IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 27th August 2018
National Park/Sactuary in news: Nauradehi sanctuary
Animal in News: Cheetah
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology; Biodiversity/Animal Conservation
- Nauradehi sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh forest department has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in the State’s Nauradehi sanctuary.
Do you know?
- Cheetah — is the fastest land animal.
- India was once home to many cheetahs, but the last of them was killed in 1947 (in Chhattisgarh) and the cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952. It is the only large mammal to have been declared extinct in our country in recorded history.
- NTCA is a statutory body under the Union Environment Ministry.
- The Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun had prepared a ₹260-crore cheetah re-introduction project six years ago.
- According to the earlier action plan, around 20 cheetahs were to be translocated to Nauradehi from Namibia in Africa. The Namibia Cheetah Conservation Fund had then showed its willingness to donate the felines to India.
- However, the State was not ready to finance the plan contending that it was the Centre’s project.
- Reintroducing this beautiful animal will ensure the restoration of our natural heritage. Most importantly, it will contribute towards the conservation of the dryland (grassland, scrubland and open forest) ecosystems that the cheetah inhabits.
IUCN status – In the 2015 update of the IUCN Red List, the Asiatic cheetah is considered regionally extinct in Iraq, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
The Asiatic cheetah has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1996.
Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and avifauna observatory
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology; Biodiversity/Animal Conservation
- BNHS is one of India’s premier avian research institutes.
- It will start operating its regional centre on the campus of Wetland Research and Training Centre near Chilika Lake from Monday.
- The avifauna observatory will be inaugurated by BNHS.
- The centre will carry out research on avian disease by collecting samples and monitor the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary.
- BNHS-India, a pan-India wildlife research organization, has been promoting the cause of nature conservation for the past 133 years, since 1883.
- BNHS Mission: Conservation of Nature, primarily Biological Diversity through action based on Research, Education and Public Awareness
- BNHS Vision: Premier independent scientific organization with a broad based constituency, excelling in the conservation of threatened species and habitats.
Locate and mark the following location on your Atlas/Outline map of Orissa state
- Simlipal National Park.
- Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.
- Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
- Ushakothi (Badrama) Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Bhitarkanika National Park.
Strategic Partnership model
Part of: GS Prelims and mains III – Defence and Security
Major step towards boosting private sector participation in domestic defence manufacturing:
- Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had approved the implementation of Strategic Partnership guidelines.
- Strategic Partnership model aims to revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon system for future needs of armed forces.
- The SP model has four segments — submarines, single engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks — which would be specifically opened up for the private sector.
- Under this policy one Indian private company would be selected in each segment which would tie-up with shortlisted global equipment manufacturers to manufacture the platforms in India under technology transfer.
- However, foreign companies say there is still some clarity required on crucial legal, liability and technology transfer issues.
Do you know?
- For the first time, under the SP model, Indian private companies will get to tie up with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and build major defence platforms in India under technology transfer. So far, it was defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) which played the lead role.
- All procurements under the SP model would be executed by specially constituted empowered project committees (EPC) to ensure timely execution.
India and Maldives
Part of: GS Mains Paper II – India and its neighbours; International Relations
We have already learnt or aware of the following concern areas between India and Maldives –
- Turbulent Maldivian politics: Maldives continues its descent into political anarchy with democratic institutions facing an unabated onslaught under the authoritarian regime of President Abdulla Yameen.
- Maldives growing “closeness” with China: Both China and Pakistan stepping up their strategic inroads into the Maldives
- Religious radicalization: The island-nation (Maldives) is being radicalized by the Saudi funds and influence
- ISIS threat: Growing Islamic radicalisation in the tiny island-nation of about four lakh people once known for its tolerant practices has many foreign governments, including India, deeply concerned.
- No FTA with India: Maldives and India do not have a Free Trade Agreement. However Maldives and China entered into Free Trade Agreement.
- Yameen government had asked India to remove its Dhruv advanced light helicopters from Maldives (which India had gifted in 2013). Yameen government has alleged that tensions over the presence of the two Indian helicopters in two strategically important locations in the Laamu and Addu atolls have been growing.
- Work permits are not currently being issued to Indian Nationals.
- Maldives to extend visa of support staff.
- After several rounds of talks, there has been indication from the Maldives on its willingness to keep the two helicopters along with the crew and support staff.
G20 Digital Economy Ministerial meeting
Part of: GS Mains III and Prelims – Economy; International/Multilateral relations
- G20 Digital Economy Ministerial meeting was held in Argentina.
- G20 member nations agreed to promote policies that will contribute to bridging all forms of the digital divide, with special attention to the digital gender divide.
- The countries agreed to promote digital government and digital infrastructure, strengthen the digital skills of the workforce, deepen the analysis towards digital economy measurement, and to share experiences and lesson learned.
General Studies 2
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
- Welfare schemes, mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
General Studies 3
- Economic development
- Science and technology: Indigenization
Learning from the past: On medical device pricing
- After having brought down the prices of drugs, the government has medical devices on its agenda.
- It will soon announce its decision on the method of rationalizing trade margins for medical devices from the first point of sale.
Findings on Profit margin
- According to the report of the committee of high trade margins in the sale of drugs, released by the department of pharmaceuticals in 2016, the price to the distributor for both global and indigenous companies was considered from the first point of sale.
- This report clearly identifies that it is the margin between the price to the distributor and maximum retail price (MRP) that results in the escalation of the latter, and recommends that this should be capped.
- The data published by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)—also available in the public domain—shows that margins are indeed skewed towards hospitals.
Rationalizing trade margins:
- The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Policy, 2012 (NPPP-2012) provides a pointer to understanding which method to opt for when rationalizing trade margins.
- Till 2012, the practice followed by the NPPA was a maximum allowable post-marketing expense (Mape) over standardized manufacturing cost or over landing cost of the product.
- According to the observations documented in NPPP-2012, the manufacturing cost/landing cost methodology of price capping had led to “possible manipulation” of cost data, resulting in entry barriers.
- This was neither good for the patient nor for industry growth, and it impacted “the industry’s ability to invest in enhancing in capabilities”.
- The techniques that were used for knee and stent price capping, failed.
- The idea of price capping based on manufacturing cost/landing cost as per Drug Price Control Order 1995 was an unmitigated disaster.
- The emphasis on price control starting at the bulk drug and formulation stages resulted in drug manufacturing shifting away from notified bulk drugs and formulations under price control. As a result, patients were adversely affected.
- Considering the need for investment in skill development, in-clinic support, innovation and after-sales service of equipment, the scale of investment in pharmaceuticals is less than what it is for the medical device industry.
- If any cost-based price control is imposed for the medical device industry, the magnitude of the adverse effect will be higher.
On the demand side
- The demand for medical devices comes from doctors at the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare levels.
- They need to be aware of the availability of various medical devices for different conditions before treating a patient so that they can guide patients and form an effective referral chain to super-specialty care.
- For this, the global research-based companies need to invest and support clinicians in education and skill building. Every year, around 2.3 million healthcare professionals are trained by these companies. We need to do much more if we are to have universal coverage.
- Who will invest in skill development and therapy awareness if medtech companies and their subsidiaries find margins capped unreasonably from landing cost?
- If a patient feels a certain medication is not effective, he will go back to the doctor to change it, but this is not the case when it comes to medical devices.
- The risk factor is high, as medical devices can’t be replaced without re-operating on patients. So a doctor needs to be well informed about the quality and functionality of the devices for better clinical outcomes.
- The government’s previous attempts to cap high trade margins in the sale of drugs show that getting the balance wrong can hurt patients.
- In this Union budget, the government focused on the healthcare sector, launching the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat.
- Besides providing health insurance to 100 million poor families, the government also plans to open 150,000 health and wellness centres to provide comprehensive healthcare with free diagnostics and treatment.
- For the success of these initiatives, a lot of skill-building activities are required.
- In such a situation, the department of pharmaceuticals’ recommendation on trade margin rationalization from the first point of sale is the most viable solution.
- It will not only allow global companies to sell innovative products, but also enable them to invest in skill development along with therapy awareness, while still ensuring affordability by correcting the skewed margins in the supply chain.
Connecting the dots:
- Without pharmaceuticals’ market reform, Ayushman Bharat will be a distant dream. Elucidate.
General Studies 2
- Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers
- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
Odisha’s plan calls for a national policy on the utility of a second chamber in States
- Odisha government is planning to create legislative council or upper house. If it does so successfully, it will be eighth such state having upper house.
- The State Cabinet has approved a 49-member Legislative Council, accepting the report of a committee set up in 2015 to study the functioning of the second chamber in other States and make recommendations.
Do you know? (Constitutional provisions about State Legislative Council)
Article 169: Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in States
- Parliament may by law provide for the abolition or creation of the Legislative Council of a State, if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting.
Article 171: Composition of the Legislative Councils
- The total number of members in the Legislative Council of a State shall not exceed one third of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly of that State, and shall in no case be less than forty.
Article 171: Of the total number of members of the Legislative Council of a State—
- One-third shall be elected by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and such other local authorities in the State
- One-twelfth shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons residing in the State who have been for at least three years graduates
- One-twelfth shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons who have been for at least three years engaged in teaching not lower than secondary schools
- One-third shall be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State from amongst persons who are not members of the Assembly
- The remainder shall be nominated by the Governor, persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of Literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social service.
The advantages of having a bicameral legislature
- An Upper House provides a forum for academicians and intellectuals, who are arguably not suited for the rough and tumble of electoral politics.
- At least on paper, it provides a mechanism for a more sober and considered appraisal of legislation that a State may pass.
- If there was any real benefit in having a Legislative Council, all States in the country should, and arguably would, have a second chamber.
The objections to the second chamber
- Rather than fulfilling the lofty objective of getting intellectuals into the legislature, the forum is likely to be used to accommodate party functionaries who fail to get elected.
- It is also an unnecessary drain on the exchequer.
- The graduates are no longer a rare breed, with dipping educational standards, a graduate degree is no guarantee of any real intellectual heft.
- Why should graduates be privileged as people’s representatives in a democracy?
- Legislatures draw their talent both from the grassroots level and the higher echelons of learning. There are enough numbers of doctors, teachers and other professionals in most political parties today.
- The Rajya Sabha’s case is different as it represents the States rather than electoral constituencies. It is also a restraining force against the dominance of elected majorities in legislative matters.
- The fact that there are only seven such Councils suggests the lack of any real advantage, apart from the absence of a broad political consensus on the issue.
Legislative Councils are subject to varied and inconclusive discussions around their creation, revival and abolishment. Given all this, Odisha’s proposal may give the country at large an opportunity to evolve a national consensus on Legislative Councils.
Connecting the dots:
- Do you think that state legislative councils are relevant in today’s modern and educated Indian democracy?
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Q.1) Consider the following statements about National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
- Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 provides for creating the National Tiger Conservation Authority
- It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
- Project Tiger is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority
Select the correct statements
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.2) Which of the following big cats can roar?
Select the code from following:
- 1, 2 and 3
- 2, 3 and 4
- 1, 3 and 4
- All of the above
Q.3) With reference to Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), consider the following statements
- It is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
- It strives to conserve nature through action-based research, education and public awareness.
- It organizes and conducts nature trails and camps for the general public.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 and 3 only
- 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.4) Consider the following statements about Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS)
- It is the partner of BirdLife International in India.
- It is selected as an ENVIS Centre for avian ecology and inland wetlands.
Select the correct statement
- 1 Only
- 2 Only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
The larger picture on GDP numbers
Article 35A and the basic structure
Until dams do us part
Her rightful place
A suitable governor
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