MAINS DAILY QUESTIONS & MODEL ANSWERS:
Q1. Write a short note on cold waves in North India and its after effects? (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
- A cold wave (also known as a cold snap or cold spell) is a weather phenomena marked by a cooling of the air.
- A cold wave, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), is “a situation of air temperature that becomes lethal to the human body when exposed.”
- Over the following three days, a cold wave is expected in areas of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, according to the IMD.
Criteria for declaring a winter storm:
- When the minimum temperature in a weather station in the plains is equal to or less than 10 degrees Celsius and is 4.5 degrees to 6.4 degrees below the usual temperature for that period, the IMD reports a cold wave.
- When the minimum temperature is less than or equal to 0 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature is 4.5 degrees to 6.4 degrees below normal in hilly areas, a cold wave is declared.
The following are the causes of India’s current cold wave:
- Impact of Western Disturbances: The lack of western disturbances causes cold wave conditions. Western disturbances bring rain and lower daytime temperatures, while nighttime temperatures stay stable.
- Snowfall in the Himalayas’ upper reaches generates a wind chill factor in India’s northern regions.
- Cold air sinking downward: Movement of cold air masses caused by upper-level winds. Strong westerly winds entering northwest India and delivering cold air in the southeast direction might cause them.
- Cold waves can also be caused by the formation of an extended area of relatively high pressure across northwest Asia.
- In North India, La Nina is known to favor cold waves. It enhances the severity of cold weather, as well as the frequency and region covered by a cold wave. For example, due to the impact of La Nina in the Pacific, the winters of October 2020 were colder than typical (2 degrees Celsius, the lowest since 1962).
The effect of a cold spell:
- Impact on agriculture in North India: It widens the temperature range between day and night, resulting in irregular winter conditions that wreak havoc on agricultural practices throughout the Rabi season.
- Impact on Cash Crops: It may have an impact on the production of cash crops such as coffee, which is grown mostly in south India (coffee growth is particularly sensitive to temperature changes).
- Impact on Human Life:Cold waves increase the risk of catching the flu and can cause symptoms such as nosebleeds and a runny nose. In many regions of North India, it was also blamed for the second wave of COVID 19. Those in vulnerable age categories, such as the very young, the elderly, and the infirm, are the most vulnerable. Extreme weather conditions are also obvious targets for the poorer elements of society who cannot afford to defend themselves from the extremes of weather.
A path forward:
- However, avoiding lengthy exposure to the outdoors during cold wave conditions is the greatest strategy to avoid disease.
- In this regard, departments involved should be given special responsibilities, and a nodal team at the district level should be established, reporting to the district magistrate.
- To ensure the safety of our door staff, working hours will be adjusted according to region, i.e., in locations where temperatures are expected to drop, work hours will be shifted to later hours.
- Where there is a risk of hot or cold winds, the district level disaster management system should be activated, and rescue homes and food and water should be set up.
- Special health camps will be organized by the health department in collaboration with the AYUSH sector, and special health volunteers will be recruited if necessary.
- Awareness campaigns will be launched, not only through ASHA workers but also through the media and social media.
- The panchayathi raj institutions must be mobilized to take a specific step for cleaning their respective areas, in order to eliminate disease carrier breeding and grooming sites.
- All actions should be reviewed at the district level, which should then be monitored at the state level, with officials convening on a regular basis to review their progress.
Q2. What are the main reasons of Brain Drain from the STEM Sector of India and how to deal with the same? (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II à Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
- India has been a major exporter of healthcare workers to industrialised countries, particularly the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Europe, and other English-speaking countries, for several decades.
- Part of the reason for the scarcity of nurses and doctors is because of this.
- According to government data, India has 1.7 nurses per 1,000 people and a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:1,404, which is much below than the WHO standard of three nurses per 1,000 people and a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:1,100.
Figures and facts:
- According to OECD data, approximately 69,000 Indian-trained doctors worked in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia in 2017.
- In the same year, 56,000 Indian-trained nurses worked in these four countries.
- There is also a large-scale movement of health workers to the GCC countries, however there is no reliable statistics on the number of these workers in these countries.
- As with low- and semi-skilled migration, there is no real-time data on high-skilled migration from India.
Reasons for India’s brain drain:
- Resident doctors are overworked and underpaid: Residents in MD and DM programmes are required to work more than 90 hours a week. They are either paid a pittance of less than $50,000 a month, which is insufficient to compensate for their stress and pressure.
- As a result, people who complete their MBBS seek greater prospects in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Europe.
- In terms of higher compensation and better possibilities in the destination countries, there are substantial pull forces connected with healthcare worker migration.
- The UK has awarded eligible overseas healthcare workers and their dependents free one-year visa extensions if their visas were set to expire before October 2021.
- During the outbreak, France extended citizenship to frontline immigrant healthcare personnel.
- However, there are a number of compelling reasons for these workers to relocate abroad.
- Low earnings in the private sector, along with limited chances in the public sector, encourages people to look for work outside of the country.
- The lack of government investment in healthcare, as well as long wait times for appointments at public health institutions, is a driving force behind such migration.
Stopping the brain drain in India:
- The government has tried for years to stop the brain drain of healthcare employees, but with little or no success.
- It ceased granting No Objection to Return to India (NORI) certificates to doctors relocating to the United States in 2014.
- The NORI certificate is a requirement of the US government for doctors who come to America on a J1 visa and want to stay longer than three years.
- The doctors will be forced to return to India at the conclusion of the three-year period if the NORI is not issued.
- Nurses have been added to the Emigration Check Required (ECR) category by the government.
- This decision was made in order to increase transparency in nursing recruiting and decrease nurse exploitation in destination nations.
- The government’s efforts for preventing brain drain are restricted and do not provide a long-term solution to the problem.
- We need to make systemic reforms, such as investing more in health infrastructure, assuring appropriate compensation for workers, and creating an overall atmosphere that encourages them to stay in the country.
- The government should focus on developing regulations that encourage healthcare personnel to return home after completing their training or study.
- It might also work on drafting bilateral agreements to help define a “brain-share” strategy between sending and receiving countries.
- According to the 2020 Human Development Report, India has five hospital beds for every 10,000 people, which is one of the lowest rates in the world.
- Increased healthcare spending, particularly in the public sector, is thus urgently required.
- As a result, health-care employees would have more job opportunities.