Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 15th September 2023

DAILY ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME (DEP _0061)

 

Today’s Topics List:

  1. Bagmati River

  2. Sexual Assault of Animals: What the activists say?

  3. SC is now part of NJDG

  4. Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)

  5. Mechanism for controlling the prices of life saving drugs

  6. OMIL Certificates:

  7. Broadening the field _ Science awards

 

GEOGRAPHY & DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Bagmati River

Why in News?

  • A boat carrying 30 people capsized in Bagmati river, Bihar

Location of the river

  • Bagmati River is a transboundary river between Nepal and India border. It starts its journey from Kathmandu, Nepal and it ends in the Koshi River near Bornesthan, Bihar, India
  • The Bagmati River originates in the Shivapuri Hills of Nepal and flows southward through
  • the Kathmandu Valley
  • It crosses into India, where it becomes known as the Adhwara River before joining the Ganges River in the state of Bihar.

Significance

  • It is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists and holds significant cultural and religious importance.
  • The river is crucial for agriculture and serves as a source of water for irrigation and domestic use in the Kathmandu Valley.

Historic sites

  • Along the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, you can find several important cultural and historical sites, including the Pashupatinath Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and various ghats where cremation ceremonies take place.

Confluence

  • The point at which two rivers meet and merge, as the Bagmati River does with the Koshi River near Bornesthan, India.

 

 

SOCIAL ISSUES

Sexual Assault of Animals: What the activists say?

News:

  • Recently Central government has introduced Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bill 2023 (BNS), which seeks to repeal the Indian Penal Code 1860.
    • Animal rights activists across India have expressed their concern at the absence of any provision to address sexual crimes against animals in it.

What the current law says:

  • Currently, Section 377 of the IPC provides punishment for those found engaging in “Bestiality”.
    • “Whoever, voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punishable with imprisonment for life, (or) 10 years and shall also be liable for fine”

Recent sexual assault Incidents on Animals:

  • A report published by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO) and All Creatures Great and Small (ACGS), says between 2010 and 2020 period a total of 4,93,910 animals became victims of crime committed by humans that include, hurt, maimed, killed and even raped.
  • In March 2023, A man in Delhi has sexually abused a Female dog.
    • He was booked under Sec 377 of IPC and relevant provisions under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • A Similar incident took place in February 2023 in Delhi itself.

What do the activists say?

  • Through the proposed bill, the complete elimination of Section 377 without addressing sexual crimes against animals and provisions for animal victims of crime.
  • They say, It is okay that Section 377 needs to go in its entirety as it is a British era provision. But, BNS has been introduced in a roughshod manner without taking these into consideration.

 

POLITY, GOVERNANCE & LAWS AND SCHEMES

SC is now part of NJDG

What is in news?

  • Supreme Court data is now onboarded on NJDG portal under the open data policy

NJDG

  • National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) portal is a national repository of data relating to cases instituted, pending and disposed of by courts across the country.
    • The NJDG was built as part of Phase II of the e-Courts project, which is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
    • The data is updated in real-time and has granular data up to the Taluka level.

Developed by:

  • The platform has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in close coordination with the in-house software development team of the Computer Cell, Registry of the Supreme Court.

Significance of the move

  • It is a step to bring transparency and accountability in the judicial domain.
    • It helps to access case-related information, statistics such as institution, pendency and disposal of cases, case types and year-wise break-up of the SC.
    • It also helps identify specific bottlenecks in judicial processes.
    • For example, if the number of land disputes in a particular state shoots up, it helps policymakers look into whether the law needs to be strengthened.
    • It also helps generate inputs related to particular areas of law.

 

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)

    • PMMSY is a scheme to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India
      • PMMSY is being implemented in all the States and Union Territories for a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25.
      • The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India is implementing Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)

Objectives of the scheme:

  • To harness the potential of the fisheries sector in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner
  • To enhance fish production and productivity through expansion, intensification, diversification and productive utilization of land and water
  • To modernize and strengthen the value chain including post-harvest management and quality improvement
  • To Double fishers and fish farmers’ incomes and generate meaningful employment
  • To enhance the contribution of the fisheries sector to Agricultural GVA and exports
  • To Ensure social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish farmers
  • To Build a robust fisheries management and regulatory framework

Significance:

  • PMMSY is designed to address critical gaps in the fisheries value chain from fish production, productivity and quality to technology, post-harvest infrastructure and marketing.
  • It aims to modernize and strengthen the value chain, enhance traceability and establish a robust fisheries management framework while simultaneously ensuring the socio-economic welfare of fishers and fish farmers.

 

Mechanism for controlling the prices of life saving drugs

News:

  • A petition was filed before Supreme Court by All India drug Action Network against the formula for drug pricing.

Revision of Drug prices:

  • Centre has revised the list and prices of essential drugs in November 2022, under Drugs (Prices control) order, 2013.
    • The National Pharmaceutical authority works on revising prices on notified drugs.
  • Health Ministry says, It has been able to cap ceiling prices of 651 of 870 essential medicines.
    • It also said, due to this approved ceiling prices of medicines has decreased by an average of 16.62 %.

National Pharmaceutical pricing authority  (NPPA)

  • It was constituted by Government of India in the year 1997 an as attached office of the Department of the Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and fertilizers.
    • It was set up as an independent regulator for the pricing of drugs and to ensure availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
  • Under the Drugs (Prices Control ) Order, 2013 (DPCO), It was made to fix / revise prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce price and availability of the medicines in the country.

What is the Pricing Mechanism?

  • All the medicines under National list of Essential medicines are under price regulation.
    • The Health ministry prepares a list of medicines/drugs eligible for price regulation.
    • The department of Pharmaceuticals incorporates them into Schedule 1 of the DPCO.
    • The standing committee of Affordable Medicines and Health products (SCAMHP) will advise the drug price regulator the NPPA on vetting the list.
    • NPPA then fixes the prices of drugs in the schedule.

Allegation of the NGO

  • The formula has institutionalised “super profits in the guise of price control.
  • It excluded from price control life saving medicines for diseases such as malaria and Tuberculosis.
  • It also excluded all fixed dose combinations which amount to 50% of the market.
  • It also excluded essential medicines belonging to the same class of chemicals
    • Besides this, also excluded were drugs provided under National Health Programme such as HIV, diabetes, hypertension and Anaemia, medicines with appropriate dosage for children and patented medicines.

        Hence, the Government has agreed to place on record in Supreme Court its mechanism for controlling the prices of life saving and essential drugs.

 

 

ECONOMY

OMIL Certificates:

Context:

  • The Union Consumer affairs Secretary announced that the Legal Metrology division of the Department of Consumer Affairs has been authorised to issue OIML Certificates.

What is the OMIL?

  • OMIL stands for International Organisation of Legal metrology.
    • It was established in 1955 and headquartered in Paris.
    • It is a standard setting body that develops model regulations, standards and related documents for use by legal metrology authorities and the industry.
  • It plays a crucial role in harmonising laws and regulations on performance of measuring instruments such as,
    • Clinical thermometers
    • Alcohol breath analysers
    • Radar speed measuring instruments
    • Ship tanks found at ports
    • Petrol dispensing units

What is OMIL Certificate

  • The OIML-CS is a system for issuing, registering and using OMIL certificates, and their associated OIML type evaluation/test reports, for instruments like digital balance, clinical thermometers etc.,
  • India joined the OMIL in 1956, and signed the metric convention.
  • With India, the countries authorised to issue OIML certificates has increased to 13.
    • It applied to become an OIML certificate issuing authority in March 2023.

How it will help Indian Economy?

  • It is a single certificate accepted world wide, suppose a manufacturer who wish to export such instruments to America earlier would have to go to the other 12 countries for certification. Now, the certification can be issued in India and the equipment will be exportable to the entire world.
    • It helps in increasing in exports,
    • Earning of foreign exchange with more imports and also a revenue earner for issuing certificates for manufacturers.
    • Generation of employment, with the ease of business of such instruments, more production units will be established.
    • It will help in reducing redundancy and saving resources.

 

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY & HEALTH

Broadening the field _ Science awards

Context:

  • After a delay of nearly a year, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced winners of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) Prizes.

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) Prizes:

  • It has a legacy of over half a century, which comprise a cash prize, citation and salary perks.
    • It was awarded annually to scientists under 45 years with outstanding work in the field of Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine, Earth sciences and physical sciences
  • Some India’s most accomplished scientists have been awardees and it is not a stretch to say that they are akin to an “Indian Nobel” and fairly coveted.

What happened in 2022?

  • Unusually, CSIR did not announce these awards last year despite the winners having already been picked before September 26.
    • It is the institute’s foundation day and traditionally the date on which the year’s winners are announced. 
  • The background to this was the government’s decision to prune prizes to scientists.
    • There were too many awards by various ministries, thereby reducing its prestige, a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.
    • There were plans to announce one ‘big award’ akin to a ‘Nobel Prize’, but none has been announced so far.
  • While the MHA ultimately decided to retain the SSB prizes, the government’s long silence on its future did foment concern among scientists of their likely discontinuation.

Science Awards – Prominence:

  • Science awards, unlike those given for say athletics, are not meant to fete the outcome of a defined, demarcated contest such as a match or a race but are a recognition for industrious work done over time, that have led to significant advances in science or technology. 
    • They are meant to encourage the winners to persevere, against the uncertainty inherent in the scientific enterprise, which on average is a financially less rewarding career than several other options a trained scientist could have embarked upon.

This years Awards , are they enough?

  • This year’s 12 winners are all male, with 11 from centrally-funded institutions.
    • Within these too, the winners are largely from the Indian Institutes of Technology.
  • While the chosen candidates are certainly deserving, there are surely many more women or researchers from state universities who deserve recognition for their work.
    • So, rather than reducing the number of awards, there is actually a stronger case for expanding the remit of these awards.

           Given the government’s tireless espousal of its commitment to diversity and expanding opportunities to those beyond enclaves of privilege. The success of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission demonstrates that great victories and moments of triumph are built on consistent encouragement while plodding along the dark alleys of uncertainty and failure.

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