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Insights Daily Current Events, 09 March 2016
By INSIGHTS

Insights Daily Current Events, 09 March 2016
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Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to
Health, Education, Human Resources.

Cap profits, cut drug prices: Panel
An inter-ministerial committee, which was set up to study steep hike in trade margins and suggest ways to increase
affordability of expensive medicines and medical devices across the country, has submitted its report to the
government.
Among others, it has recommended capping of trade margins for costly drugs at 35% of MRP (maximum
retail price). This move could significantly bring down prices of expensive medicines.
Highlights of the report:
While acknowledging that trade margins fall under the domain of industry, the report highlights “consumer
protection” as an area where government interventions and regulations are required, mainly in sectors like
drugs or pharmaceuticals, where consumer has little choice.
Though the report suggests capping trade margins on expensive drugs at 35% of MRP, it also recommended
a different slab for lesser priced medicines. For products priced at Rs 2 per unit, the margin may be capped at
50%.
Background:
Under the previous price regime, trade margins were capped at 16% and 8% for drug retailers and wholesalers,
respectively. However, this was only on scheduled drugs, prices of which were directly capped and monitored by the
government. On other drugs, retailers were allowed a margin of 20%, whereas wholesalers were entitled to a
margin of 10%.
However, since the new drug pricing policy came into place in 2013, there is no ceiling on the trade margin.
Instead, the regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) caps prices based on the average
price of all medicines in a particular segment with more than 1% market share.
It is estimated that this gap has allowed trade margins of up to 400-500% on certain medicines which are
already exorbitantly priced.
Need for capping:
While medicines constitute around 60% of the total out-of-pocket expenditure incurred by individuals on healthcare,

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rejig it. The report also said. Sources: toi.trade margins contribute to almost 20-25% of a medicine’s price. the proposal will take the shape of a Cabinet note and a final decision will be taken after that. which is certainly outdated. The committee also observed that “the much needed reforms will have to be led by the central government” as “the MCI can no longer be entrusted with that responsibility in view of its massive failures”. It recommended the immediate bifurcation of the two major areas – medical education and practice of ethical conduct by medical professionals – so that they receive full attention. gives accreditation to medical schools. medicine prices of different brands are likely to come at par largely. The Indian drug retail market is currently pegged at over Rs 1 lakh crore annually. Paper 2 Topic: statutory bodies. The Council grants recognition of medical qualifications. 1956. The panel recommended that the Act under which MCI was set up be scrapped and a new legislation be drafted at the earliest. After incorporating suggestions.” The report noted that the MCI cannot be remedied according to the existing provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act. says Parliament panel The Parliamentary standing committee on health has called for a complete restructuring of the Medical Council of India (MCI). and monitors medical practice in India. 2/9 . grants registration to medical practitioners. Important observations and recommendations made by the committee: The committee observed that the whole focus of the MCI has been on licensing of medical colleges and ethics was completely lost out in this process. arguing that it has failed in its mandate as a regulator of medical education and profession. MCI has failed. Experts say trade margins also create a huge disparity in prices of medicine brands available in the market. the government can no longer look the other way and has to exercise its constitutional authority and take decisive and exemplary action to restructure and revamp India’s regulatory system of medical education and practice. Way ahead: The government is now trying to narrow the trade margin gap and pass on the price benefit to consumers. “If the medical education system has to be saved from total collapse. Once trade margins are regulated. About MCI: The Medical Council of India (MCI) is the statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India. Pharmaceutical companies often use this window to push their brands through retailers as well as doctors.

high value polymers has a great impact on science and industry. Computers. Accreditation of medical colleges. Background: In recent years. Researchers have developed metabolically engineered Escherichia coli strains to synthesise non-natural. heat. useful chemicals or products such as plastics. Recognition of foreign medical qualifications in India. Keeping a directory of all registered doctors (called the Indian Medical Register). paints. Scientists use micro-organisms to produce ‘green’ plastic Korean researchers have developed a unique biorefinery system to create non-natural polymers from natural sources. biomedically important polymers including PLGA or poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) – previously considered impossible to obtain from bio-based materials. The Council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act. robotics. Space. Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology. Significance of this development: As climate change technology becomes more important. power. Regulation of postgraduate medical education in medical colleges accredited by it. this research on the biological production of non-natural. Recognition of medical qualifications granted by medical institutions in India. Sources: toi. nano-technology. Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT. biorefineries which transform non-edible biomass into fuel.developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. bio- 3/9 ..The Medical Council of India was first established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act. allowing various plastics to be made in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner. Registration of doctors with recognized medical qualifications. Sources: toi. fertilisers and vitamin capsules. Important functions performed by the council: Establishment and maintenance of uniform standards for undergraduate medical education. Renewable non-food biomass can potentially replace petrochemical raw materials to produce energy sources. 1956 that replaced the earlier Act. 1933. chemicals and materials have received a great deal of attention as a sustainable alternative to decreasing the reliance on fossil fuels. lubricants.

Udaipur. ground centres get into place With IRNSS-1G slated to be launched in March this year. Bhopal. The range monitoring IRIMS. and those that generate and transmit navigation parameters and maintain the spacecraft in position all the time.technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. navigation and time. The data is important for a host of users. the national space agency ISRO is quickly putting across cities the last pieces of ground-based support infrastructure of the system. units that have instruments such as atomic clocks for keeping accurate time. the ISRO Navigation Centre. Among them are data receiving and processing centres. will be spread across Gaggal. which is essential in navigation. one ISRO Navigation Centre and one Spacecraft Control Facility with its data communication network. Navigation satellites provide three main data. IRNSS-1F. Jodhpur. is part of the Rs. Four more centres providing different vital services are also coming up. Pune. The nerve centre of IRNSS. besides Bengaluru and Hassan. is at Byalalu on the outskirts of Bengaluru and is part of the 21 ground locations. Goa. Lucknow. the IRNSS ground segment is operational on a 24/7 basis through 13 IRIMS (Indian Range and Integrity Monitoring Stations. About Ground Segment of IRNSS: The ground segment. What all services are provided? IRNSS would provide two types of services. from the military to managers of air land and sea transport up to the man on the street looking to reach somewhere. Currently. is slated to be launched on 11th March from Sriharikota. Dehradun. namely Standard Positioning Services available to all users and Restricted Services provided to authorised users. Shillong. What is being done? ISRO is adding a back-up for it at Lucknow. which was approved in May 2006. which could eventually total 15 to 17. The sixth spacecraft. Kolkata. ISRO is getting closer to completing the seven-spacecraft regional navigation system in space by April as planned. estimated to cost Rs. 1.420-crore IRNSS scheme. 1 IRNSS Network Timing Centre. How many more satellites to be launched? 4/9 . A Space Control Facility each will be in Hassan Karnataka— where the Master Control Facility for communication satellites functions since many decades — and its alternative centre in Bhopal. With IRNSS almost up in orbit. About IRNSS: What is it? IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. namely PNT: information on position. Mahendragiri and Port Blair. 300 crore. Kavaratti.

Significance of IRNSS: Once fully operational. 5 satellites are launched out of total 7. the National Space Agency is aiming to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign navigational systems such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS.As of now. Disaster Management. Precise Timing. Two more satellites will be launched by April 2016. 5/9 . Applications of IRNSS: Terrestrial. Vehicle tracking and fleet management. Aerial and Marine Navigation. Integration with mobile phones.

Marshall Islands’ campaign has acquired stronger support. scheduled to be fully operational by 2020 at the earliest. the government recently reminded the world that India does not have any legal obligation to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Visual and voice navigation for drivers. France (DORIS). only the United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS are global operational GNSSs. Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests. Sources: the hindu. Other Global Navigational Systems: As of now. contending breach of customary law obligations following from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. to which India is not a party. especially since it suffered due to the nuclear tests conducted in its territory by the U. Background: This was in response to a question on the case that Marshall Islands from the Pacific Ocean region has lodged at the International Court of Justice against all the major nuclear states. its provisions cannot be extended to India as a legal obligation. 6/9 . and Japan are in the process of developing regional navigation systems. where Marshall Islands has at present instituted proceedings against India. India. Ever since. The case from the Marshall Islands has been on the agenda of the ICJ since the tiny archipelago in the Pacific Ocean lodged the case in 2014 seeking greater international attention to the issue of comprehensive test ban treaty. says India Ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit. Government believes that given the country’s consistent and principled position on the NPT.S. The European Union’s Galileo positioning system is a GNSS in initial deployment phase. Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers. India had already made a written presentation to the ICJ reiterating that Marshall Islands’ argument regarding the obligations flowing from Article VI of the NPT is not valid before India which is not a signatory to the NPT.Mapping and Geodetic data capture. for possessing nuclear weapons and for not supporting a global test ban pact. No legal obligation to NPT. Way ahead: India has sent a legal team to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. China is in the process of expanding its regional Beidou navigation system into the global Compass navigation system by 2020. including India. Indian diaspora.

and China. which acceded to the NPT in 1985 but never came into compliance. to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Other details: The NPT non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons and the NPT nuclear-weapon states in exchange agree to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The right to peacefully use nuclear technology. The treaty is reviewed every five years in meetings called Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. by consensus. Russia. the United Kingdom. announced its withdrawal in 2003. Several additional measures have been adopted to strengthen the NPT and the broader nuclear nonproliferation regime and make it difficult for states to acquire the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Israel. Even though the treaty was originally conceived with a limited duration of 25 years.What the NPT says? Article VI of the NPT demands that each member state of the NPT undertake “negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” About NPT: What is it? It is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. North Korea. Disarmament 3. including the export controls of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the enhanced verification measures of the IAEA Additional Protocol. France. 7/9 . Signatories: A total of 190 states have joined the Treaty. When it entered into force? The Treaty entered into force in 1970. to extend the treaty indefinitely and without conditions. Pakistan and South Sudan. Who has not joined? Four UN member states have never joined the NPT: India. Sources: the hindu. Recognized nuclear-weapon states: The treaty recognizes five states as nuclear-weapon states: the United States. The NPT is interpreted as a three-pillar system. and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. with an implicit balance among them: the three pillars are: 1. 2. Non-proliferation. and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. the signing parties decided.

SC asks Centre to explore e-voting for defence personnel The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to explore ways. Should his disqualification be kept in abeyance till he is convicted? Background: The court has been tightening its grip on corruption in politics from 2013 when it first held that legislators. RPA: Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act deals with disqualification on conviction for certain offences: A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release. Right to vote is a statutory right granted to all citizens but many defence and paramilitary personnel posted in far-flung and border areas are not able to exercise it. Before this verdict. MLAs can be disqualified upon framing of charges The Supreme Court has decided to lay down the law on whether the country should even wait until a corrupt legislator is convicted to have him disqualified from Parliament or Assembly. on conviction. Sources: the hindu. would be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three months’ time for appeal. In March 2014. especially those dealing with corruption and heinous offences. A three-judge Bench has referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a legislator facing criminal trial should be disqualified at the very stage of framing of charges against him by the trial court. as was the case before. to enable defence and paramilitary personnel to cast their ballot. convicted lawmakers would file an appeal in the higher court and continue in the House. In 2013. Constitution Bench to decide if MPs. Paper 2 Topic: RPA. the court found it unconstitutional that convicted persons could be disqualified from contesting elections but could continue to be Members of Parliament and State Legislatures once elected. This order prevented lawmakers from sitting in the House as their cases dragged on. involving elected representatives should be completed in a year.Paper 2 Topic: RPA. including e-voting facility. the Supreme Court passed an interim order that criminal trials. 8/9 .

The Court has directed the Centre to come out with concrete suggestions within three months on how to improve the existing system of postal ballot available with defence personnel and whether e-voting could be introduced to them. Sources: the hindu. Copyright (C) INSIGHTS ACTIVE LEARNING 9/9 .