Women Related Issues Current Affairs - 2020

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WHO commends India for reducing maternal mortality ratio by 77%

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended India’s progress in reducing maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 77%, from 556 per 10000 live births in 1990 to 130 per 10000 live births in 2016. This progress puts India on track towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of MMR below 70 by 2030. India’s present MMR is below Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target.

Key Facts

India has made concerted push to increase access to quality maternal health services with coverage of essential maternal health services which has doubled since 2005. Proportion of institutional deliveries in public facilities has almost tripled, from 18% in 2005 to 52% in 2016 (including private facilities, institutional deliveries).

State-subsidised demand-side financing like Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) has largely closed urban-rural divide traditionally seen in institutional births. JSSK also allows all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions free transport and no-expense delivery, including caesarian section.

Government has put significant emphasis on mitigating social determinants of maternal health. Women in India are now more literate than ever, with 68% are now able to read and write. They are also entering marriage at older age, with just 27% now wedded before age of 18. These factors have enabled Indian women to better control their reproductive lives and make decisions that reflect their own interests and wants.

Moreover, Government also has put in substantive efforts to facilitate positive engagement between public and private health care providers. Public campaigns such as Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan have been introduced with great impact, allowing women access to antenatal check-ups, obstetric gynecologists and to track high-risk pregnancies.

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India’s First Advanced Forensic Lab dedicated to women related cases to come up in Chandigarh

Foundation of Sakhi Suraksha Advanced DNA Forensic Laboratory was laid in the campus of Central Forensic Science Lab (CFSL), Chandigarh. It is India’s first advanced forensic lab dedicated for crimes related to women for timely deliver justice.

Key Facts

The advanced lab in par with international standards will contribute to address gap in forensic DNA analysis of pending sexual assault cases in the country. The lab has been set up as model forensic lab and will be replicated in other parts of the country.

5 more such advanced forensic labs will come up in Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati, Pune and Bhopal in the next 3 months bringing total minimum annual handling capacity of labs to 50000 cases. The labs in Chennai and Mumbai will be set up with funds from Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) while remaining 3 labs would be set up with funds by Ministry of Home Affairs.

Units of Sakhi Suraksha Advanced DNA Forensic Laboratory

There are four units viz. sexual assault and homicide unit, paternity unit, human identification unit and mitochondrial unit. Apart from Homicide and Sexual Assault and Unit, other three units are interlinked. They will work to examine cases related to crime against women.

Paternity Unit: It will be help in solving cases related to criminal paternity, gender selection and child swapping in hospitals.

Human Identification Unit: It will play important role to solve cases of missing person or children.

Mitochondrial Unit: It will conduct mitochondrial DNA analysis in cases where regular Nuclear DNA analysis is not possible such as in case of highly degraded samples. It can also be used to better explore family relationships.

Background

Forensic science plays vital role in the criminal justice delivery system by providing investigators with scientifically based evidence information through analysis of physical evidence. There has been increasing demand for better scientific analysis of physical evidence with increasing reports of crime against women such as sexual assault, foeticide, homicide etc. Even the scrutiny of difference judicial courts also demands more admissible, accurate and powerful forensic proof for human individualisation. At present there are 6 Central Forensic Science Labs (CFSLs) in Guwahati, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune and Bhopal and one State Forensic Science Lab in each State/UT. These labs are responsible for conducting forensic analysis of all cases in country including sexual assault, criminal paternity and homicide.

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