In today’s daily current affairs briefing for UPSC aspirants, we explore the latest developments that hold relevance for the upcoming civil services examination. Our focus today includes a critical analysis of recent policy changes, international affairs, and national developments, all of which play a pivotal role in shaping the socio-political and economic landscape of India. Stay informed and stay ahead in your UPSC preparations with our daily current affairs updates, as we provide you with concise, well-researched insights to help you connect the dots between contemporary events and the broader canvas of the civil services syllabus.
The NMC Registered Medical Practitioner (professional conduct) Regulations 2023
Tag: GS-2 Government Policies and Interventions
Doctors have been protesting against one of the provisions of the new guidelines on Professional Conduct, which were recently notified by the National Medical Commission (NMC). The provision requires the doctor to use generic names of medicines on the prescription instead of a particular brand name.
About the NMC Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023
- The NMC Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023 will replace the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) Code of Medical Ethics 2002 and are enforceable from 2 August 2023.
- Other key provisions of the regulations are:
- Social Media Usage: Doctors can use social media for providing verifiable information or announcements. However they are prohibited from discussing patient’s treatment specifics and scans online to maintain patient privacy.
- Prescription practice: Every RMP should prescribe drugs using generic names written legibly. The provision could be relaxed only for medicines with narrow therapeutic index i.e. drugs where a small difference in dosage may lead to adverse outcomes, biosimilars i.e. a different version of biologic products that are manufactured in living systems, and other exceptional cases.
- Refuse treatment: Doctors have the right to refuse treatment for abusive, unruly, or violent patients and relatives. But they must not refuse treatment in medical emergencies.
- Consultation fees should be made known to the patient before examination or treatment of the patient. A reasonable estimation of the cost of surgery or treatment should be provided to the patient to enable an informed decision.
Concern of Doctors regarding the prescription of generic medicines:
- Quality of generic medicines: Doctors express concerns about the uncertainty about the quality of generic medicines available.
- Ineffective treatment: The rule takes away the choice of doctors to prescribe medicines they consider best for their patient and might result in ineffective treatment.
- Absence of quality control regime for generic medicines: Lack of standardised quality control regime results in varying quality of generic medicines across companies, that could be detrimental to patient’s health.
- Poor treatment outcomes: Doctors fear that poor quality of unregulated generic medicines could lead to poor treatment outcomes in the patients. This could also hamper their reputation and also result in violence against doctors if they failed to treat their patients.
- High incidence of substandard drugs in Indian market: Data from the health ministry shows that around 3% of all medicines tested over the last three years, including generics, branded generics, and branded medicines, were found to be not of standard quality.
- Questionable test standards: Until a few years ago, it was not mandatory for companies making generics to carry out bio-equivalence or stability studies, making the tests that a company needs to do to get approval questionable.
- Poor availability of generic medicines: Drug stores usually do not stock generic medicines because of very low profit margins.
What are Generic medicines?
- Generic medicines can be defined as cheap and affordable versions of branded drugs which are brought into the market once the original drug manufacturer’s patent expires.
- These medicines have the same potency, quality, and implications and work in an identical manner as the branded drug. The generic medicines are marketed either by a salt or brand name.
- These medicines are 30% to 80% cheaper than the branded versions, and are hence likely to bring down healthcare costs.
Source: Indian Express
Impact of the Data Protection Bill on the RTI Act
Tags: GS – 2: Governance (Government Policies and Intervention)
Why in News:
Recently passed Digital Personal Data Protection Bill in India has raised concerns among privacy experts due to its potential impact on the landmark right to information (RTI) law.
Major Provisions of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDP) 2022:
- It aims at regulating the collection, storage, and processing of personal data.
- The law has been framed based on the recommendation of the committee led by Justice B N Srikrishna.
- Personal data is any data by which or in relation to which an individual can be identified E.g., Name, address
- Individual consent is required for collection and Processing. Individuals also have the right to withdraw consent and demand the erasure of data.
- Major outlines of the bill:
- Usage of personal data must be lawful, fair, and transparent.
- Personal data should be used only for its intended purposes.
- Data minimization is emphasized.
- Data accuracy during collection is crucial.
- Personal data shouldn’t be stored indefinitely; limited storage duration is mandated.
- Safeguards must prevent unauthorized data collection or processing.
- Accountability lies with the entity determining data processing purpose and means.
- The bill permits cross-border data transfer to specified countries with strong data security measures, where the Indian government can access Indians’ data. This is a departure from the previous bill, which mandated local data storage requirements.
- Entities lacking “reasonable security safeguards” against data breaches face fines of up to Rs 250 crore. The proposed Data Protection Board could levy penalties of up to ₹500 crore for substantial non-compliance.
- The bill mandates providing non-personal data to the government when demanded.
How DPDP Bill impacts the Right to Information (RTI) Act:
- The new data protection law changes a provision in the RTI Act to exempt “personal information” from being disclosed. This affects information sought under the RTI law.
- The new law introduces a blanket ban on personal information, making it difficult to access information even if it relates to public activities or larger public interest.
- Activists and experts are concerned that the change will reduce transparency and hinder the ability to access information.
- While the change doesn’t affect the provision allowing access if public interest outweighs the harm, it shifts the burden to individuals seeking information to prove its public interest.
- Officials are expected to deny more RTI requests using the personal information exemption, affecting the availability of crucial information.
Source: BBC News
Matangini Hazra and Kanaklata Barua
Tags: GS – 1: Modern Indian History (Freedom Struggle of India)
Why in News:
Recently, President Droupadi Murmu, during her address on the eve of Independence Day, paid tribute to women freedom fighters. She mentioned two notable figures – Matangini Hazra and Kanaklata Barua.
- She was born in 1869 in a village near Tamluk, West Bengal.
- She was married at a young age and became widowed by 18.
- After her husband’s death, she dedicated herself to social causes and became deeply involved in the Nationalist movement, supporting Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals.
- She participated in various protests, including the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Salt March.
- During the Quit India Movement in 1942, at the age of 73, she led a large procession of around 6,000 protesters, advocating for the takeover of the Tamluk police station.
- In the ensuing clash with British authorities, she was shot and killed.
- She was a young martyr of the Quit India Movement.
- At just 17 years old, she led the Mrityu Bahini, a group of freedom fighters, in an attempt to hoist the Tricolour at the Gohpur police station in Assam on September 20, 1942.
- Despite her age, she was determined to lead the procession, and her brave efforts left a lasting impact.
- During the confrontation with the police, she was shot and killed while holding onto the flag.
- In 2020, a Coast Guard vessel was named after her as a tribute to her bravery.
Source: Indian Express
Kirti Chakras and Shaurya Chakras
Tags: GS-I: Awards and recognition
President of India approves Gallantry Awards for Armed Forces and CAPF Personnel on the eve of the 77th Independence Day.
About Kirti chakras and Shaurya Chakras:
- Kirti Chakras:
- It is the second-highest peacetime gallantry award in India which is conferred for exceptional acts of bravery and sacrifice recognizing outstanding courage and selflessness in adverse situations.
- It is also awarded posthumously to individuals who sacrificed their lives for the greater good showing extraordinary dedication to duty and willingness to risk all.
- It has been awarded to Central Reserve Police Force personnel for anti-Naxal operation in Chhattisgarh (April 2021).
- This year, it has been awarded to four recipients, including Dilip Kumar Das, Raj Kumar Yadava, Bablu Rabha, and Sambha Roy.
- Shaurya Chakras:
- It is the third-highest peacetime gallantry award in India which honours exceptional acts of bravery and courage in non-operational circumstances.
- It is awarded to individuals either alive or posthumously from the Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police, and CRPF recognizing their valour and resolute spirit in challenging situations.
- These awards acknowledge acts of bravery that inspire and uplift society and motivates others to emulate the same level of courage and dedication.
- It also provides a platform to express national gratitude and pride besides encouraging a sense of duty and responsibility among armed forces and security personnel.
- Overall, Kirti Chakras and Shaurya Chakras highlight the human spirit’s capacity to rise above adversity and danger, demonstrating the essence of true patriotism and heroism.
Source: The Hindu
Remittances to India
Tags: GS-III: Economy
Ministry of Finance data indicates trend of sustained and fast-paced increase in “personal transfers” to India
About Remittances to India:
- Remittances to India surge to $112.5 Billion in FY23 highlighting continued growth in India’s Global Appeal.
- It is a remarkable increase of 26% reinforcing India’s status as the leading recipient of global remittances.
- Key highlights:
- Non-resident Indians contribute significantly to the surge in remittances fuelled by the pandemic-induced demand for Indian professionals globally.
- While FY21 witnessed a disruption due to the pandemic, but the trend has rebounded and strengthened.
- Remittances to India stood at $89.1 billion in FY22 which has sustained and rapid growth in “personal transfers” seen in recent years.
- USA holds the leading position, accounting for 23.4% of total remittances followed by UAE (18%), UK (6.8%), besides Singapore and Saudi Arabia contributing 5.7% and 5.1% respectively.
- Private remittances play a crucial role in India’s current account stability as the deficit in merchandise trade is balanced by remittance flows which maintains a favourable balance of payments.
- The surge in remittances is however contrasted with the slowing flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
- India’s efforts, including 14 production-linked incentive schemes, attract $70.97 billion FDI in FY23, down from $84.8 billion in FY22.
- Thus, remittances serve as a steady source of economic support, especially in comparison to the fluctuating nature of FDI.
- Overall, the consistent surge in remittances reflects India’s strong connections with its global diaspora besides helps in reaping benefits from its enduring presence in the global economy.
Source: Financial Express
Tags: GS – 2 Government Policy & Interventions, GS – 1 Geography
Why in news?
Recently, The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary has launched the ‘Graphene-Aurora program’ at a function in Maker Village Kochi, Kerala.
- The program shall be implemented by Digital University Kerala with joint funding from MeitY and Government of Kerala and Industry partners.
- The establishment of the India Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (I-GEIC) will play a pivotal role in this effort.
- This initiative aims to bridge the gap between graphene research and commercialization.
- The centre shall fill the gap between R&D and commercialization by providing a complete facility to startup and industry.
- It shall also nurture the deep/emerging Graphene technology & innovation ecosystem that can guide, develop, implement and support SMEs and startups to commercialize developed graphene technologies for scale adoption.
- Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, forming a two-dimensional structure.
- It is the world’s thinnest, strongest, and most conductive material of both electricity and heat.
- It conducts electricity better than copper.
- It is 200 times stronger than steel but six times lighter.
- It is almost perfectly transparent as it absorbs only 2% of light.
- It is impermeable to gases, even those as light as hydrogen and helium.
- It is used in electronics for creating faster and more efficient devices, in materials science for reinforcing composites, in energy storage for enhancing battery performance, and in medical fields for drug delivery and biosensors, among other uses.
- Maker Village is a pioneering startup initiative of the MeitY, Government of India with Indian Institute of Information Technology, Trivandrum as the implementation agency and Kerala Startup Mission as the supporting partner.
- It is India’s largest electronic hardware incubator and Electronics System Design & Manufacturing facility.
Source: PIB Gov.
Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme
Tags: GS – 2 Government Policies & Interventions, Centrally Sponsored Schemes
Why in news?
Fourteen States and Union Territories, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal, have not yet signed a crucial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Union Education Ministry to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) as part of the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme.
- RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan) Scheme has been renamed as “Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)” in June 2023 in light of National Education Policy.
- RUSA, as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in October 2013, aiming at providing strategic funding to higher education institutions throughout the country.
- Enhance quality in higher education institutions, ensure compliance with norms and accreditation standards, foster governance and academic reforms, and encourage research and innovation.
- It focuses on:
- Equity Access and inclusion in higher education
- Developing Quality Teaching & Learning processes,
- Accreditation of Non-Accredited Institutions and improving accreditation.
- ICT – based Digital Infrastructure.
- Enhancing Employability through Multidisciplinary.
- Key Features:
- MERU (Multidisciplinary Education and Research University) Transformation: Rs 100 crore support to each of 35 state universities for multi-disciplinary education and research.
- Model Degree Colleges establishment
- Grants for Strengthening Universities
- Targeting remote, LWE-affected, aspirational, and low Gross Enrolment Ration regions.
- Aid to state government for gender inclusion, equity, and ICT-based employability skills.
- PM-USHA scheme mandates that States implement the National Education Policy in order to avail funds worth almost ₹13,000 crore for the next three years. Also, 40% of the fund has to be arranged by States themselves. States argue they don’t have funds for bringing in NEP-related changes.
Source: The Hindu
Tags: GS-1 Geography
Why in news?
Recently, a farmer from Himachal Pradesh, India, has faced challenges due to erratic rainfall and water diversion for industries, impacting her rice farming.
- Red rice is a traditional variety that thrives without chemicals and fertilizers (completely Organic), offering better nutrition and organic qualities.
- It is red in color due to the presence of a component called anthocyanin.
- It is rich in micronutrients like iron and zinc, Vitamin A and antioxidants.
- It has much more nutrient value as compared to other varieties of rice.
- Himachal Pradesh’s government aims to expand red rice cultivation to 4,000 hectares.
- The resurgence of traditional rice varieties like red rice is transforming farming practices in India, with indigenous seeds proving resilient and sustainable.
Karnail Singh Isru
Tags: GS –1 History
Why in news?
On India’s Independence Day, Punjab Chief Minister paid homage to activist Karnail Singh Isru, who died on the same day in 1955 while participating in the Goa Liberation Movement.
- Karnail Singh Isru was born on September 9, 1930, in the Chak 30 village of the Lyallpur district that is now in Pakistan.
- He joined the Communist Party of India (CPI) and became part of the Goa Liberation Movement, which aimed to hoist the Indian flag in Goa.
- Isru left his home to join the movement without informing his family and was part of a group of Satyagarhis led by Sahodrabai Rai.
- However, upon entering Patradevi village in Goa, Portuguese forces opened fire, and Isru was fatally shot in the chest at the age of 25.
- Goa was eventually annexed by India in 1961 through Operation Vijay.
|Goa Liberation Movement:|
|Goa became a Portuguese colony in 1510 when Admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the forces of Bijapur’s sultan, Yusuf Adil Shah. Goa started to witness an upsurge of nationalist sentiment against colonial rule in the early 20th Century. Leaders such as Tristão de Bragança Cunha, celebrated as the father of Goan nationalism, founded the Goa National Congress at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress in 1928. In 1946, the socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia led a historic rally in Goa that gave a call for civil liberties and freedom, and eventual integration with India, which became a watershed moment in Goa’s freedom struggle.|
Source: Indian Express
Tags: GS – 2 Government Policies & Interventions, Central Sector Scheme
Why in news?
On India’s 77th Independence Day, Prime Minister announced the upcoming launch of the ‘Vishwakarma Yojana’ which is set to be introduced on Vishwakarma Diwas (September 17).
- It is a Central Sector Scheme with a financial outlay of Rs.13,000 crore.
- This scheme aims to benefit individuals skilled in traditional craftsmanship, especially from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community.
- Skilled artisans like weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, and barbers, among others, will be empowered through this scheme.
- To strengthen and nurture the Guru-Shishya parampara or family-based practice of traditional skills by artisans and craftspeople working with their hands and tools.
- The scheme also aims at improving the quality, as well as the reach of products and services of artisans and craftspeople and to ensure that the Vishwakarmas are integrated with the domestic and global value chains.
- Time period: Five years (FY 2023-24 to FY 2027-28).
- Under this scheme, the artisans and craftspeople will be provided recognition through PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card, Credit Support upto Rs.1 lakh (First Tranche) and Rs.2 lakh (Second Tranche) with a concessional interest rate of 5%.
- The Scheme will further provide Skill Upgradation, Toolkit Incentive, Incentive for Digital Transactions and Marketing Support.
- Under the scheme, there will be two types of skilling programmes — Basic and Advanced and a stipend of Rs 500 per day will also be provided to beneficiaries while undergoing skills training.
Source: PIB Gov.
SAMUDRA’ mobile app
Tags: GS – 3 Science & Technology
Why in news?
Recently, The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), a division of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, has introduced a new mobile application called ‘SAMUDRA’.
- SAMUDRA stands for Smart Access to Marine Users for Ocean Data Resources and Advisories.
- This app offers comprehensive ocean-related information, benefiting seafarers and the fishing community.
- It provides real-time updates and critical alerts on oceanic disasters like tsunamis, storm surges, high waves, and swell surge alerts.
- It features interactive maps, charts, and animations to explain complex oceanic phenomena.
- The app is particularly valuable for fishermen as it offers Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories, guiding them to potential fish aggregation locations.
- The app also serves various public and private entities like the Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, and shipping industries.
- The app aligns with INCOIS’s mission to serve the nation with ocean data and advisory services, contributing to sustainable ocean activities and the Blue Economy.
Source: The Hindu
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