9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 20th, 2021

Dear Friends
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:

  1. Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
  2. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
    1. The Hindu  
    2. Indian Express  
    3. Livemint  
    4. Business Standard  
    5. Times of India 
    6. Down To Earth
    7. PIB
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
  • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick Here
  • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

How SC verdict on real estate Act benefits homebuyers

Source: This post is based on the article “How SC verdict on real estate Act benefits homebuyers” published in Indian Express on 20th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 -Issues related to the development of the housing sector

Relevance: Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA) 2016

News: Recently, The Supreme Court has ruled some changes in the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA) to protect the interests of homebuyers.

Read more: What SC order on RERA means for homebuyers

What did the court rule on homebuyers recovering their investment?

The Supreme court observed that, under Sec. 40 RERA 2016, the homebuyers are entitled to recover the amount invested along with interest as land revenue arrears from builders.

Why the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA) 2016 was enacted?

RERA was introduced with the objective of ensuring greater accountability towards consumers, reducing frauds and delays, and setting up a fast-track dispute resolution mechanism.

To secure the hard-earned money of Indian citizens: More than 77% of the total assets of an average Indian household are held in real estate, and it’s the single largest investment of an individual in his lifetime.

To provide accountability to consumers: Prior to the law, the real estate and housing sector were largely unregulated. Consumers were unable to hold builders and developers accountable. For instance, The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was inadequate to address the needs of homebuyers.

Global challenges can be tackled in spite of great power rivalry

Source: This post is based on the following article “Global challenges can be tackled in spite of great power rivalry” published in Livemint on 19th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS2 –Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Relevance: To understand the global issues of today that need the cooperation of all countries including the great powers despite their rivalry.

News: The Global Commission has issued a similar dire warning, as it was issued in 1972 through a study on ‘The Limits of Growth’.

In its recent report, the Commission(group of eminent global citizens drawn from across the world), has highlighted the key challenges facing the world today.

What does the report states about global challenges and their management?

Firstly, the report states that while technical solutions to global challenges are known, the global institutions and governance priorities necessary to deliver these solutions are missing.

-There is no global institution, not even organizations of the United Nations, that has the clout required to override the priorities of individual countries, especially major powers.

Secondly, there is an asymmetry between key global challenges and national policy responses, especially those of advanced countries, which is itself a key challenge.

-Several covid vaccines are now available, a great achievement of scientists, but the distribution of vaccines in most developing countries has been very limited.

-Climate crisis-Once again, the technologies required to replace carbon emitting fossil fuels by renewables   are known and commercially viable. But most developing countries lack the resources to finance the massive investments required to make the transition within the time available to prevent catastrophic global warming.

Thirdly, the Commission has identified increasingly fraught relations between the two most powerful nations, China and the US, as the most dangerous challenge we face today.

-A robust framework of communications can preempt misunderstandings and accidental conflict.

What is the role of India?

India will mainly be a passive recipient of what great power rivalry leaves up. However, along with its partners, India can seek to nudge both China and the US towards positive-sum outcomes that address the key global challenges of our times.

Error corrected: Regarding POCSO Act

Source: This post is based on the article “Error corrected” published in The Hindu on 20th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS2 – Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections.

Relevance: To understand the reason behind the recent Supreme Court Judgment on POCSO Act.

News: Recently, the Supreme Court has set aside the controversial judgment of the Bombay HC which held that ‘skin-to-skin’ contact is necessary for an act to be classified as sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences(POCSO) Act.

About the judgment

Read here: Sexual intent, not skin-to-skin contact, key: SC

About the POCSO Act

Read here: The POCSO Act and associated issues

Why the Bombay High Court verdict is controversial?

-Ignored the basic fact that the entire Act is aimed at penalising actions rooted in ‘sexual intent’. So the judgment is out of sync with the legislative intent behind the enactment of stringent law.

-The law is to protect children based on principles found in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

-Restricting the interpretation of the words ‘touch’ or ‘physical contact’ to ‘skin to skin contact’ would be a narrow and pedantic interpretation of Section 7 of the POCSO Act.

So, the Supreme Court verdict ensured that the core ingredient of a sexual offence is the “sexual intent”.

GS Paper 3

Why India’s pro-rich, anti-poor taxation policies must change

Source: This post is based on the article “Why India’s pro-rich, anti-poor taxation policies must change” published in Indian Express on 20th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 3- Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.

Relevance:  Inequality, progressive taxation, inclusive growth

News: The government’s fiscal policy is pro-rich and anti-poor. It is depriving the exchequer of some of the resources it needs to handle issues such as climate change.

Why it is said that the government’s taxation policy is anti-poor and pro-rich?

Pro-rich policies:

Replacing the wealth tax with an income tax for households that earned more than 10 million rupees annually.

Reduction in the corporate tax rate for companies from 30 percent to 22 percent.

Corporate tax for manufacturing firms incorporated after October 1, 2019, was reduced from 25 to 15 percent.

Increasing the income tax exemption limit from Rs 2,00,000 to 2,50,000. The tax rate for incomes up to Rs 5 lakh was also reduced from 10 to 5 percent.

Increased indirect taxes: Pro-rich taxation policy has deprived the state of important resources. To compensate for the decline of direct taxes, the government has increased indirect taxes. Indirect taxes affect all Indians, irrespective of their income. For instance, taxes on petroleum products

Why the government should resort to a progressive taxation policy?

Reduce inequality: A 2018 Oxfam report revealed that 10 percent of the richest Indians hold 77.4 percent of the nation’s wealth.

To mobilise funding for welfare schemes: According to The IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List of 2019, a tax rate of four percent on the nation’s 953 richest families would give the government the equivalent of one percent of India’s GDP.

In addition to that, the country has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations of millionaires. The average wealth of these millionaires has increased by 74 percent over this period

Forced evolution

Source: This post is based on the article “Forced evolution” published in Business Standard on 17th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 3- issues related to Conservation of species.

Relevance: Evolution of species

News: Human’s exploitation has led to forced evolutionary changes in other species. There is a need to minimise this risk.

How human’s exploitation has led to forced evolutionary changes in other species?

Loss of useful traits:

In Mozambique, Past hunting pressure has led to an increase of naturally tuskless elephants. According to researchers, decades of poaching have made tusklessness relatively advantageous from an evolutionary standpoint in Gorongosa. This has resulted in the proliferation of tuskless females with mutations in two tooth genes.

Similarly, a rapid decrease in horn size of bighorn sheep, a prime target for trophy hunting in North America, has been noticed.

Decrease in body size of species:

High harvesting rates of larger fish have resulted in significant decreases in body size and earlier age of maturation in several species like Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon

In the case of the red kangaroo, hunters target the larger individuals in a group, and there is evidence that the average size has declined.

What are the negative consequences of it?

In the short term, exploitative selection may appear to be an escape from extinction, but there are multiple drawbacks.

Extinction and loss of genetic variation: Humans target animals with certain desirable physical properties or phenotypes. It results in increased mortality among animals with desirable phenotypes. Consequently, those features start to decrease in frequency.

Difficulty in carrying routine activities to animals: For example, Tusks are not just ornamental. They serve a purpose”, elephants use tusks to dig for water and strip tree bark for food. With the loss of useful traits, they might be unable to perform their basic needs.

Increase in drug-resistant superbugs: Antibiotics impose extreme selection pressure on microbes, fungus and parasites. As a consequence, the microbes evolve to resist any drugs.

For example, DDT-resistant mosquitoes. When the use of DDT as an insecticide started in the 1940s, the DDT -resistant ability of Mosquitoes increased. Now mosquitoes are largely immune to the chemical.

What is the way forward?

The application of genomic technology can minimise the risk of harmful genetic changes caused by the exploitation of wild species to some extent.

Until then, humans  must avoid levels of exploitation that require several years of evolutionary recovery.

A stimulating alliance

Source: This post is based on the article “A stimulating alliance” published in The Hindu on 19th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 –Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Relevance: To understand the issue and need for sharing revenue with states.

News: Finance Minister announced that the Centre will release over ₹95,000 crores in one stroke to States this month.

The decision came after meeting with Chief Ministers and State Finance Ministers to discuss the state of the economy and to sustain the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why was it required?

The central policy fixes will not suffice to revive the country’s stagnant investment cycle until States works along.

An economy-focused dialogue, independent of Budget consultations and GST Council meetings, with the states, is the need of the hour.

It seeks to strengthen the trust of states by its acceptance of States’ request to expedite the sharing of taxable revenues — as in the case of GST compensation for this year.

The cash flow could also help several States catch up on their CAPEX targets, on which hinges an additional borrowing limit of 0.5% of their GSDP.

Public investments need to initially lift the economy for several more quarters before the private sector can be expected to spur the economy’s growth.

The Centre and States need to jointly provide easier and swifter clearances to potential investors. More states are needed to join the single window system.

The story of an arrest, a ‘resolution’ and retribution

Source: This post is based on the article “The story of an arrest, a ‘resolution’ and retribution” published in The Hindu on 20th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3-Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development, and employment.

Relevance: To understand issues related to the debt recovery system and its performance.

News: The recent arrest of a former SBI chairman in a case related to a hotel project in Jaisalmer, that was financed by the bank, got mixed reactions.

Background-The hotel availed a loan of ₹25 crores from the SBI in 2007. It became a non-performing asset in June 2010. The bank later assigned the loan, which was valued at ₹40 crores, to the Asset Reconstruction Company(ARC) which pursued the matter in the DRT (Debt Recovery Tribunal) and under the SARFAESI Act.

It also approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Why do banks settle for less payment?

The bank recovered ₹25 crores out of dues of ₹40 crores. Recovering over 60% is excellent, when globally, such sales yield only around 30% or less. In India, recoveries average only 23.2% across various channels.

Firstly, it depends on a banker’s judgment that recovering an even smaller amount today is better
then recovering an uncertain amount in the distant future, given the time value of money and delays in our judicial processes.

Secondly, investing people and money in messy recovery processes distracts a bank from its core business.

What are the steps taken to strengthen recovery and its failures?

In 1962, after the Palai Central Bank failed, an amended RBI Act provided for a credit information bureau that would have strengthened information sharing among bankers soon became dysfunctional.

In 1971, a study group recommended setting up a Credit Information Trust. The entire system
was discontinued in 1995.

The Debt Recovery Tribunal was introduced in 1993 following the Narasimham Committee recommendations of 1991.

The SARFAESI Act was passed later, intended to speed up recovery and strengthen the hands of bankers. But, the system, over the years, became compromised in different ways.

-This included the non-appointment of judges, failed auctions, delayed payments, and so on.

The IBC is the most effective system to date to secure the interests of the lender.

Air pollution impacts productivity. Mitigations generate economic gains

Source: This post is based on the article “Air pollution impacts productivity. Mitigations generate economic gains” published in ToI on 20th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 3- Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Relevance: Impacts of air pollution

News: Researcher from Columbia University outlines the economic costs of human exposure to air pollution.

What are the impacts of air pollution on human well-being?

It includes both health outcomes and non-health outcomes

Impact on health outcomes:

PM 2.5 can affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Children, when exposed to air pollution during sensitive periods in their lives, it impacts their cognitive performance.

Non-health outcomes:

Impact on worker productivity: for instance, if a farmer, is exposed to high levels of air pollution, it could lead to laboured breathing or changes in the heart rate which can impact the ability to work.

Sizable economic damages: Decreased worker productivity when valued in terms of money, it gets translated to millions of dollars being lost. In India, which has much greater air pollution levels, the economic damages are likely to be much higher.

Impact on living organisms:

Impact on butterflies: Increased Nitrogen deposits in soil due to air pollution creates acidic conditions. This reduces the nutrients caterpillars need to grow.

Impact on Koalas: air pollution via carbon dioxide in the atmosphere gradually destroys the nutrients from the eucalyptus leaves which koalas eat. Further, Carbon dioxide in eucalyptus builds up toxic ‘anti-nutrients’ like tannin which cannot be digested by koalas. As a consequence, koalas could significantly decline due to a loss in these leaves.

Impact on small birds: Studies in the US have found that Ozone pollution damages the respiratory systems and reduces the food sources of small birds like sparrows, warblers and finches.

What are the recommendations for air pollution mitigations in India?

First, mitigations can either reduce the use of fossil fuels or capture the emissions from the fossil fuel by including measures like catalytic converters for cars.

Second, transitioning to clean energy like solar or wind power is another mitigation strategy.

Third, for immediate impacts, there could be a driving restriction to reduce the number of vehicles on the road

However, certain factors are key to the success of such mitigations. These include how costly the technology is in terms of application and the impacts on jobs as well as the enforcement and compliance levels which governments can achieve for these.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

PM inaugurates the first Global Innovation Summit of the Pharmaceuticals sector

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated the first Global Innovation Summit of the Pharmaceuticals sector.

About Global Innovation Summit of the Pharmaceuticals Sector

Organized by: Indian Pharmaceutical Association.

Aim: To bring together key Indian and international stakeholders from the government, industry, academia, investors, and researchers to foster a thriving innovation ecosystem in the Pharmaceuticals Sector.

What are the key highlights from the summit?

Firstly, the Indian pharmaceutical industry has risen to the challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic and earned global trust, which has led to India being called the ‘pharmacy of the world’.

Secondly, India has exported more than 65 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to about 100 countries in 2021. India exported medical equipment and life-saving medicines to more than 150 countries during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thirdly, the Indian pharmaceutical industry provides employment to nearly 3 million people, and generates a trade surplus of about thirteen billion dollars.

Lastly, the Indian healthcare sector has attracted over $12 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2014.

Source: This post is based on the articlePM inaugurates the first Global Innovation Summit of the Pharmaceuticalspublished by PIB on 20th Nov 2021.

DRI seizes of 85.535 kg gold, apprehends 4 foreign nationals in Operation “Molten Metal”

What is the News?

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) recently conducted an Operation code-named “Molten Metal”.

What was the aim of Operation Molten Metal?

Operation Molten Metal was launched to nab several Indian and foreign nationals suspected to be indulging in smuggling gold into India from Hong Kong using the air cargo route.

What is the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)?

DRI is the apex anti-smuggling agency of India, constituted in 1957.

Nodal Ministry: It works under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC), Ministry of Finance.

Mandate: It is tasked with detecting and curbing smuggling of contraband, including drug trafficking and illicit international trade in wildlife and environmentally sensitive items, as well as combating commercial frauds related to international trade and evasion of Customs duty.

DRI has also been designated as the lead agency for the Anti-Smuggling National Coordination Centre (SCord).

Central board of Indirect taxes (CBIC) is the nodal national agency responsible for administering Customs, GST, Central Excise, Service Tax & Narcotics in India. It is part of the Department of Revenue under Union Ministry of Finance. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Source: This post is based on the articleDRI seizes 85.535 kg gold, apprehends 4 foreign nationals in Operationpublished by PIB on 20th Nov 2021.

Union Minister for MSME launched Special Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (SCLCSS) for Services Sector

What is the News?

The Union Minister for MSME has launched the Special Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (SCLCSS) for the services sector.

What is Special Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (SCLCSS) for the services sector?

The scheme aims to help in meeting the technology related requirements of enterprises in the services sector.

Under the scheme, there is a provision of 25% capital subsidy for procurement of plant and machinery and service equipment. Subsidy is to be given via institutional credit to the SC/ST micro and small enterprises (MSEs) without any sector specific restrictions on technology degradation.

Significance: The scheme will help in meeting the technology related requirements of enterprises in the services sector.

Source:  This post is based on the articleUnion Minister for MSME launched Special Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (SCLCSS) for Services Sector published in PIB on 19th Nov 2021.

Geographical Information System (GIS) plans for around 75% Gram Panchayats completed

What is the News?

The Ministry of Rural Development has completed Geographical Information System (GIS) plans for two lakh out of the 2.69 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA using remote sensing technology

What is ​​Geographical Information System (GIS)?

It is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing the geographic terrain and offers scientific choices of development works suitable to the area. 

This technology integrates common database operations such as query and statistical analysis with the unique visualization and geographic analysis benefits offered by the maps.

What is GIS-based planning under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Initiative?

It is an initiative of the Ministry of Rural Development. It aims to help the Gram Panchayat ensure a scientific & holistic approach for planning at the Gram Panchayat level. 

Under the initiative, GIS based integrated plans are prepared to collect, store and analyze data related to assets created under MGNREGA and also to manage them more effectively along with better understanding of their impact/outcome.

What are the other GIS based initiatives under MGNREGA?

Yuktdhara Portal: It is a geospatial planning portal meant for facilitating Gram Panchayat level planning of MGNREGA activities across India.

CRISP-M Tool: It aims to help embed climate information in the Geographic Information System (GIS)-based planning and implementation of MGNREGA. It will enable the local communities to understand the impact of changing climate in terms of various geophysical parameters and make smart decisions on them.

Source: This post is based on the articleGeographical Information System (GIS) plans for around 75% Gram Panchayats completed published in PIB on 19th Nov 2021.

Russia Successfully Test Fires Zircon Hypersonic Missile

What is the News?

Russia has carried out a successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile.

What is the Zircon Missile?

Zircon Missile
Source: The Sun

Zircon is a Hypersonic Cruise Missile developed by Russia. It has been called as one of the invincible missiles by the Russian President.

What are the special features of Zircon Missile?

The missile flies with an advanced fuel that the Russians say gives it a range of up to 1,000 kilometers. 

The missile speed is also so fast that the air pressure in front of the weapon forms a plasma cloud as it moves, absorbing radio waves and making it practically invisible to active radar systems.

Note: The Zircon will join the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle that was put into service in 2019 and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in Russia’s arsenal.

Significance for India

This successful test of Zircon is being termed as good news for India as it will hasten the development of the delayed BrahMos-II hypersonic cruise missile, a joint India-Russia project.

Source: This post is based on the articleRussia Successfully Test Fires Zircon Hypersonic Missilepublished in NDTV on 18th Nov 2021.

India stands at 82 in global bribery risk rankings, dips by five spots

What is the News?

The Bribery Risk Matrix 2021 has been released by TRACE, an anti-bribery standard-setting organization.

The risk matrix measures the likelihood of bribe demands in 194 jurisdictions.

About Bribery Risk Matrix 2021 

Aim: To measure business bribery risk in 194 countries, territories, and autonomous and semi-autonomous regions.

First Published in: The index was originally published in 2014 for more reliable and nuanced information about the risks of commercial bribery worldwide.

Parameters: The matrix is based on four factors —  i). Business interactions with the government, ii). Anti-bribery deterrence and enforcement, iii). Government and civil service transparency, iv). Capacity for civil society oversight, which includes the role of the media.

Source of Data: Leading public interest and international organisations, including the United Nations, World Bank, V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg and World Economic Forum.

Significance: Helps companies to assess the likely risk of bribe demands in each country and to design compliance and due diligence programs tailored to that risk.

What are the key findings?

India has slipped to 82nd position in 2021 which is five places down from 77th rank in 2020.

India fared better than its neighbors – Pakistan, China, Nepal and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Bhutan secured 62nd rank.

– Lowest bribery risk: Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand present the

– Highest commercial bribery risk: On the other hand, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Venezuela and Eritrea pose the

Source: This post is based on the articleIndia stands at 82 in global bribery risk rankings, dips by five spotspublished by Indian Express on 19th Nov 2021.

India-built Jaffna Cultural Centre awaits inauguration

What is the news?

Nearly two years after its construction, the India-funded Jaffna Cultural Centre in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province is still awaiting inauguration.

Built with an Indian grant of $11 million, the center was envisaged as a public space to promote, preserve and foster the cultural heritage of Jaffna and serve as a hub of cultural activities in Sri Lanka.

Why are the issues involved?

– As per the MoU between Indian and Sri Lankan governments in 2014 the Centre was to be managed by the local municipal authority, and not the Central Government in Colombo. Presently, questions are being raised about the funding capacity of Municipal Council to run the center.

– Attempts are also being made to hand over the administration of the center to the Army.

What steps have been taken by India?

In order to prevent the Sri Lankan Army from taking over the management of the center, India pledged to absorb administrative costs for five years.

Source: This post is based on the article “India-built Jaffna Cultural Centre awaits inauguration” published in The Hindu on 19th Nov 2021.

Weigh future potential when awarding relief: SC

What is the news?

Reversing a High Court (HC) judgement, the Supreme Court (SC) observed that the possibility for a bright future of an accident victim should be considered while determining compensation.

The court was dealing with the death of a 21-year-old engineering student in an accident. The Madhya Pradesh High Court calculated his monthly income at Rs. 5,000.

As per SC, the High Court had committed a grave error.

What are the observations made by the SC?

As per the Supreme Court,

To have the perception that he is likely to remain static and his income to remain stagnant is contrary to the fundamental concept of human attitude which always intends to live with dynamism and move and change with the time

– The High Court has not considered the future rise in income while awarding the future loss of income. The future rise of income of the road accident victim should be taken into consideration, even if he or she was not earning at the time of death.

– The future rise in income should be calculated after considering factors like, passage of time, the changing society, escalation of price, the change in price index, the human attitude to follow a particular pattern of life, etc.

– The legal heirs of the deceased shall also be entitled to future prospects by adding future rise in income, i.e., addition of 40% of the income determined on guesswork considering the educational qualification, family background etc., where the deceased was below the age of 40 years

Source: This post is based on the article “Weigh future potential when awarding relief: SC” published in The Hindu on 20th Nov 2021.

Explained: CCI market study on pharma sector

Source:  This post is based on the following articles: 

  • Explained: CCI market study on pharma sectorpublished in Indian Express on 20th November 2021.
  • CCI releases key findings and observations on Market Study on the Pharmaceuticals Sector in India published in PIB on 19th November 2021.
What is the News?

Competition Commission of India (CCI) has released a report titled ‘Market Study on the Pharmaceutical Sector in India: Key Findings and Observations’.

What are the key findings of the report?

Pharmaceutical Sector: Globally, India ranks 3rd in terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and 13th by value.

Out of Pocket Expenditure(OOPE): Pharmaceuticals including generic drugs account for about 43.2%  of out of pocket healthcare expenditure in India and about 62.7% of the total health spending in the country.

Generic Drugs: India is the largest supplier of generic drugs globally. However, the market for generic drugs is driven by brand competition instead of price competition despite such drugs being functionally and chemically identical. 

Note: Generic drugs are chemically identical to drugs that once had patent protection.

Online Pharmacies: The share of online pharmacies stood at 2.8% in 2018. The sector’s reach has now expanded during the pandemic to 8.8 million households from 3.5 million households prior to the pandemic.

What are the suggestions given by the report?

Necessary regulations should be enforced to safeguard patient privacy and protect sensitive personal medical data.

Data and digital technology can be used effectively to improve access to and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

Online pharmacies should adopt self-regulatory measures in the areas of collection, use, sharing of data and privacy.

Effective price competition in generics can benefit consumers and improve access to affordable healthcare. 

National Digital Drugs Databank should be created and made available to regulators, industry, physicians and consumers to address information asymmetry in the sector.

CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) should ensure uniform and consistent application of quality standards.

There should be an increase in the frequency of testing of drugs and in the capacity of drug testing labs.

Explained: The process for repealing a law

Source: This post is based on the articleExplained: The process for repealing a lawpublished by Indian Express on 19th Nov 2021.

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has announced that the three contentious farm laws would be repealed. The process of repealing the laws will take place in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament.

Read more: Government will repeal all 3 farm laws: Modi
What do you mean by Repealing the Law?

Repealing a law is one of the ways to nullify a law. A law is reversed when Parliament thinks there is no longer a need for the law to exist. 

Legislation can also have a “sunset” clause, a particular date after which they cease to exist. For example, the anti-terror legislation Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1987, commonly known as TADA, had a sunset clause, and was allowed to lapse in 1995.

For laws that do not have a sunset clause, Parliament has to pass another legislation to repeal the law.

How can the Government repeal a law?

Article 245 of the Constitution gives Parliament the power to make laws for the whole or any part of India, and state legislatures the power to make laws for the state. Parliament draws its power to repeal a law from the same provision.

What is the process for repealing a law?

Laws can be repealed in two ways — either through an ordinance or through legislation.

Ordinance: In case an ordinance is used, it would need to be replaced by a law passed by Parliament within six months. If the ordinance lapses because it is not approved by Parliament, the repealed law can be revived.

Legislation: The government can also bring legislation to repeal the farm laws. It will have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament, and receive the President’s assent before it comes into effect. Usually, Bills titled Repealing and Amendment are introduced for this purpose.

Govt school enrolments lower in 8 states compared to pre-pandemic period

Source: This post is based on the articleGovt school enrolments lower in 8 states compared to pre-pandemic periodpublished by Business Standard on 20th Nov 2021.

What is the News?

The 16th Annual Status of Education Report(ASER) was recently released by Pratham Education Foundation.

Must Read: ASER Survey and issues in school education – Explained, pointwise
What is the major finding of the report?

There was an increase in enrolment in Government Schools. Around 70.3% of children in India enrolled in government schools in 2021. This is up from 65.8% in 2020 and 64.3% in 2018.

However, not all states have shown an increase in enrollment in Government schools.

Eight of the 25 states surveyed have in fact witnessed a decline in government enrolments. Among these, North-eastern states have led the charge in recording a decline in enrollment in Government schools.

On the other hand, the increase in government school enrolment was largely driven by large northern States like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, and southern States like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Union Minister inaugurates first of its kind, world’s most sophisticated, latest MRI facility at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), Manesar, Haryana

Source: This post is based on the articleUnion Minister inaugurates first of its kind, world’s most sophisticated, latest MRI facility at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), Manesar, Haryanapublished by PIB on 20th Nov 2021.

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Science and Technology has launched the first of its kind, latest and world’s most sophisticated MRI facility at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) in Haryana’s Manesar.

About the new MRI facility

This machine can detect and quantify highly sensitive receptors and antioxidants from the brain which has a direct link with the onset of various brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and psychiatric disorders

What is the National Brain Research Centre(NBRC)?

NBRC was established in the year 1999 as an autonomous institution under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.

Nodal Ministry: NBRC is an autonomous institute funded by the Department of Biotechnology and is also a Deemed-to-be University. The government of India has also recognised NBRC as an Institution of Excellence. 

Mandate: To study brain functions in health and diseases using innovative multidisciplinary approaches in basic and translational research.

Divisions: Research at NBRC is classified into five divisions namely Cellular and Molecular, Systems, Cognitive, Computational and Translational. 

Location: Manesar, Haryana

Central forces, state cops require better coordination: Shah

What is the news?

Recently, the Home Minister inaugurated the three-day annual conference of police chiefs in Lucknow. This is the 56th DGP/IGP conference.

About the 56th DGP/IGP conference

Since 2014, the DGP/IGP has been held outside Delhi, with the Prime Minister and home minister leading the deliberations.

The DGP meet this year is being organised for the first time in hybrid mode, with the police chiefs of all States and UTs and DGs of central para-military forces attending it from the police headquarters in Lucknow, and 350 other officers joining in virtually from IB offices in various States and UTs.

The conference has seen the following events.

-A presentation by NATGRID, which seeks to make a dozen individual databases accessible with the single click of a mouse.

Awarded three best police stations in the country to the station house officers of Sadar Bazaar in New Delhi, Gangapur in Odisha and Bhattu Kalan in Haryana,

What are the suggestions mentioned by the Home Minister?

1. Appreciated the role played by security forces during the Covid pandemic and the sacrifices made by them, 2. Called for better coordination between central agencies and state police forces as they focus on tackling security challenges such as cyber-crime, left-wing extremism, narcotics trafficking, coastal security and border area management, 3. Reforms at the police station and beat levels for effective policing.

Source: This post is based on the article “Central forces, state cops require better coordination: Shah” published in The Times of India on 20th Nov 2021.

Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to inaugurate IFSCA’s InFinity Forum on 3rd December 2021

What is the news?

The Indian Prime Minister will inaugurate the “InFinity Forum”, a 2-day thought leadership Forum on FinTech on 3rd December 2021. For the forum, a dedicated Website and Agenda for the InFinity Forum was launched recently.

About the InFinity Forum

InFinity Forum is IFSCA’s flagship financial technology and global thought leadership event. The forum will focus on how technology and innovation can be leveraged by the FinTech industry. In this forum pressing problems, progressive ideas, innovative technologies from across the world gets Discovered, Discussed and Developed into Solutions. In this forum the leading minds in policy, business, and technology discuss and come up with actionable insight into how technology and innovation can be leveraged by the FinTech industry for inclusive growth.

Hosted by: International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) under the aegis of Government of India (GoI) in collaboration with GIFT City and Bloomberg.

Indonesia, South Africa and the U.K. are partner countries in the first edition of the Forum.

The Forum will bring together all key stakeholders of the global FinTech Industry to explore the limitless future of the industry in the spirit of mutual cooperation.

What is the agenda of the InFinity Forum?

The Forum will focus on the theme of ‘Beyond’; with various sub-themes such as

-FinTech beyond boundaries: It will focus beyond the geographical boundaries in the development of a global stack to promote financial inclusiveness,

Note: IndiaStack is a set of APIs that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilise an unique digital Infrastructure to solve India’s hard problems towards presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery.

The India Stack story and the impact it has had on the lives of a billion can be taken beyond Indian boundaries through a global stack initiative.

-FinTech beyond Finance: Focus on the convergence with emerging areas such as SpaceTech, GreenTech and AgriTech to drive sustainable development,

-FinTech Beyond Next: It will focus on how Quantum Computing could impact the nature of Fintech industry in the future and promote new opportunities.

Terms to know:

Source: This post is based on the article “Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to inaugurate IFSCA’s InFinity Forum on 3rd December 2021” published in PIB on 19th Nov 2021.

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