UPSC Exam  >  UPSC Notes  >  Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly  >  Weekly Current Affairs (8th to 14th January 2024) Part - 1

Weekly Current Affairs (8th to 14th January 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC PDF Download

Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection Project

Context: In recent news, the Prime Minister of India has officially launched the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection (KLI-SOFC) project, alongside several other developmental initiatives spanning technology, energy, water resources, healthcare, and education sectors.

Key Facts About the KLI-SOFC Project:

Background:

  • In response to the digital connectivity needs of Lakshadweep, a high-capacity submarine cable link was deemed necessary due to limitations in satellite communication, characterized by insufficient bandwidth to meet the increasing demand.

KLI-SOFC Project:

  • The implementation of the KLI-SOFC project will result in an enhanced internet speed, unlocking new possibilities and opportunities. This initiative marks the introduction of Submarine Optic Fiber Cable connectivity in Lakshadweep for the first time since independence.

Fiber Optics Technology:

  • Fiber optics, or optical fiber, is the technology that transmits information as light pulses along a glass or plastic fiber.

Project Funding and Execution:

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DOT), funded by the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF), successfully completed the project. The Project Executing Agency for KLI-SOFC was Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The project extended submarine cable connectivity from the mainland (Kochi) to eleven Lakshadweep Islands, including Kavaratti, Agatti, Amini, Kadmat, Chetlet, Kalpeni, Minicoy, Androth, Kiltan, Bangaram, and Bitra.

Significance:

  • The project aligns with the objectives of 'Digital India' and 'National Broadband Mission,' facilitating the implementation of various e-governance projects in Lakshadweep Islands. Sectors such as E-Governance, Tourism, Education, Health, Commerce, and Industries will witness significant enhancements, contributing to improved living standards and overall socio-economic development on the islands.

Benefits for the Population:

  • The residents of Lakshadweep Islands will enjoy the advantages of high-speed wireline broadband connectivity, facilitated through Fibre to the Home (FTTH), and 5G/4G Mobile network technologies. The bandwidth generated by the project will be accessible to all Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), strengthening telecom services in Lakshadweep Islands.

Other Projects in Lakshadweep Islands

Low-Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) Plant at Kadmat:

  • Produces 1.5 lakh litres of clean drinking water every day. Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) in Agatti and Minicoy Islands.
  • All households on the Agatti and Minicoy islands now have functional household tap connections.
  • The LTTD is a process under which the warm surface seawater is flash evaporated at low pressure and the vapour is condensed with cold deep sea water.

Solar Power Plant at Kavaratti:

  • The first-ever battery-backed solar power project in Lakshadweep.

Primary Health Care Facility in Kalpeni:

  • Foundation stone laid for the renovation of the primary health care facility in Kalpeni.

Model Anganwadi Centres (Nand Ghars):

  • Five model Anganwadi centres (Nand Ghars) to be constructed in the islands of Androth, Chetlat, Kadmat, Agatti, and Minicoy.

What are the Key Facts About Lakshadweep Islands?

  • Lakshadweep, India's smallest Union Territory, comprises an archipelago of 36 islands covering an area of 32 sq km. The capital, Kavaratti, serves as both the administrative center and principal town of the UT.
  • Positioned in the emerald Arabian Sea, all the islands are situated 220 to 440 km away from the coastal city of Kochi in Kerala. The name "Lakshadweep" originates from Malayalam and Sanskrit, signifying 'a hundred thousand islands.'
  • With a tropical climate, Lakshadweep experiences an average temperature ranging from 27°C to 32°C. Ship-based tourism is restricted during the equitable monsoon climate.
  • Under the direct control of the Centre through an administrator, Lakshadweep has its entire indigenous population classified as Scheduled Tribes due to economic and social backwardness. Notably, as per the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes list (modification orders) of 1956, there are no Scheduled Castes in this Union Territory.
  • In a significant move in 2020, the Lakshadweep Islands administration established the world's first conservation area for sea cucumbers, named the Dr. KK Mohammed Koya Sea Cucumber Conservation Reserve. Spanning 239 square kilometers in the Cheriyapani Reef, this reserve stands as a notable conservation initiative in the region.

Annual Exchange of Nuclear Installation Lists: India and Pakistan

Context: In recent developments, India and Pakistan have exchanged lists of their nuclear installations and facilities through diplomatic channels in New Delhi, India, and Islamabad, Pakistan. This exchange is in accordance with the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between the two nations.

What is the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities?

  • Overview: The Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities was signed on December 31, 1988, by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The treaty officially took effect on January 27, 1991, and the recent exchange marks the 33rd consecutive sharing of such lists between the two countries, with the inaugural exchange occurring on January 1, 1992.
  • Historical Context: The negotiation and signing of this agreement were prompted, in part, by the tensions arising from the 1986-87 Brasstacks exercise conducted by the Indian Army. Operation Brasstacks was a military exercise held in the Indian state of Rajasthan, near the border with Pakistan.
  • Purpose: The agreement's mandate requires both countries to communicate to each other the details of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the agreement every 1st of January each calendar year. This practice fosters a confidence-building security measure environment.
  • Scope: As outlined in the agreement, the term 'nuclear installation or facility' encompasses nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotope separation, and reprocessing facilities. Additionally, it includes any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form, along with establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials.

What are the Major Areas of Dispute Between India and Pakistan?

Kashmir Dispute:

  • Line of Control Violations: Frequent ceasefire violations along the LoC, resulting in casualties and escalating tensions.
  • Disagreements over Demilitarization: Calls for demilitarization on both sides of the LoC remain unaddressed, hindering progress towards peaceful resolution.

Terrorism:

  • Cross-border Infiltration: Accusations by India of Pakistan-backed militants infiltrating the LoC to carry out terrorist attacks.
  • Designation of Terror Groups: Differences in designating militant groups as terrorist organizations by both countries create obstacles to counter-terrorism cooperation.
  • Impact on Civilian Populations: Terrorist attacks claim innocent lives and foster further animosity between the two communities.

Water Sharing:

  • Construction of Dams: Dispute over construction of dams and hydroelectric projects on the Indus River and its tributaries, impacting water flow and usage rights.
  • Implementation of Indus Water Treaty: Differences in interpreting and implementing clauses of the treaty regarding water allocation and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Trade and Economic Ties:

  • Trade Barriers: Restrictive trade policies and high tariffs imposed by both countries hinder cross-border trade and economic connectivity.
    • In August 2019, Pakistan halted trade with India in response to constitutional amendments made in the Jammu and Kashmir region.
    • India imposed a 200% tariff on Pakistani imports in 2019, when Pakistan’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) designation was removed in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist incident.
  • Limited Cross-border Investment: Political tensions and security concerns discourage investment and joint ventures between businesses in both countries.
  • Dependence on Third-party Trade Routes: Reliance on trade routes outside the region increases costs and reduces efficiency for both economies.

Regional Geopolitics:

  • China's Role in Pakistan: Increased Chinese investment and presence in Pakistan, including projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, create concerns for India about strategic alliances and balance of power.

Moving Towards Dispute Resolution for India and Pakistan:

Building Confidence Measures:

  • Strengthening Communication: Establishing secure and direct communication channels across various levels to facilitate open dialogue and crisis management.
  • De-escalation at the LoC: Implementing and reinforcing ceasefire agreements, reducing troop deployments, and establishing joint mechanisms to investigate violations.
  • People-to-People Initiatives: Encouraging cultural and academic exchanges, organizing sports events, and collaborating on initiatives addressing common challenges such as climate change and healthcare.

Addressing Core Issues:

  • Kashmir Dispute Resolution: Engaging in dialogue to find a just and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue, considering the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and respecting international legal frameworks.
  • Combating Terrorism: Intensifying collaborative efforts to dismantle terrorist networks, addressing sources of financing and ideology, and ensuring accountability for past acts.
  • Water Cooperation: Effectively implementing the Indus Water Treaty, transparently sharing data and information, and exploring joint water management projects for mutual benefit.

Regional and International Cooperation:

  • Encouraging Mediation: Facilitating talks through regional forums like SAARC and seeking solutions acceptable to both parties.
  • Balancing External Influences: Navigating relationships with external powers such as China and the US to avoid hindering bilateral progress.

Fostering Public Understanding and Support:

  • Media Responsibility: Promoting responsible media coverage, avoiding negative stereotyping, and emphasizing positive stories of cooperation and shared history.

PRITHvi VIgyan Scheme

Context: In recent news, the Union Cabinet has granted approval for the comprehensive scheme "PRITHvi VIgyan (PRITHVI)" initiated by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. 

  • This program comprises five sub-schemes with the objective of advancing Earth System Sciences and delivering essential services for societal, environmental, and economic well-being. 
  • Additionally, the Cabinet has endorsed an agreement between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) for the collaborative development of a "small satellite."

What is the "PRITHvi VIgyan (PRITHVI)" Scheme?

India and Mauritius have a collaborative history dating back to the 1980s when ISRO established a ground station in Mauritius, providing tracking and telemetry support for ISRO's launch vehicle and satellite missions.

Overview of the "PRITHvi VIgyan (PRITHVI)" Scheme:

The scheme, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), is designed to operate from 2021 to 2026. It comprises five ongoing sub-schemes, including ACROSS, O-SMART, PACER, SAGE, and REACHOUT.

  • ACROSS: Focused on Atmosphere and Climate Research, Modelling Observing Systems & Services.
  • O-SMART: Concentrates on Ocean Services, Modelling Application, Resources, and Technology.
  • PACER: Devoted to Polar Science and Cryosphere Research.
  • SAGE: Centers around Seismology and Geosciences, aiming to strengthen earthquake monitoring and research on the Earth's solid components.
  • REACHOUT: Targets Research, Education, Training, and Outreach.

The PRITHVI scheme comprehensively addresses the five components of Earth System Sciences: atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere. This holistic approach aims to enhance understanding and provide reliable services for the country.

Objectives:

  • The primary goals include bolstering and sustaining prolonged observations of the atmosphere, ocean, geosphere, cryosphere, and solid earth to document critical indicators of the Earth System and its transformations.
  • Furthermore, the scheme aims to develop modeling systems to comprehend and forecast weather, oceanic conditions, and climate hazards while advancing the understanding of climate change science.
  • Another objective involves exploring polar and high seas regions to uncover new phenomena and resources. Additionally, there is a focus on developing technology to explore and sustainably utilize oceanic resources for societal applications.
  • The scheme emphasizes translating knowledge and insights from Earth systems science into services that benefit society, the environment, and the economy.

Benefits for India:

  • PRITHVI offers advanced warning services for natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, heatwaves, and earthquakes, facilitating prompt and effective disaster management.
  • Moreover, the scheme ensures precise weather forecasts for both terrestrial and oceanic regions, thereby enhancing safety and minimizing property damages during adverse weather conditions.
  • PRITHVI extends its exploration to the Earth's three poles—Arctic, Antarctic, and Himalayas—providing valuable insights and knowledge about these critical regions.
  • Additionally, the scheme promotes the development of technology for exploring and sustainably utilizing oceanic resources, aligning with contemporary advancements in Earth Science.

Supreme Court Verdict on Adani-Hindenburg Case

Context: In recent news, the Supreme Court of India has finalized its verdict on a set of petitions related to allegations raised by the US-based company, Hindenburg Research, against the Adani group.

  • The highest court declined to relocate the investigation from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to other entities, expressing trust in SEBI's competence to handle the case. Additionally, the Supreme Court directed SEBI to employ its investigative powers to assess whether the short-selling activities mentioned in the Hindenburg report violated laws, potentially causing harm to investors.

What is the Supreme Court's Stance on the Adani-Hindenburg Dispute and SEBI's Inquiry?

Background: Allegations by Hindenburg: In January 2023, Hindenburg Research accused the Adani group of engaging in stock manipulation, accounting fraud, and utilizing improper tax havens and shell companies for fund management, significantly impacting the stock market.

Petitions and Arguments:

  • Filing of Petitions: Several petitions were submitted, advocating for a court-monitored investigation, citing potential implications for national security and the economy. These petitions contended that the market regulator, SEBI, lacked the necessary competence and independence for a fair and impartial inquiry.
  • Counter Arguments: The Adani group rebutted the allegations, attributing them to misinformation and vested interests. SEBI defended its competence and independence in conducting the investigation.

Recent Judgment:

  • The Supreme Court ruled in favor of both the Adani group and SEBI, dismissing the transfer of the inquiry to other investigative bodies.
  • The court emphasized that the authority to transfer an investigation should only be exercised in exceptional circumstances and not without compelling justifications.
  • The Court deemed the Hindenburg report unreliable, asserting that it aimed to influence the market by presenting selective and distorted information.
  • While affirming SEBI's credibility, the Court mandated an expedited conclusion of SEBI's investigation within three months.

Note:

The Supreme Court formed the Justice Sapre Committee in March 2023 to probe potential regulatory failures after investors suffered significant losses due to market volatility following Hindenburg Research's allegations against the Adani Group for share price manipulation and accounting fraud.

What is Short Selling?

About:

  • Short selling is the practice wherein an investor borrows a stock or security, sells it in the open market, foreseeing a potential future price decline, aiming to repurchase the same asset at a lower price point later on.
  • SEBI defines short selling as selling a stock that the seller does not own at the time of trade.

Regulation of Short-selling in India:

  • SEBI has recently stated that investors across all categories will be allowed for short-selling, but naked short-selling will not be permitted.
    • Consequently, all investors are required to fulfill their duty of delivering securities during the settlement period
    • Naked short selling occurs when an investor sells stocks or securities without first arranging to borrow them or ensuring they can be borrowed.
  • Institutional investors must disclose upfront whether a transaction is a short sale, while retail investors can make a similar disclosure by the trading day's end.
  • Also, short selling is permitted for securities traded in the F&O (Futures & Options) segment, subject to SEBI's periodic review of eligible stocks.
    • Futures and Options (F&O) are derivative instruments. Futures involve an obligation to buy/sell assets at an agreed price on a set date, carrying unlimited risk.
    • Options grant the right (but not obligation) to buy/sell assets by a certain date, with a premium paid upfront limiting potential losses.

Bilkis Bano Case and Remission

Context: In recent news, the Supreme Court has invalidated the Gujarat government's decision to provide remission to 11 convicts implicated in the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven of her family members during the 2002 riots in the state.

What is the Context of the Bilkis Bano Case?

  • During the 2002 Gujarat riots, Bilkis Bano, who was pregnant at the time, endured a brutal gangrape, while a mob killed seven members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter.
  • In the aftermath, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted an extensive investigation into the case. In 2004, due to death threats faced by Bilkis, the Supreme Court relocated the trial from Gujarat to Mumbai and directed the central government to appoint a special public prosecutor.
  • In 2008, a Mumbai court delivered justice by convicting 11 individuals for their involvement in the gangrape and murder, marking a crucial milestone in seeking justice for Bilkis Bano.
  • However, in August 2022, the Gujarat government granted remission to these 11 convicts, leading to their release. This decision sparked controversy and legal challenges, raising concerns about the authority and jurisdiction responsible for granting such remissions.

What is the SC’s Ruling Nullifying Gujarat Government's Remission Grant?

Lack of Authority and Concealed Facts:

  • The Court emphasized that the Gujarat government lacked the authority or jurisdiction to issue the remission orders.
  • Under Section 432 of the CrPC, state governments do have the power to suspend or remit a sentence. But the court noted that Section 7(b) of the law clearly states that the appropriate government is the one in whose jurisdiction the offender is sentenced.
  • It pointed out that the decision to grant remission should be within the domain of the state where the convicts were sentenced, not where the crime occurred or where they were imprisoned.

Criticism of the Remission Process:

  • The Court highlighted serious flaws in the remission process, mentioning that the orders lacked proper consideration and were obtained through the concealment of facts, constituting fraud upon the court.

Overreach and Unlawful Exercise of Power:

  • The Court criticized the Gujarat government's overreach, asserting that it unlawfully exercised power that rightfully belonged to the Maharashtra government in issuing remission orders.

Directives and Rejection of Liberty Plea:

  • Rejecting the convicts' plea to protect their liberty, the Court directed them to surrender to jail authorities within two weeks.

What is Remission?

Overview:

  • Remission involves the complete termination of a sentence at a reduced point. It differs from both furlough and parole as it signifies a reduction in the sentence rather than a temporary break from prison life. In remission, the nature of the sentence remains unchanged, but the duration is shortened, allowing the individual to be released on a specific date and regarded as a free person in the eyes of the law.

Conditions and Effects:

  • However, if any conditions of remission are violated, it can be revoked, and the offender may be required to serve the full original sentence. The constitutional provisions empower both the President and the Governor to exercise the sovereign power of pardon, with Article 72 granting the President the authority for cases related to court-martial, offences under Union laws, and death sentences. Article 161 empowers the Governor to grant pardons and remissions in cases under State executive powers.

Statutory Power of Remission:

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) outlines provisions for remission of prison sentences. Under Section 432, the "appropriate government" may suspend or remit a sentence, wholly or partially, with or without conditions. 
  • Section 433 allows for the commutation of any sentence to a lesser one by the appropriate government, granting State governments the power to release prisoners before completing their full terms.

Landmark Cases of Remission:

  • In the case of Laxman Naskar v. State of West Bengal (2000), the Supreme Court established factors governing remission, including assessing the impact on society, the potential for future criminal acts, the convict's loss of criminal potential, and the socio-economic condition of the convict's family. 
  • In Epuru Sudhakar v. State of AP (2006), the court affirmed judicial review of remission orders based on grounds such as non-application of mind, mala fide intentions, extraneous considerations, exclusion of relevant materials, and arbitrariness.

Note

  • Pardon: It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments, and disqualifications.
  • Commutation: It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment with a lighter form of punishment. For example, a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment.
  • Respite: It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.
  • Reprieve: It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President.

Antimicrobial Resistance

Context: In recent news, a survey conducted by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has brought attention to various significant observations concerning the prescription and utilization of antibiotics in hospitals, addressing rising apprehensions regarding Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

What are the Survey's Main Observations?

Prophylactic Antibiotic Usage:

  • The survey indicates that over half of the surveyed patients (55%) were prescribed antibiotics as a preventive measure, aiming to ward off infections, while 45% received antibiotics for therapeutic purposes, specifically to treat existing infections.

Antibiotic Prescribing Patterns:

  • A minimal proportion (6%) of patients received antibiotics following a confirmed diagnosis of the precise bacteria causing their illness (definitive therapy). In contrast, the majority (94%) were placed on empirical therapy, guided by the clinician's clinical assessment of the probable cause of the illness.

Absence of Definite Diagnosis:

  • The survey highlights that a substantial 94% of patients were administered antibiotics before a conclusive medical diagnosis was established, underscoring the prevalent practice of prescribing antibiotics without precise knowledge of the infection's origin.

Variability Among Hospitals:

  • There were notable disparities in antibiotic prescription rates across the surveyed hospitals, ranging from 37% to 100% of patients being prescribed antibiotics.

Route of Administration:

  • A significant majority (86.5%) of the prescribed antibiotics were administered through the parenteral route, indicating non-oral methods of delivery.

Factors Driving Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR):

  • The NCDC survey underscores that one of the primary contributors to the development of antibiotic resistance is the excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics.

What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

About:

  • Antimicrobial resistance is the resistance acquired by any microorganism (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc.) against antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics) that are used to treat infections.
  • As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist, and may spread to others.
  • It is a natural phenomenon as bacteria evolve, making drugs used to treat infections less effective.
  • Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified AMR as one of the top ten threats to global health.

What are the Factors Contributing to the Proliferation of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

  • Prevalence of Communicable Diseases: The high incidence of communicable diseases, including tuberculosis, diarrhoea, and respiratory infections, necessitating antimicrobial treatment, is a significant factor.
  • Strain on Public Health Infrastructure:The overburdened public health system imposes limitations on laboratory capacity for diagnosis based on etiology, hindering the targeted and appropriate treatment of diseases.
  • Inadequate Infection Control Measures: Hygiene lapses within hospitals and clinics create an environment conducive to the transmission of resistant bacteria, contributing to the spread of AMR.
  • Injudicious Use of Antibiotics: Various practices, such as overprescribing by physicians, often influenced by patient demands or self-medication, incomplete antibiotic courses, and unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, exert selective pressure favoring the development of resistant bacteria.
  • Unrestricted Access: The unregulated over-the-counter availability and affordability of antibiotics facilitate self-medication and inappropriate usage, exacerbating the problem of AMR.
  • Insufficient Awareness: A lack of public understanding regarding AMR and the appropriate use of antibiotics encourages misuse, further contributing to the rise of resistance.
  • Limited Surveillance Mechanisms: The absence of robust monitoring systems makes it challenging to track and comprehend the extent of AMR, hindering efforts to address and mitigate its impact.

What are the Implications of the Spread of Antimicrobial Resistance?

Healthcare Impact:

  • AMR can render previously effective antibiotics ineffective against bacterial infections. This complicates the treatment of common illnesses like pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and skin infections, leading to prolonged illnesses, more severe symptoms, and increased mortality rates.

Increased Healthcare Costs:

  • Treating resistant infections often requires more expensive and prolonged therapies, increased hospital stays, and sometimes more invasive procedures. This leads to higher healthcare costs for individuals, healthcare systems, and governments.

Challenges in Medical Procedures:

  • AMR makes certain medical procedures riskier. Surgeries, cancer chemotherapy, and organ transplants become more hazardous due to the increased risk of infections that are resistant to standard antibiotics.

Limitations in Treatment Options:

  • As resistance grows, the available arsenal of effective antibiotics diminishes. This limitation in treatment options may lead to a scenario where previously manageable infections become untreatable, reverting medicine to a pre-antibiotic era where common infections could be fatal.

What are the Measures Taken to Address AMR?

Indian:

  • National Programme on AMR containment: Launched in 2012. Under this programme, AMR Surveillance Network has been strengthened by establishing labs in State Medical College.
  • National Action Plan on AMR: It focuses on One Health approach and was launched in April 2017 with the aim of involving various stakeholder ministries/departments.
  • AMR Surveillance and Research Network (AMRSN): It was launched in 2013, to generate evidence and capture trends and patterns of drug resistant infections in the country.
  • AMR Research & International Collaboration: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has taken initiatives to develop new drugs /medicines through international collaborations in order to strengthen medical research in AMR.
    • ICMR along with Research Council of Norway (RCN) initiated a joint call for research in antimicrobial resistance in 2017.
    • ICMR along with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany has a joint Indo-German collaboration for research on AMR.
  • Antibiotic Stewardship Program: ICMR has initiated antibiotic stewardship program (AMSP) on a pilot project across India to control misuse and overuse of antibiotics in hospital wards and ICUs.
    • DCGI has banned 40 Fixed Dose Combinations (FDCs) which were found inappropriate.

Global Measures:

  • World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW): Held annually since 2015, WAAW is a global campaign that aims to raise awareness of AMR worldwide and encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policymakers to slow the development and spread of drug-resistant infections.
  • The Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS): WHO launched the GLASS in 2015 to continue filling knowledge gaps and to inform strategies at all levels.
  • GLASS has been conceived to progressively incorporate data from surveillance of AMR in humans, surveillance of the use of antimicrobial medicines, AMR in the food chain, and the environment.
  • Global Point Prevalence Survey Methodology: To deal with the challenge of limited information on how antibiotics are prescribed and used at the patient level, WHO has introduced the global point prevalence survey methodology to understand the prescribing patterns in hospitals, with repeated surveys showing the changes in antibiotic use over time.
  • Few studies have been conducted in India using this methodology.

Way Forward

  • Public Awareness Initiatives: Disseminate information to the public regarding AMR, its risks, and preventive measures. Utilize mass media, community engagement initiatives, and educational materials in local languages for effective communication.
  • Antibiotic Stewardship Initiatives: Introduce programs within healthcare settings, including hospitals and clinics, to monitor and optimize antibiotic usage. Ensure that antibiotics are prescribed judiciously, only when essential, and for the shortest effective duration.
  • Control of Antibiotic Sales: Enforce stringent regulations on the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics, mandating prescriptions for all antibiotic purchases.
  • Enhanced AMR Surveillance: Establish a comprehensive nationwide surveillance system for AMR to monitor the prevalence and dissemination of resistant bacteria across humans, animals, and the environment.
  • Innovation in Technologies: Explore novel technologies, such as phage therapy, to tackle the challenges posed by AMR. Investigate and adopt innovative approaches to address the issue effectively.

The document Weekly Current Affairs (8th to 14th January 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly.
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