Insights Daily Current Affairs, 18 January 2018

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 18 January 2018


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

 

Context: NPPA has fixed/revised ceiling prices/retail prices of 33 formulations under Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013.

 

Background:

NPPA fixes ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) 2013. In respect of medicines that are not under price control, manufacturers are allowed to increase the maximum retail price by 10% annually. The calculation for essential drugs is based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1%.

 

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA):

NPPA is an organization of the Government of India which was established, inter alia, to fix/ revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995. The organization is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers. It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.

 

Functions of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority:

  • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
  • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority.
  • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps.
  • To collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations.
  • To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals.
  • To recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government.
  • To render advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy.
  • To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

10th Global Forum for Food & Agriculture

The 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) on the subject “Shaping the Future of Livestock – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently” is being held in Berlin.

 

What is GFFA?

The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference that focuses on central questions concerning the future of the global agri-food industry. It gives representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and civil society an opportunity to share ideas and enhance understanding on a selected topic of current agricultural policy.

 

Significance of the forum:

During the GFFA there will be a Cooperation Market where associations, companies, universities and the BMEL will showcase their activities in the agri-food sector. This – along with the Business Lounge – provides all the GFFA participants with an opportunity to withdraw from the bustle and conduct bilateral talks in a more relaxed atmosphere.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  • The conference is being held in Berlin.
  • This is 10th such conference.
  • It is held during International Green Week (IGW).
  • Theme of this year’s event is “Shaping the future of livestock – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently”.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Budapest Convention on cyber security

Context: Making a strong pitch to sign the Budapest Convention on cyber crime, the Ministry of Home Affairs recently flagged the need for international cooperation to check cyber crime, radicalisation and boost data security.

 

Background:

India was reconsidering its position on becoming a member of the Budapest Convention because of the surge in cyber crime, especially after a push for digital India. The move, however, is being opposed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on the grounds that sharing data with foreign law enforcement agencies infringes on national sovereignty and may jeopardise the rights of individuals.

 

What is Budapest convention?

The Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime or the Budapest Convention, is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations.

It was drawn up by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, with the active participation of the Council of Europe’s observer states Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States. The Convention has 56 members, including the US and the UK.

The Budapest Convention provides for the criminalisation of conduct, ranging from illegal access, data and systems interference to computer-related fraud and child pornography, procedural law tools to make investigation of cybercrime and securing of e-evidence in relation to any crime more effective, and international police and judicial cooperation on cybercrime and e-evidence.

 

Sources: et.

 

 


 

Paper 3:

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Microwaves could be as bad for the environment as cars, suggests new research

 

Context: Researchers at the University of Manchester have carried out the first ever comprehensive study of the environmental impacts of microwaves, considering their whole life cycle, from ‘cradle to grave’.

 

The study found:

  • Microwaves emit 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in the EU. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of 6.8 million cars.
  • Microwaves across the EU consume an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour (TWh) of electricity every year. This is equivalent to the annual electricity generated by three large gas power plants.
  • Efforts to reduce consumption should focus on improving consumer awareness and behaviour to use appliances more efficiently.

 

Background:

The study used life cycle assessment (LCA) to estimate the impacts of microwaves, taking into account their manufacture, use and end-of-life waste management. Altogether, the research team investigated 12 different environmental factors, including climate change, depletion of natural resources and ecological toxicity. Microwaves account for the largest percentage of sales of all type of ovens in the European Union (EU), with numbers set to reach nearly 135 million by 2020.

 

How microwaves affect the environment?

  • The research shows that the main environmental ‘hotspots’ are materials used to manufacture the microwaves, the manufacturing process and end-of-life waste management. For example, the manufacturing process alone contributes more than 20% to depletion of natural resources and to climate change.
  • However, it is electricity consumption by microwaves that has the biggest impact on the environment, taking into account its whole life cycle, from production of fuels to generation of electricity. In total, microwaves across the EU consume an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour (TWh) of electricity every year. The study found that, on average, an individual microwave uses 573 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity over its lifetime of eight years. That is equivalent to the electricity consumed by a 7 watt LED light bulb, left on continuously for almost nine years. This is despite the fact that microwaves spend more than 90% of their lifetime being idle, in the stand-by mode.
  • Waste is another major problem. Due to their relative low cost and ease of manufacture, consumers are throwing more electrical and electronic (EE) equipment away than ever before, including microwaves. ‘Consumers now tend to buy new appliances before the existing ones reach the end of their useful life as electronic goods have become fashionable and ‘status’ items. Another major contributing factor to the waste is a reduced lifespan of microwaves.

 

Way ahead:

Given that microwaves account for the largest percentage of sales of all type of ovens in the EU, it is increasingly important to start addressing their impact on resource use and end-of-life waste. Therefore, efforts to reduce consumption should focus on improving consumer awareness and behaviour to use appliances more efficiently.

Also, existing regulation will not be sufficient to reduce the environmental impacts of microwaves. It is necessary to develop specific regulations for these devices targeting their design. This will help to reduce the amount of resources used to make microwaves and waste generated at the end of their lifetime.

 

Sources: et.


Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

India test-fires nuclear-capable ICBM Agni-V

Agni-5, India’s nuclear capable missile, was recently successfully test fired.

 

Key facts:

  • Agni- 5 is the intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile. It is the latest in India’s “Agni” family of medium to intercontinental range missiles.
  • Agni-5 has a range of over 5,000 km and can carry about a 1,000-kg warhead. It can target almost all of Asia including Pakistan and China and Europe.
  • The 17-metre long Agni-5 Missile weighs about 50 tonnes and is a very agile and modern weapon system.
  • The surface-to-surface missile is a fire-and-forget system that cannot be easily detected as it follows a ballistic trajectory. India describes the Agni – 5 missile system as a ‘weapon of peace’.
  • India has already joined an elite club of nations that possess the ICBM launch capability when the maiden test-firing of Agni-V was successfully conducted in April, 2012. Only the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United States and Britain, along with Israel, have so far possessed such long-range missiles.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: cybersecurity..

Cyber Crime Coordination Centre

Context: The government has set a deadline of February this year to operationalise the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre. The Home Minister had announced the setting up of I4C in 2016 to deal with all types of cyber crime at the national level.

 

About the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre:

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre will be set up under the newly created Cyber and Information Security (CIS) division of the MHA. CIS will have four wings, namely security clearance, cybercrime prevention, cyber security and information security. The I4C will assist in centralising cyber security investigations, prioritise the development of response tools and bring together private companies to contain the menace.

 

Need for surveillance:

Asia is the region most targeted by cyber-attackers, resulting in significant economic losses. As the region continues to play a key role in the global economic market, these cyber threats are expected to increase. Over 460 million people in India currently use the internet, leaving them vulnerable to online criminals – both individuals and organised syndicates.

 

Way ahead:

The government has decided to hire IT experts from premier public and private institutes, including IITs, to help fight new age crimes like online fraud, hacking, identity theft, dark net, trafficking, child pornography, online radicalisation and cyber-terrorism and prepare a roadmap for Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: cybersecurity..

 

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS)

Context: Coimbatore police, as part of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), have launched the facility to serve summons to witnesses through Short Messaging Service (SMS) on mobile phones.

 

Background:

Tamil Nadu state police have successfully implemented the CCTNS mission mode project under National e-Governance programme in all the 1,913 FIR registering units of the Tamil Nadu police.

 

What is CCTNS project?

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level. This will be done through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals”. CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India.

 

What it does?

  • The Project will interconnect about 15000 Police Stations and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country and digitize data related to FIR registration, investigation and charge sheets in all Police Stations.
  • It will not only automate Police functions at Police station and higher levels but will also create facilities and mechanism to provide public services like registration of online complaints, ascertaining the status of case registered at the police station, verification of persons etc.
  • In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was added to the Project.

 

Benefits:

The Full implementation of the Project with all the new components would lead to a Central citizen portal having linkages with State level citizen portals that will provide a number of citizen friendly services like Police Verification for various purposes including passport verification, reporting a crime including cyber-crime and online tracking of the case progress etc.

The project will enable National level crime analytics to be published at increased frequency, which will help the policy makers as well as lawmakers in taking appropriate and timely action, it will also enable Pan-India criminal/accused name search in the regional language for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement. This would lead to development of a national database of crimes and criminals.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

 

Romania to have first female prime minister:

Viorica Dancila has been named as Romania’s first female PM. Ms Dancila is Romania’s third prime minister in seven months.