Mains Q & A 16 March 2023
Q1. What is the reason for the rising concern over antimicrobial resistance (AMR)? What countermeasures have India and international organisations taken? (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS III Biotechnology related topics
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), according to the WHO, is a condition in which germs survive exposure to a drug that would typically kill them. It is the capacity that any microbe, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc. has developed to withstand the effects of antimicrobial drugs, which include antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics. The public’s health is thought to be seriously threatened by this situation.
Bacteria that develop antibiotic resistance are referred to as superbugs. As a result, common therapies no longer function, infections persist, and they may spread to other people.
Antibiotic use for human and animal consumption without a doctor’s supervision, a prescription, etc. worsens the emergence and spread of resistance as antibiotics lose their effectiveness. Pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea, and foodborne illnesses are just a few of the ailments that are getting harder, and in some cases impossible, to treat.
AMR is a global threat:
AMR seriously jeopardises the future of modern medicine.
All of these effects will be felt globally, but the situation in low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries (Asia and Africa) is far worse.
7 million people worldwide pass away each year as a result of not having access to antibiotics for curable diseases.
If coordinated action is not taken, drug-resistant diseases may cause 10 million annual deaths and a global economic downturn similar to the global financial crisis of 2008 by 2050.
A report alerting the UN Ad Hoc Interagency Coordination Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance to the problem was received.
It went on to say that by 2030, antimicrobial resistance might force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty. The worst-case scenario predicts that by 2050, the global GDP will have decreased by 3.8%.
At least 7,00,000 people die from drug-resistant infections each year, including 2,30,000 people who have multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
It also discussed how common conditions like STDs, urinary tract infections, and respiratory tract infections are increasingly becoming fatal.
Although life-saving medical operations are becoming riskier, food systems are becoming more unstable. A sizable amount of out-of-pocket expenses for medical care is related to the price of drugs. Because of ineffective drugs and/or second-line, expensive antibiotics, treatment costs are increasing.
According to the paper, the world’s economy and health are already being impacted by the inefficiency of necessary medications.
Without investment from nations of all income levels, future generations will have to deal with the horrific consequences of unchecked antimicrobial resistance.
AMR in India:
The cost of infectious diseases (bacterial infections) is significant while healthcare financing is insufficient.
The National Health Policy of 2017 calls for proactive effort to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance.
AMR was one of the ministry’s top 10 goals for its joint engagement with WHO, according to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).
In 2012, India’s medical organisations ratified the Chennai Declaration, a set of national recommendations to promote antibiotic stewardship.
India’s Red Line campaign is pushing for a red line to be placed next to prescription-only drugs to prohibit the sale of antibiotics over-the-counter.
National Policy for Control of Antimicrobial Resistance, 2011.
National Action Strategy on AMR Resistance from 2017 to 2021.
India has established surveillance of the emergence of treatment resistance in disease-causing microorganisms in programmes for tuberculosis, AIDS, vector-borne diseases, and other disorders.
From March 2014, a specific Schedule H-1 has been added to the Drug and Cosmetic regulations to regulate the sale of antimicrobials in the country.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has banned the use of antibiotics and a number of other pharmacologically active substances in fisheries (FSSAI).
The government has also established the maximum dosages of medications that can be used to encourage the growth of meat and meat products.
A multi-sectoral $1 billion AMR Action Fund was created in 2020 to support the development of fresh antibiotics.
activities in Peru aimed at patient education and reducing the prescribing of unnecessary antibiotics.
Prescriber behaviour will be impacted by changes to Australian regulations.
Denmark’s rules to limit the use of antibiotics in livestock have not only dramatically reduced the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in animals, but also enhanced farming production.
To prevent the leaking of active antibiotics into pharmaceutical waste, India proposed legislation.
Together with the creation of new antimicrobials, infection-control measures can reduce the use of antibiotics.
It is vital to guarantee that everyone who needs an antibiotic may obtain one.
In order to track the spread of resistance, monitoring efforts to discover these bacteria must encompass livestock, wastewater, and agricultural run-offs.
We need ongoing funding and international cooperation to consistently detect and combat new resistant strains.
International alignment and coordination are required for both the creation and implementation of policy.
Improvements in AMR surveillance in agriculture, animal health, and the environment must be integrated with clinical medicine treatments.
Anti-Microbial Resistance is not a problem that just impacts one country, but a global one that jeopardises the safety of global health. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the key challenges influencing public health. reducing the occurrence of infections through effective infection prevention and control. According to the WHO, hand hygiene and infection control should be given top priority in national programmes.
Q2. What security dangers do drones, a hybrid type of warfare, present? Can these risks be minimised without halting drone technology development? Analyze. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS IV Internal Security related topics
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are aircraft that do not have a human pilot on board. In addition to combat, drones are used for a number of other functions, such as package delivery, agricultural (such as spraying pesticides), monitoring environmental changes, aerial photography, and search and rescue missions.
Since drones are used more frequently in military and other fields, their potential as well as various issues related to their misuse have gained attention (Rogue Drones). More than 6 lakh unauthorised or errant unmanned aerial vehicles are apparently present in India (UAVs).
Risks to drone security include:
Issues about national security: Drones have shown to be a menace to national security. Drones can be controlled remotely and can land anywhere. posing serious security issues.
Terrorism: ISIS and other terrorist organisations have used drones to attack their targets in Syria and Iraq.
Conflict Zones: Drones are creating a security danger more and more, particularly in these regions where non-state actors are active and have easy access to the technology. Think about the twin drone assaults on the Saudi Arabian Aramco crude oil output in 2019.
Due to the potential for them to be used to deliver WMD, combat drones in the hands of non-state actors are particularly risky.
Calls for limits in aviation safety have been spurred by drones flying too close to commercial aircraft.
Drones have been used by the paparazzi to photograph subjects who are invading their personal space.
Critical infrastructure, sensitive locations, and specific events are all “possibly harmed” by uncontrolled drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, and remotely piloted aircraft systems.
Border smuggling: Over the past two years, Pakistani-based organisations have routinely employed drones to smuggle drugs, guns, and ammo into Indian territory. Drones fly so low that they are invisible to radar systems.
Security agencies should concentrate on developing more sophisticated anti-drone weapons, such as the “sky fence” and “drone gun,” in order to counter terrorist or other attempts by these aerial platforms to wreak harm.
The Tokyo police have started using “flying nets” attached to authorised drones to catch and destroy illegal UAVs. The Taiwanese police have begun developing RF jammer weaponry to destroy unruly drones.
Contracts with commercial drone manufacturers for geofencing, which use pre-programmed codes to prevent UAVs from flying too close to crucial infrastructure, constitute the other anti-drone strategy.
India needs to make greater investments in counter-drone research and technology as well as their controlled acquisition in order to address the security challenges caused by rogue operations utilising unmanned aerial vehicles.
It is necessary for counter-drone firms to collaborate with PSUs, governmental organisations like the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), and other commercial organisations.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation may think about making the current regulations for unmanned aircraft systems more stringent.
Despite the seriousness of the threat posed by rogue drones, the solution does not lie in overregulation but rather in prudent regulation that strikes a balance between the growing drone business and the new security concerns.
To achieve this, funds must be invested in domestic R&D and cutting-edge drone defence technology, with backing from both private and governmental sources.
The “National Anti Rogue Drone Guidelines” are a good start because they outline both “procedural means” of prevention, dissuasion, and denial in addition to “active measures” of identification, interruption, and destruction. It is also necessary to employ a “Counter Rogue Drone Deployment Plan” based on vulnerability analysis.
Regulations on the usage of drones in India should be effectively applied to stimulate technology and innovation in the development of drones and boost the ease of doing business by eliminating needless limitations and providing a single-window approach. The government can preserve the privacy of its citizens by limiting the use of drones for monitoring. Drone use needs to be done carefully to minimise damage to animals, especially birds. Drone-related incidents should occur less frequently if strict regulations are enforced.
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