News: June 24, 2020

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

 

News: 1/7

Health Bodies

India

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

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

 

News: 2/7

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

 

News: 3/7

Northern States Policies And Schemes In Focus

Chhattisgarh

  • Godhan Nyay Yojana: To protect crops from open grazing, prevent straying of animals on roads, procuring cow dung for composting and eco friendly activities

Delhi

  • Electric Vehicle Policy:
    • To boost the city’s economy, reduce pollution levels and generate employment in the transport sector. It also includes incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles.
    • To seek rapid adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) so that they contribute to 25% of all new vehicle registrations by 2024
    • A State EV Fund’, to be created which will be funded through the air ambience fund, levy of additional taxes, cess on inefficient or polluting vehicles
    • Shall remain valid for a period of three years i.e. till 2023

Haryana

  • Parivar Pehchan Patra - PPP is an e-governance initiative that will enable the citizens to get the benefit of various Centre and State government schemes at their door-step in a fair and transparent manner. a separate Citizen Resources Information Department (CRID) has been established to give further momentum to the PPP programme.

Jammu and Kashmir

  • Jammu and Kashmir Grant Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules
    • Individuals who have resided in J&K for 15 years or have studied for seven years or appeared in examinations for class 10th or 12th can be eligible for the grant of a domicile certificate.
    • The eligibility also extends to West Pakistan refugees registered as migrants under the erstwhile state’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.
    • Tehsildar  (Executive Magistrate) can issue domicile certificate in most cases, and Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner can issue certificattes for migrants. 

Madhya Pradesh

  • Satna-Bansagar Multi-Village Rural Water Supply Scheme: To bring treated water from the Bansagar Dam on the Son river to 1,019 villages in six blocks of the districts

Maharashtra

  • Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0 - To draw investment to state
  • BMC-Mpower 1on1 - 24x7 helpline to address mental health concerns of citizens in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic
  • Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) - Non-Profit government company for research, policy advocacy, and training for socio-economic and education development of Maratha and Kunbi community

Punjab

  • Digital Punjab - To create a single interface for all grievances with government

Rajasthan

  • Indira Rasoi Yojana - for providing nutritious food to the poor and needy twice a day at concessional rates

[In News: Latest]

  • July, 20
    • Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday announced a financial aid of ₹8 crore to SARTHI
  • Aug, 20
    • Haryana to link welfare schemes through ‘Parivar Pehchan Patra’
    • Delhi government launches Electric Vehicle Policy

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Research and Technology Information Technology
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/7

Apps And Portals In Focus

Centre

Apps

  • Aarogya Setu 
    • Developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
    • Its self assessment test is based on ICMR guidelines
    • When someone is tested COVID-19 positive, the testing lab shares this information with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR),  the nodal government agency for COVID-19 testing, which then shares it with the Aarogya Setu server.
    • The App screen gives color codes green, yellow, orange, or red after doing risk assessment.
    • Aarogya Setu is not mandatory for air, train travel
  • e-Choupal 4.0 - By ITC Agri, and will provide end-to-end and personalized services to farmers on weather and markets on a real-time basis.
  • SWAYAM - Online portal by UGC, providing free online courses, however fees is required for certificate.
  • KURMA
    • App for turtle conservation. Provides a database for species identification, and location for nearest rescue centre
    • Developed by Indian Turtle Conservation Action Network (ITCAN) in collaboration with the Turtle Survival Alliance-India and Wildlife Conservation Society-India

Portals

  • National Mission on Government e Marketplace (GeM), 2018
    • A dedicated e market, set up by Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It is used for different goods & services procured by Government Organisations / Departments / PSUs.
      • Some States / UTs have signed an MoU to make procurement through GeM mandatory
      • Before GeM, Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) was used for facilitating procurement.
    • Provides online, end to end solution for procurement of commonly used goods and services for all Central Government Departments, State Governments and PSUs
    • "Country of origin" must on products
  • National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)
    • A master database of 21 databases designed to provide real-time information to fight terror and crime to Union Cabinet cleared central agencies
    • Under Ministry of Home Affairs. First conceptualised in 2009, the project aims to go live by December 31, 2020.
    • National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to access the centralised online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles.
  • Aatmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping’ (ASEEM) - to help skilled people find sustainable livelihood opportunities

States

  • Delhi
    • Assess Koro na - Collecting data with a door to door survey done by Delhi government. It is done through BLO (Booth Level Officer), municipal corporation workers, ASHA workers, and ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife)
    • Rozgaar Bazaar - focusses on those who lost their jobs and businesses during pandemic
  • Maharashtra
    • Mahajobs - job portal

[In News: Latest]

  • Delhi launches Rozgaar Bazaar for helping those who lost jobs in pandemic

Sub: Economics
Topic: Banking, Finance and Tax System Finance and Banking - India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/7

Securities And Exchange Board Of India

Securities and Exchange Board of India [SEBI]

Statutory body set up in 1992 under Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 for protecting interests of investors in securities and to promote the development of, and to regulate the securities market 

The SEBI has three main powers:

  1. Quasi-Judicial: SEBI has the authority to deliver judgements related to fraud and other unethical practices in terms of the securities market.
  2. Quasi-Executive: SEBI is empowered to implement the regulations and judgements made and to take legal action against the violators. It is also authorised to inspect Books of accounts and other documents if it comes across any violation of the regulations.
  3. Quasi-Legislative: SEBI reserves the right to frame rules and regulations to protect the interests of the investors. Some of its regulations consist of insider trading regulations, listing obligation, and disclosure requirements. These have been formulated to keep malpractices at bay.

Initiatives in focus

  • SEBI has relaxed pricing methodology for preferential issues by listed companies having stressed assets and has exempted allottees of preferential issues from open offer obligations.
    • Stressed asset - Any listed company which has defaulted on payments for a period of atleast 90 days
    • Preferential issues - Preferential issues involves bulk allotment of fresh issue of shares by a company to individuals, venture capitalists and companies at a pre-determined price.
      • Normally the pricing of a preferential allotment cannot be less than the average of weekly high and low of 26 weeks and average of weekly high and low for two weeks preceding the relevant date. 
      • SEBI has relaxed this duration to 2 weeks for listed companies with stressed assets
    • open offer - In an open offer, a shareholder is allowed to purchase stock at a price that is lower than the current market price

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

 

News: 6/7

Health Acts And Initiatives In India

Acts

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

Sub: Economics
Topic: Banking, Finance and Tax System Finance and Banking - India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 7/7

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

Autonomous statutory body, constituted under Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. IRDA is tasked with regulating and promoting insurance in country. It is a 10-member body - chairman, five full-time and four part-time members 

Initiatives in focus

  • IRDAI allows insurers to offer short-term (3 to 11 month) COVID-19 health cover.
  • Allowed insurers to provide a three- month moratorium (June to August) on repayment of term insurance loans issued by them.

Insurance

Arogya Sanjeevani (AS)

  • Arogya Sanjeevani policy is a standard health insurance policy for individuals and families that provides coverage for basic hospitalisation-related expenses
  • At present, the Arogya Sanjeevani Policy comes with a basic health cover of minimum sum insured of Rs 1 lakh and maximum sum insured of Rs 5 lakh
  • IRDAI has allowed insurers to offer standard health policy as a group policy under the same name "Arogya Sanjeevani"

Corona Kavach

  • Corona Kavach Policy will be available on an individual and family floater basis
  • The minimum sum insured under the Corona Kavach Policy will be ₹50,000 and the maximum sum insured will be ₹5 lakh
  • The standard Corona Kavach policy will cover hospitalisation expenses on diagnosis of Covid; and an optional cover of daily cash on benefit basis.
  • The policy will cover the cost of treatment incurred by the insured person on availing treatment at home for Covid on positive diagnosis up to 14 days per incident
  • The policy will be available for three and half months (3 ½ months),six and half months (6 ½ months), nine and half months (9 ½ months) including the waiting period
  • Corona Kavach policy can be availed by persons between the age of 18 to 65 years

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