.
  • Centre’s constitutional commitment: It is the general principle that a 14 per cent annual increase, written into the GST Act is given as a compensation to the States for transiting into the new system.
  • Against cooperative federalism: presenting a fait accompli to the States instead of negotiating a transition to a new compensation arrangement (the GST Council’s meetings were initially based on a spirit of consensus creation), the Centre has actually jeopardised the future of the GST system.
  • State’s opposition:
    • The Centre’s offer that it will ‘assist’ the States in getting loans at G-Sec rates, giving them two ‘options’ on the extent of loan that they can take. However, many states have opposed this move.
    • Opposition of GST: The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, India’s most industrialised State, has said that it is time to exit the GST. Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry have voiced their displeasure.
  • Falling revenue of states’: States’ finances are under stress because of Covid-related welfare commitments, while their revenues too have fallen short. Forgoing revenue gathering powers of states was never on the cards this year, following the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • Cess should not be increased: any undue extension of the cess mechanism is tantamount to imposing an additional tax, which will not help revive economic activity.

Way forward:

  • Extend compensation period:Centre can prolong the compensation period beyond July 2022 and offer a greater share of the revenues (the SGST part) to the States. Address trust deficit: The Centre needs to invest time and energy in ‘statecraft’ — in reaching across to States and bridging an alarming trust deficit.
  • Reconsider ‘conditionalities’:such as for the States to exceed the FRBM limit by more than 0.5 per cent of the SGDP.It is a move against the federal spirit.
  • The GST Council should arrest the imminent slide into chaos in these unprecedented times.
  • Strengthen GST to achieve its objective:the GST came into being as a showpiece of cooperative federalism. It took a Constitutional Amendment to create the GST Council and a new indirect tax architecture — all in order to usher simplicity and uniformity in indirect taxes across regions.

3.India-China Border Dispute

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations

Context: India must leverage its market to force China to settle border issue amicably.

Need to leverage market:

  • Rising border clashes: after, the loss of lives of Indian soldiers at Galwan, there have been calls for the boycott of Chinese goods.
  • Aggressive China: apart from some token withdrawal, China may not be willing to go back substantially from the areas they have occupied.
  • Use of military power is less effective:diplomatic efforts continue to restore the status quo ante and military deployments have been strengthened to act as a deterrent. However, the use of military power to get them to move back is a depleting option.
  • Mutually acceptable boundary agreement:Agreeing on maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border without movement on a boundary agreement or clarification of the LAC has left space for the Chinese to create border incidents which have led to casualties.

Leveraging market to force China:

  • Selective imposition safeguard duties and use of non-tariff trade barriers: for example, in segments like electrical appliances to let Indian producers expand production and increase market share.
  • Create a competitive industrial structure:facilitate the flow of finances for expansion and provide technical support for testing, support for environmental compliance, improving quality and lowering costs of production.
  • Diversify the sources: for example, in critical areas such as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, we need a vigorous approach to procure from elsewhere and have early production in India.
  • Create demand for domestic goods and services: It would help in the recovery from the COVID-induced recession.
  • Reduce vulnerability andphase out existing Chinese equipment :
    • Chinese FDI must be subjected to national security scrutiny.for example, the UK has just decided that new Chinese participation in 5G would not be permitted and that by 2027 existing Chinese equipment should be phased out.
    • For instance, the contract for supply of electricity meters in J&K by a Chinese company has serious security implications and should be reversed.
  • Private investment for manufacturing in India:Assured government procurement in critical products like solar panels and grid storage batteries.
    • Incentives for greater value addition and phased manufacturingin India in sectors like electronics where India is much more dependent.

Challenges associated:

  • Dependency of Indian economy: Indian economy is so dependent on China that the costs of taking steps to stop imports would be disproportionately higher.
  • China is epicentre of manufacturing: most manufacturing in India is dependent on global supply chains where China has a leading role.
    • China’s competitive advantage: Chinese are integral to global supply chains.
  • Rise in prices: Indians, individual consumers as well as firms, have to accept that there would be a period of adjustment in which they would have to pay higher prices.

Way forward:

  • Make it clear to China that without a mutually satisfactory border settlement and a permanent end to border incidents, the Indian market would start shrinking for them.
  • Promote manufacturing and self-reliance:most of what we import from China can be made in India itself. With volumes and economies of scale, the cost of production in India would decline as it did in China.
  • Restrict Chinese firms’ participationin sensitive areas such as telecom till amicable solution.
  • Subcontracting to Chinese firms as well as procurement of Chinese equipment by way of government procurement should not be permitted.

4.National Institutional Ranking Framework for higher education

Source- Indian Express

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

Context – National Institutional Ranking Framework stimulate healthy competition among Indian educational institutes, which will eventually lead to a world-class Indian educational system.

Issues with world university ranking system

  1. Perception or Academic Reputation– Indian institutions lose out on perception, which carries almost 50 per cent weightage in many world university ranking schemes.
  2. Faculty-student ratio– Indian institutes perform very poorly, because Indian system only count full-time faculty. But in a U.S. institution, even PhD students who teach a class, teaching assistants and research assistants, are included. So they show a faculty-student ratio of 1:4, whereas Indian numbers are about 1:18 or 1:19.

Reason for India’s backing-out from world university ranking system

  1. Rigid methodology- International ranking organizations are not willing to add either additional parameters or change the weightage of current parameters.
  2. Unnecessary alter of curriculum-International ranking organizations also force universities to alter their core missions in order to scale the ranking.
  3. Unfair benchmarks– They are disinclined to employ meaningful and universally fair benchmarks of quality and performance.

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) – The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has taken an important initiative of creating a National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), which has been used for the past five years for ranking institutions of higher education in different categories and domains of knowledge.

  • NIRF was launched on 29thSeptember 2015
  • Objective-To encourage institutes to compete against each other and simultaneously work towards their growth. In addition, these rankings also attract foreign students, providing a solid base for the ‘Study in India’ programme for the growth of higher education in India.
  • Broad parameter-
  • Teaching, learning and resources.
  • Research and professional practice.
  • Graduation outcomes.
  • Outreach and inclusivity.
  • Peer perception.
  • 90 percent of the parametersin NIRF are completely objective and fact based, while only 10 percent is based on the subjective parameter of perception by academic peer and employers.
  • Refine ranking methodology – In 2020, five new categories included in the ranking system [College, Medical, Law, Architecture and Dental] by taking inputs from the stakeholder to refine the ranking system.

Possible ways to improve the quality of higher education

Way forward

Indian higher educational institutes need to improve the quality of higher education and should adopt innovative approach to have a more visible social and economic impact.

9 PM for Preliminary examination

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