A Rare Opportunity Editorial 11th Apr’19 IndianExpress

Headline : A Rare Opportunity Editorial 11th Apr’19 IndianExpress 

Details : 

Rare diseases:

  • A rare disease affects a small percentage of people.
  • Most rare diseases are chronic and severe, leading to death or disability.

Problems in diagnosis, understanding and treatment:

  • Since these diseases are not found commonly, doctors are typically unaware about them and therefore either misdiagnose or do not diagnose them.
  • This further decreases recorded incidence of the disease, which in turn diminishes interest in understanding the disease and finding treatments for it.

Needs support of government:

  • The issues related to rare diseases can only be overcome by strong support from the government.

National Policy for the Treatment of Rare Diseases suspended in 2018:

  • However, in 2018, the Union government suspended the National Policy for the Treatment of Rare Diseases.
  • This came as a shock to those patients who were relying on the money allotted through the policy for life-saving treatments.
  • The Centre said that the current policy for rare diseases needed to be reframed due to challenges in implementation and costs.
  • The Union Health Ministry termed the policy “untenable” as the implementation of the policy was moved out of the Public Health Division to the National Health Mission (NHM).

Low public health expenditure necessitated this decision:

  • India’s meagre 1.15 per cent of GDP allocation to healthcare means government has to make a decision of “balancing” disease incidence.
  • In this, rare diseases lose out due to the high cost of treating them.

But patients with rare disease should not be discriminated against due to costs:

  • A utilitarian calculation is not the right basis for public policy because it perpetuates marginalisation and subverts the state’s duty to treat its citizens equally.
  • The Delhi High Court recognised the rights of rare disease patients, and said that low disease incidence cannot be the state’s basis for denying someone the right to life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Need a new rare disease policy:

  • The Delhi HC has also demanded that the government promptly frame a new rare disease policy that incorporates global best practices.
  • To respect the HC’s directions, a new policy must be founded on non-discriminatory ideals.
  • Policymakers will have to address fiscal constraints without devaluing lives of patients with rare diseases.

The new policy should be different from the earlier policy:

  • The government should create a new policy that is based on different fundamentals.
    • Attention should be on all rare diseases: The earlier policy had a narrow focus on allocating funds to treat a select few rare diseases that could be treated, while it excluded untreatable diseases. This is problematic as only 5 per cent of all rare diseases are treatable, and thus effectively excludes 95 per cent of rare diseases from its purview. The new policy should deal with this.
    • Greater resources: A new and inclusive rare disease policy should allocate substantial resources to research for the development of new platform therapies that could commonly treat different rare diseases, while simultaneously bringing down the costs of current treatments.
    • More research: More research will also facilitate greater interest in rare diseases in the medical community, increasing rates of diagnosis and improving medical care. Increased focus on research could help develop cheaper treatments.
  • Take care of cost of treatment: Giving incentives to pharmaceutical companies to develop treatments for rare diseases has resulted in discovery of treatments but their cost is prohibitively high. In India, where most patients are un-insured and rare diseases fall outside the insurance system, this increases patient dependence on government financing. Ways must be found to incentivize discovery of new treatments while keeping treatment costs affordable.

Conclusion:

  • Low incidence makes rare diseases “unprofitable” and companies are reluctant to invest in them.
  • The government must not abandon the rare disease community to the market mechanism

Languages and civilisation Editorial 5th Apr’19 IndianExpress

Headline : Languages and civilisation Editorial 5th Apr’19 IndianExpress 

Details : 

Importance of language:

  • Language is a tool for intellectual and emotional expression.
  • Language is a vehicle for the transmission of culture, scientific knowledge and a worldview across generations.
  • It is the vital, unseen thread that links the past with the present.
  • The great Indian poet Acharya Dandi had said that if the light of language does not exist, we will be groping in a dark world.

Indian literary tradition:

  • There is a rich literary tradition in many languages, especially the ones recognised as classical languages by the Government of India.
  • Modern Indian languages have ancient roots and are derived in some way from the classical languages.

Great Sanskrit literary heritage in India: 

  • Sanskrit, of course, is one of the oldest Indo-European languages, dating back to the second millennium BC.
  • The manuscripts still in existence in Sanskrit number over 30 million, one hundred times those in Greek and Latin combined, constituting the largest cultural heritage that any civilisation has produced before the invention of the printing press.
  • Since studying the classical languages and literature would provide access to authentic sources of history, the National Mission for Manuscripts was set up in 2003.
  • Preservation of ancient texts is only the first step. We need to encourage scholars to do research using these primary sources and unearth new nuggets of knowledge.
  • It is important to study ancient texts and propagate them among modern audiences.

Classical languages of India:

  • Some languages have been given classical language status because of their ancient literary heritage.
  • For instance, Tamil literature dates back to 500 BC, Telugu to 400 BC, Kannada to 450 BC, Malayalam to 1198 AD and Odia to 800 AD.
  • Each of these languages has a rich treasure house of literature, examples include:
    • Sangam literature and Tholkappiyum in Tamil
    • Kavitrayam’s Andhra Mahabharatam in Telugu
    • Ramacharitham of Cheeraman in Malayalam
    • Kavirajamarga of Amoghavarsha in Kannada
    • Kharavela’s inscriptions in Odia
  • For each of the populations speaking these languages, their literature is a matter of pride and distinct identity and the language is a goddess to be revered. There are songs in praise of these languages in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil.

Honouring those working on classical languages:

  • Recently, President’s award was given to scholars of Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic, Persian, Telugu, Kannada, Odia and Malayalam for their service in the preservation and development of classical languages.
  • It shows nation’s appreciation and recognition to renowned scholars who are keeping alive the traditional knowledge and acting as the intellectual bridge between the past and the present.

Falling linguistic diversity of India harms our cultural richness:

  • India is a multilingual country where more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken.
  • However, studies by experts estimate that almost 600 languages are on the verge of extinction and that more than 250 languages have disappeared in the past 60 years.  
  • Almost 97 per cent of the population speaks one of the 22 scheduled languages.
  • When a language dies, an entire culture dies.

Preserving and developing India’s linguistic heritage: 

  • Our languages are a crucial part of our history, our culture and our evolution as a society.
  • It is important to protect and conserve our linguistic heritage.
  • Protecting our cultural heritage, including languages, is our constitutionally-mandated duty.

Leveraging technology:

  • The resources required to develop language technology and artificial intelligence-based tools are inadequate or unavailable for many Indian languages.
  • We must harness the power of technology to preserve and promote our languages and culture.

Governmental efforts:

  • The Government of India launched the Linguistic Data Consortium for Indian Languages (LDC-IL) in 2008 and has been preparing high-quality linguistic resources over the last 11 years in all the scheduled languages of India.
  • The Data Distribution Portal is also being launched, where more and varied datasets will be added using several types of AI-based technologies such as automatic dictation, speech recognition, language understanding, machine translation, grammar and spell check.
  • The Central Institute of Indian Languages has been doing commendable work to provide linguistic resources in Indian languages.

A multi-pronged approach:

  • Language preservation and development needs a multi-pronged approach.
    • Education: It should begin at the primary school level and be continued to higher levels of education. Functional literacy in at least one language should be ensured.
    • Usage at homes: More and more people should start using their native languages at home, in the community, in meetings and in administration.
    • Encouraging literature: More people should write poetry, stories, novels and dramas in these languages. We must accord a sense of dignity and a sense of pride to those who speak, write and communicate in these languages.
    • Publications: We must encourage Indian language publications, journals and children’s books.
    • Dialects and folk literature must be given adequate focus.

Conclusion:

  • Language promotion should be an integral part of good governance.
  • Language should become a catalyst for inclusive development.
  • By harnessing technology, the mission of “digital India” can be a mission for a literate India and a mission for an inclusive knowledge society.

Importance:

GS Paper I: Society

Section : Editorial Analysis

Everything about Ramappa Temple and World heritage site

Ramappa Temple for world heritage site

Details :

The news

  • Telangana is expected to get its first site, the Ramappa Temple at Palampet, included in UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee.

Telegram: https://t.me/SimplifiedIAS

Background

  • India has already got 37 sites inscribed in the World Heritage List.
  • There are total 29 cultural sites, 7 Natural sites and 1 mixed site of India in the World Heritage list.
  • Moreover, around 42 sites from India including the Qutb Shahi monuments of Hyderabad, Golconda Fort, and Charminar from Telangana are on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites.
  • The Ramappa Temple was proposed to be included as part of ‘The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways’ along with the Thousand Pillar Temple, Swayambhu Temple and Keerti Thoranas of Warangal Fort since 2014.
  • Now, the temple is in the reckoning as a standalone world heritage site.

 

 

News Summary

  • The 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • The committee will decide on the inclusions of World heritage sites for 2019 in that session.
  • It is expected that the Ramappa Temple at Palampet near Warangal, Telangana could be selected for inclusion in the list of World heritage sites.

 

Significance of the inclusion

  • First in Telangana: It would be Telangana’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Prestige/Identity: The sites inscribed on the World Heritage List gains the prestige which often helps raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation.
  • Protection and conservation: Greater awareness leads to a general rise in the level of the protection and conservation given to heritage properties.
  • Financial Assistance: A country may also receive financial assistance and expert advice from the World Heritage Committee to support activities for the preservation of its sites.
  • Tourism: Once listed, it brings international attention to the site and hence, ensures economic benefits to the nation.
  • Protection during wartime: The site becomes protected under Geneva Convention against destruction or misuse during war.

 

About the Temple

  • Rudreswara (Ramappa) temple at Palampet near Warangal, got its name Ramappa because of its chief sculptor Ramappa.
  • It’s probably the only temple in the country to be known by the name of its sculptor.
  • The medieval Deccan Ramappa Temple which dates back to 1213 AD, was built by the patronage of the Kakatiya ruler Kakati Ganapathi Deva under the authority of his Chief Commander Rudra Samani.
  • Features of the temple
    • The Ramappa temple is a Shivalaya, crowned with a shikharam and surrounded by pradakshinapatha sits a 6 feet high star shaped platform.
    • The temple is built on a valley and it rests on bricks that are scientifically shown to float in water.
    • It has intricate carvings adorning the walls, pillars and ceilings unique to the time of Kakatiyan sculptors and empire.
    • The hall in front of the sanctum has numerous carved pillars that have been positioned to create an effect that combines light and space in a unique way.
    • The sculptural work of dance postures in the temple appear like a record of dances of the region in stone and was of great inspiration for the famous work ‘NrityaRatnavali’, by Jayapa Senani.
    • The postures pertaining to BharataNatya, Shrunga, Bharunga, Rathi, Perini Nritya , are engraved on the pillars.
    • The ‘Nagini’ and other eleven devanarthakis arranged as supporting beams on both sides of each entrance define the highly refined aesthetic sense of Kakatiya
    • The desi (local) varieties of dances such as Perini, Prenkana, SuddaNartana, Dandarasak, Sivapriya, Chindu and Kolata are some dance forms in the sculptural art of the temple.
  • This temple is described as the “brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan” a repository of Kakatiyan creative genius.
  • The Ramappa temple is a best example of the love for art, music and dance as patronized by Kakatiyas.

 

 

About UNESCO World Heritage site

  • A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area.
  • It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
Section : History & Culture

Comparison between Nagara and Dravidian style of temple architecture

Consider the below statements with regard to Nagara and Dravidian Style of Temple Architecture:

Images such as Mithunas and the river goddesses as door keepers guarding the temple are common sight in the Dravida style of temple architecture.
The north Indian idea of multiple shikharas rising together as a cluster was not popular in dravida style.
A large water reservoir or a temple tank enclosed in the complex is general in south Indian temples.
Which of the statements above is/are correct?

a       3 only
b       1 and 3 only
c       2 and 3 only
d       1, 2 and 3
Explanation:

Solution (c)

Comparison between Nagara and Dravidian style of temple architecture

·         In north Indian temples we can see images such as Mithunas (erotic) and the river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna guarding the temple. But in the Dravida style of temple architecture, instead of these sculptures, we can see the sculptures of fierce dvarapalas or door keepers guarding the temple.

·         A large water reservoir or a temple tank enclosed in the complex is general in south Indian temples.

·         Subsidiary shrines are either incorporated within the main temple tower, or located as a distinct, separate small shrine besides the main temple.

·         The north Indian idea of multiple shikharas rising together as a cluster was not popular in dravida style.

·         At some of the most sacred temples in south India, the main temple in which the garbhagriha is situated has, in fact, one of the smallest towers.

·         This is because it is usually the oldest part of the temple.

·         When the population and the size of the town associated with the temple increased, it would have become necessary to make a new boundary wall around the temple (and also associated structures).

·         An example for this is the Srirangam temple at Thiruchirapally, which has as many as seven concentric rectangular enclosure walls, each with gopurams.

·         The outermost is the oldest while the tower right in the centre housing the garbhagriha is the oldest.

Do you know?

Just as the nagara architecture has subdivisions, dravida temples also have subdivisions. These are basically of five different shapes:

a)      Kuta or caturasra – square

b)      Shala or ayatasra – rectangular

c)      Gaja-prishta or vrittayata (elephant backed) –elliptic

d)      Vritta – circular

e)      Ashtasra – octagonal