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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 November 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 November 2017


GS Paper 2:

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.





National drug pricing regulator NPPA has capped prices of 51 essential formulations, including those used for the treatment of cancer, pain, heart conditions and skin problems. The prices have been slashed in the range of 6 to 53%.



NPPA fixes ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) 2013. In respect of medicines that are not under price control, manufacturers are allowed to increase the maximum retail price by 10 per cent annually. The calculation for essential drugs is based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1%.


National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA):

NPPA is an organization of the Government of India which was established, inter alia, to fix/ revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995. The organization is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers. It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.


Functions of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority:

  • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
  • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority.
  • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps.
  • To collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations.
  • To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals.
  • To recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government.
  • To render advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy.
  • To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.


Sources: the hindu.



Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH)



The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) is observing the Communal Harmony Campaign and Fund Raising Week from November 19-25, 2017.

communal harmony

About NFCH:

What is it?

The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) is an autonomous organisation with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It organises the Communal Harmony Campaign coinciding with the Qaumi Ekta Week and also observes the Communal Harmony Flag Day. The Foundation promotes Communal Harmony and strengthens National Integration.

Under its Project ‘Assist’, the NFCH also provides financial assistance for relief and rehabilitation of children rendered orphan or destitute in communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence.


Sources: pib.



Topic: e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.







State Bank of India, the country’s largest public sector bank, has launched a unified integrated app called YONO (You Need Only One) that would offer all kinds of financial and lifestyle products.


About YONO platform:

  • The portal has been designed to offer maximum customer convenience and the product has been developed by SBI using artificial intelligence, predictive analysis and machine learning. It can be accessed through both Android and iOS platforms.
  • The omni-channel platform will allow customers to meet their lifestyle needs across 14 categories from booking cabs to paying for medical needs — all under one roof.
  • For this, the bank has partnered with 60 e-commerce players, including Amazon, Ola, Flipkart, Yatra, Swiggy and BYJU’s. Offline players such as Thomas Cook, Shoppers Stop and Cox and Kings are also part of the SBI partnership.


Sources: the hindu.



Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.


Transformation of 115 Backward Districts


prabhari officers



In a significant step towards realisation of the Prime Minister’s vision for creation of a New India by 2022, Government has identified 115 backward districts for rapid transformation by 2022. For each of the Districts, a senior official in the rank of Additional secretary and Joint secretary has been nominated as Prabhari officer. The First meeting of the Prabhari Officers was recently held under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary. The meeting was attended by Secretaries of the important central Ministries.


Role of Prabhari officers in developing these districts:

  • Prabhari officers would take it up as a challenge and succeed in their mission by making a difference in the lives of millions of citizens in these districts. Prabhari officers would form a team with State representatives and bring convergence in their effort.
  • Prabhari officers will assist the District administration in sharing the vision for 2022, to ensure the convergence of the efforts of central and state government and to set up a robust mechanism to monitor the improvements in key outcomes in the district.



Funds are not a constraint in this program since large funds are available under different Schemes. The officers will explore the availability of funds in District Mineral funds, wherever available for this purpose. In addition, they will also use flexi-fund which are significant in amount and are available under different Schemes of the Government.


What is needed?

For the program to succeed, third party validation of key performance indicators in the field of education, health and nutrition, basic infrastructure including roads, electricity, household toilets, agriculture and irrigation is necessary.


Significance of this move:

If these districts are transformed, there would be tremendous improvement in the internal security environment of the country. While 35 Districts have been selected on the basis of reported violence by Left Wing Extremism, 55 districts out of 115 are affected by Left Wing extremism and another 15, including districts in J&K and North East are affected by terrorism. If Prabhari officers can bring convergence in the development efforts of different Ministries and state Governments and the schemes specially launched by Home Ministry in these districts, it would serve as a great opportunity to ensure rapid development in the country.


Sources: pib.



Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


International Geological Congress





A high level delegation of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) recently visited India to discuss the preparatory aspects of the 36th International Geological Congress (IGC) to be held in Delhi, India in the year 2020.



Described as the Olympics of Geosciences, the IGCs are held quadrennially under the aegis of the IUGS through a process of global bidding. India won the bid in 2012 at Brisbane, Australia to host the Congress in 2020. The win is a remarkable achievement as the event makes a come back to the Indian soil after nearly 6 decades much to the excitement of the entire geoscientific community.

The event is being jointly funded by the Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Earth Sciences with the active support of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), and the Science Academies of the other neighbouring co-host countries, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


About the International Geological Congress (IGC):

What is it?

International Geological Congress (IGC) is the prestigious global platform for advancement of Earth Science. The first session of IGC assembled in 1878 in France with an aim to provide the global geological community with an opportunity to create an organizational frame work for meeting at regular intervals.

What is it for?

It envisaged a spirit of fraternal cooperation that transcends boundaries, languages and has the ability to bring together the geo-scientific community across the continents and oceans.


Founded as a non-profit scientific and educational organization in 1878, IGC came under the aegis of International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) in 1961. Since then the meetings of IGC are held in collaboration and under scientific sponsorship of IUGS.

Previous congresses:

Since the inception of IGC, 33 Congresses have been hosted by 24 countries throughout the world at 3- to 5-year intervals. The 34th Session was held at Brisbane, Australia during August 2012 and the 35th IGC is scheduled to be held at Capetown, South Africa in 2016.


Facts for Prelims- Key facts on IUGS:

  • The IUGS was founded in 1961 and is a Scientific Union member of the International Council for Science (ICSU), which it recognizes as the coordinating body for the international organization of science.
  • Currently geologists from 121 countries (and regions) are represented in IUGS through 121 Adhering Organization. It is an international non-governmental organization devoted to international cooperation in the field of geology.
  • IUGS is a joint partner with UNESCO for the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) and they also participate in the Global Network of National Geoparks (GGN).


Sources: pib.



Paper 3:

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.


Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)





The government has doubled the incentive for exporters of garments and made-ups under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) to support declining textile exports. Incentive rates for the two sectors have been enhanced to 4% of value of exports from 2% with effect from November 1 to June 30, 2018.


Under the programme, exporters are given duty exemption scrips that are pegged at a certain percentage of total value of their exports. These scrips can be used to pay duties on inputs including customs.


About MEIS:

What is it?

Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) under Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP 2015-20) is one of the two schemes introduced in Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20, as a part of Exports from India Scheme.

Objective of Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) as per Indian Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 (FTP 2015-20) is to offset infrastructural inefficiencies and associated costs involved in export of goods/products, which are produced/manufactured in India, especially those having high export intensity, employment potential and thereby enhancing India’s export competitiveness.


Sources: the hindu.



Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.


Defence of A&N Islands Exercise



The five- day crucial Defence of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Exercise (DANX) recently concluded.


About DANX:

What is it?

The exercise conducted under the aegis of Andaman and Nicobar Command, is India’s only operational tri-services command.

The main objective of the exercise is to practice & validate procedures and drills of all the Command forces aimed at defending Andaman & Nicobar Islands.


Sources: the hindu.



Facts for Prelims:


New species of gecko:

  • A new species of gecko was recently found in the Eastern Ghats in northern Andhra Pradesh. The reptile, which is endemic to the area, was identified as a different species after a five-year study.
  • Named after eminent herpetologist Sushil Kumar Dutta from Odisha, Hemidactylus sushilduttai or Dutta’s Mahendragiri gecko is the 32nd species of house geckos (Hemidactylus) from India, and among the largest in its genus. The genus has around 90 species across the world.
  • This is the second gecko endemic to this hilly range and the third vertebrate as other endemics in the region are — Jeypore Indian gecko (Cyrtodactylus jeyporensis) and Gegeneophis orientalis — caecilian amphibian.
  • Dutta’s Mahendragiri gecko grows up to 225mm in length with its tail half its size. It is nocturnal and lives on rocks, large trees and coffee plantations at altitudes between 250-1,100 m above sea level.