National News-Daily Digest: 3 Key Updates
1. NEET, JEE to be held twice a year
The Joint Entrance Examination (Mains) [JEE-Mains] and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) will now be conducted twice a year instead of just once.
The former determines admission to the National Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Information Technology, etc., and also eligibility to appear for JEE (Advanced) for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology, while the latter decides admissions to all medical colleges except AIIMS and JIPMER, Puducherry.Candidates will be eligible for taking these examinations both times a year and their better score will be considered for admission. The IITs will continue to conduct the JEE (Advanced), however, and this is likely to be held just once a year.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) would take over the conduct of these examinations, taking away a significant burden from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which conducts a host of exams now.
The NTA will start conducting the JEE (Mains), NEET, UGC NET, CMAT and GPAT examinations from this year itself, with all examinations being computer-based, though not online.
2. Govt launches ‘technology challenge’ for solutions to end human intervention in cleaning of sewers
With an aim of eliminating human entry into septic tanks and drains for cleaning, the ministry of housing and urban affairs has launched a ‘technology challenge’ seeking suitable solutions from individuals and NGOs.
For evaluation and scrutiny of the technological solutions submitted by the participants, a jury will be constituted with experts from the MoHUA, faculty from IITs/IIMs and representatives of leading civil society groups.
The proposals will be adopted for evaluation by the jury following broad criteria like the operational effectiveness of the technology, life of machinery, ease of use, Made in India, environmentally sustainable among others.
The ‘technology challenge’ will be conducted for two separate categories – ‘Technological solutions for cleaning and maintenance of sewerage systems that eliminate need for human entry’ and ‘Technological solutions for cleaning and maintenance of septic tanks that eliminate need for human entry’.
3. NITI proposes ‘National Health Stack’ to facilitate healthcare schemes
The NITI Aayog came out with a blueprint of the National Health Stack (NHS), a shared digital healthcare infrastructure, with a view to implement the Centre’s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat and other public healthcare programmes in the country. The NHS is proposed to be the country’s first futuristic nationally shared digital healthcare infrastructure usable by both the Centre and states across public and private sectors.
The NHS will facilitate collection of comprehensive healthcare data across the country.
Subsequent data analysis on NHS will not only allow policy makers to experiment with policies, detect fraud in health insurance, measure outcomes and move towards smart policy making, but also engage market players (NGOs, researchers, watchdog organisations) to innovate and build relevant services and fill the gaps. The NHS will provide foundational components that will be required across ‘Ayushman Bharat’ and other health programmes in India.
It will also provide a mechanism through which every user participating in the system can be uniquely identified. The registrant may create a virtual health ID to preserve their privacy when interacting with other users or stakeholders in the system. The National Health Policy 2017 had also envisaged creation of a digital health technology ecosystem aimed at developing an integrated health information system that serves the needs of all stakeholders. Once implemented, the NHS will significantly bring down the costs of health protection, converge disparate systems to ensure a cashless and seamlessly integrated experience for the poorest beneficiaries, and promote wellness across the population. The NHS proposes to allow states to incorporate horizontal and vertical expansion of scheme, avoid duplication of efforts and enable ease of adoption for those without systems or with dysfunctional systems in place, continue using their own state system while integrating with Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission (RSSM) via Application Programming Interface (APIs), making migration simple in case of states with more advanced systems. The key components of the NHS includes electronic health registries, coverage and claims platform, digital health ID cards, federated personal health records (PHR) framework and the National Health Analytics Framework. The government’s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually and benefit more than 10 crore poor families.