News Crux Bill/Act/Amendment

Free Healthcare Services to All Residents in Rajasthan

On March 21, 2023, the Rajasthan Assembly passed the Right to Health Bill, becoming the first state in India to provide every resident with the right to access free outpatient and inpatient services at all public health facilities.

Features of the Bill include:

  • Access to free healthcare services for state residents, obligations on the state government to ensure right to health and maintain public health, and establishment of Health Authorities at state and district levels
  • Emergency care, stabilization, and referral provided without prepayment of fees or charges by any public health institution or designated health care center
  • Government will reimburse healthcare providers if patients do not pay charges after emergency care
  • Patients cannot be denied or delayed treatment due to police clearances or reports
  • Any establishment violating the Bill or its rules will be fined up to ₹10,000 for first instance and up to ₹20,000 for subsequent contraventions

Current News Science & Technology Space

Evidence of Active Volcano on Earth's Twin

Recently, a new study has found direct geological evidence of recent volcanic activity on Venus (also known as Earth’s twin) for the first time.

  • Researchers analysed archival radar images taken by NASA's Magellan spacecraft between 1990 and 1992 and observed a volcanic vent changing its shape and getting bigger in size in around eight months.
  • The vent is situated on the north side of a domed shield volcano that is part of the larger Maat Mons volcano, in the planet's AtlaRegio area.
  • The change in the vent's shape and size indicated an eruption or flow of magma beneath the vent.
  • The discovery challenges previous assumptions that volcanic activity on Venus might occur thousands of years apart.
  • The new findings take scientists a step further to understand the geological conditions of not just Venus but also other exoplanets.
  • As volcanoes act like windows to provide information about a planet's interior, the discovery provides insight into the planet's interior.
  • In the next decade, three new Venus missions would be launched, including the European EnVision orbiter and NASA's DAVINCI and VERITAS missions.

Exoplanets, also known as extrasolar planets, are planets that orbit stars other than the Sun. They are located outside of our Solar System and were first discovered in the 1990s. Exoplanets vary in size and composition, and some may be similar to Earth in terms of their potential habitability.

News Crux Reports/Committee/Commission

Parliamentary Standing Committee Report on Water Resources

According to a recent report tabled by a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources, groundwater levels in Delhi, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, and 20 other cities dipped by more than 20 meters from 2017 to 2020.

  • The report highlights that 14% of India's groundwater assessment units have been classified as over-exploited, while another 4% fall under the critical category.
  • Faridabad has already become 100% dependent on groundwater use, while Ghaziabad is on the verge of becoming completely reliant on it.
  • According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), the depletion of groundwater in these cities is a result of increasing demand and unsustainable extraction practices.
  • India's total annual extractable groundwater resource until 2020 was 398 billion cubic meters (BCM), out of which 245 BCM was being extracted.
  • The depletion of groundwater resources is a significant concern in India, given that groundwater is the primary source of drinking water for many people and is also crucial for irrigation and industrial uses.
  • Sustainable water management practices, such as rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, and efficient use of water resources, are essential to address the issue of groundwater depletion in India.
  • The government, civil society organizations, and individuals must work together to promote responsible water use and ensure the sustainability of India's groundwater resources.