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Monthly DNA

13 May, 2020

91 Min Read

Odisha Helpline “Bharosa’’

GS-I : Social issues Social exclusion

Odisha Helpline “Bharosa’’

Part of: GS-I- Social issue (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

To relieve the distress of the student community during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has launched the Central University of Odisha Helpline “Bharosa’’.

  • Aim: To provide Cognitive Emotional Rehabilitation Services to all University Students of Odisha.
  • Need Social distancing and self-isolation because of Covid-19, has led to declining in social interactions which further impacts mental and physical health. It is being called the ‘social recession’ i.e. a collapse in our social contacts.
  • Benefit: This app would provide mental and psychological assistance to the students.

Mental Health

  • Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
  • Other Related Initiatives:
    • The Government of India has launched the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982, keeping in view the heavy burden of mental illness in the community, and the absolute inadequacy of mental health care infrastructure in the country to deal with it.
    • The Supreme Court has held healthcare to be a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Constitution incorporates provisions guaranteeing everyone's right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees protection of life and personal liberty to every citizen.
    • In July 2018, Delhi Government launched a happiness curriculum for schools.
    • Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.

Mental Health Care Act, 2017

  • Right to make an Advance Directive, wherein patients can state how to be treated or not to be treated for the illness during a mental health situation.
  • Right to appoint a Nominated Representative: A person shall have the right to appoint a nominated representative to take on his/her behalf, all health-related decisions like:
    • Right to access mental health care,
    • Right to free & quality services,
    • Right to get free medicines,
    • Right to community living,
    • Right to protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,
    • Right to live in an environment, safe and hygienic, has basic amenities,
    • Right to legal, aid
    • No Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) without anaesthesia
  • This act brought changes in Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (which criminalized attempted suicide). Attempting to commit suicide is not an offence.
  • Now, a person who attempts to commit suicide will be presumed to be “suffering from severe stress’’ and shall not be subjected to any investigation or prosecution.

Source: PIB

Rajya Sabha Analysis- Do numbers matter in Rajya Sabha?

GS-II : Indian Polity

Rajya Sabha Analysis- Do numbers matter in Rajya Sabha?

By, (M. Venkaiah Naidu is Chairman of Rajya Sabha)

The Indian Constitution provides for parity of powers between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in law, making an exception in some cases.

The Money Bill or Finance Bills can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha which only can approve the Demands for Grants.

On the other hand, the Rajya Sabha has some special powers as requiring to adopt a resolution allowing Parliament to legislate on subjects in the State List (A.249) and creating All India Services (A.312), besides approving proclamations of Emergency and President’s Rule when the Lok Sabha is dissolved.

Renowned British philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill as early as in 1861 said in his great treatise Considerations on Representative Government that management of free institutions requires conciliation; a readiness to compromise; a willingness to concede something to opponents and mutual give and take.

Famous constitutionalist Abbe Sieyes pithily noted that if a second chamber dissents from the first, it is mischievous; if it agrees, it is superfluous.

Obstructionist tag

To understand these in perspective, a scrutiny of law-making in the country since 1952 may be in order.

Elections to the Lok Sabha are held every five years and before that on dissolution of the House. For the Rajya Sabha, one-third of the members are chosen every second year reflecting its permanent nature.

While the Lok Sabha elections hold a mirror to the recent will of the people, the Rajya Sabha is envisaged to convey the same in different phases of development marking some continuity.

The Executive lasts only as long as it has a majority in the Lok Sabha, but in law-making, both the Houses are at par. Given the possible variations in the composition of both the Houses on account of different modes of election to them, did it impact the nature and speed of legislation?

Unlike Lok Sabha

An analysis undertaken by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat recently revealed that during the past 68 years since the first general elections in 1952, the government of the day had a majority in the Rajya Sabha only for 29 years and was in a minority for 39 years, including an unbroken stretch for the past 31 years.

This pronounced divergence in numbers in the two Houses of Parliament does not indicate any adverse impact on the broader course of legislation except in a few cases.

Since 1952, the Rajya Sabha held 5,472 sittings and passed as many as 3,857 Bills till the Budget Session this year. There are, however, a few discordant notes during this long journey of legislation. But there is no case for terming Rajya Sabha as “obstructionist”.

So far, Parliament held only three Joint Sittings to resolve differences between both the Houses.

1. The first instance was in 1961 when the then Nehru government enjoyed a majority in the Rajya Sabha but the Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1959 suffered a defeat.

2. In 1978, the Banking Services Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977 was rejected by the Rajya Sabha and in 2002,

3. The Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002 could not pass the Rajya Sabha scrutiny.

The Rajya Sabha was taunted as regressive when it rejected the Constitution (Twenty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1970 for abolishing privy purses to erstwhile rulers after it was passed by the Lok Sabha.

In 1989, the Constitution (Sixty-fourth and Sixty-fifth Amendment) Bills seeking to empower local governments fell short of the required special majority in the Rajya Sabha, though the government had the numbers.

The required spirit of cordiality between the two Houses suffered a dent on some occasions.

1. First when Rajya Sabha members were not included in the Public Accounts Committee in 1952.

2. Again, when the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1953, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha, some members questioned its certification as a Money Bill by the Lok Sabha Speaker. When the controversy was thickening, Prime Minister Nehru intervened, asserting that “For those who are interested in the success of the great experiment in nation building that we have embarked upon, it is a paramount duty to bring about this close cooperation and respect for each other (House).”

3. Rajya Sabha members objected to when the Lok Sabha Speaker referred the Major Port Trust Bill, 1963 to its Select Committee without involving Rajya Sabha members and this Bill was later referred to its own Select Committee again.

Continuing with some reservations voiced in the Constituent Assembly about having a second chamber, some members of the Lok Sabha moved resolutions as early as in 1954 and again later in 1971, 1972 and 1975 for the dissolution of the Rajya Sabha. But wise counsel prevailed and such efforts were thwarted.

As per the constitutional provisions, the Rajya Sabha at best could hold a Money Bill for 14 days during when it has to return such Bills without or with amendments for the consideration of the Lok Sabha.

There were some occasions when such amendments of the Rajya Sabha were accepted by the other House as in cases of the Travancore Cochin Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill, 1956, The Union Duty of Excise (Distribution) Bill and the Estate Duty and Taxes on Railway Passenger Fares (Distribution) Bill, 1957 and the Income Tax Bill, 1961.

During these years, the government of the day enjoyed a majority in the Rajya Sabha.

At the same time, there were instances when amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha were rejected by the other House.

There were occasions when the Rajya Sabha sat over Bills passed by the Lok Sabha for a long time including the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 1987 and the Dock worker (Safety, Health and Welfare) Bill, 1986.

If this was checking hasty legislation, the Rajya Sabha had passed five Constituent Amendment Bills in one day on Auguest 25, 1994 when the government of the day did not have the numbers.

The Rajya Sabha has also made amendments to several Bills passed by the Lok Sabha and these were accepted in several cases by the other House.

Though the present government, too, does not have the required numbers in the Rajya Sabha, members of different parties rose to the occasion in passing landmark legislation relating to the GST, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, Triple Talaq, Unlawful activities, Reorganisation of Jammu & Kashmir, Citizenship amendment and so on.

This goes to prove that numbers in the Rajya Sabha is not an issue as far as law-making is concerned. It is a different concern which applies broadly to the legislatures of the country.

Increasing disruptions

An analysis by the Secretariat revealed that the productivity of the Rajya Sabha till 1997 has been 100% and above and the past 23 years have thrown up a disturbing trend of rising disruptions. Productivity fell to 87% during 1998-2004, 76% during 2005-14 and 61% during 2015-19.

While the time spent by the Rajya Sabha on legislation since 1978 remained the same at about 29%, a concern emerges in respect of the ‘Oversight’ function of the House. Legislatures ensure accountability of the executive through Questions, Calling Attention Notices etc. Time share of this important Oversight function of the Council of States in the total functional time of the House during 1978-2004 was 39.50%. This fell to 21.99% during 2005-14 and to 12.34% since 2015.

This decline is primarily on account of disruptions forcing cancellation of Question Hour frequently. Disruptions also dent the quality of law-making as seen in passing of Bills without discussion sometimes.

However, the Rajya Sabha is proving to be more and more a ‘deliberative’ body with increasingly more time being spent on this function. The time share on deliberations under instruments like Short Duration Discussions, Zero Hour, Special Mentions, Discussion on Budgets and working of ministries, Motion of Thanks to President etc was 33.54% during 1978-2004. It rose to 41.42 % during 2005-2014 and to a high of 46.59% during 2015-19.

After the initial frictions, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha have proved to be constructive partners in steering the socio-economic transformation of the country since 1952, co-scripting pioneering laws.

Way Ahead

What needs to be addressed by all the stakeholders is that while enabling Rajya Sabha to retain its independence, it should not be seen as ‘disruptive’ as evidenced over the past two decades. Political passions should not be the basis of such disruptions, if the perception is that they are.

The line between obstruction and disruption is very thin and we should guard against it. Both the sides of the House have a stake in proper functioning of Rajya Sabha.

Source: TH

SC & 4G Services in J&K

GS-II : Governance Federal issues

SC & 4G Services in J&K

Part of: GS-II- Governance and Federal Issues (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Recently, the Supreme Court refused to restore 4G services in Jammu & Kashmir and ordered the setting up of a high-powered committee to look into the contentions raised by petitioners against limited 2G services in the Union Territory.

In August 2019, the Central government had suspended all modes of communications in the wake of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, granted under Article 370. Eventually, services were partially restored, with internet speed restricted to 2G. A plea was filed by ‘The Foundation for Media Professionals for the restoration of high-speed internet in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the Covid-19 situation.


  • Balance of Human Rights and National Security: The Court ruled that special circumstances occur in the Union Territory which requires a delicate balancing of national security concerns and human rights.
  • Reference to the Previous Judgement: The bench also referred to its earlier decision in the Anuradha Bhasin case (2020) wherein it ordered a review of restrictions placed in J&K in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Anuradha Bhasin vs Union of India (2020)

  • Fundamental Rights Under Article 19 :

The judgement declared that the freedom of speech and expression and the freedom to practice any profession or carry on any trade, business or occupation over the medium of Internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1)(g) respectively. It also ruled that such freedom is not absolute, the restrictions imposed on it should be in consonance with the mandate under Article 19(2) and Article 19(6) of the Constitution.

  • Territorial Extent of Internet Suspensions

It had also directed authorities to pass internet suspension orders with respect to only those areas, where there is absolute necessity of such restrictions to be imposed.

  • Constitution of Review Committee

The Court also directed the government to constitute a review committee to review orders leading to suspension and shutting down of Internet, mobile and fixed line telecommunication services.

All orders leading to suspension and shutting down of Internet, mobile and fixed line telecommunication services are issued under Rule 2 (2) of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services [Public Emergency or Public Service] Rules, 2017.

These are the rules to be followed if the government intends to temporarily suspend telecom services in any part of the country.

These rules have been framed by the government on the basis of the powers conferred by section 7 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. The Review Committee shall consist of State as well as Central level officials as the issue involved affects not only the UT of Jammu and Kashmir but also the whole country.

  • Constitution of Special Committee:
    • The bench ordered the constitution of a Special Committee, headed by the Union Home Secretary, to determine the necessity of the continuation of limiting mobile Internet to 2G speed in the region.
    • The committee is expected to suggest the alternatives regarding limiting the restrictions to those areas where it is necessary and the possible ways of allowing faster Internet (3G or 4G) on a trial basis over certain geographical areas.

Need of 4G and National Security

  • Need of 4G in the wake of Covid-19 Pandemic:
    • Health: 4G services are necessary to provide access to the medical fraternity including patients to access the latest information, advisories, and guidelines.
    • Education: The petition also argued that schools across the country have shifted to online classes in view of the lockdown but lack of the 4G internet puts J&K students at a disadvantage.
    • Trade and Business: The lower internet service speed has also affected businesses dependent on the online mode.
  • National Security Concerns:
    • An issue of infiltration of outside sources through the borders and destabilizing the integrity of the nation was raised during the hearing.
    • Even the J&K administration stated that high-speed internet will enable the spread of fake news/rumours and the transfer of heavy data files (audio/video files) will become prevalent and may be utilised by terror outfits for incitement as also in planning attacks.

Source: IE

India caught in U.S.-China spat over Taiwan’s status at WHO


India caught in U.S.-China spat over Taiwan’s status at WHO


As tensions between the U.S. and China rise over the novel coronavirus pandemic, India, which is set to take over as the next Chairperson of the World Health Organisation’s decision-making executive body in May, is faced with a major choice on whether to support a U.S. move to reinstate Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA) or to China’s opposition to it.

U.S. demands

Washington is making efforts to gain support for its move to effect changes at the WHO.

The U.S. has, in the recent past, accused WHO of acting as a “PR agency” for China during the pandemic.

U.S. Senate passed an Act (S.249) to “direct the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization”, beginning with its decision-making body, the WHA.

The Geneva-based WHA will hold a virtual meeting on May 18 and 19 to elect members to the 34-nation Executive Board.

Officials have confirmed that India’s nominee will take over as the Chairperson, replacing Japan.

India is likely to hold the post for the next three years. The timing of the appointment is crucial, given the worldwide debate on the role of the WHO during the pandemic, and criticism of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

China’s demands

China has also stepped up warnings on any attempt to include or support Taiwan’s role at the WHA, referring to the “One-China” principle as “a widely accepted universal consensus of the international community including the Indian government.”

China's position on Taiwan region’s participation in WHO activities, including WHA is clear and consistent. It must be handled according to the ‘One China’ principle.

World Health Assembly

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.

The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.

It is the world's highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.

The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is composed of 34 individuals technically qualified in the field of health, each one designated by a Member State elected to do so by the World Health Assembly. Member States are elected for three-year terms.

The Board meets at least twice a year; the main meeting is normally in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly.

The main functions of the Executive Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work.

What is Taiwan's relationship with the WHO?

  • WHO membership is only given to countries that are members of the United Nations - which does not recognise Taiwan - or whose applications are approved by the World Health Assembly.
  • What this means is that Taiwan has been excluded from emergency meetings and important global expert briefings on the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Taiwanhas been denied permission to attend the World Health Assembly's annual meetings in recent years.
  • It also means the WHO lists Taiwan's coronavirus statistics together with China's.
  • The exclusion, coupled with the WHO's repeated praise of China's response to the outbreak - which public health experts have criticised - has led some to accuse the organisation of political bias towards China, a major contributor to the organisation.
  • The WHO is far from the only global body that excludes or does not officially recognise Taiwan - other major examples include the International Olympics Committee and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
  • The island previously enjoyed good relations with Beijing, and in the past was an observer at the World Health Assembly, but it lost this status in recent years as tensions have increased between Taipei and Beijing.

Why is Taiwan's exclusion a problem?

  • Taiwan consistently raises objections every time it is excluded from a global body, saying it is unfair and discriminatory.
  • This time it has made the same point, adding that it should not be left out at a time where global cooperation is needed more than ever.
  • Earlier this month, Taiwan accused the WHO of ignoring it when the government asked about person-to-person transmission at the very start of the outbreak in China, which it said put lives at risk.
  • Taiwan has also pointed out that it learned many lessons from managing its coronavirus outbreak which could be shared with the world. The island has been praised for its swift and decisive handling of its epidemic, which has been relatively controlled and has seen few deaths.

Source: TH/BBC

Steps to control Climate Change – Analysis by Dr.Anil Kakodkar


Steps to control Climate Change – Analysis by Dr.Anil Kakodkar


On the occasion of National Technology Day, a day which marks the anniversary of Pokhran Nuclear Tests of 1998, Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Commission, Padma Vibhushan Dr. Anil Kakodkar, has conveyed a message to the people of India, about Dealing with energy needs in the Context of Climate Crisis.

Relation between HDI and Per Capita Energy Consumption

In his presentation, he explained about the correlation between Human Development Index (HDI) and Per Capita Energy Consumption all over the world. As per the statistics, countries with higher HDI where citizens enjoy high quality of life have higher per capita consumption of energy.

However with the rising climate issues, a developing country like India faces the challenge where we are caught between energy security on one side and climate security on the other. “The need of the hour is to strike a balance between enhancing the quality of human life as well as keeping a control over the climate crisis.”

Researchers across the globe are studying about climate change on how to control CO2 emissions, which is a serious threat to the environment. As per the report of Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change, “staying below 1.5 degree increase in 2,100 will require cuts in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions of 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050”; which means we have only 10 years left to realise deep CO2 emission cuts while ensuring development aspirations of many countries across the world.

To achieve this, the world has to act now by leveraging available/rapidly deployable technologies. This is where the requirement of nuclear energy, which can easily meet the ‘zero emission’ target, arises. With the contribution of nuclear energy, the cost of deep decarbonisation can be reduced. Decarbonising means reducing carbon intensity, i.e. reducing the emissions per unit of electricity generated (often given in grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour).

Decarbonisation of energy production in the country is essential since the demand for electric power from industries/commercial sector is high. Decarbonisation is possible by increasing the share of low-carbon energy sources, particularly renewables like solar, hydro and biomass together with nuclear which can greatly contribute in achieving zero emissions to a great extent.

Action Required:

Even when many countries are making active efforts in the field of energy efficiency the CO2 emission is still high when compared to preceding years. This shows we need better plans to control the same.

Global strategies to be adopted

In order to control CO2 emission, different levels of consumption strategy need to be observed by different countries based on their HDI. For example, those countries with high Human Development Index, should reduce their energy consumption since it may not affect their HDI, much. In addition to this they should also decarbonise their electricity generation. And the countries with moderate HDI should focus on non-fossil electricity consumption while countries with low HDI should be able to provide subsidised source of cleaner energy to their citizens. This way every country can actively contribute towards low / zero emission.

Role of Japan

Japan is a country which has seen the brunt of the negatives of nuclear energy – the cruellest nuclear bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki that raised the global sensitivity of nuclear energy. But still the country has drafted an energy plan, to generate 20% to 22% of their total energy consumption as nuclear energy, to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030. Countries like Germany and Japan are already planning to cut GHG emission by 2020 and 2030 respectively which has allotted huge amount on production of renewable energy.

Role of India

For a country like India, in order to decarbonise the energy consumption, we need a 30-fold increase in renewable energy, 30-fold increase in nuclear energy and doubling of thermal energy which would make 70% of energy carbon free.

Indian nuclear power at a glance:

To meet the energy requirements of the country, currently there are 66 units with the capacity of 49180 MWe (including projects that are operating, under planning, under construction and those that are approved).

Nuclear Waste:

The major concern that pops up now is of how to manage the nuclear wastes, that is produced during energy generation.

Dr. Kakodkar said, India adopts the policy of ‘Nuclear Recycle Technology’ - where the nuclear fuel - Uranium, Plutonium etc, once used for generation of energy, is reused as a resource material by the commercial industries to be recycled.

More than 99% of Nuclear waste is reused as the waste management program in India prioritises recycling.

Source: PIB

Atmanirbhar Bharat - Fiscal Stimulus Package

GS-III : Economic Issues Fiscal Policy

Atmanirbhar Bharat


PM announces special economic package; a comprehensive package of Rs 20 lakh crore- package equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP

PM gives a call for a self-reliant India; lays down five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Self-reliant India

Talking about the pre and post-COVID worlds, Prime Minister observed that in order to fulfil the dream of making the 21st century India, the way forward is through ensuring that the country becomes self-reliant.

(Example of PPE kits N-95 masks, whose production in India has gone up from almost being negligible to 2 lakh each, on a daily basis.)

The definition of self-reliance has undergone a change in the globalized world and clarified that when the country talks about self-reliance, it is different from being self-centred.

Five pillars of a self-reliant India

Self-reliant India will stand on five pillars :

1. Economy, which brings in quantum jump and not incremental change;

2. Infrastructure, which should become the identity of India;

3. System, based on 21st-century technology-driven arrangements;

4. Vibrant Demography, which is our source of energy for a self-reliant India; and

5. Demand, whereby the strength of our demand and supply chain should be utilized to full capacity. He underlined the importance of strengthening all stakeholders in the supply chain to increase, as well as fulfil, the demand.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan

Prime Minister announced a special economic package and gave a clarion call for Atmanirbhar Bharat. He noted that this package, taken together with earlier announcements by the government during the COVID crisis and decisions taken by RBI, is to the tune of Rs 20 lakh crore, which is equivalent to almost 10% of India’s GDP.

Prime Minister observed that the package will also focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws- Factors of Production.

It will cater to various sections including cottage industry, MSMEs, labourers, middle class, and industries, among others.

Prime Minister remarked that self-reliance will prepare the country for tough competition in the global supply chain, and it is important that the country wins this competition.

The package will also focus on empowering the poor, labourers, migrants, etc., both from organized and unorganized sectors.

Source: PIB

Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)-BPPI


BPPI Contributes Rs.25 Lakh to PMCARES fund


To support government in its fight against COVID-19, Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India(BPPI) Under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has contributed Rs. 25 Lakh to PMCARES fund.

About BPPI

Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India(BPPI) Under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers . The bureau has been registered as an independent society under Societies Registration Act,1860 as a separate independent legal entity in April 2010.

BPPI is the implementing agency of the PMBJP has been keeping a close tab on the situation in all of its area of operations.

BPPI has been standing with its stakeholders and consumers in these challenging times as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendra (PMBJK) are functional and maintaining operations as part of their commitment.

BPPI is committed to ensure uninterrupted availability of essential medicines at the PMBJK. As the product basket of PMBJP consists of all the essential medicines enlisted in the NLEM other than lab regents & stents, BPPI has adequate stock of the medicines which are currently under demand viz. Face mask, Hydroxychloroquine, Paracetamol and Azithromycin.

Supporting the governments initiative of practicing social distancing, pharmacists at the PMBJK, now popularly known as “Swasth Ke Sipahi” are undertaking delivery of medicines to patients and elderly people at their doorstep.

“Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana” (PMBJP)

What is PMBJP?

  • In November 2008, with an objective to make available generic medicines at affordable prices to all, the Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers launched the “Jan Aushadhi Scheme”.
  • To reinvigorate the supply of affordable generic medicines with efficacy and quality equivalent to that of branded drugs, the scheme was revamped as “Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Yojana” in 2015.
  • To provide further momentum to the ongoing scheme, it was again renamed as “Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana” (PMBJP).

PMBJP Objectives

The scheme aims at educating the masses about the generic medicines and that high prices are not always synonymous with high quality. It intends to cover all therapeutic groups and create demand for generic medicines through medical practitioners.

PMBJP Features

  • Under PMBJP, Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras (PMBJK) are set up across the country so as to reduce the out of pocket expenses for health care.
  • The Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) under the Department of Pharmaceuticals is involved in coordinating, procuring, supplying and marketing generic medicines through PMBJK.
  • The procured generic medicines are sold at 50% to 90% lesser prices as compared to the market prices of branded medicines.
  • All drugs procured under this scheme are tested for quality assurance at NABL (National Accreditation Board Laboratories) accredited laboratories and is compliant with WHO GMP (World Health Organisation’s Good Manufacturing Practices) benchmarks. Government grants of up to 2.5 Lakhs are provided for setting up of PMBJKs.
  • They can be set up by doctors, pharmacists, entrepreneurs, Self Help Groups, NGOs, Charitable Societies, etc. at any suitable place or outside the hospital premises.
  • The railway ministry has given in-principle approval to opening up of Jan Aushadi Kendras at railway stations and other railway establishments under PMBJP. This is a significant move, as the access to generic medicines on railway stations would boost the accessibility, affordability of essential medicines and improve the convenience for the customers.
  • Jan Aushadi Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkins
    • Janaushadhi Kendras which sold sanitary napkins earlier for ?2.50, has now further reduced it to ?1 by adapting this technology.
    • These sanitary pads will be able to biodegrade after they have been discarded as soon as they come in contact with oxygen.
    • A very large number of women and girls suffer as good quality sanitary pads are not available at an affordable cost. This is mostly seen in village areas and other underprivileged areas of the country.

Jan Aushadi Sugam Application

The PMBJP launched a mobile application in order to help people locate the Janaushadhi Kendras in the areas around them.

Since smartphones are seen accessible to all the groups of the society, the PMBJP aims to promote their affordable healthcare scheme through available technology. Affordable healthcare seeker can easily find these PMBJK and get generic medicines at a substantially low cost compared to that of the branded OTC (over-the-counter) ones.

Source: PIB

APMC amendments


APMC amendments

Part of: GS-III- Economy -Agriculture (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Recently, Gujarat’s state government has cleared the Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, earlier it was conducted by MP gov. It has ended the monopoly of state-run Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and has allowed private entities to set up their own market committees or sub-market yards.

Highlights of the Ordinance

  • Restrictions on Jurisdiction: The ordinance restricts the jurisdiction of APMCs to the physical boundaries of their respective marketing yards and they can levy cess only on those transactions, happening within the boundary walls of their marketing yard.
    • Earlier, an APMC had jurisdiction over an entire or more than one taluka.
    • Farmers and traders of a particular taluka had to compulsorily sell their produce to their respective APMCs.
    • Apart from that, APMCs levied a cess on any transaction that happened within the marketing yard of the APMC or outside it.
  • Opportunity to Private Markets: The ordinance permits for setting up of private markets.
    • Privately-owned old storages or warehouses can be converted into a sub-market yard or a private market that can compete with the APMCs.
    • Farmers can also set up private markets themselves.
    • To save the smaller APMCs from the negative competition from private markets and a fair play, the state government plans to bring a rule that will not allow the setting up of a private market within a five-kilometre radius of an existing APMC.
    • Also to protect them, the government will collect 20% cess from private players and reroute 14% of it back to the APMCs.
  • Unified Single Trading Licence: The ordinance provides traders with one unified single trading licence through which they can participate in trading activities anywhere in the state.
    • It will allow multiple traders to attract the farmers depending on the quality of their produce and offer competitive prices without the restriction of place and area jurisdiction.
    • For that, amendments allow setting up of portals for e-markets.
  • Expansion in Grievance Redressal: The director of an APMC and the Gujarat State Agriculture marketing board will also start taking care of the grievance redressal which was solely managed by the APMC till now.
  • Expected Benefits to the Farmers: Permission to private entities will lead to competition and will offer the best possible remuneration to farmers for their produce.
    • Till now, APMCs used to form a cartel and decide on what prices to offer to farmers.
    • Farmers will not be bound to sell only to one particular APMC and can choose the one with the best deal in their favour.
  • Viewpoint of APMCs
    • APMCs have not welcomed the decision because it ends their monopoly and allows private players to enter.
    • The ordinance will also affect revenues because no cess will be collected on transactions outside the physical boundaries of marketing yards.
      • For example, last year, of the ?2.5 crore earned as market fees, ?1.5 crore came from transactions that were conducted outside the marketing yard. With the new ordinance in place, this revenue will be lost.

Agricultural Produce Market Committee

It is a statutory market committee constituted by a State Government in respect of trade in certain notified agricultural or horticultural or livestock products, under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act issued by that state government.

**Agriculture is a state subject.

  • Objectives:
    • Ensure transparency in pricing systems and transactions taking place in the market area.
    • Provide market-led extension services to farmers.
    • Ensure payment for agricultural produce sold by farmers on the same day.
    • Promote agricultural processing including activities for value addition in agricultural produce.
    • Setup and promote public private partnership in the management of agricultural markets, etc.

The Ministry of Agriculture, formulated a model law on agricultural marketing, State Agricultural Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2003 and requested the state governments to suitably amend their respective APMC Acts. Union Budgets of 2014-15 and 2015-16 had suggested the creation of a National Agricultural Market (NAM) following which e-NAM was launched on 14th April 2016 as a pan-India electronic trade portal to link APMCs across the States.

Source: IE

Self-reliant India based on 5 pillars

GS-III : Economic Issues Economic reforms

Self-reliant India is based on 5 pillars


Addressing the nation, Prime Minister said that building a Self Reliant India was essential in a post-COVID-19 world. He highlighted that India's self-reliance would be based on 5 pillars - Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography and Demand. He also announced Rs 20 lakh crore special package to deal CoVID pandemic, nearly 10% of India’s GDP.

The Prime Minister emphasized that self-reliance was essential for India's global competitiveness. He said that reforms over the past 6 years have to be taken forward to build a self-reliant India.

He further said that the corona outbreak had shown us the importance of local markets and local supply chains. He said that we needed to adopt the mantra of "local" and work towards its progress.

Prime Minister Modi highlighted the gravity of the pandemic which has infected more than 42 lakh people across the world and has led to the death of over 3 lakh people globally.

The Prime Minister said that the whole world is engaged in a fight for life against the virus. He said that while the crisis is unlike anything seen before, humanity must not lose faith and determination. The Prime Minister added that the 21st century is said to be the Indian century. He said that India bears a responsibility. Recalling the Shastras, he highlighted the importance of self-reliance.

He added that India had converted a disaster into an opportunity. He said that when the pandemic erupted, PPE kits and N-95 masks were not made in India. Prime Minister Modi said that the meaning of self-reliance has changed.

The world is now looking toward humanity-centric globalization. In this respect, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that India could lead the way. He praised India's ancient culture saying that the wisdom of age-old principles such as Vasudaiva Kutumbakam and harmony with nature ensure that world progress is central to India's conception of progress.

He also said India's initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance were a gift to the world. Our centuries-old conception of self-reliance has always followed the path of global progress. The Prime Minister expressed confidence in India's capabilities and manpower. He said that India will build new supply chains, create better products and lead the global recovery. Citing the recovery of the Kutch in Gujarat after the 2002 earthquake, he said that the region was laid waste, but, recovered soon. He said this was a symbol of the commitment and resolve of Indians.

Important points

  • 21st century to belong to India - this Covid challenge has provided us with the opportunity too.
  • Our mission will be to build a self-sufficient India.

*5 pillars of strategy for India*

1) Quantum jump in the economy

2) Latest infrastructure

3l Our Innovative systems for a new century

4) Our vibrant demographics for independent India

5) Demand Creation and improve SCM

*Economic Package for Self Sufficent India*-

About 20 lac crores in total ....about 10% of GDP

In 2020 = 20lac crores

Includes support already announced by RBI recently and direct transfer already effected in accounts of poor Indians


  • Land
  • Labour
  • Liquidity
  • Law


  • And all industries labour drove to improve livelihoods of the middle class and taxpayers. This package will help build our Economy. This will start tomorrow. Finance Minister will share details from tomorrow.
  • Garib, Kisaan, Labor, unorganised labour and unorganised small business - all will be covered under this package.

  • We will bring more reforms to build Farmers and Farming and prepare us against such calamities.
  • Reforms will enhance business attract Foreign Investors and Grow India.
  • We need to be self-sufficient in SCM and compete against the World.
  • We should participate in all global SCM ensuring quality.
  • We need to be vocal for local commodities to become global.
  • Lockdown 4.0 - in a new form and with new rules. Details will be shared before 18th May

Source: TH

Ethalin hydropower project


Ethalin hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh deferred

The Forest Advisory Committee, the apex body of the Environment Ministry tasked with deciding whether forest land can be diverted for industrial projects, has once again deferred its decision on a controversial hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh.

The 3097 MW Etalin Hydropower project, in the State’s Dibang Valley, has been delayed for over six years. This is because it required diverting 1165 hectares of forest in a region of rich biodiversity.


In 2015, the FAC had ruled that the Environment Impact Assessment commissioned by the power company had not properly accounted for the environmental impact of the project.

It recommended that an “internationally credible” institute conduct studies over multiple seasons to record the region’s ecological constitution.

It had also recommended that the National Tiger Conservation Authority be consulted, because tigers had been sighted in the region.

In 2019, the FAC reviewed the progress of the environment appraisal and said neither of its recommendations had been fully complied with, though a wildlife assessment was done by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. This is an autonomous institute funded by the Environment Ministry.

River valley projects in north east India

River Valley Project


  • 1. Ranganadi Hydel Power Project
  • 2. Papumpap Hydel Power Project
  • 3. Dhinkrong Hydel Power Project
  • 4. Paki Hydel Power Project
  • 5. Upper Lohit Hydel Power Project
  • 6. Kameng Hydel Power Project
  • 7. Damway Hydel Power Project

Arunachal Pradesh

  • 8. Kopli Hydel Power Project


  • 9. Doyang Hydel Power Project


  • 10. Loktak Hydel Power Project
  • 11. Tipaimukh Hydel Power Project


Note: It has been executed on the confluence of the rivers Barak and Tuibai in the district of Churachandpur in
Manipur. It is a disputed
project because it is being
opposed by Bangladesh.

  • 12.Dhaleshwari Hydel Power Project
  • 13."Tuirial Hydel Power Project
  • 14.Tuibai Hydel Power Project


  • 15. Rangit Hydel Power Project


Source: TH

Global Nutrition Report 2020


Global Nutrition Report 2020-India may miss nutrition targets

About Global Nutrition Report

  • This report has been produced by the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report, supported by the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group.
  • The Global Nutrition Report was conceived following the first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit (N4G) in 2013. The first report was published in 2014.
  • The Global Nutrition Report acts as a report card on the world’s nutrition—globally, regionally, and country by country—and on efforts to improve it.
  • It assesses progress in meeting Global Nutrition Targets established by the World Health Assembly.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is a Global Nutrition Report Partner.


India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2020 released on Tuesday.

India is one with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition.

In 2012, the World Health Assembly identified six nutrition targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition to be met by 2025.

Global Nutrition targets-2025 (6 nutritional targets)

  1. Reduce stunting by 40% in children under 5 years .
  2. Reduce prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49 years.
  3. Ensure 30% reduction in low-birth weight .
  4. No increase in childhood overweight.
  5. Increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50%.
  6. Reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.

According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020, India will miss targets for all four nutritional indicators for which there is data available, i.e. stunting among under-5 children, anaemia among women of reproductive age (19-49 years), childhood overweight and exclusive breastfeeding.

Underweight children

  • Between 2000 and 2016, rates of underweight have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls.
  • However, this is still high compared to the average of 35.6% for boys and 31.8% for girls in Asia.
  • In addition, 37.9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
  • India is identified as among the 3 worst countries, along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within countries disparities on stunting.

Stunting Level

  • Stunting level in Uttar Pradesh is over 40%.
  • The rate is double among the lowest income group of 50.7% to the highest income group of 22%.
  • Stunting is 10% higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition or POSHAN Abhiyaan

The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition or POSHAN Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission, is Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Launched by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8 March, 2018 from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, the POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyaan directs the attention of the country towards the problem of malnutrition and address it in a mission-mode.

NITI Aayog has played a critical role in shaping the POSHAN Abhiyaan. The National Nutrition Strategy, released by NITI Aayog in September, 2017 presented a micro analysis of the problems persisting within this area and chalked out an in-depth strategy for course correction.

Most of the recommendations presented in the Strategy document have been subsumed within the design of the POSHAN Abhiyaan and now that the Abhiyaan is launched, NITI Aayog has been entrusted with the task of closely monitoring the POSHAN Abhiyaan and undertaking periodic evaluations.

With the overarching aim to build a people’s movement (Jan Andolan) around malnutrition, POSHAN Abhiyaan intends to significantly reduce malnutrition in the next three years

Four pillars of the mission are:

  1. Inter-sectoral convergence for better service delivery
  2. Use of technology (ICT) for real time growth monitoring and tracking of women and children
  3. Intensified health and nutrition services for the first 1000 days
  4. Jan Andolan

The task of implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan is to be carried out through the Technical Support Unit (TSU) established at NITI Aayog which, in addition to the M&E, will also provide research, policy and technical support to the Abhiyaan.


  • The Abhiyaan targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • The target of the mission is to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.


  • Month of September 2018 was celebrated as Rashtriya POSHAN Maah. The activities in POSHAN Maah focussed on Social Behavioural Change and Communication (SBCC).
  • The broad themes were: antenatal care, optimal breastfeeding (early and exclusive), complementary feeding, anaemia, growth monitoring, girls’ - education, diet, right age of marriage, hygiene and sanitation, eating healthy - food fortification.

National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges

As per the mandate of Government of India, MoWCD has constituted the National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges under the Chairmanship of Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog with the following objectives:

  • To provide policy directions to address India’s Nutrition Challenges through coordinated inter-sectoral action
  • To coordinate and review convergence among ministries
  • To review programmes for nutrition on a quarterly basis

Source: TH


GS-III : Economic Issues Industry



In a major initiative, the Union Ministry of MSME has launched the CHAMPIONS portal.

About CHAMPIONS portal

  • CHAMPIONS portal is a Technology driven Control Room-Cum-Management Information System.
  • The system utilising modern ICT tools is aimed at assisting Indian MSMEs march into big leagues as National and Global CHAMPIONS.
  • The CHAMPIONS stands here for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.
  • As the name suggests, the portal is basically for making the smaller units big by solving their grievances, encouraging, supporting, helping and handholding.
  • It is a real one-stop-shop solution for the MSME Ministry.
  • It is a technology-packed control room-cum-management information system. In addition to ICT tools including telephone, internet and video conference, the system is enabled by Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Machine Learning.
  • It is also fully integrated on a real-time basis with GOI’s main grievances portal CPGRAMS and MSME Ministry’s own other web-based mechanisms.
  • The entire ICT architecture is created in-house with the help of NIC in no cost. Similarly, the physical infrastructure is created in one of the ministry’s dumping rooms in a record time.
  • As part of the system, a network of control rooms is created in a Hub & Spoke Model.
  • The Hub is situated in New Delhi in the Secretary MSME’s office. The spokes will be in the States in various offices and institutions of the Ministry. As of now, 66 state-level control rooms are created as part of the system.

Source: PIB

UV Radiation and classification


UV Radiation and classification

  • UV-C:
    • Short-wavelength.
    • Most harmful but are completely absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere and does not reach the Earth’s surface.
  • UV-B:
    • Medium-wavelength.
    • Biologically active but cannot penetrate beyond the superficial skin layers.
    • Responsible for delayed tanning and burning.
    • Enhances skin ageing and significantly promotes the development of skin cancer.
    • Exposure to UV-B rays can cause DNA and cellular damage in living organisms.
    • Most solar UVB is filtered by the atmosphere.
  • UV-A:
    • Relatively long-wavelength.
    • Accounts for approximately 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface.
    • Penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and is responsible for the immediate tanning.
    • Enhances the development of skin cancers.

UVGI (Ultra violet germs irradiation) Working Method:

    • UVGI replicates UV wavelengths and uses its destructive properties to target pathogens.
    • It disinfects contaminated spaces, air and water and helps in preventing certain infectious diseases from spreading.
    • According to the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), UVGI is a promising method for disinfection.
      • In 2005, the CDC revised its guidelines for using UVGI with regards to the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in hospital settings.
      • The guidelines intended to eliminate the spread of infection to healthcare workers from patients or others with unsuspected or undiagnosed infection.
    • Scientists advise that fixtures containing UVGI lamps can be mounted on the walls or suspended from the ceilings.
      • Such fixtures will shine light on the upper interior surface of a room and trap pathogens.
      • Installing a fan in such spaces can further draw the air upward, which will increase the speed with which the UVGI can destroy pathogens.
    • UVGI lamps can also be installed in room corners, in air ducts of ventilation systems or portable or fixed air cleaners.
    • UVGI fixtures are and should be installed above people’s heads because their short wavelengths can irritate the skin and eyes.

Source: Web

GI tag for Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting, Telangana’s Telia Rumal

GS-III : Economic Issues GI Tag

GI tag for Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting, Telangana’s Telia Rumal


Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting and Telangana’s Telia Rumal were given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag on Tuesday by the Geographical Indications Registry headquartered in Chennai.

Sohrai Khovar

“The Sohrai Khovar painting is a traditional and ritualistic mural art being practised by local tribal women during local harvest and marriage seasons using local, naturally available soils of different colours in the area of Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand.

Traditionally painted on the walls of mud houses, they are now seen on other surfaces, too. The style features a profusion of lines, dots, animal figures and plants, often representing religious iconography.

In recent years, the walls of important public places in Jharkhand, such as the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, and the Hazaribagh and Tatanagar Railway Stations, among others, have been decorated with Sohrai-Khovar paintings.

Telia Rumal

Telia Rumal cloth involves intricate handmade work with cotton loom displaying a variety of designs and motifs in three particular colours — red, black and white.

Telia Rumal can only be created using the traditional handloom process and not by any other mechanical means as otherwise, the very quality of the Rumal would be lost.

During the Nizam’s dynasty, Puttapaka, a small, backward village of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh had about 20 families engaged in handloom weaving, who were patronised by rich Muslim families and the Nizam rulers.

The officers working in the court of the Nizam would wear the Chituki Telia Rumal as a symbolic representation of status.

Telia Rumals are offered at the dargah of Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan, with some devotees offering 50 or even 100 clothes. Telia Rumals were worn as a veil by princesses at the erstwhile court of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and as a turban cloth by Arabs in the Middle East.

Source: TH




The Year 2000 problem, also known as the Y2K problem, the Millennium bug, Y2K bug, the Y2K glitch, or Y2K, refers to events related to the formatting and storage of calendar data for dates beginning in the year 2000. Problems were anticipated, and arose, because many programs represented four-digit years with only the final two digits – making the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. The assumption of a twentieth-century date in such programs could cause various errors, such as the incorrect display of dates and the inaccurate ordering of automated dated records or real-time events.

Source: Web

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