West Bengal Current Affairs - 2019
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India launched its first fully indigenously produced vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis (JE), a mosquito-borne viral infection that affects the central nervous system.
The vaccine named JENVAC has been jointly developed by the National Institute of Virology, Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech Ltd. under the public-private-partnership model for the prevention and control of JE and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) that has killed more than 3000 people since last three years in the eastern part of India. JE Vaccine (JENVAC) is not only the first fully indigenous vaccine, but it is also based on an Indian strain.
The Immunization Programme against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES):
The immunization programme will be implemented in 60 priority districts for a period of 5 years as part of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of JE and AES. Of 171 endemic districts in India, 118 districts are covered under JE immunization programme that has about Rs. 4000 crore outlay. Initially the programme will focus on 5 worst affected states— Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. JE kills around 1000 persons in a year, particularly between the months of July and October. India currently imported its stock of live JE vaccine from China.
What is Japanese Encephalitis?
Japanese Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral disease. It leads to acute inflammation of the Brain.
What are the reservoirs and vectors of this virus?
- Domestic pigs and wild birds (herons) are reservoirs of the virus.
- Amongst the most important vectors of this disease are the mosquitoes Culex tritaeniorhynchus and Culex vishnui.
- Abrupt onset of high fever
- Behavioral changes
- Unconsciousness, even slipping into coma
Rajan Committee’s new methodology to replace ‘special category’ status for devolution of funds to States
The panel set up by the government under the chairmanship of the then Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan (now RBI governor) has suggested ending the ‘special category’ criteria for providing additional assistance to poorer states.
Why did the government set up the Rajan Committee?
The Union Government set up Raghuram Rajan Committee amid demands for “special category” status by Bihar and some other status to get additional financial assistance from the Centre. The Committee was tasked to suggest methods for identifying backwardness of states using a variety of criteria and also to recommend how the criteria may be reflected in future planning and devolution of funds from the central government to the states.
What are the key recommendations of the Rajan Committee?
The Rajan Committee has made two key recommendations for devolution of funds to states. They are:
a) A new methodology based on a ‘Multi Dimensional Index (MDI)’.
Depending on the scores of the 28 states on the MDI, they will be split into 3 categories:
- Least developed
- Less developed
- Relatively developed
b) Each state should get a basic fixed allocation and an additional allocation depending on its development needs and development performance.
As per the Committee, these two recommendations, along with the allocation methodology, will effectively subsume what is now “Special Category” status.
According to the MDI scores:
- Least Developed states: Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
- Less Developed states: Manipur, West Bengal, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Gujarat, Tripura, Karnataka, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.
- Relatively Developed states: Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttrakhand and Haryana.
The Department of Economic Affairs will soon examine the report and take necessary action.
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