News: June 22, 2020

Sub: Society
Topic: Human Development Health
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 1/9

Health Bodies


Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) 

  • CDSCO is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India, governed by Drugs & Cosmetics Act,1940
  • CDSCO is headed by Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) , and functions under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
  • Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, CDSCO is responsible for approval of Drugs, Conduct of Clinical Trials, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs in the country and coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organizations
    • Drug approval is done in consultation with CDSCO's Subject Expert Committee (SEC). SEC consists of 8 experts approved by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
    • Medical deviced regulation is done DCGI; and registration and import is done by CDSCO's Medical Device & Diagnostics Division
    • Clinical trials
      • The first phase, usually conducted on a small group of individuals, tries to find what dosage of the vaccine is safe for use, whether it is effective in building their immunity to the virus and whether there are any side effects.
      • The second phase is conducted on a larger group comprising hundreds of persons fitting the description of those for whom the vaccine is intended using characteristics like age and sex. 
      • The third phase is conducted on thousands of patients.
      • After approval, the firm has to monitor the use of vaccine
  • To regulate imported drugs as authority, the CDSCO works with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board and the Drugs Consultative Committee, while the Central Drugs Laboratory undertakes testing of such drugs.
  • CDSCO along with state regulators is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera.
  • CDSCO also regulates notified medical devices as per Medical Devices (Amendment) Rules, 2020. 

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

  • ICMR is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research
  • ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • ICMR institutes in focus
    • National Institute of Medical Statistics (NIMS), New Delhi
      • NIMS provides technical expertise on research methodology, programme evaluation, mathematical modelling, data analysis, etc
      • India’s only institute to coordinate and standardize the collection of medical and health statistics in the country
      • Clinical Trials Registry (CTRI) - a free and online public record system for registration of clinical trials being conducted in India

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) 

  • NPPA was constituted by a resolution in 1997 as an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers
  • Has the power to regulate its own procedures for performing functions entrusted to it.
  • NPPA acts as an independent Regulator for pricing of drugs (under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order) and ensures availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
  • Collect and maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc. for bulk drugs and formulations


World Health Organization (WHO)

  • WHO is is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established in 1948, with headquarters in Geneva
  • World Health Assembly (WHA) is the decision-making body of WHO.
  • WHA is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the 34 member Executive Board. India was elected to chair this board in 2020
  • In Focus
    • WHO acknowledges of emerging evidence of airborne spread of novel corona virus. Currently WHO's guidance on COVID-19 spread is limited to droplet transmission
      • Droplet transmission: It occurs when a person is within 1 metre of the infector, who coughs or sneezes. Such droplets are 5µm-10µm and so fall under gravity
      • Airborne transmission: It refers to transmission through aerosols (small droplets <5µm) which can linger in air for longer periods and so transmit over distances greater than 1 metre.
    • US officially notified WHO of its intention to withdraw membership. It previously halted WHO's funding

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • CDSCO - Drug approvals
    • Glenmark's Favipiravir trial data by CTRI
    • Illegal disinfectant seize
  • July, 20
    • NAPA requested to ensure availability of critical medical equipment
    • WHO on Tuesday said there is evidence emerging of the airborne spread of the coronavirus, after over 230 scientists across the world urged the global body to update its guidance.

Sub: International Relations
Topic: Internal Security Operations and Initiatives
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 2/9

Rescue operations in focus

Government Initiatives

  • Vande Bharat Mission (VBM)
    • Under this mission, Ministry of Civil Aviation is coordinating with Ministry of External Affairs and state Governments for bringing Indians back to their homeland
    • Priority will be given to those facing medical emergencies, death in family, pregnant women, elderly, students, deportees, laid off workers and stranded tourists.
    • Passengers need to bear fare and register with Indian embassies. They will also have to take an undertaking to undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days on arrival in India at their own cost 
    • Air India flights were used in first phase, and private flights were started from fourth phase

India Navy Initiatives

  • Operation Samudra Setu - to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas using INS Jalashwa, Magar, and Airavat

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • INS Jalashwa set sail for colombo
    • INS Airavat set sail from Male in the Maldives


Sub: Geography
Topic: Environment Ecosystem Biodiversity
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 3/9

Species in focus

Animal Species 

  • Asiatic lion
    • IUCN status: Endangered
    • Found in Saurashtra region
    • There number have risen to 674
  • Common Leopard / Panthera pardus 
    • IUCN status: Near Threatened
    • Found in India near shivaliks, Egypt
  • Gangetic river dolphin
    • IUCN status: Endangered
    • Listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife (Protection), Act, 1972
    • India's national Aquatic Animal
    • It is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra, in fresh waters. The dolphin uses echolocation as they are effectively blind.
  • Gee's golden langur
    • IUCN status: Endangered
    • Found only in Assam and Bhutan
  • Golden birdwing butterfly
    • IUCN status: Least Concern
    • endemic to himalayan region, China, South Asia
    • Became largest butterfly in India in 2020, breaking 88 year old record
  • Indian Gaur / Indian Bison
    • IUCN status: Vulnerable
    • Native to South and Southeast Asia,
    • Found in evergreen forests or semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests
  • Indian Pangolin
    • IUCN status: Endangered
    • Of the eight extant species of pangolin, the Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata and Chinese Pangolin M. pentadactyla are found in India.
  • Indian rhinoceros /  Greater one-horned rhinos
    • IUCN status: Vulnerable, CITES appendix I
    • Found only in South Asia and South East Asia
      • Of the 2000 rhinos living, 1800 are in two places; Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India and Chitwan National Park, Nepal
    • Indian Rhino Mission 2020: Started in 2005 by Assam government, International Rhino Foundation, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Bodoland Territorial Council to attain the rhino population of at least 3000 in seven protected areas of Assam by the year 2020
  • Pashmina goat / Changthangi
    • Found in Tibet, Burma, Ladakh
    • Reared by nomadic communities called the Changpa in the Changthang region of Greater Ladakh
  • Tibetan antelope / Chiru Goat
    • IUCN status: Near Threatened 
    • They are hunted for their fur - shahtoosh

Plant Species

  • Globbaandersonii / "Dancing ladies"
    • IUCN status: Critically endangered
    • Usually grows in a dense colony as a lithophyte (plant growing on a bare rock or stone) on rocky slopes in the outskirts of evergreen forests

[In News: Latest]

  • July, 20
    • A Himalayan butterfly named golden birdwing is now India’s largest butterfly
    • Assam floods
  • Aug, 20
    • Gang smuggling pangolin scales arrested
    • Leopard poaching by a study by TRAFFIC is highest in Uttarakhand, Maharashtra

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 4/9

Representation of The People Act

Articles 81 and 170 of the Constitution of India lay down the maximum number of seats in Parliament and in Legislative Assemblies. Article 171 lays down minimum and maximum number of seats in Legislative Council. Actual allocation of seats was left for a law.

So, Representation of the People Act, 1950, was enacted to provide for the allocation of seats. The Act contained provisions relating to elections, seat allocation, and delimitation of constituencies.


[In news]

  • Section 94 of the Representation of the People Act, which upholds the privilege of the voter to maintain confidentiality about her choice of vote

Sub: Politics
Topic: Governance Policies and Welfare schemes
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 5/9

Relief Funds

Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund)

  • Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund; and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
  • Prime Minister can also nominate three trustees to the Board of Trustees who shall serve in pro bono capacity
  • Donation to fund will qualify for 80G benefits for 100% under Income Tax. It will also qualify for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure. The fund will also get exemption from FCRA
  • PM CARES Fund is not a "public authority", so it is outside the gambit of RTI
    • Public Authority means any body constituted - under Constitution, or by law made by Parliament or state legislature, or by notification issued by government.
  • PM CARES, does not have a publicly available income and expenditure profile yet.
  • The Fund will be privately audited by an independent auditor.


Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) 

  • Supported entirely with public contributions and does not get any budgetary support.
  • Since 1985, the management of the fund is entrusted entirely with the prime minister
  • The Prime Minister has the sole discretion of appointing a secretary to manage the fund assisted by a joint-secretary and an officer of the rank of director, all on an honorary basis.
  • Donation to fund will qualify for 80G benefits for 100% under Income Tax. It will also qualify for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure. The fund will also get exemption from FCRA
  • The resources of the PMNRF are utilized to provide assistance to persons affected by calamities 

[In News]

  • PM CARES Fund Trust has allocated 2,000 crore for the supply of 50,000 "Made-in-India" ventilators
  • Allegations on Congress diverting funds from PMNRF

Sub: Geography
Topic: India Physical Setiings Resources
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 6/9

Water Resource Management Initiatives

National Mission for Clean Ganga / Namami Gange, 2014

  • Under Department of Water Resources,River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti
  • Its implementation has been divided into Entry-Level Activities (for immediate visible impact), Medium-Term Activities (to be implemented within 5 years of time frame) and Long-Term Activities (to be implemented within 10 years).
  • Ganga Gram - To develop model villages on banks of ganga. Focus to be on ODF, waster management, water conservation, tourism, etc.
  • UNDP to be executive agency for rural sanitation programme.

Jal Jivan Mission (JJM)

  • JJM, with moto  'Har Ghar Jal', aims to provide tap water to every rural household through Freshwater Household Tap Connection (FHTC) by 2024.
  • It is administered by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, under Ministry of Jal Shakti 

Manipur Water Supply Project

  • The mission aims to provide FHTCs, giving clean drinking water to Greater Imphal and 1,700 villages in Manipur
  • The project is funded by the Central Government under 'Jal Jeevan Mission', with loan from New Development Bank 

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • Ministry of Jal Shakti wants control of finance panel’s panchayat grants for water
    • Returning labourers may be deployed for Jal Jeevan Mission
  • July, 20
    • World Bank has approved a five-year loan to the Namami Gange project worth ₹3,000 crore
    • Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation of the Manipur Water Supply Project via video conferencing

Sub: History
Topic: Art & Culture Language, Religion, and Culture
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 7/9

Styles of temple architecture

Nagara style / North Indian temple style

From fifth century A.D. onwards, a distinct style of temple architecture developed in the northern part of India, known as the Nagara style of architecture. Some of the features of Nagara style are:

  • The temples generally followed the Panchayatan style of temple making, which consisted of subsidiary shrines laid out in a crucified ground plan with respect to the principal shrine
  • Presence of assembly halls or mandaps in front of the principal shrine. There were no water tanks or reservoirs present in the temple premises
  • The temples were generally built on upraised platforms. The ambulatory passageway or the pradakshina path around the sanctum sanctorum was covered.
  • The entrance would usually have sculptures of mithunas and the river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna
  • Generally, the temple premises did not have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
  • While the earliest temples had just one tower, or shikhara, later temples had several. The garbhagriha is always located directly under the tallest tower.
  • There are many subdivisions of nagara temples depending on the shape of the shikhara:
    • Latina or rekha-prasad: Square at the base and whose walls curve or slope inward to a point on top is called the 'latina'
    • Phamsana: Phamsana buildings tend to be broader and shorter than latina ones. Their roofs are composed of several slabs that gently rise to a single point over the centre of the building, unlike the latina ones which look like sharply rising tall towers. Phamsana roofs do not curve inward, instead they slope upwards on a straight incline.
    • Valabhi: These are rectangular buildings with a roof that rises into a vaulted chamber.

Under Nagara school , following three schools emerged

  1. Odisha School
    • The exterior walls were lavishly decorated with intricate carvings, but interior walls were plain.
    • There was no use of pillars in the porch. Iron girders were used instead to support the roof.
    • The shikharas in the Odisha school were known as rekhadeuls
    • The mandap was known as jagmohan
    • Temples were surrounded by a boundary wall as in Dravidian style of temple architecture.
  2. Khajuraho school
  3. Solanki school / Maru-Gurjara
    • Developed during 11-13th century in western India
    • The influence of the woodcarving tradition of Gujarat is evident in the lavish carving and sculpture work. However, the walls of the central small shrine are devoid of carving and are left plain
    • The temple were east facing, and had step water tank, known as surya-kund nearby.
    • Eg: Modhera Sun temple

Gurjara-Pratihara style

  • Gurjara/Pratihara dynasty was an imperial power in west and north India 8th to the 11th century.
  • Somnath Temple, Naresaar and Batesar group of temple, Baroli group of temples were some fine examples of Parithara style
  • The Nagara style received a big boost under their rule, and later temples adopted their ornamentation style and rafter end designs. In some cases false balconies were created to give double storey effect.

Dravidan style / South Indian temple style

  • Unlike the nagara temple, the dravida temple is enclosed within a compound wall. The front wall has an entrance gateway in its centre, which is known as a gopuram.
  • The shape of the main temple tower known as vimana in Tamil Nadu is like a stepped pyramid that rises up geometrically rather than the curving shikhara of North India.
  • In the South Indian temple, the word ‘shikhara’ is used only for the crowning element at the top of the temple which is usually shaped like a small stupika or an octagonal cupola - this is equivalent to the amlak and kalasha of North Indian temples.
  • Entrances have sculptures of dvarapalas or the door-keeper. It is common to find a large water reservoir, or a temple tank
  • Kerala style / Chera style: Very large temples are rare, and sloping roofs with projecting eaves dominate the outline, often arranged in a number of tiers, to fend off heavy monsoon in region

Vesara style / Karnataka school of architecture

Vesara style was conceptualised under the later Chalukya rulers in the mid-seventh century A.D. It combined features of both Nagara school and Dravidian school and resulted in a hybridized style

  • Emphasis on vimana and mandapa
  • Open ambulatory passageway
  • The pillars, doorways and the ceilings were decorated with intricate carvings.

Three prominent dynasties who made Vesara style temples are:

  • Chalukyas - temples in Badami and Kalyani
    • Present Somnath temple is built in Chalukya style
  • Rashtrakutas - Kailashnath temple in Ellora, etc
  • Hoysala Dynasty - temples at Halebid, Belur etc.

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • Puri Jagannath temple
    • Somnath temple
  • July, 20
    • Padmanabha Swamy temple, Kerala - Supreme court ruling over authority of temple trust. (Temple was built in Chera style and dravidan style)
    • Stolen sculpture of Shiva (Natesa), a rare sandstone idol in the 9th century Prathihara style of Rajasthan is being returned to India by UK

Sub: History
Topic: Art & Culture Language, Religion, and Culture
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 8/9

Fairs And Festivals In Focus

North East

  • Ambubachi Mela - An annual Hindu mela held at Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam, celebrating early menstruation course of goddess Kamakhya


  • Eid-ul-Zuha
    • Eid-ul-Zuha, the Festival of Sacrifice (Bakrid), is one of the two major festivals of Muslims. It falls in the month of Zilhaj, the last month of Islamic calendar
    • It is during this period Muslims around the world undertake the annual Haj pilgrimage to the holy cities of Makkah and Madina
    • It is on this day the Haj pilgrims gather at the mountain plain of Arafah, praying and supplication to their Allah. Arafah is the day on which Allah perfected Islam as a way of life and completed his favours upon Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Kamakhya Temple stays shut during pandemic
  • Aug, 20
    • Haj pilgrimage from July, 29

Sub: Society
Topic: Human Development Health
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 9/9

Health Acts And Initiatives In India


National Health Mission, 2013

  • NHM, under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, envisages achievement of universal access to equitable, affordable & quality health care services that are accountable and responsive to people’s needs
  • National Rural Health Mission, 2005 (NRHM)
    • Key Objectives
      • Access to integrated comprehensive primary health care.
      • Reduction in child and maternal mortality
      • Revitalize local health traditions & mainstream AYUSH.
  • National Urban Health Mission, 2013 (NUHM)
    • Providing essential primary health care to urban poor.
    • Every Municipal Corporation, Municipality, Notified Area Committee, and Town Panchayat will become a unit of planning with its own approved broad norms for setting up of health facilities.
    • The separate plans for Notified Area Committees, Town Panchayats and Municipalities will be part of the District Health Action Plan drawn up for sub-mission NUHM.  
    • The centre-state funding pattern will be 75:25 for all the States; and 90:10 for North Eastern states, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
  • Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) - Online portal for reporting epidemic prone diseases through trained Rapid Response Team (RRTs).

Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (DCA)

  • Mandates that every drug stocked or sold in India must be sold under a license
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers (gel) and hand rubs (liquid) (ABHR) are required to be licensed under DCA
  • Disinfectant which is used to disinfect only medical equipments, comes under the category of Disinfectant, as per Medical Devices Rules, 2017
  • DCA does not have any specific regulatory provisions for conduct of trials for Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, and Homeopathy drugs.

Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954

  • Act to control the advertisement of drugs in certain cases, to prohibit the advertisement for certain purposes of remedies alleged to possess magic qualities
  • Penalty - In case of first conviction imprisonment upto six months, or fine, or both

National Medical Commission Act 2019

The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and dissolves the current Medical Council of India. It provides for a medical education system to ensure availability of high quality of medical professionals, adoption of latest medical research, a grievance redressal system, and periodic assessment of medical institutions.

  • The Bill sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC).  
  • Composition - NMC to consist of 25 nominated members. NMC to include diverse stakeholders such as public health experts, social scientists, and health economists. 
  • Within three years of the passage of the Bill, state governments will establish State Medical Councils at the state level.  The NMC will consist of 25 members, appointed by the central government.
  • Under the Bill, the central government will constitute a Medical Advisory Council.
  • The Bill sets up autonomous boards under the supervision of the NMC.  Each autonomous board will consist of a President and four members, appointed by the central government.  These boards are:
    • Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB), Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB) - responsible for formulating standards, curriculum, guidelines for medical education, and granting recognition to medical qualifications at the under-graduate and post-graduate levels respectively. 
    • Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB) - The Board will have the power to levy monetary penalties on institutions which fail to maintain the minimum standards as laid down by the UGMEB and the PGMEB. It will also grant permissions for establishing new medical colleges, starting postgraduate courses, and increasing the number of seats in a medical college. 
    • Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EARB) - This Board will maintain a National Register of all the licensed medical practitioners in the country, and also regulate professional and medical conduct.  Only those included in the Register will be allowed to practice as doctors.  The Board will also maintain a register of all licensed community health providers in the country. 
  • There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to under-graduate and post-graduate super-speciality medical education in all medical institutions regulated under the Bill.
  • The Bill proposes a common final year undergraduate examination called the National Exit Test for the students graduating from medical institutions to obtain the license for practice.

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • Drug approvals
  • July, 20
    • IDSP reports sharp fall in reporting of Non-COVID diseases
    • IDSP - In India, 60% of COVID-19 patients had at least one co-morbidity and nearly 78% were under 50


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