Insights Daily Current Events, 26 April 2016

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Insights Daily Current Events, 26 April 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

All new mobiles to have panic button from 2017

According to a notification issued recently by the Department of Telecom, “from January 2018, mobile handset manufactures will be able to sell their products in India only if the product has the emergency feature that enables identifying the location through satellite-based GPS.”

  • These rules are called the panic button and Global Positioning System facility in all mobile handsets Rules, 2016. They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

What else is there in the notification?

  • The notification says that effective January 2017, mobile phones without facility of panic button by pressing ‘numeric key – 5’ or ‘numeric key – 9’ to invoke emergency call cannot be sold.
  • Once the panic button is pressed, a signal/call will be made to the nearest security agency. However, the details of how the system will work are yet to be finalised.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Cure for high medicine bills: A generics prescription law

The Central government is considering the introduction of a law to make it mandatory for doctors to prescribe generic drugs so that patients can access affordable medicines provided through state-run Jan Aushadhi stores.

Why a law in this regard is necessary?

It is because doctors usually don’t prescribe generic medicines supplied through Jan Aushadi stores. So patients find it tough to ask for the correct generic equivalents.

  • Also, ex-factory cost of medicines gets marked up multiple times owing to supply chain costs and incentives for medical representatives. But, the Jan Aushadhi stores are able to provide the same drugs at very cheaper prices.

Background:

The Government, in June 2015, had proposed to open 1000 more stores under the ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme’ to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices through these special outlets.

What is Jan Aushadhi Scheme?

It is a scheme which seeks to make available quality medicines at affordable prices for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged.

  • Under this, less priced quality unbranded generic medicines will be made available through Jan Aushadhi stores which inherently are less priced but are of same and equivalent quality, efficacy and safety as compared to branded generic medicines.
  • Under this Scheme, the State Government has to provide space in Government Hospital premises for the running of the outlets (JAS). Government hospitals, NGOs, Charitable Organisations and public societies like Red Cross Society, Rogi Kalyan Samiti typically constituted for the purpose can be operating agencies for the JAS.
  • The operating agency for JAS is nominated on the basis of the recommendations of the State government. Operational expenditure is met from trade margins admissible for the medicines.
  • The State Government has to ensure prescription of unbranded generic medicines by the Government doctors.
  • The Jan Aushadhi Programme is accordingly a self sustaining business model not dependent on government subsidies or assistance. It is run on the principle of “Not for Profits but with Minimal Profits”.

The Jan Aushadhi Campaign will help:

  • Improve access to healthcare in as much as cost of treatment would come down substantially. This would enable the Public Health System to increase the coverage.
  • Secure a socio-economically viable mechanism/institutional arrangement for efficacious sales of Pharma CPSU products, thereby improving their viability.
  • Promote & encourage private industry to sell their quality unbranded generic products through these retail outlets.
  • Educate doctors that unbranded generic medicines provide a better option that branded products since quality of generic medicines can be equally efficacious and safe at much lower prices.
  • Create consumer awareness by involving private, charitable bodies and NGOs by making them part of the campaign.
  • Reduce promotional cost and profits for the benefit of patients.

At present, there are 283 stores in 22 States and Union Territories.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Centre steps in to expedite patent approvals

The government is taking measures to reduce the time to examine patent applications for clearing them at the earliest.

What’s the target?

Now the time is between 5 and 7 years for the first examination of patent applications. The target is to bring it down to 18 months, which is the benchmark in the U.S. for the first examination after the applications are filed.

What is being done to achieve this?

To bring down the examination time, government will be setting a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and an annual benchmark. In addition to the existing strength of 130 examiners of patents and designs, the government recently hired 458 new examiners. An additional 263 examiners will soon be recruited on a contract basis.

Also, online examination has begun to reduce pendency. The government has already hired around 100 new examiners for trademarks. Examination time for trademarks has been reduced from 13 months to 8 months. And the new target is to bring this time down to one month by March 2017.

Present scenario:

The pendency in patent applications and trademark registration as on February 1, 2016 was around 2.37 lakh and 5.44 lakh respectively. One of the main reasons for this situation was shortage of manpower.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Centre’s nod for NIMZ in Medak

The government has granted the final approval to the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) at Zaheerabad in Medak district, Telangana.

  • The estimated total investment by the manufacturing industry by the end of the ultimate phase of the NIMZ’s development is Rs.17,300 crore and the employment generation is about 2.77 lakh.

What are National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs)?

The National Investment & Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) are an important instrumentality of the National manufacturing policy. The NIMZs are envisaged as integrated industrial townships with:

  • State of the art infrastructure.
  • Land use on the basis of zoning.
  • Clean and energy efficient technology.
  • Necessary social infrastructure.
  • Skill development facilities etc.

Aim: NIMZs aim to provide a productive environment for persons transitioning from the primary to the secondary and tertiary sectors.

What the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) says?

The National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) has the objective of enhancing the share of manufacturing in GDP to 25% and creating 100 million jobs over a decade. The NMP provides for promotion of clusters and aggregation, especially through the creation of national investment and manufacturing zones (NIMZ).

The National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) provides for:

  • Relief from Capital Gains Tax on sale of plant and machinery of a unit located in a National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) in case of re-investment of sale consideration within a period of three years for purchase of new plant & machinery in any other unit located in the same NIMZ or another NIMZ.
  • Rollover relief from long term Capital Gains tax to individuals on sale of a residential property (house or plot of land) in case of re-investment of sale consideration in the equity of a new start-up SME company in the manufacturing sector for the purchase of a new plant and machinery.
  • Simple and expeditious exit mechanism for closure of sick units while protecting labour interests.
  • In respect of environmental laws/regulations, inspection by specially trained/designated/notified agencies for third party inspection to supplement the inspection by the Government agencies for compliance monitoring.

Some notable points:

  • NIMZ can be proposed with land area of at least 5000 hectares.
  • Land will be selected by state governments and preference would be given to uncultivable land.
  • NIMZ will be managed by Special Purpose Vehicle, headed by. Govt. officials and experts, including those of environment.
  • To enable NIMZs to function as self governing autonomous bodies, they will be declared by the state government as industrial townships under Article 243 Q (c) of the constitution.
  • NIMZs will be notified by the central government.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Govt. looking to axe 52 out of 200 allowances

The government is planning to scrap 52 of the nearly 200 allowances.

Why?

It is because the Seventh Pay Commission found inadequate the justifications offered by the Ministries for these allowances. Besides recommending that 52 allowances be abolished, the Commission suggested that another 36 be subsumed in an existing allowance or in new allowances it proposed.

Background:

  • The Pay Commission found the entire system of nearly 200 allowances haphazard. Hence, the government was asked to suggest rationalisation of a variety of allowances.
  • The commission found that many allowances were meagre cash payments and have lost significance.
  • Allowances which will be abolished include family planning allowance, cycle allowance to postal officials and the briefcase allowance.

What are allowances?

Allowances are paid to employees — both in civil and defence jobs — over and above the basic pay, either as a percentage of it, or as a specified amount, which usually varies with employees’ “level or status”.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

The eleventh India-Mongolia joint training exercise, ‘Nomadic Elephant-2016’, to promote military associations between the countries has begun at Mongolia. The exercise aims to develop synergy and inter operatability between the armies to battle in counter insurgency and counterterrorism environment under the UN mandate.

Based on the data gathered from 35 noise monitoring systems installed in 9 metro cities, CPCB has named Mumbai as the noisiest city in India. Mumbai is followed by Lucknow, Hyderabad and Delhi. Though the most common source of noise pollution is motor vehicles, the other sources like generator sets, office machines, aircraft, industrial and construction activities too substantially contribute to increasing the noise level in the cities. Noise level beyond the prescribed limits of 55 dB during day and 45 dB during night is considered as noise pollution. CPCB also notes that noise pollution can cause aggression, hypertension, hearing loss, tinnitus and sleep disturbance.