12 August, 2019
0 Min Read
|GS-II||Patients and Victims|
|National Conference on e-Governance adopts ‘Shillong Declaration’.|
|GS-III||Rupee Matters||Economic Issues|
|Rooting AI in ethics|
|State-Run Oil Marketing Companies to Buy Biodiesel Made From Used Cooking Oil|
GS-II: Patients and Victims
Last year, a series of reports revealed the traumatic experiences of Indian patients who had received faulty hip implants manufactured by the pharma major, Johnson and Johnson
Another investigation has revealed that Johnson and Johnson paid hefty compensations to US patients who had received the defective implants.
In India, however, the company has challenged government orders to compensate 4,700 patients who had undergone hip replacement surgeries.
The slow reaction by India
In 2017, the MoHFW issued the Medical Devices Rules. However, the country’s base legislation on implants continues to be the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, which does not have the scope to cover most modern devices, including hip implants. The Indian orthopaedic device market is valued at over 450 million dollars and is expected to grow by 30 per cent per year till 2025.The investigations into faulty hip implants bring out the urgent need for a law to regulate medical devices.
GS-II: National Conference on e-Governance adopts ‘Shillong Declaration’
The 10-point declaration includes:
GS-II: Rupee Matters
Over the past few years, there has been a concern over the sharp rise in offshore rupee trading volumes.
Data from the Bank of International Settlements pegs daily offshore rupee trading at around $16 billion in 2016, almost equal to onshore trading.
Recent data from the Bank of England pegs offshore rupee trades at $23 billion in 2018.
Incentivize market participants to shift to onshore markets, like extending onshore market hours, examining issues of taxation.
Allowing market participants to take exposure up to $100 million, without any need to establish the existence of an underlying risk
Incentivize greater participation in rupee-denominated bonds
As the economy grows, expand onshore currency markets in a calibrated manner
The ability to hedge currency risks will increase the rupee’s attractiveness for trade invoicing and portfolio diversification
This can lead to the gradual internationalization of the currency.
GS-III: Rooting AI in ethics
Most commercially available AI systems are optimized using the teleological perspectives and not the deontological perspective.
Ethical issues – a case study
An AI system introduced in 2015 in the U.S. failed to recognize the faces of African Americans with the same accuracy as those of Caucasian Americans.
From a teleological perspective, this flawed AI system gets a go-ahead because Caucasian Americans constitute 72.4% of the country’s population
From a deontological perspective, it can be rejected as its intention was not to identify people from all races.
Digital platform companies, whose markets span many countries should aim to identify faces of all races with equal accuracy.
AI facial recognition systems are used for law enforcement. Someone can be labeled a threat to public safety just because of limited data based on one’s skin color was used to train the AI system.
The bias in the data used to train the algorithm stems from flawed historical and cultural perspectives and they contaminate the data.
NITI Aayog has a ?7,500 crore plan to build national capability and infrastructure. The transformative capability of AI must be rooted in an egalitarian ethical basis.
GS-III: State-Run Oil Marketing Companies to Buy Biodiesel Made From Used Cooking Oil
The government has launched a ‘Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO)’ sticker and a phone app to enable the collection of used cooking oil. Restaurants and hotels interested in supplying used cooking oil can affix the sticker to show availability.
What is RUCO initiative?
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had launched RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil), an initiative that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to bio-diesel.
Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil.
FSSAI wants businesses using more than 100 litres of oil for frying, to maintain a stock register and ensure that UCO is handed over to only registered collecting agencies.
Significance of the initiative:
FSSAI believes India has the potential to recover 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for the production of biodiesel by 2022 through a co-ordinated action. While biodiesel produced from used cooking oil is currently very small, but a robust ecosystem for conversion and collection is rapidly growing in India and will soon reach a sizable scale.
The initiative was launched after the food safety regulator notified standards for used cooking oil. According to FSSAI regulations, the maximum permissible limits for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) have been set at 25%, beyond which the cooking oil is unsafe for consumption.
What are Total Polar Compounds (TPC)?
Significance of the initiative:
Currently, used cooking oil is either not discarded or disposed of in such a manner that it chokes drains and sewerage systems. Apart from setting quality standards, the new regulation addresses the way this oil is discarded. As used cooking oil is considered the most reasonable feedstock for biodiesel production, the FSSAI is planning to redirect the used cooking oil from the food business operators. It has already started collecting used oil in small quantities either through a barter arrangement or at cost.
National Policy on biofuels- salient features:
Categorization:The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
Scope of raw materials: The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
Protection to farmers: Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
Viability gap funding: With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
Boost to biodiesel production: The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
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