Need of “India Rare Earths Mission”

In News

  • Recently, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has urged the government to encourage private-sector mining in the Rare Earths minerals sector to counter India’s reliance on China for imports of such minerals.

More in News

  • The industry has demanded to Set up an ‘India Rare Earths Mission’ which should be manned by professionals on similar lines with India Semiconductor Mission and make their exploration a critical component of the Deep Ocean Mission plan of the government. 
  • The focus on the critical minerals supply chain began primarily after the China-Japan Senkaku-Diaoyu island dispute, after which China had levied duties and implemented quotas on exporting rare earth elements.
    • This was taken as a serious threat by the US, European Union and Japan because they were the major importers of rare earths. 

What are Rare Earth Elements?

  • There are 17 rare earth elements (REE).
  • It includes the 15 Lanthanides (atomic numbers 57 which is Lanthanum to 71 in the periodic table) plus Scandium (atomic number 21) and Yttrium (39).
  • REEs are classified as light RE elements (LREE) and heavy RE elements (HREE).  

World Reserves

India’s ScenarioIndia has 6% of the world’s rare earth reserves. It only produces 1% of global output and meets most of its requirements of such minerals from China. Rare earth elements contribute a total value of nearly $200 billion to the Indian economy. In 2018-19, 92% of rare earth metal imports by value and 97% by quantity were sourced from China.Some REEs are available in India which include Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium, Praseodymium and Samarium, etc. Others such as Dysprosium, Terbium, and Europium, which are classified as HREEs, are not available in Indian deposits in extractable quantities.In India, monazite and thorium is the principal source of rare earths. Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IREL) which is a Government of India Undertaking, and KMML, a Kerala State Government Undertaking are actively engaged in mining and processing of beach sand minerals from placer deposits.

Major concerns globally and for India 

  • Dependence on China: If India is not able to explore and produce these minerals, it will have to depend on other countries, including China, to power its energy transition plans to electric vehicles. 
  • Lack of Expertise: the reason India would not have found a place in the Minerals Security Partnership grouping is because the country does not bring any expertise to the table. 
  • Difficult to mine: Although they are more abundant than their name implies, they are difficult and costly to mine and process cleanly.
  • Monopoly of few: Most of the reserves being present in few nations causes problems for most of the world because of the concentration of reserves in the hands of few countries.
  • Supply Chain: Forming forward and backward supply chains will create problems when the reserves are mostly limited to one country.
  • Environmental Impact: The chief concern is that the rare earth elements are bound up in mineral deposits with the low-level radioactive element thorium, exposure to which has been linked to an increased risk of developing lung, pancreatic, and other cancers.
  • Capital-Intensive: The mining and extraction processes are capital-intensive and consumes large amounts of energy.
  • Toxic By-products: The mining of these minerals releases toxic by-products which are harmful for the environment and human health. 

Why are these minerals important? / Significance 

  • Manufacturing of Batteries: Minerals like Cobalt, Nickel, and Lithium are required for batteries used in electric vehicles.
  • Used in most of the consumer products: REEs are an essential although often tiny component of more than 200 consumer products which includes mobile phones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, semiconductors, flat screen TVs and monitors, and high-end electronics.
  • Electric Vehicles: India has an ambitious plan to convert a large percentage of its transport to electric and this would require these minerals.
    • 80 percent of the country’s two- and three-wheeler fleet, 40 percent of buses, and 30 to 70 per cent of cars will be EVs by 2030.
  • Clean energy: They are critical for developing clean energy which is the need of the hour today.
  • Industrial use: Traditional uses like Cerium for glass polishing and lanthanum for car catalysts or optical lenses.
  • Manufacturing of magnets: neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium, are crucial to the manufacture of magnets which are used in industries and also in wind turbines and Drones. 

Way Forward/ Suggestions 

  • Building up domestic capability: There is a need to build domestic capability and broad-base supply sources for such an important and strategic raw material.
  • Making it part of Make in India campaign: There is a need to make rare earth minerals a part of the ‘Make In India’ campaign, citing China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative that focuses on new materials, including permanent magnets that are made using rare earth minerals. 
  • Supply chain resilience: The focus should be back on building cooperation on supply chain resilience which is a trade partnership for critical and emerging technology to deal with issues of climate, economy and pandemic impact. 
  • QUAD critical and Emerging Technology Working group: It aims to develop supply resilience among Quad members which includes India, US, Japan, and Australia. 
  • Green goals: the critical minerals and emerging technology are the major need of the hour for achievement of green future goals. 
  • Minerals Security Partnership (MSP): India should try through diplomatic channels to enter this partnership. (As, India is not a member of this.)
    • It is a US-led partnership initiative of 11 nations which aims to bolster critical mineral supply chains.
    • Partnership includes the USA, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission. 

Amendment to Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969

In News

  • The Bill to amend the RBD Act, 1969 was recently proposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
    • The Bill is likely to be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the parliament. 

Major Provisions of the draft Bill

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  • Making Birth Certificates a mandatory document
    • The Central government proposes to make birth certificates a mandatory document for admission in educational institutions, inclusion in the voter list, appointment in Central and State government jobs, issue of driving licence and passport. 
  • Data storage and linking to electoral rolls 
    • The centrally-stored data will be updated in real time without any human interface required leading to addition and deletion from the electoral roll when an individual turns 18 and after death respectively. 
  • Death certificates
    • It shall be mandatory for hospitals and medical institutions to provide a copy of all death certificates, stating the cause of death, to the local registrar apart from the relative of the deceased.
  • Making the registration mandatory
    • Though registration of birth and death is already compulsory under the RBD Act, 1969 and violating it is a punishable offence.
    • The government intends to improve compliance by making the registration mandatory to avail basic services such as admission in schools and registration of marriages. 
Data/ FactsAccording to the Civil Registration System (CRS) report: (CRS is an online system for registration of births and deaths under the operational control of the RGI.)The registration level of births for the country increased to 92.7% in 2019 from 82.0% in 2010.Registered deaths increased from 66.9% in 2010 to 92.0 % in 2019.  State wise assessmentSeveral States such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal are already registering all births and deaths through CRS. States such as Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have their own system or use the portal partially.UT assessmentUnion Territories such as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu register through the central portal but others such as Delhi, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir have their own system in place. 

The Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969

  • Objective
    • The Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 regulates matters concerning the registration of births and deaths and matters connected therewith.  
  • Role of Registrar-General
    • The position of Registrar-General is filled by a person appointed by the Central Government of India.
      • The Government can also appoint a person with such designation, as it thinks fit for the purpose to carry out works under the supervision of the Registrar-General.
    • He has the power to issue general directions concerning the registration of births and deaths in the territories covered by this Act.
    • They also coordinate and unify the activities of the Chief-Registrars and submit the annual report regarding the works concerning and related to this Act, to the Central Government. 
  • Role of Chief-Registrar
    • They are appointed by the Central Government.
    • He is responsible for carrying out the execution of the provisions of this Act.
    • He remains the chief executive of a state only and carries out the execution of rules and orders subject to the directions of the state government.
  • District-Registrar
    • They are appointed by the State Government for each revenue district.
  • Role of Registrars
    • They are appointed by the state government for each local area, which may include land under the jurisdiction of a municipality, panchayat, or other local authority, as well as any other area, or a combination of two or more of them. 
    • The Registrars are supposed to keep themselves updated about every birth and death that takes place within their jurisdiction. 
  • Penalties under the act
    • Section 23 of the Act provides for detailed provisions regarding the penalties a person may attract if certain provisions of the Act are not adhered to.
    • If a person:
      • Fails to give or provide the information and which comes under that person’s duty to inform regarding any birth or death that takes place, or
      • Gives any false information for the registration purpose
      • Refuses to provide his information as asked for under Section 11 of the Act. 

Way forward/ Need for an amendment? 

  • Centralised Database: The proposed amendments intends to bring whole databases on to a common platform.
  • Useful in making NPR and NRC: If the amendments are implemented, the Centre could use the data to update the National Population Register (NPR) that was first prepared in 2010 and revised through door-to-door enumeration in 2015.
    • The NPR already has a database of 119 crore residents and under the Citizenship Rules, 2003, it is the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Egypt’s President to be Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day

In News

  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi will be the chief guest at Republic Day in January 2023.
    • He will be the first such guest since 2020, as plans for guests in 2021 and 2022 were cancelled due to COVID-19. 

More about the news 

  • The year 2022 is of particular significance since it marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Egypt.
  • Egypt has been invited as a ‘Guest Country’ during India’s Presidency of G-20 in 2022-23. 

India-Egypt Relations 

  • History:
    • India and Egypt are two of the world’s oldest civilizations which have enjoyed a history of close contact from ancient times.
    • Ashoka’s edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy-II.
    • In modern times, Mahatma Gandhi and Saad Zaghloul shared common goals on the independence of their countries. 
  • Political Relations:
    • India and Egypt share close political understanding based on a long history of contacts and cooperation in bilateral, regional and global issues.
    • Both countries have cooperated closely in multilateral fora and were the founding members of Non-Aligned Movement. 
  • Economic Relations:
    • Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent. 
    • The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement has been in operation since March 1978 and is based on the Most Favoured Nation clause and the bilateral trade has increased more than five times in the last ten years.
    • Bilateral trade has expanded rapidly in 2021-22, amounting to 7.26 billion registering a 75% increase compared to FY 2020-21.
      • India’s exports to Egypt during this period amounted to US$ 3.74 billion, registering a 65% increase over the same period in FY 2020-21. 
      • Egypt’s exports to India reached US$ 3.52 billion registering an 86% increase.
    • The top Indian imports from Egypt were Mineral Oil/Petroleum, Fertilizers, Inorganic Chemicals and Cotton and main items of export to Egypt from India were Buffalo Meat, Iron & Steel, Light Vehicles and Cotton Yarn.
    • India is the 3rd largest export market for Egypt, 6th largest trading partner and 7th largest exporter to Egypt. 
  • Defence Relations:
    • Egypt and India enjoy cordial defence relations. There was close cooperation between the Air Forces, with efforts at jointly developing a fighter aircraft in the 1960s.
    • Egypt participated in the Multinational Training Exercise for friendly African countries held at Pune in 2019.
    • The first ever IAF-EAF Joint Tactical Air Exercise, Desert Warrior, was held in 2021.
    • Egypt regularly provides transit facilities to IAF and IN aircraft ferrying to/ from Russia, Europe and the USA.
  • Cultural Relations:
    • The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) has been promoting cultural cooperation between the two countries, through regular activities such as Hindi, Urdu and Yoga classes; seminars; film shows; exhibitions and participation in local cultural activities.
    • ‘India by the Nile’ festival: It is a cultural festival celebrated annually in Egypt. It brings the essence of India through classical, contemporary, performing and visual arts, food and popular culture in a language that amalgamates diverse cultural and artistic strands. 
  • Indian Community:
    • Currently, the Indian community in Egypt numbers at around 3200, most of whom are concentrated in Cairo. 
    • A majority of the Indians are either employed with Indian companies or are professionals with various multinationals.  
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)About:It is a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’ members and contain 55% of the world population. Establishment:In 1961, drawing on the principles agreed at the Bandung Conference of 1955, the Non-Aligned Movement was formally established in Belgrade, YugoslaviaFive Principles of Peaceful Coexistence:Zhou Enlai and Nehru described the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations called Panchsheel (five restraints).These principles would later serve as the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement. The five principles were:Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.Mutual non-aggression.Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs.Equality and mutual benefit.Peaceful co-existence.Founders:It was an initiative of Yugoslav President Josip Broz TitoIndian Prime Minister Jawaharlal NehruEgyptian President Gamal Abdel NasserGhanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, and Indonesian President Sukarno.Accomplishment:The international policy of non-alignment achieved major successes in decolonization, disarmament and opposition to racism and apartheid in South Africa.The movement persisted throughout the entire Cold War.After the cold war:In the years since the Cold War’s end in 1992, it has focused on developing multilateral ties and connections as well as unity among the developing nations of the world.

Crisis of Darjeeling Tea Industry

In News

Recently, the Tea Board of India said it had sought a special financial package of ?1,000 crore from the Centre for the tea Industry over five years. 

Key Points

  • Background: 
    • Indian tea had not been able to establish itself globally, and one of its key brands, Darjeeling Tea, was under acute stress.
  • Significance of Darjeeling Tea:
    • GI Tag: Darjeeling Tea, called the ‘Champagne of Teas’, was the first Indian product to get the GI (Geographical Identification) tag in 2004 for its distinctive aroma and flavour. 
    • Employment: About 87 gardens in Darjeeling which employ about 55,000 workers produce approximately 7 million kg of tea, most of which is exported. 

Tea Industry of India

  • Tea is one of the most popular and lowest cost beverages in the world and consumed by a large  number of people. 
  • Owing to its increasing demand,  tea is considered to be one of the major components of world beverage market
  • Indian tea is among the finest in the world owing to strong geographical indications, heavy investment in tea processing units, continuous innovation, augmented product mix and strategic market expansion.
  • Climatic Conditions:
  • Tropical and subtropical climate
  • Deep and fertile well-drained soil, rich in humus and organic matter. 
  • Warm and moist frost-free climate throughout the year.
  • Rainfall: 1500mm.
  • Temperature: less than 15 degree celsius
  • The main tea-growing regions are in the Northeast (including Assam) and in north Bengal (Darjeeling district and the Dooars region).
    • Tea is also grown on a large scale in the Nilgiris in south India. 
    • India is one of the world’s largest consumers of tea, with about three-fourths of the country’s total produce consumed locally.
  • Control of Union Government: Tea is one of the industries, which by an Act of Parliament comes under the control of the Union Govt.
  • Origin: 
    • The genesis of the Tea Board India dates back to 1903 when the Indian Tea Cess Bill was passed. 
    • The Bill provided for levying a cess on tea exports – the proceeds of which were to be used for the promotion of Indian tea both within and outside India. 
  • Present: 
    • The present Tea Board set up under Section 4 of the Tea Act 1953 was constituted on 1st April 1954. 
    • It has succeeded the Central Tea Board and the Indian Tea Licencing Committee which functioned respectively under the Central Tea Board Act,1949 and the Indian Tea Control Act, 1938 which were repealed. 
  • Larger scope: 
    • The activities of the two previous bodies had been confined largely to regulation of tea cultivation and export of tea as required by the International Tea Agreement then in force, and promotion of tea Consumption.
  • Tea Board Organisation:
    • The present Tea Board is functioning as a statutory body of the Central Government under the Ministry of Commerce. 
    • The Board is constituted of 31 members (including Chairman) drawn from Members of Parliament, tea producers, tea traders, tea brokers, consumers, and representatives of Governments from the principal tea producing states, and trade unions .
    • The Board is reconstituted every three years.
  • Functions: 
    • Rendering financial and technical assistance for cultivation, manufacture and marketing of tea.
    • Export Promotion
    • Aiding Research and Development activities for augmentation of tea production and improvement of tea quality.
    • Extend financial assistance in a limited way to the plantation workers and their wards through labour welfare schemes.
    • To encourage and assist both financially and technically the unorganised small growers sector.
    • Collection and maintenance of Statistical data and publication
    • Such other activities as assigned from time to time by the Central Government.

Challenges of Tea industry in India

  • High cost of production: Over the past few months a lot of gardens in the hills have changed hands because the owners were reeling under higher costs of production and other issues. 
  • Nepal’s gardens: Unhampered and easy influx of substandard tea from neighbouring countries, especially Nepal” is jeopardising the tea industry of India. 
  • Degraded quality sold in good name: Inferior quality tea from Nepal was being imported, and then sold and re-exported as premium Darjeeling Tea. 
  • Competition: Nepal, which shares similar climatic conditions and terrain, produces tea at a lower price because of less input costs, particularly labour, and fewer quality checks. Even though the quality is no match, yet the tea from Nepal posed a serious challenge to Darjeeling Tea
  • Domestic issues: The influx of tea from Nepal picked up pace in 2017, when the 107- day agitation and shutdown in the Darjeeling hills brought tea production to a halt. From June to September 2017, tea bushes in Darjeeling lay unattended during the agitation called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha over demand of a separate State of Gorkhaland. Tea industry in Darjeeling has not recovered from the damage it incurred in 2017. 
  • Lack of land and other resources: Because of the hilly terrain of Darjeeling there is no land left for expansion of tea gardens. The tea bushes are older than other parts of the country. Uprooting and planting them is both time and cost intensive.
  • Low auction price: Prices of Darjeeling Tea in the last six years have grown at a CAGR (cumulative annual growth rate) of only 1.7% against an increasing cost of input between 10% and 12% CAGR.
  • Fall in global demand: Some global factors like the decline in demand from European markets in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war have compounded the problem.

Way Ahead

  • Small Tea Growers (STGs) should also be recognised as GI-registered producers on a par with the 87 tea estates which produce Darjeeling Tea to ensure better price premium. 
  • The Government should review and revisit the Indo-Nepal Treaty for incorporating stringent requirements for certificate of origin on tea imports from Nepal.

3rd Global High-level Ministerial Conference on AMR

In News

The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022 concluded recently with the Muscat Ministerial Manifesto on AMR being agreed upon at the Third Global High-level Ministerial Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

Key Highlights

  • Background: 
    • This Conference is a follow up of two earlier high level conferences held in the Netherlands in 2014 and 2019. 
  • Theme of the Conference: 
    • The AMR Pandemic: From Policy to One Health Action.
  • Three Global Targets:
    • Reducing the total amount of antimicrobials used in agrifood systems by at least 30 per cent-50 per cent by 2030.
    • Preserving critically important antimicrobials for human medicine and ending the use of medically important antimicrobials for growth promotion in animals.
    • Ensuring that ‘Access’ group antibiotics (a category of antibiotics that are affordable, safe and have a low AMR risk) represent at least 60 percent of overall antibiotic consumption in humans by 2030.
  • Countries endorsing the manifesto:
    • The Manifesto has been endorsed by 34 of the 45 countries that participated at the conference. 

What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. 
  • Emergence and spread of AMR:
    • AMR occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes.
    • Antimicrobial-resistant organisms are found in people, animals, food, plants and the environment (in water, soil and air). 
    • They can spread from person to person or between people and animals, including from food of animal origin.
    • The main drivers of antimicrobial resistance include:
      • The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, 
      • Lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for both humans and animals, 
      • Poor infection and disease prevention and control in healthcare facilities and farms, 
      • Poor access to quality, 
      • Affordable medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, 
      • Lack of awareness and knowledge, and 
      • Lack of enforcement of legislation. 

Factors Causing AMR in India

  • Inappropriate consumption of broad-spectrum (last resort) antibiotics is high because of changing prescription practice in the healthcare system due to the non-availability of a narrow spectrum of antibiotics.
  • Inappropriate antibiotic use among the general public like Self-medication to avoid the financial burden.
  • The large proportion of sewage is disposed of untreated into receiving water bodies, leading to gross contamination of rivers with antibiotic residues, antibiotic-resistant organisms.
  • What are Antimicrobials?
    • Antimicrobials – including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics – are medicines used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals and plants. 

Image Courtesy: Toi 

Challenges Posed by AMR

  • Antibiotic resistance is emerging as the threat to successful treatment of infectious diseases, organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy and major surgeries.
  • The issue of AMR causes out of pocket expenditure on health care, especially on medicines. The use of high order drugs or second-line expensive antibiotics pushing treatment cost high.
  • Neonates and elderly both are prone to infections and are vulnerable.

Various Initiatives Adopted In This Aspect

  • Global Efforts:
    • Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (GAP): Globally, countries committed to the framework set out in the Global Action Plan1 (GAP) 2015 on AMR during the 2015 World Health Assembly and committed to the development and implementation of multisectoral national action plans. 
    • Tripartite Joint Secretariat on Antimicrobial Resistance: Tripartite joint secretariat (FAO, OIE and WHO) has been established and is hosted by WHO to drive multi-stakeholder engagement in AMR. 
    • Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on AMR: It was convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations after the UN High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance in 2016.
      • The IACG brought together partners across the UN, international organizations and individuals with expertise across human, animal and plant health, as well as the food, animal feed, trade to formulate a plan for the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
    • World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW): WAAW was previously called the World Antibiotic Awareness Week. From 2020, it will be called the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.
      • It is a global campaign that aims to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance worldwide.
    • Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS): WHO launched it  in 2015 to continue filling knowledge gaps and to inform strategies at all levels.
      • GLASS has been conceived to progressively incorporate data from surveillance of AMR in humans, surveillance of the use of antimicrobial medicines, AMR in the food chain and the environment. 
    • Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP): A joint initiative of WHO and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), GARDP encourages research and development through public-private partnerships.
      • By 2025, the partnership aims to develop and deliver five new treatments that target drug-resistant bacteria identified by WHO as posing the greatest threat.
    • Country wise initiatives: A multi-sectoral $1 billion AMR Action Fund was launched in 2020 to support the development of new antibiotics, and the U.K. is trialling a subscription-based model for paying for new antimicrobials towards ensuring their commercial viability.
      • Peru’s efforts on patient education to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.
      • Australian regulatory reforms to influence prescriber behaviour, and initiatives to increase the use of point-of-care diagnostics, such as the EU-supported VALUE-Dx programme.
      • Denmark’s reforms to prevent the use of antibiotics in livestock have not only led to a significant reduction in the prevalence of resistant microbes in animals, but also improved the efficiency of farming. 
  • India’s initiative:
    • To prevent the Over the counter sales of antibiotics, the central drug standard control organization(CDSO) prohibits medical stores from selling 24 key antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.
    • India’s Red Line campaign: Which demands that prescription-only antibiotics be marked with a red line, to discourage the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics– is a step forward.
    • National Health Policy, 2017, terms antimicrobial resistance as one of the key healthcare issues and prioritizes the development of guidelines regarding antibiotic use and check on restricting the growth of antibiotics.
    • The National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) 2017 has assigned coordinated tasks to multiple government agencies involving health, education, environment, and livestock to change prescription practices and consumer behaviour and to scale up infection control and antimicrobial surveillance.
    • FSSAI has set certain guidelines limiting the antibiotics in food products such as fish and honey.

Way Ahead

  • Countries should Revise and effectively implement National Action Plans (NAP) for AMR 
  • Countries should Strengthen their surveillance systems. 
  • The Quadripartite organisations provide guidance and technical support for implementation of the targets.
  • Different stakeholders in human health, animal health, environment sectors come together to be able to implement AMR NAPs, through appropriate engagement of civil society, private sector, and public and private partnerships.
  • There is a need for mobilisation of financial resources from public and private financing institutions for NAP-AMR implementation. This is to be done to:
    • Enable improved access to innovations (new antimicrobials, vaccines, diagnostics, waste management tools, alternatives to antimicrobials) and 
    • For the development and implementation of innovative and safe infection prevention and control practices.
  • AMR is a silent and invisible pandemic that cannot be overshadowed by other competing public health priorities so should be made a priority.
  • It is important to have political support and collaboration at the international, national and sub-national levels to tackle the challenge posed by AMR.

China-Indian Ocean Region Forum

In News

  • Australia and Maldives did not participate in the recently held Indian Ocean Region Forum convened by China.

About Forum

  • Organiser: China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) which is Beijing’s new development aid agency
  • Participants: 
    • “high-level representatives” from 19 countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Djibouti, and Australia. 
    • No representative from India was invited.
  • Recent Proposals at Forum:
    • China has proposed to establish a marine disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation mechanism between China and countries in the IOR.
  • Prominence of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in the Chinese policy framework:
    • China’s prominent role in global supply chains,
    • The vast resource base of the Indian Ocean, and 
    • The passage of strategic sea lines of communication through the IOR.
  • Concerns:
    • China’s initiation of a new forum for IOR countries despite the other successfully established forums is worrisome.
    • China has been relentlessly trying to ramp up political, economic and security inroads in the region despite being geographically far from IOR.
    • Apparently aimed at countering India’s strong influence in the region.
    • China has often been accused of engaging in “debt diplomacy” 


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