Daily News Analysis 15th Dec. 2023 (The Hindu)


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Here are the topics covered for  15th December 2023:

GS-2:  Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023

GS-3: SO2 Emission Control, The UAE Consensus

GS-4: Freebies Offered to Doctors


Fact for Prelims:  Anthrax, Indira Gandhi Peace Prize


 Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023


  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently released the Asia-Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023: Statistics and Trends. According to the report, in 2021, 74.1% of Indians could not afford a healthy diet.


Highlights of the Report

  • In 2022, undernourishment in the Asia-Pacific region decreased to 8.4% from the previous year (8.8%).
  • This reduction amounts to approximately 12 million fewer undernourished people compared to 2021.
  • However, there is still an increase of 55 million undernourished individuals compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
  • The Asia-Pacific region comprises 370.7 million undernourished people, constituting half of the global total.
  • Southern Asia alone accounts for nearly 314 million undernourished individuals, representing 85% of the region\’s total.
  • Southern Asia has the highest number of severely food-insecure individuals compared to other subregions.
  • Women across the subregions, excluding Eastern Asia, tend to experience higher levels of food insecurity compared to men.
  • In 2021, 74.1% of Indians couldn\’t afford a healthy diet, improving from 76.2% in 2020.
  • Pakistan and Bangladesh faced challenges in accessing healthy food with 82.2% and 66.1%, respectively.
  • India\’s undernourishment rate is 16.6%, with a lower prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity since 2015.
  • Child health indicators: 31.7% stunting, 18.7% wasting, and a 53% prevalence of anemia in women aged 15 to 49.
  • Obesity in India increased from 1.6% (2000) to 3.9% (2016) among adults.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding improved to 63.7%, higher than the global average of 47.7%.
  • India has the highest prevalence of low birthweight (27.4%) in the region.


About Food and Agriculture Organization

  • FAO, a specialized UN agency, leads global efforts to combat hunger.
  • World Food Day is observed annually on October 16, commemorating the founding of FAO in 1945.
  • FAO is headquartered in Rome, Italy, and is part of the trio with the World Food Programme and IFAD.


The UAE Consensus


  • The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded with an agreement  named The UAE Consensus


UAE Consensus

  • UAE Consensus: Outcome of a year-long diplomatic engagement and two weeks of intense negotiations at COP28, aligning with the Paris Agreement\’s central goals.
  • Climate Agenda: Ambitious plan to limit global warming to 1.5°C, urging a shift from fossil fuels to achieve net zero by 2050.
  • NDC Submission: Calls for the submission of comprehensive Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • Renewable Energy and Efficiency: Sets specific targets to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030.
  • Climate Finance: Paves the way for a new architecture in climate finance to enhance momentum in addressing climate change.


India’s Stand

  • Global Consensus in Dubai: Acknowledged and welcomed by India as a positive step toward transitioning away from fossil fuels.
  • Potential Challenges: Despite the welcome, India recognizes potential new challenges that may emerge and need to be addressed in future climate negotiations.
  • Support for COP Decision Document: India expresses support for the proposal put forth by the COP Presidency in the decision document.
  • Commitment to the Paris Agreement: Reiterates commitment to the fundamental principles of the Paris Agreement, emphasizing the need for global action aligned with national circumstances.

SO2 Emission Control


  • Less than 8% of India\’s coal-based power plants have adopted the recommended SO2 emission reduction technology, as per CREA analysis.
  • Implementation of Union MoEF&CC guidelines for controlling SO2 emissions in these plants remains limited, raising concerns about the effectiveness of emission reduction efforts.


How to Reduce SO2 Emissions?

  • FGD (Flue Gas Desulfurization) removes sulfur compounds from fossil-fuel power plant emissions. By adding absorbents, up to 95% of sulfur dioxide in flue gas can be eliminated.
  • The Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion (CFBC) Boiler reduces nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide emissions by injecting air and lime during combustion. Fluidization occurs when pressurized fluid passes through a bed of solid particles, turning them from static to dynamic.


What More Could Be Done?

  • Accelerate FGD technology installation in coal-based power plants, incentivizing adoption for emission standard compliance.
  • Promote and support CFBC technology adoption in power plants for broader environmental sustainability.
  • Enhance regulatory oversight, imposing strict penalties for non-compliance with emission standards and deadlines.
  • Invest in R&D for advanced emission control technologies, fostering innovation in clean energy solutions for sustainable coal-based power generation.


Freebies Offered to Doctors


  • A five-member committee proposes restrictions on freebies provided to doctors by pharmaceutical companies.


Committee’s Suggestions

  • Restrict the cost of gifts to doctors to ₹1,000 per item.
  • Prohibit doctors from attending continuous medical education workshops abroad.
  • Money received by medical practitioners for research from pharmaceutical companies should be taxable.
  • Tax should be deducted at source for companies providing free drug samples if their value exceeds ₹20,000 annually under the Income Tax Act.


Freebies to Doctors

  • Gifts, commonly known as \”Doctors\’ Commission,\” have traditionally been integrated into the system, where pharmaceutical companies provide incentives, whether in cash or kind, to healthcare professionals to recommend their specific drugs. 
  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud highlighted the gravity of the matter, particularly when a manufacturer of an antipyretic drug called \’Dolo\’ was accused of excessively spending on marketing.


Concerns With Freebies

Doctors must prioritize patient welfare, and financial benefits may compromise their objectivity.

  • Undue influence from pharmaceutical companies can erode patient trust in doctors\’ unbiased judgment.
  • Excessive industry influence may distort medical education, favoring specific products.
  • Influence to prescribe expensive medications can contribute to higher healthcare costs.
  • Accepting gifts may be seen as a breach of professional ethics and integrity.
  • Violations can lead to legal consequences for both doctors and pharmaceutical companies.
  • A perceived cozy relationship may harm the overall image of the healthcare profession.



Fact for Prelims:



  • Zambia is experiencing a significant anthrax outbreak, impacting both humans and animals, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Anthrax is triggered by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which produces spores with a high resistance to the environment. These spores can persist in the soil for extended periods, posing a threat to grazing animals through ingestion or inhalation.
  • Cutaneous Anthrax: The most common form, resulting from spores contacting a skin break, leading to distinct skin lesions.
  • Gastrointestinal Anthrax: Caused by consuming contaminated meat, it initially resembles food poisoning but advances to severe abdominal issues.
  • Inhalational Anthrax: The deadliest form, initiated by inhaling spores, starts with flu-like symptoms and quickly progresses to severe respiratory distress and shock.
  • Effective antibiotic treatment, such as ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, or levofloxacin, is recommended for anthrax infections, while severe cases may require hospitalization for supportive care like fluid drainage and mechanical ventilation.

Indira Gandhi Peace Prize


  • Indira Gandhi Peace Prize, instituted in 1986 by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
  • Recognizes outstanding contributions to international peace, development, and the establishment of a new economic order.
  • Presented annually to individuals or organizations.
  • Named in memory of Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India.
  • Includes a cash award of 2.5 million Indian rupees and a citation.
  • Recipients are chosen by a panel of notable national and international figures, often including previous awardees.
  • Selections are made from a pool of nominees from around the world.



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