About the scheme : The main aim of the scheme is to provide universal health care to the poor, needy and vulnerable sections of the country.The scheme provides a health cover of five lakh rupees annually to vulnerable families and aims at benefiting more than ten crore poor families all over the country.

Achievements during last one year: In the last one year, more than 46 lakh beneficiaries have availed cashless treatment under the scheme worth. Around 7,500 crore with 60% of the amount being spent on tertiary care. This has resulted in saving of over 12 thousand crore rupees to the beneficiary families. Currently, 32 States and Union Territories are implementing the scheme and more than 10 crore beneficiary cards have been issued. Over eighteen thousand hospitals are providing services across the country, out of which more than 50 per cent are private hospitals.

Why in News?

Ayushman Bharat – the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana has completed one year of its launch. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the scheme on September 23, 2019 from Ranchi, Jharkhand last year.

Two out of three child deaths due to malnutrition: report

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative finds that: Two-thirds of the 1.04 million deaths in children under five years in India are attributable to malnutrition, according to the first comprehensive estimate of disease burden due to child and maternal malnutrition and the trends of its indicators in every State from 1990. The disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rate attributable to malnutrition in children varies 7-fold among the States and is highest in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Nagaland and Tripura. Overall under-five death rate and the death rate due to malnutrition has decreased substantially from 1990 to 2017, but malnutrition is still the leading risk factor for death in children under five years, and is also the leading risk factor for disease burden for all ages considered together in most States. Low birth weight in India as it is the biggest contributor to child death among all malnutrition indications and its rate of decline is among the lowest. Overweight among a subset of children is becoming a significant public health problem as it is increasing rapidly across all States. India State-Level Disease: Burden Initiative is a joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India, and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Way forward –

▪ An integrated nutrition policy to effectively address the broader determinants of under-nutrition across the life cycle.

▪ Focus will be needed on major determinants like provision of clean drinking water, reducing rates of open defecation

▪ Improving women’s educational status

▪ Reducing material mortality and achieving good maternal health indicators like institutional deliveries.

▪ Universal immunization

▪ Food fortification and other nutritive supplements in anganwadi.

▪ Food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable families

▪ Real time monitoring of Poshan Abhiyan and attaining Kuposhan mukt Bharat.

Cabinet approves ban on e-cigarettes

Context –The Union cabinet has made the manufacture, import, sale, distribution and advertisements of e-cigarettes a cognizable offence.

The Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance, 2019: Upon promulgation of the ordinance, any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of ecigarettes shall be a cognisable offence imprisonment of up to one year, or fine up to rupee 1 lakh, or both for the first offence; and imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to rupee 5 lakh for a subsequent offence. Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of up to rupee 50,000 or both. Owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes on the date of commencement of the ordinance will have to suo motu declare and deposit these with the nearest police station. The sub-inspector has been designated as the authorized officer to take action under the ordinance. The Central or State governments may also designate any other equivalent officer(s) as authorized officer for enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance.

What is E-Cigarette ? E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes

Why has it been banned? Chemicals used in e-cigarettes as solvents are hazardous and could be fatal. E-cigarettes and similar technologies that encourage tobacco are hazardous for an active as well as passive user. Pure nicotine, the main ingredient of ecigarettes, and its chemical derivatives in extracted chemical form are highly addictive and poisonous and have a potential to cause death even in small quantities. E-cigarette sales have risen 77% because of consumption by students.  Vaping increases the risk of children getting addicted to this tobacco substitute. Use of e-cigarettes could have adverse effects on humans, which include DNA damage, carcinogenic, cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity, respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, and adverse impact on foetal development and pregnancy.

Previous measures –The Union Health Ministry had earlier issued an advisory to all States and Union Territories to ensure that Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-shisha, e-nicotine flavored hookah, and devices that enable nicotine delivery are not sold (including online sale), manufactured, distributed, traded, imported and advertised in their jurisdictions.