COVID & Related Facts (DTE 1 - 15 July 2019)

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Drug – Reality Check!

  • A brutal fight to corner the successful outcome of research.
  • Use of money power to grab the first rights to promising vaccines and therapies.
  • Drug firms are leading the race for COVID-19 drugs,
  • The vaccine works or not only will the future tell.
  • The hype has helped a few company officials to make as much as $ 29 million in stock sales.

COVID-19 and the Rising Poverty in India

  • Economic damage wrought by the pandemic.
  • This pandemic is also a humanitarian crisis.
  • Poverty will grow and the inequality will worsen.
  • A transfer of at least ₹ 750 per person a month for six months.
  • Around 400 million workers from informal sector in India are likely to be pushed deeper into poverty due to COVID-19.
  • Shocking increase in the poverty level by more than double in 27 of the 35 studied states and UTs.
  • Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh account for over 50 % of the newly added 354 million poor.
    • In UP alone 71 million people are likely to be pushed into poverty because of COVID-19 shock.
  • MPCE Analysis:
    • Monthly per Capita Expenditure.
    • Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
    • If the Union govt. makes a direct benefit transfer (DBT) of ₹ 312 per person per month to its poor.
    • Most people in most states can return to Pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • NSSO report 2011 - 12 (2017 - 18) :
    • Pending for release.
    • 21.9 % of the country՚s population or about 270 million people were estimated to be living below the poverty line.
COVID-19 and Extreme Poverty

Source: UNCTAD

Basic Guaranteed Income During Covid-19

  • MIG or Minimum Income Guarantee.
  • To protect the poor՚s.
  • A minimum standard of living for the country՚s poor is under threat.
  • Social conflicts are further expected to rise.
  • Financial Year 2021:
    • The economy goes into a recession.
    • India՚s unemployment situation will worsen.
    • Unemployment situation was 30 million or 6.1 % of the country՚s labour force in 2017 - 18.
    • The unemployment is further expected to rise by 40 to 50 million.
  • Standard Workers Action Network (SWAN) Survey:
  • During the first 21 days of the lockdown.
  • Cash transfer or free food grain supply through PDS hardly reached anyone.
  • 98 % of the 11,000 migrant workers surveyed they received nothing.

Housing for a Crisis

  • The liability of structures built under govt. housing schemes.
  • State governments like in Odisha and Delhi had to request landlords to waive off or defer rent.
  • This pandemic showed that there was a need of not just state-run housing schemes but also of more affordable rental housing schemes.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Urban (PMAY-U) :
    • Launched in 2015.
    • To provide houses to all by 2022.
    • doesn՚t focus on rental housing.
    • Only after witnessing the distress of the labourers and their sheer numbers in the cities.
  • Rental housing is generally not lucrative to the private sector.
    • It requires innovative financing mechanisms or a strong push from the govt. in terms of incentives to pull market interest.

Draft National Urban Rental Housing Policy (NURHP)

  • To address the financing challenges.
  • Suggests various models to improve the segment՚s economic feasibility like the rent to own scheme.
  • The beneficiary gets a housing unit on a lease for a fixed duration.
  • The beneficiary pays a monthly instalment containing a certain percentage of rent and the rest as thrift.
  • The house gets registered in the beneficiary՚s name when the amount paid reaches a certain percentage (around 10 % or as decided) .
  • Upon 100 % payment there is full ownership.
  • The tenants feel secure as the landlord acts as the govt. and there is no obligation to but the unit.
  • Chandigarh has implemented a rent-to-own scheme.
  • Andhra Pradesh is attempting to promote one.
  • In Odisha the government has built dormitories for migrant workers using funds collected as labour cess.
  • In Ahmedabad public transport connectivity and proxime livelihood opportunities have been internalised in the master plan.
Demand Trigger

Source: Report of the Technical Group on Urban Housing Shortage (TG-12) (2012 - 17) , Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

The National Building Code of India (NBC)

  • A comprehensive building Code.
  • The Code was first published in 1970.
  • At the instance of Planning Commission and then first revised in 1983.
  • A national instrument providing guidelines for regulating the building construction activities.
  • A Model Code for adoption by all agencies involved in building construction works by the PWD including other government construction departments and local bodies or private construction agencies.
  • This code mainly contains:
    • Administrative regulations
    • Development control rules
    • General building requirements
    • Fire safety requirements
    • Stipulations regarding materials
    • Structural design and construction (including safety)
    • Building and plumbing services
    • Approach to sustainability
    • Asset and facility management
  • Three major amendments were issued to the 1983 version:
    • Two in 1987 and the third in 1997
    • The second revision of the Code was in 2005
    • To which two amendments were issued in 2015

Eco-Niwas Samhita

  • The energy conservation building codes for residential structures.
  • Code was launched on the occasion of National Energy Conservation Day 2018.
  • Celebrated every year on 14th of December by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) .
  • Addresses only energy efficiency of buildings.
  • The code focuses on:
    • Building envelope
    • Mechanical systems and equipment including heating ventilating Air conditioning (HVAC) system
    • Interior and exterior lighting systems
    • Electrical system and renewable energy

Benefits

  • To benefit the occupants and the environment.
  • By promoting energy efficiency in design and construction of homes, apartments and townships.
  • Potential for energy savings to the tune of 125 Billion Units of electricity per year by 2030.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

  • A statutory body under Ministry of Power.
  • Was setup in 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001?
  • To implement policy and programmes in the area of energy efficiency and conservation.

Flaws & What Needs to be Done

  • 76.2 % of the 7,953 Census towns in India don՚t have a master plan.
  • Lack of mechanisms to ensure essential services.
  • Centralized services like sewage treatment bear a risk of spreading the disease.
  • Unscientific disposal of solid waste especially bio-medical waste may exacerbate the situation.
  • Green spaces are diminishing and the design and the material choice of the buildings are unsuited to the climate zone.
  • There is a need to start using designs and materials suitable to the climate zone.
  • As per the Scientific Community, structures that bring in adequate sunlight, wind and humidity reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus by not allowing it to sustain and thus thermal comfort becomes important.
  • Thermal Comfort as per the National Building Code is identified by:
    • Temperature
    • Ventilation
    • Relative Humidity
    • Daylight analysis showed that the day-lit area is 47 % of the total living area.
    • The other buildings are not shading the structure.
    • The day-lit area is only 15 % where the buildings are mutually shading each other.
  • The criteria for thermal comfort needs to be established in respective climate zones for different building typologies.
  • Cities and towns should be allowed to ensure that the distance and cost of daily-commute of lower-income population is at a minimum.
  • Site layouts need to be designed in a way to accommodate the services.

Lesson from the Pandemic

  • The Spanish flu of 1918 - 19 convinced humans that pandemics were not meteorological events or god՚s curse.
  • This lead to the recognition of the virus and development of anti-viral treatments and vaccine.
  • Then H1N1 outbreak of 2009 made us realized that such events are going to be frequent and wider in impact.
  • For the first time the provisions of the 2005 International Health Regulation (IHR) were activated.
  • The recent pandemic has made us realize that we are relatively powerless as a people operating the world՚s largest democracy.
  • Four distinct phases of public-govt. interface and resultant changes in policies:
    • A hesitant way of recognizing the threat.
    • A stringent crackdown on people to keep them indoors (law and order condition) .
    • Claims of a grand plan/strategy to medically approach the crisis.
    • Leaving it to the others.
  • The declining health expenditure has directly resulted in a feeble and inadequate public health infrastructure.
  • Growing inequality and in terms of employment and wealth distribution.
  • We as a society have failed to build pressure on the governments to result in any tangible policy change.

Auditing Our Homes

  • Being stuck indoors due to COVID-19.
  • Utilising the time to better manage the resources within the house itself.
  • Looking forward to the online classes.
  • The energy consumption in India plummeted by 26 % within just the first 10 days of the lockdown in March 2020.
  • Saving as much household consuming as much energy as possible.
  • Separating dry and wet wastes into different dustbins.
  • Making sure whether the beloved family car has all the essential certifications like Pollution under Control and Road Worthiness Certificates.
  • Keeping a check on carbon emissions.

GSP@Home

  • The Green Schools Programme՚s (GSP՚s) Audit@Home.
  • A fun survey for households.
  • To monitor and improve the management of resources within the house.
  • Improving the aspects of our homes:
  • Energy consumption pattern to waste management.
  • Water usage to air quality around the house.
  • Carbon emissions to the wastage being done inadvertently.

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