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September 20, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


WHO releases report on global impact of high BP?

Approximately four of every five people with hypertension are not adequately treated, but if countries can scale up coverage, 76 million deaths could be averted between 2023 and 2050, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its first-ever report on the global impact of high blood pressure.

What is Hypertension?

Blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher or taking medication for hypertension.

The problem of Hypertension in India

Hypertension is the most important risk factor for death and disability in India, according to a paper in The Lancet, regional health (Southeast Asia).

The Lancet paper says the 2019-20 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) reported a hypertension prevalence of 24% in men and 21% among women, an increase from 19% and 17%, respectively, from the previous round (2015-16).

Initiatives to control Hypertension

The India Hypertension Control Initiative, a large-scale hypertension intervention under the National Health Mission, has been recognised for its positive work done within the primary healthcare system.

India has set a target of 25% relative reduction in the prevalence of hypertension (raised blood pressure) by 2025.

IHCI is a multi-partner initiative of the Government of India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), WHO Country Office for India (WHO India), and Resolve to Save Lives (Technical partner).

The blood pressure control was highest (55%) at Health and Wellness Centres (HWC), second highest (48%) at primary health care (PHC), followed by 44% in hospitals and 37% in Community Health Centre (CHC) facilities.

Findings of the Report

The WHO report states that hypertension affects one in three adults worldwide. This common, deadly condition leads to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and many other health problems.

The number of people living with hypertension (blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher or taking medication for hypertension) doubled between 1990 and 2019, from 650 million to 1.3 billion. More than three-quarters of adults with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries.

Ways to beat.

Recommending ways to win the race, the World Organisation states that lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, quitting tobacco and being more active can help lower blood pressure. Some people may need medicines.

“Prevention, early detection, and effective management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care and should be prioritised by countries as part of their national health benefit package offered at a primary care level.

The economic benefits of improved hypertension treatment programmes outweigh the costs by about 18 to 1,” notes the WHO.


Centre Floats new Science Awards

Use of Armed Forces to quell internal security crises remains controversial:

The Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar to have three Vigyan Ratna, 25 Vigyan Shri, 25 Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and three Vigyan Team awards; the winners will be announced every year on May 11, which is National Technology Day.

Multidisciplinary prizes

These prizes will be awarded annually for physics, chemistry, biological sciences, mathematics and computer science, earth science, medicine, engineering science, agricultural science, environmental science, technology and innovation, atomic energy, space science and technology, and a 13th category, simply called “others”.

Awards to others, other than Indian Citizens

The new awards will also be open to persons of Indian origin (PIOs), though a maximum of one such may be awarded the Vigyan Ratna, while three PIOs each can be selected for the Vigyan Shri and the VY-SSB. However, PIOs will not be eligible for the Vigyan Team awards.

Categorization of Awards

  1. The Vigyan Ratna awards shall be for “lifetime contributions along with excellence made in any field of science”,
  2. The Vigyan Shri for “distinguished contribution to any field”, and
  3. The SSB for “exceptional contribution by young scientists”.
  4. The team awards shall be for three or more researchers who have made an “exceptional contribution as a team”.

There are no age limits for any prizes except the SSB, for which recipients must be 45 years or younger.

Announcement and Presentation

The awards will be announced annually on May 11, which is National Technology Day, and will be awarded on National Space Day, August 23. These are the days on which India successfully conducted its second nuclear test in 1998, and then catapulted the Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander on the moon this year.

Committee for Selection

A committee will be constituted every year, comprising the Secretaries of six Science Ministries, up to four presidents of science and engineering academies, and six distinguished scientists and technologists from various fields.

The CSIR will coordinate the administration of the awards process for two years, after which it will be taken over by the proposed National Research Foundation.


Aditya-L1 Heads towards the Lagrange Point 1


Delayed Census will push back women’s quota.

At the heart of the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill is the decennial Census exercise that has been delayed since 2021.

The 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2023, or the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, will be implemented after the 2026 delimitation, which will go by the Census to be held before that year.

What is meant by Delimitation?

Delimitation means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of constituencies in a country to represent changes in population.

The continued postponement of the Delimitation Commission

The Centre initially attributed the COVID-19 pandemic to postponing the Census; the last two notifications by the Registrar-General of India have not specified any reason for the delay.

As reported by The Hindu, on June 30, an order by the Additional RGI said that the competent authority has decided to further extend the date of freezing of administrative boundaries up to December 31, ruling out the exercise before the 2024 Lok Sabha election in April and May that year.

The deadline to freeze the administrative boundaries of districts, tehsils, sub-districts, revenue villages, municipalities, police stations, towns and others has been extended eight times since 2020.

The unequal representation of States in Lok Sabha

The national delimitation exercise has, however, raised concerns about the unequal representation of States in the Lok Sabha.

Southern States point out that the delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies, along with a smaller share of Central funds to States on the basis of the population, can be unfair as these States have implemented family planning programmes more effectively than those in North India.


Govt. introduces women’s quota Bill in Lok Sabha; PM calls for a consensus.

In a historic move after the Special Session shifted to the new Parliament House on Tuesday, the Narendra Modi government introduced the Women’s reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha to reserve one-third of the seats in the Lower House and the Assemblies for women.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth) Amendment Bill, 2023, however, would be implemented only after the 2026 delimitation exercise using data from the Census to be conducted after the passage of the Bill this year.

The reservation in the Lok Sabha can hence be implemented only in the Lok Sabha election in 2029 and not in 2024.

Union Law Minister Arjun Meghwal, who introduced the Bill, said going by the House’s current strength, the number of women members would rise to 181 from 82 once the law comes into force.

Position of Women in Politics

Data show women MPs make up a mere 15% of the strength of the Lok Sabha and around 10% in many Assemblies. The Bill says one-third of the seats shall be reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

There is, however, no separate reservation for women from the Other Backward Classes, an issue flagged by Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge in the Rajya Sabha.

The law will be in force for 15 years. The reserved seats will be rotated after every delimitation.


FM stresses the urgent need for reliable crop yield estimates

The FM made a strong pitch for generating real-time assessments of likely yields for all essential crops, starting with pulses and oilseeds that India often needs to import, stressing that the “country suffers for want of” such reliable farm output estimates.

The FM stated that we have a new automated real-time yield estimation system called Yes-Tech put in place this Kharif season for the wheat and rice crops.

The system, created with assistance from ISRO and ICAR, must be ramped up to cover other crops as soon as possible, particularly pulses and oilseeds.


France and Germany back EU enlargement proposal

France and Germany, the two largest economies in the European Union, pushed new proposals for the enlargement of the 27-member bloc on Tuesday. The paper, commissioned in January this year, is in response to growing calls for expanding the EU, partly in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Along with the group’s enlargement, the paper looks at strengthening the rule of law and increasing the EU’s capacity to act, proposing four different tiers of participation in the union.

While Ukraine, the Western Balkans and Moldova are frontrunners for membership, a total of 10 countries are in the process of integrating EU law into their own laws, according to an EU website.

In the absence of unanimous support to change the EU Treaty (which is needed for enlargement), the paper suggests a supplementary treaty among a willing subset of members, which would permit differentiation across the EU.

Treaty change

“We cannot and we should not wait for treaty change to move ahead with enlargement,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had said last week in her ‘State of the Union address.

What are the different tiers it is recommending?

Differentiation had its limits, “especially concerning the rule of law and core values,” the Franco-German report says. Differentiation could lead to four different tiers, as per the document.

The first would be an inner circle with membership of the Eurozone and Schengen Area, then the EU itself, then Associate Members (participating in the single market and adhering to common principles) and finally, the European Political Community, a group cooperating with the EU but not bound by its law.

The proposals are expected to be discussed formally at a meeting of EU heads of state in Spain next month.


September 20, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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