Current Affairs: 16-08-2017


Ramsar Convention

Topic: Environment

More about Ramsar convention

  • It is an international treaty
  • It aims conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands
  • The convention provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • It was signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971
  • India is one of the 169 signatories to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
  • There are 2,241 Ramsar sites across the world
  • In India 26 sites are Ramsar site, which are spread across India from Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir to Ashtamudi Wetland in Kerala, and from Deepor Beel in Assam to Nal Sarovar in Gujarat.
  • The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem
  • The Convention uses a broad definition of the types of wetlands covered in its mission, including lakes and rivers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands and peat lands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans.


Ashgabat agreement


Why in news?

Recently, India and Turkmenistan discussed ways to establish a transport transit corridor as a part of Ashgabat agreement.

More about Ashgabat agreement:

  • India decided to accede to Ashgabat agreement in 2016. India would become member upon consent from the founding members of Ashgabat agreement.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement aims to create multi modal international transport transit corridor.
  • It has Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as founding members. Kazakhstan has also joined this arrangement subsequently.
  • Pakistan decided to join Ashgabat agreement last year.
  • Accession to the Agreement would enable India to utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region.
  • Further, this would synchronise with our efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity.


Paris Agreement

Topic: Environment

More about Paris Agreement:

  • It is an agreement under UNFCC
  • It deals with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.
  • Opened for signature on 22 April 2016 (Earth Day)
  • It has not entered into force yet.


  • Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;
  • Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;
  • Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development
  • The contribution that each individual country should make in order to achieve the worldwide goal are determined by all countries individually and called “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs)
  • These targets will not be binding as it is not possible to enforce them.

When will it enter into force?

  • It will enter into force (and thus become fully effective) only if 55 countries that produce at least 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (according to a list produced in 2015) ratify, accept, approve or accede to the agreement
  • India has signed it. India’s contribution in global greenhouse gas is 4.10% in 2105.

India’s proposed targets:

  • Reduce emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • Achieve about 40% electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance.
  • Create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.



Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy: insufficient oxygen supply not the sole reason

Topic: GS-2, Health


The death of over 30 children within a span of 48 hours at the government-run Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, isn’t merely about oxygen cylinders and unpaid bills but it is a consequence of many deeper problems.

The tragedy:

  • 60 deaths have been reported in the children’s department of the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur from August 7th to 11th, 2017.
  • Infections and possible disruption of oxygen supply in the paediatrics ward are being blamed for the death
  • Reports says that the company that supplied the oxygen had previously issued notice to the hospital on large unpaid bills but only a high-level judicial inquiry will have credibility.
  • However, the hospital and district administration have rejected the contention that inadequate oxygen supply led to the tragedy.
  • Among ailments, Japanese encephalitis is claimed to be the major reason for the tragedy.

Present medical care in Uttar Pradesh:

  • The Centre has a vaccination programme in place and a stated commitment to build paediatric intensive care units in priority districts.
  • The Uttar Pradesh state government runs government medical colleges at Agra, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Kanpur and Meerut besides a medical university as well as a super-specialty hospital at Lucknow; plans are afoot to develop four more super-specialty hospitals in various locations.
  • The Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare of the state government was set up in 1921 and through its ‘Provincial Medical and Health Services’ it has been responsible for provided related services to even the remotest rural areas in the densely populated state.
  • Almost half of the districts in Uttar Pradesh are covered by Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programs implemented by non-profit organizations supported ably by state agencies and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • These projects are based on the social franchisee method, the aim being to create sustainable PPP models that can reach out to the marginalized populations through a network of franchised hospitals that offer quality medical services across all areas.
  • Effective medical care in meeting emergency needs and requirements of the people, including maternal healthcare and child care services are at the core of many programs run in government hospitals in the state.

The deeper problems:

Despite the existing medical facilities and healthcare infrastructure what proved to be largely inadequate to prevent the death of the children? The reasons are as follows:

Gorkhapur is the worst-affected region in the state due to encephalitis. Although vaccines are available, there is no such vaccine for checking Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.

  • Since 2012, 3,000 children suffering from Japanese Encephalitis have reportedly died at BRD Hospital.
  • Encephalitis is correlated with expansion of irrigation and construction of dams four decades ago, resulting in an increase in disease-transmitting mosquitoes.

India’s abysmally low public spending on healthcare also tops the list of drawbacks.

  • The infant mortality rate in India in 2015 was 38, according to the World Bank—far better than the 165 in 1960 but lagging comparable countries such as Bangladesh (31), Indonesia (23) and Sri Lanka (08).
  • And the situation in even worse in some large states such as Uttar Pradesh, where around 50 out of every 1,000 children die before they reach the age of five.

Another problem with India’s healthcare system is acute manpower shortage.

  • The country has only about one doctor for every 1,700 patients whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) prescribes at least one for every 1,000 patients.
  • In other words, there is a shortage of about 500,000 doctors.

The fourth problem is that a vast majority of people do not have health insurance in a country.

  • India’s inability to find a workable model for taxation or insurance has left its poor particularly vulnerable.


  • The Medical Council of India (MCI) will have to reform the entire medical education system if these gaps of medical facilities have to be filled.
  • In the meantime, more healthcare providers need to be brought into the system, including nurses, optometrists, anaesthetists and AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) workers.
  • Nurses especially can and should be empowered so that they can take off some of the load from physicians.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research needs to launch a special commission for U.P., treating it as a public health emergency.
  • Such a system should be non-commercial and regulated to contain costs, giving everyone affordable access to doctors, diagnostics and treatment.




National IAS Academy


9632334466, 9632334488

Lucky Paradise, 2nd floor,
8th ‘F’ main road, 22nd cross,
Opp. ICICI bank,
3rd Block, Jayanagar,
Bangalore – 560011






Post Comment