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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 28 September 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

2. NPPA caps price of Liquid Medical Oxygen and Medical Oxygen cylinders.

3. Sweet sellers need to display ‘best before date’ from 1 October, orders FSSAI.

4. Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP).

 

GS Paper 2:

1. The 3 Farmers Bills And The Controversies Surrounding them.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. World Tourism Day.

2. SAATHI Application.

3. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize.

4. Places in News- Nagorno-Karabakh region.

5. Sandalwood Spike Disease.

6. Radio Patshala.

7. Punjab government appoints nodal officers to curb stubble burning.

8. Haiyang- 2C.

9. ‘Health in India’ Survey.

10. FSSAI Bans Mixing Of Edible Oils In Mustard Oil.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC):


Context:

NCDC has sanctioned as first instalment, funds amounting to Rs 19444 crores to the states of Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Telangana for Kharif paddy procurement under Minimum Support Price (MSP) operations.

About NCDC:

It is a statutory corporation set up under the National Cooperative Development Corporation Act, 1962.

The objectives of NCDC are planning and promoting programmes for production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, foodstuffs, industrial goods, livestock and certain other notified commodities and services on cooperative principles.

  • NCDC is a major financial institution for cooperatives, and has started Mission Sahakar 22, which aims to double farmers’ income by 2022.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NCDC.
  2. What is MSP?
  3. Who announces MSP?
  4. Role of Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) in deciding MSP.
  5. Products covered under MSP.
  6. Is there any statutory backing for the announcement of MSPs.
  7. MSP for sugarcane.

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of NCDC.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

NPPA caps price of Liquid Medical Oxygen and Medical Oxygen cylinders:


Context:

To ensure availability of medical oxygen in the country at a reasonable price amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the national drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the price of medical oxygen cylinders and liquid medical oxygen for six months.

Related provisions:

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare delegated powers under Section 10(2) (l) of Disaster Management Act, 2005 to NPPA to take all necessary steps to immediately regulate the availability and pricing of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and medical oxygen cylinders.

  • Oxygen Inhalation (Medicinal Gas) is a scheduled formulation, covered under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).

About the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM:

Under the provisions of Drug Prices Control Order, 2013, only the prices of drugs that figure in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) are monitored and controlled by the regulator, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.

  • Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of the majority of the population.
  • The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e. cost, safety and efficacy.

Paragraph 19 of the DPCO, 2013, deals with increase or decrease in drug prices under extraordinary circumstances. However, there is neither a precedent nor any formula prescribed for upward revision of ceiling prices.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NPPA- functions.
  2. What is NLEM? Who maintains the list?
  3. What is the Drug Price Control Order?
  4. Section 10(2) (l) of Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Mains Link:

What is the National List of Essential Medicines? What is its significance? Discuss.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Sweet sellers need to display ‘best before date’ from 1 October, orders FSSAI:


Context:

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has released guidelines on sale of loose sweets.

As per the new guidelines:

  • In case of non-packaged/ loose sweets, the container/tray holding sweets at the outlet for sale should display the ‘Best Before Date’ of the product mandatorily with effect from October 1, 2020.
  • The food business operators (FBOs) might also display the date of manufacturing. It is not mandatory however.
  • The FBOs shall decide and display the ‘Best Before Date’ of sweets depending on the nature of the products and the local conditions.
  • Food safety commissioners should ensure compliance.

Significance:

The decision was based on various complaints about the quality and adulteration of sweets, mostly during festive season.

  • This regulation will help to ensure that the consumers are purchasing fresh products.

About the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):

It is an autonomous statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act).

  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the administrative Ministry of FSSAI.

FSS Act, 2006 consolidates various acts & orders that had earlier handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments, such as–

  • Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
  • Fruit Products Order, 1955
  • Meat Food Products Order, 1973
  • Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
  • Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order 1988
  • Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992

fssai

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About FSSAI.
  2. Administrative Ministry.
  3. Functions of FSSAI.
  4. Overview of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act).

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP):


Context:

The Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Health Care has expressed disappointment over the recent reply of Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Sadanada Gowda, in Parliament that there is no decision yet to make the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) mandatory.

What’s the demand now?

The alliance has said that UCPMP should be made mandatory to bring fairness in marketing of the drugs as the industry has failed to comply with the code on a voluntary basis.

What is UCPMP Code?

It is a voluntary code issued by the Department Of Pharmaceuticals relating to marketing practices for Indian Pharmaceutical Companies and as well medical devices industry. Applicability: At present, the UCPMP Code is applicable on Pharmaceutical Companies, Medical Representatives, Agents of Pharmaceutical Companies such as Distributors, Wholesalers, Retailers, and Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Associations.

Key features and provisions:

  • No gifts, pecuniary advantages or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised, to persons qualified to prescribe or supply drugs, by a pharmaceutical company or any of its agents.
  • As regards travel facilities, the UCPMP Code prohibits extending travel facility inside the country or outside, including rail, air, ship, cruise tickets, paid vacations, etc., to HealthCare Professionals and their family members for vacation or for attending conference.
  • The Code also provides that free samples of drugs shall not be supplied to any person who is not qualified to prescribe such product.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About UCPMP.
  2. Is it mandatory?
  3. Issued by?
  4. Overview.

Mains Link:

Discuss why the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) should be made mandatory?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

The 3 Farmers Bills And The Controversies Surrounding them:


Context:

Farmers in many states are protesting against three recent bills passed by the Parliament.

The controversy pertains to:

  1. ‘Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020′
  2. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020′ and
  3. Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.

General concerns and criticisms:

  • These bills are anti-farmer and will only result in reduced crop prices for farmers and undermine seed security even further.
  • Food security will be eroded as government intervention is eliminated.
  • These bills promote corporate control of the Indian food and farming systems.
  • They will also encourage hoarding and black marketing, in addition to exploitation of farmers.
  • The bills also lack any assurance about Minimum Support Price(MSP).

Let us now take up one by one;

  1. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

Key provision: It allows for regulating the supply and stock limit of certain specified agricultural produce under extraordinary circumstances such as an extraordinary price rise and natural calamity of grave nature, etc.

Issues:

  • Any action on imposing stock limits will be based on the price trigger.
  • In case of horticultural produce, a 100 per cent increase in the retail price of the commodity over the immediately preceding 12 months or the average retail price of the last five years, whichever is lower, will be the trigger for invoking the stock limit for such commodities.
  • For non-perishable agricultural foodstuffs, the price trigger will be a 50 per cent increase in the retail price of the commodity over the immediately preceding 12 months or the average retail price of the last five years, whichever is lower.
  • This stock limit regulation will not be applicable for value chain participants of any agricultural produce if their stock limit remains within their installed capacity.
  • It will also not apply to exporters if they can show demand for export.
  1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, 2020:

Key provisions:

  • The Bill, through Clauses 3 & 4, gives freedom to the farmer to indulge in intra-state or inter-state trade in areas outside the APMC mandis.
  • It also prohibits the collection of any market fee or cess under the state APMC Acts with respect to such trade outside the APMC market yards (Clause 6).
  • A key provision of the Bill is Clause 14, which gives it an overriding effect over the inconsistent provisions of the State APMC Acts.
  • Also, the Central Government has been given powers to frame rules and regulations under the Act.

Issues:

  • This leads to a situation where local farmers do not find adequate demand for their produce at MSP in the local market.
  • Since most farmers are small or marginal landowners, they do not have wherewithal to transport their produce to large distances.
  • Hence, they are forced to sell them at a lower price than the MSP in the local market itself.
  1. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020:

Key provision: It seeks to create a legal framework for contract farming in India.

There are two broader concerns here:

  • First, one principle concern with contract farming has been regarding the negotiating power of the two parties involved. It seems likely that individual farmers might not find themselves equipped or powerful enough to negotiate with corporates or big-pocket sponsors to ensure a fair price for their produce.
  • Second, the Bill says that the quality parameters can be mutually decided by the two parties in the agreement. But the quality aspect will become crucial when a few corporates will try to usher in uniformity which might end up adversely impacting the already skewed agro-ecological diversity in the country.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are APMCs? How they are regulated?
  2. Overview of Model Contract farming act.
  3. The price range fluctuation allowed in the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  4. Stock limit regulation under the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will not be applicable for?
  5. Other key Provisions of the bills.

Mains Link:

Do you think the reforms proposed for agricultural sector under the realm of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan ensure better price realization for farmers? Elucidate.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


World Tourism Day:

Observed on 27th September every year.

This Day has been celebrated since 1980 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

  • 27th September was chosen as the date since it was the day in 1970 on which the statutes of the UNWTO were adopted.
  • Theme this year is “Tourism and Rural Development”.

SAATHI Application:

SAATHI is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism with Quality Council of India to assist the hospitality industry to continue to operate safely and thereby instill confidence among the Staff, employees and the guests about the safety of the hotel/unit.

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize:

What is it? The award is named after the founder Director of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), the late Dr (Sir) Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and is known as the ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) Prize for Science and Technology’. The Prize is given each year for outstanding contributions to science and technology.

Eligibility:

  • Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years. Overseas citizen of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) working in India are also eligible.
  • The Prize is awarded on the basis of contributions made through work done primarily in India during the five years preceding the year of the Prize.

Context:

Dr Abhijit Mukherjee, Associate Professor, Deptt. of Geology & Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur Selected for ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar’ Prize.

Places in News- Nagorno-Karabakh region:

Why in News?

Azerbaijan has carried out an air and artillery attack on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Key points:

  • Nagorno-Karabakh is a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but is run by ethnic Armenians.
  • It broke away from Azerbaijan in a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
  • Though a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia frequently accuse each other of attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier.

Nagorno_Karabakh

Sandalwood Spike Disease (SSD):

  • The disease is caused by phytoplasma — bacterial parasites of plant tissues — which are transmitted by insect vectors.
  • The disease was first reported in Kodagu in 1899.
  • The disease is characterized by extreme reduction in leaf size accompanied by stiffening and reduction of internode length.
  • In advanced stage, the entire shoot gives the appearance of a spike inflorescence.

Context:

India’s sandalwood trees are facing a serious threat with the return of the destructive Sandalwood Spike Disease (SSD).

  • The infection has resurfaced in Karnataka and Kerala.
  • The present rapid spread of the infection is largely due to restrictions on green felling in forests, which has allowed vectors to spread the disease to healthy trees.

Radio Patshala:

  • Started by Odisha Government.
  • The classes will be for students between class 1 to 8 in the state.
  • Students can also get this audio programme in the central government’s DIKSHA online platform.

Punjab government appoints nodal officers to curb stubble burning:

8,000 nodal officers have been appointed for the purpose in villages.

  • The officers will work in coordination with staff of the Cooperation, Revenue, Rural Development and Panchayats, Agriculture, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Departments, as well as the Punjab Pollution Control Board.
  • Armed with a super SMS system, these officers will also prepare lists of owners who have given their land on rent and then call each land owner on phone with the warning that a red entry shall be made in their land record if they fail to ensure that no paddy straw is burning.

Haiyang-2C:

  • It is a new ocean-monitoring satellite launched recently by China.
  • It is the country’s third ocean dynamic environment satellite.
  • It can provide all-weather and round-the-clock observation of wave height, sea surface height, wind speed and direction, and temperature.
  • HY-2C will form a network with the previous HY-2B and subsequent HY-2D, which is scheduled for launch next year, to carry out high-precision maritime environment monitoring.
  • The planned satellite network will be capable of carrying out 80 percent of the world’s sea surface wind monitoring within six hours.

‘Health in India’ survey:

Released recently by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Key findings:

  • As per the report, Zoroastrian community remains the most susceptible to ailments.
  • The survey defines ailment as any deviation from a person’s state of physical and mental well-being.

(National Sample Survey (NSS)’s 75th Round released in July show that 31.1 per cent of Zoroastrians reported that they were suffering from an ailment at the time the survey was conducted).

FSSAI Bans Mixing Of Edible Oils In Mustard Oil:

  • FSSAI has prohibited the amalgamation of other vegetable oils with mustard oil from 1st October 2020.
  • This new decision was rolled out to ensure the purity of mustard oil.
  • This step is believed to eliminate the adulteration in mustard oil, especially for domestic consumption.

oil_check


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