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24 Aug, 2022

35 Min Read

India-Iran Pact on Seafarers

GS-II : International Relations India and Iran

India-Iran Pact on Seafarers

To facilitate the movement of seafarers from both nations in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) (1978). for Seafarers, India and Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

More about the news

  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is signed on the recognition of Certificates of Competency in Unlimited Voyages in accordance with the International Convention.
  • The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (1978), seeks to assist seafarers from both nations.
  • Chabahar Port: The event focused on the port's position as a commerce multiplier for the area because it has the ability to act as a quick, cost-effective trade route between Central Asia and South Asia, and even South East Asia.
  • Shahid Beheshti Terminal: The region's enormous trade potential is projected to be unlocked by the Shahid Beheshti Port.
  • An essential component of the possibly game-changing International North-South Transport Corridor for India is the Shahid Beheshti terminal of Chabahar Port (INSTC).
  • The seafarer agreement is the first concrete step following years of stagnation caused by the port's untapped potential and Covid-related constraints.

What is the International Convention on STCW for Seafarers?

For masters, officers, and watch personnel on seagoing commerce ships, it establishes qualifying requirements.

  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention in London endorsed STCW in 1978, and it came into effect in 1984. In 1995, the Convention underwent considerable revision.
  • The STCW Convention of 1978 was the first international agreement to define fundamental standards for seafarers' education, licensing, and watchkeeping.
  • It establishes basic requirements for seafarer training, certification, and watchkeeping that all nations must fulfil or exceed.
  • The Convention's application to ships from non-party States, while they are in the ports of States that are Parties to the Convention, is one of its most significant features.

India-Iran Relations


Political ties:

  • On March 15, 1950, India and Iran agreed to a friendship pact.
  • The New Delhi Declaration: The "New Delhi Declaration," which outlined the idea of a strategic partnership between India and Iran, was signed by both parties in 2003.

Economic and Commercial Relations:

  • Indian imports of Iranian crude oil have historically dominated India-Iran trade relations.
  • The bilateral trade in 2019–20 was $4.77 billion, down 71.99% from $17.03 billion in trade in 2018–19.
  • Rice, tea, sugar, soy, pharmaceuticals, man-made staple fibres, electrical equipment, and others are among India's top exports to Iran.
  • Major products imported from Iran include leather, fruits and nuts, cement clinkers, inorganic and organic chemicals, and fertilizers.


  • The deal for the Shahid Beheshti port of Chabahar, which includes an investment of $85 million for the procurement of port equipment, was signed during Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's visit to Tehran in May 2016.
  • A line of credit for the port's development worth about $150 million is also included in the arrangement.
  • The Chabahar port has handled more than 8200 TEUs and 1.28 million tonnes of bulk cargo since operations started there in December 2018.
  • India has also assisted Iran during times of natural calamities and medical problems. India provided Iran with assistance in April 2020 during the COVID-19 issue, including PPE kits and PCR equipment.
  • India collaborated with Iran to supply 40,000 litres of Malathion 96% ULV pesticides through Chabahar port in an effort to lessen the threat of locusts to agriculture and improve food security in the area.

Cultural interactions

  • Tehran's Indian Cultural Center opened its doors in 2013.
  • In 2018, the Cultural Center changed its name to the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Center (SVCC), and in 2019, it received its own space.
  • In 2018, 2019, and 2020, the International Day of Yoga was organized.
  • It was also celebrated that Sri Guru Nanak turned 550 years old.
  • The centre holds regular Hindi and Yoga sessions.

People-to-people interactions:

  • Both nations have a strong commitment to encouraging and facilitating these interactions.
  • Every year, pilgrims from India travel to the Shi'a pilgrimage sites in Iraq (Najaf and Karbala) and Iran (Qom, Mashhad, Hamedan).

Way forward

Despite CAATSA sanctions on Iran by the USA, and rising China's influence on Iran, India has continued to engage with Iran. The future must be focused on areas of convergence, where both nations may cooperate to advance their shared goals because they have mutual knowledge of one another's interests.

Also, Read - Central Bank Digital Currency

Source: The Hindu

Standard Operating Procedures for Pharmaceutical Mkt

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

Standard Operating Procedures for Pharmaceutical Marketing

The Dolo-650 tablet manufacturers have been charged by the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) with spending Rs 1,000 crore on gifts for doctors who prescribe the medication.


  • The dispute arose after income-tax raids on Bengaluru-based pharmaceutical company Micro Labs, which produces the well-known paracetamol brand Dolo-650.


  • It appears that drugmakers' marketing is driven by gift-giving, including free meals, drug samples, and promotional goods. This is a marketing strategy that is well-established in the sector.

Supreme Court case:

A petition asking for guidance from the Centre to give UCPMP a legislative foundation and make it functional, transparent, and accountable is being heard by the Supreme Court.

  • The Uniform Agreement of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP), a voluntary code that is enforced by pharmaceutical groups and corporations, has been guiding pharmaceutical companies' marketing strategies since 2015.
  • Currently, pharmaceutical companies, medical representatives, agents of pharmaceutical companies, such as distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, as well as pharmaceutical manufacturer's associations, are all subject to the UCPMP Code.

Pharma Marketing Unethical Practices

  • To entice doctors to recommend "their drugs," pharmaceutical companies provide them with gifts in kind and cash.
  • Aiding doctors with activities to improve their reputation, such as assisting with the publication of articles and conference speaking, etc.
  • Making doctors lead investigators in clinical trials or pay them well to serve on committees.
  • The international experience also demonstrates that the voluntary code is ineffective.

Way Forward

  • As the UCPMP has not shown to be an adequate code for ethical marketing, it should be made into law.
  • The newly proposed Drugs, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Act ought to include ethical marketing and promotion.
  • The public should be able to obtain periodic disclosures of payments made by businesses to doctors and professional organizations, whether those payments were made directly or indirectly through other parties.
  • These disclosures ought to be regular and made available to the public.
  • The amount, reason for the expense, and party who was paid should all be disclosed.

Also, Read - Kerala Savari

Source: The Hindu

Central Bank Digital Currency UPSC

GS-III : Economic Issues Digital currency

Central Bank Digital Currency- UPSC

According to a recent report, the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) may be implemented gradually, starting with wholesale enterprises during the current fiscal year.

Major Points

  • The budgetary speech said that the CBDC would be introduced by the central bank in the 2022–23 fiscal year.
  • The attitude of the RBI is that it has consistently opposed private digital currencies and has asked the government to extend the use of the paper rupee to encompass digital currency.
  • In order to start a CBDC, RBI suggested changes to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
  • In October 2021, the RBI submitted a proposal to the government for a change to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, to broaden the definition of "banknote" to encompass money in digital form.
  • In order to introduce CBDC with minimal to no impact, RBI has been looking at use cases and developing a phased rollout approach.
  • Government's Plan: The government at the time intended to put a Bill into Parliament that would, with some exceptions, outlaw all private cryptocurrencies in India.

About CBDC

  • CBDC is a type of legal tender that is distributed digitally by central banks.
  • It is the sovereign currency in electronic form, and on the balance sheet of a central bank, it would show up as a liability (currency in circulation).
  • CBDCs are distinct from decentralized virtual currencies and crypto assets, which are not issued by the government and do not have the status of "legal cash," while being directly inspired by Bitcoin.


  • A CBDC's form, use, and underlying technology can all be customized to meet individual needs.
  • It is comparable to a fiat currency that is printed on paper and is interchangeable with all other fiat currencies, meaning that CBDCs ought to be convertible into cash at par.
  • Wallets supported by blockchain can be used to transact with the digital fiat currency or CBDC.
  • CBDCs give users the ability to carry out domestic and international transactions without the aid of a third party or bank.


  • Beginning with the following fiscal year, the Reserve Bank of India will introduce the CBDC.
  • The government has plans to introduce the CBDC, which will be supported by blockchain technology.

Government’s intention

  • The declaration outlines the government's intentions with regard to cryptocurrencies and other virtual currencies.
  • The RBI had intended to introduce its own CBDC and has previously raised concerns about the potential for money laundering, financing of terrorism, tax evasion, etc. using private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.

Sovereign digital currencies are widely used:

  • In comparison to the 35 countries that were investigating a CBDC in May 2020, 87 countries—representing over 90% of the world's GDP—are studying one as of December 2021.
  • Nine of them—the Bahamas, seven nations in the eastern Caribbean, and Nigeria—have already completely introduced digital currencies.
  • The e-Naira, the first CBDC outside the Caribbean, was introduced by Nigeria as the most recent CBDC
  • The US, the Euro Area, Japan, and the UK are the major nations with the four largest central banks, but they lag far behind.
  • There are 14 nations currently developing their CBDCs and preparing for a potential full launch, including China and South Korea.


  • The digital economy will benefit greatly from it, and India will be the first major nation to formally introduce its money in this way.
  • In contrast to the existing digital payment experience, a rupee transaction would be immediate.
  • A payment method that is more reliable, effective, trustworthy, controlled and based on legal tender.
  • Similar to how UPI made the digital currency more user-friendly.
  • Less reliance on money.
  • Decreased risk of settlement.
  • Lower transaction costs could result in higher seigniorage, which would help with things like cross-border remittances.


  • Price Volatility: Susceptible to price changes and a waste of computing resources.
  • Lack of Consumer Protection: Securities and Exchange Board of India Control and the Absence of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (SEBI).
  • Digital Illiteracy: Indians are currently unprepared to deal with cryptocurrencies.
  • Security dangers cyberattacks on trading systems and wallets (Cryptojacking).
  • It can be used for illegal commerce, criminal activity, and organised crime if it is not properly regulated and monitored.
  • The popularity of cryptocurrencies: The RBI has regularly raised concerns about concerns with private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, etc., including money laundering, financing of terrorism, tax evasion, etc.

Way Forward

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ought to use the already-existing infrastructure via NPCI to hasten the implementation and widespread use of the digital rupee via the QR code system.
  • Its own CBDC launch has been viewed as a method to balance the benefits and dangers of digital money.

We're anticipating an official statement from the RBI that will go into more detail on how people will use the Digital Rupee

Also, Read - China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Source: The Hindu

GI Tag to Mithila Makhana/Foxnut

GS-III : Economic Issues GI Tag

GI Tag to Mithila Makhana/Foxnut

The Union Government recently recognized Mithila Makhana in Bihar with the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag.

The Mithilanchal Makhana Utpadak Sangh is the name under which the GI has been registered.

Mithila Makhana and Bihar

  • This is Bihar's fifth product to receive the GI Label.
  • Prior to this, the Jardalu Mango from Bhagalpur, the Katarni Dhaan (rice), the Magahi Paan from Nawada, and the Shahi Litchi from Muzaffarpur all had the GI label.
  • 80 per cent of India's supply of makhana, or fox nuts, is harvested in Bihar.

What is Mithila Makhana?

Botanical name

  • Mithila Makhana is locally known as Makhan in Mithila.
  • Its Botanical name is Euryale Ferox Salisb.

Region associated

  • This special variety of Aquatic Fox Nut is cultivated in the Mithila region of Bihar and adjoining areas of Nepal.


  • Fox Nuts are rich in protein and fibre and have various micronutrients such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.


  • The Maithili Brahmin community extensively uses and distributes Makhana during the Kojagara Puja festival.
  • This move is expected to help growers get the maximum price for their premium produce.

About GI Tag

  • Products with a distinct geographic origin or characteristics that may be ascribed uniquely to a place are identified with the GI or Geographical Indication Tag.
  • A GI is primarily a produced product (handicrafts and industrial goods), an agricultural product, or a natural product that comes from a specific geographic region.
  • It is covered by the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which is a set of laws governing intellectual property rights.

Act in India:

  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 oversees geographic indication registration in India.


  • Once a product receives this label, no one or business may sell a comparable product under that name.


  • This tag is valid for ten years, after which it can be renewed.

Advantages of GI Tag:

  • Geographical indications are given legal protection in India.
  • prevents anyone from using a Registered Geographic Indication without permission.
  • Indian Geographical Indications are given legal protection, which increases exports.
  • It supports the monetary well-being of manufacturers of goods made in a specific area.

Also, Read - India-Iran Pact on Seafarers

Source: The Indian Express

Kerala Savari

GS-II : Governance Policies and Programmes

Kerala Savari: India's first online taxi service as a public option

To guarantee fair and courteous service to customers as well as fair compensation for auto-taxi workers, Kerala has launched "Kerala Savari," the nation's first online taxi service run by a State government.

The necessity and the goals

Governments are quite concerned about the alleged unfair business practices and violations of consumer rights by private, app-based taxi aggregators.

As a result, the Keralan government decided to create an app-based platform to provide the general public with auto-taxi service.

About Kerala Savari

  • Under the direction of the Labor Department and operated by the Motor Workers Welfare Board.
  • On "Kerala Savari," the taxi driver will receive the authorized fare; nevertheless, taxi drivers who work for private internet businesses frequently receive fares that are less than the amount set by the government.
  • It guarantees secure transportation for the general public at "government regulated fares" without "surge pricing."
  • Features that relate to security it is promoted as a trustworthy internet resource for women, kids, and elderly people. When building apps and registering drivers, this factor was given consideration.
  • Along with the necessary training, a police clearance certificate is required for drivers joining the program.
  • A panic button system has been introduced in the app. This button can be pressed in the event of a car accident or in cases of any other danger.

Also, Read - GI Tag to Mithila Makhana/Foxnut

Source: The Hindu

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