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Insights Daily Current Events, 09 June 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 09 June 2016


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Centre to evolve norms to enhance product quality


The Commerce Ministry is planning to bring out a five-year ‘National Standards Strategy Paper’ to weed out substandard products from the domestic market and boost India’s exports of high quality goods.

  • In this regard, an inter-ministerial panel is already working on identifying goods that do not conform to safety, security, environment and health standards.

Why this is necessary?

Improved regulations are necessary to ensure that India moves gradually towards adoption of more mandatory standards, also called technical regulations that are harmonised with international standards. This is also necessary for India to develop a coordinated national response to meet the challenges of the World Trade Organisation regime in standards and conformity assessment.

Benefits associated:

  • A strong standards and regulatory framework would help domestic industry in becoming competitive in the world as well as domestic market.
  • This would help in increasing the exports by measuring up to standards and conformity assessment procedures both in quantitative terms and also getting higher value exports.
  • This will also fulfil the vision of ‘zero defect, zero effect (meaning, environment-friendly)’ and ‘Make In India’ campaigns.
  • It would also help prevent flooding of domestic market with unsafe/sub-standard imports which adversely affect consumers and domestic industry, according to the note.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


To mollify China, India eases curbs on conference visas


India has removed conference visas for Chinese participants from the prior referral category.


  • Not all categories of visas for Chinese have been removed from the restricted category. The relaxation is only for conference visas as it was a major hindrance for the Chinese to come here and share technological advancements and strategies.
  • China continues to be under prior referral category of countries for research, business, employment, medical and student visas.

What are conference visas?

Conference visas are issued for seminars, workshops and conferences organised by government departments, Union ministries, public sector undertakings, central educational institutions or public funded universities.

What is prior referral category?

Prior referral category (PRC) country means visas are issued by the respective Indian missions and consulates after running a thorough background check on individual applicants.

Countries in PRC:

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, foreigners of Pakistani origin and stateless persons come under the restricted category, requiring prior security clearance from the intelligence agencies for obtaining a visa.


China had, on several occasions, pressed India for lifting restrictions on conference and research visas.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Consumer awareness vital to hold drug prices


NPPA chairman recently said that the biggest challenge in the ‘access to medicine’ debate in India was to get the consumer to be aware of his/her rights. In this regard, doctors have an important role to play in making drugs affordable to the patients. But the real challenge is in getting every one to prescribe generic drugs.

What can be done?

NPPA has made a request to the health ministry that central government hospitals prescribe only generic drugs from now on.

Why this is necessary in India?

This is necessary because in India we do not have a system where the government insures or provides health care for everyone, like they do in United States. Instead, this objective is being achieved in India by bringing more medicines under National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). However, at present, only 17% of the pharmaceutical market is covered under this.


The price revision is a part of the Drug price Control Order (DPCO) of 2013, which expanded India’s National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) from 74 to 799 formulations. Despite facing pressure from domestic generic drug manufacturers, NPPA has been working on revising and lowering prices of NLEM in a phased manner.

  • The DPCO was put in place after the Sino-Indian war of 1962 because companies started to profiteer and it became necessary to cap drug prices. Over the years, it has been modified five times.
  • The health ministry revises the NLEM list every three years, going by public health interests and the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) enforces it through DPCO. So far, NPPA has revised prices of 330 out of 799 formulations.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

India eyes uranium from Africa


India is planning to ask African countries to relax commitment to the Pelindaba Treaty which controls supply of uranium from key mineral hubs of Africa to the rest of the world. As part of this, President Pranab Mukherjee would begin the process by trying to convince Namibia in his upcoming trip, to implement a bilateral treaty with India and supply uranium to Indian nuclear energy projects.


India and Namibia signed two MoUs on Cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources and Cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy during the visit of President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba to India in 2009. However, the Pelindaba Treaty has prevented it from ratifying the agreements. Namibia is the fourth largest producer of uranium.

About Pelindaba treaty:

The Pelindaba Treaty signed in 1996, also known as the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, aims at preventing nuclear proliferation and preventing strategic minerals of Africa from being exported freely. The treaty was signed in 1996 and came into effect with the 28th ratification on 15 July 2009.

  • The Treaty prohibits the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling, acquisition, testing, possession, control or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the Treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes in the African zone by Treaty parties.
  • The Treaty also prohibits any attack against nuclear installations in the zone by Treaty parties and requires them to maintain the highest standards of physical protection of nuclear material, facilities and equipment, which are to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.
  • It also requires all parties to apply full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to all their peaceful nuclear activities.
  • It covers the entire African continent along with few islands. Presently, the treaty has been ratified by 40 countries.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Logistics agreement with Washington inches forward


The logistics pact between India and the U.S., Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), has found mention in the joint statement issued after recent talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama. Both leaders have welcomed the finalisation of the text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

  • In the coming weeks the agreement will go through the administrative procedure and has to be formally approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) before it can be signed.

About the agreement:

The agreement will give two nations access to logistic support from each other besides refueling and birthing facilities. It requires both countries to provide their bases, fuel and other kinds of logistics support to each others’ fighter jets and naval warships. Logistical support with regard to weapons facilities would involve non-offensive military equipment. This support will involve cashless transactions on a reciprocal basis. It would be particularly beneficial at the time of disaster relief operations like the one India undertook in the wake of the Asian Tsunami in 2004.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


  • Multilateral lending agency Asian Development Bank has approved a USD 100 million loan to strengthen a key irrigation system and improve water management in the Vennar sub-basin of Cauvery Delta in Tamil Nadu. The Vennar irrigation project will support both physical improvements and stronger water management, giving a significant boost to the lives of coastal communities who often go without sufficient irrigation water. The project will strengthen the embankments of six major irrigation water channels in Vennar system to make them more resilient to floods and upgrade water regulators. The Cauvery delta, on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, is known as the ‘rice bowl’ of the state, with over 70 per cent of the delta population engaged in farming and fishing, but access to water is unreliable and flooding common during the monsoon season.


  • With its oil demand galloping 8.1% in 2015, India has surpassed Japan to become the world’s third-largest oil consumer. India is the third-largest consumer behind the U.S. and China. Also, global demand for primary energy grew only 1% in 2015, which is significantly slower than the 10-year average. Oil remained the world’s leading fuel, accounting for 32.9% of global energy consumption and is gaining market share for the first time since 1999. Coal came in as the second-largest fuel by market share (29.2%). Natural gas’ market share of primary energy consumption stood at 23.8%.


  • India and Seychelles are working together to ensure safety and security in the Indian Ocean. In this regard, both countries have agreed to jointly build a naval base in Assumption Island. This will enhance maritime security along India’s west and south coast.