Prelims 2020

18th August 2020 Daily Current Flash Cards

UNESCO Global Geoparks; National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA); United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN); Lonar Lake; St. Mary’s Islands and Maple Beach; World Customs Organization;
By IASToppers
August 18, 2020




What does the World Customs Organization (WCO) do?

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  • The WCO’s primary objective is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of member customs administrations, thereby assisting them to contribute successfully to national development goals, particularly revenue collection, national security, trade facilitation, community protection, and collection of trade statistics.

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World Customs Organization

  • The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The WCO represents 182 customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98 per cent of world trade.
  • Each of the six regions is represented by a regionally elected vice-chairperson to the WCO Council.
  • As the global centre of customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organisation with competence in customs matters.


  • The WCO is noted for its work in areas covering the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics such as commodity classification, valuation, rules of origin, collection of customs revenue, supply chain security, international trade facilitation, customs enforcement activities, combating counterfeiting in support of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), drugs enforcement, illegal weapons trading, integrity promotion, and delivering sustainable capacity building to assist with customs reforms and modernization.
  • The WCO maintains the international Harmonized System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.
  • The WCO has divided its membership into six regions, namely:
  • South America, North America, Central America and the Caribbean
  • Europe
  • Far East, South and South East Asia, Australasia and the Pacific Islands
  • North of Africa, Near and Middle East
  • West and Central Africa
  • East and Southern Africa




Where is Lonar Lake located: (a) Maharashtra OR (b) Rajasthan?

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  • Lonar Lake is located

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Why in News?

  • An ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike in Maharashtra and a hexagonal mosaic of basaltic rocks in an island off UDUPI are poised to become global geoparks, under a Geological Survey of India (GSI) plan.
  • Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and Mary’s Island and Malpe beach in coastal Karnataka are the GSI’s candidates for UNESCO Global Geopark Network status.

Lonar Lake:

  • Lonar Lake, Buldana District is a nearly circular crater, suspected to have developed due to impact of a large meteorite on Deccan Basaltic rocks of Cretaceous age.
  • A meteorite is a recovered fragment of natural object orbiting in space that has survived transit through the earth’s atmosphere. Such hypervelocity large meteoritic impacts on earth produce craters.
  • Approximately 130 terrestrial craters are currently recognised, ranging in size up to several hundred kilometers in diameter and age up to 2 Ga.
  • The Lonar Crater has an average diameter of 1710 m, average rim height of 40 m and depth of 230-245 m. The circular depression bears a saline water lake in its central portion.

St. Mary’s Islands and Maple Beach:

  • Columnar Basaltic Lava, Coconut Island (St. Mary’s Islands), Udupi District, Karnataka displays majestic array of multi-faced columns developed in the basalts of Deccan Trap.
  • The columnar basaltic lava found in these Islands, which is very well developed in the basalts of Deccan Traps, exhibit an imposing range of hexagonal shaped or multi-faced (polygonal) columns split into a horizontal mosaic. In geological terms these are called “columnar joints”.
  • The lava rocks form regular five, six or seven-sided pillars, called “laminar lava”, and are found in varying heights in all the islands; the tallest of the columns is about 6 m.

UNESCO Global Geoparks:

  • UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.
  • A UNESCO Global Geopark uses its geological heritage, in connection with all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, to enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society, such as using our earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing natural disasters-related risks.




What is the objective behind the establishment of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) in 1997 in India?

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  • The RAN was set up to provide financial assistance to patients, living below poverty line and who are suffering from major life threatening diseases, to receive medical treatment at any of the super speciality Hospitals/Institutes or other Government hospitals.

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Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN)

  • The Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) has been set up in 1997 and registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, as a Society.
  • The RAN was set up to provide financial assistance to patients, living below poverty line and who are suffering from major life threatening diseases, to receive medical treatment at any of the super speciality Hospitals/Institutes or other Government hospitals.
  • The financial assistance to such patients is released in the form of ‘one-time grant’, which is released to the Medical Superintendent of the Hospital in which the treatment has been/is being received.
  • Under RAN Revolving Funds have been set up in 13 Central Government Hospitals/Institutions located all over India for providing financial assistance for treatment up to Rs. 2 lakh.
  • In addition, financial assistance is provided for individual cases referred by Government hospitals/institutions, which do not have a Revolving Fund and for cases referred by 13 Government hospitals/institutions with Revolving Funds for assistance exceeding Rs. 2 lakh.
  • All the Super-speciality hospitals/institutes or other Government Hospitals situated in all States/UTs including Andhra Pradesh are covered for providing medical treatment to the patients living below poverty line under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi Scheme.




How is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) funded?

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  • Voluntary contributions from Member States, multilateral organizations, private sector and other sources comprise the bulk of UNODC fundingin support of UNODC mandate areas associated to drug control and crime prevention.

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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a United Nations office that was established in 1997 as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.
  • It was created by combining the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division in the United Nations Office at
  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and was renamed the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2002.
  • It publishes World Drug Report annuallythat presents a comprehensive assessment of the international drug problem.
  • Approximately 90% of the Office’s funding comes from voluntary contributions, mainly from governments.
  • Main issues that UNODC deals with: Alternative Development, anti-corruption, Criminal Justice, Prison Reform and Crime Prevention, Drug Prevention, -Treatment and Care, HIV and AIDS, Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling, Money Laundering, Organized Crime, Piracy, Terrorism Prevention.

The three pillars of the UNODC work programme are:

  • Field-based technical cooperation projects to enhance the capacity of Member States to counteract illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.
  • Research and analytical work to increase knowledge and understanding of drugs and crime issues and expand the evidence base for policy and operational decisions.
  • Normative work to assist States in the ratification and implementation of the relevant international treaties, the development of domestic legislation on drugs, crime and terrorism, and the provision of secretariat and substantive services to the treaty-based and governing bodies.




What are the functions of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)?

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  • NPPA does fixation/revision of pricesof pharmaceutical products (bulk drugs and formulations) and scheduled drugs (those medicines included in Schedule I of the DPCO which are subject to price control) and formulations.
  • Monitoring of the prices of controlled and decontrolled drugs in the country.
  • Implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Drugs Prices Control Order (DPCO)for regulating medicine prices.
  • Monitoring the availability of drugs, identify shortages, taking remedial steps, etc.
  • Recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers.

Enrich Your Learning:

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was constituted by a resolutiontaken by Government of India on 29th August, 1997.
  • NPPA was established as an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP),Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.
  • It is an independent regulator for pricing of drugsand to ensure availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
  • NPPA works as a Regulator is to work towards a Healthy Nation by making medicines accessible and affordable

Initiatives by NPPA:

  • NPPA administers ‘Pharma Sahi Dam’and ‘Pharma Jan Samadhan’ platforms for information on medicine prices and registering public grievances.
  • The Integrated Public Database Management System (IPDMS)is being implemented for online information collection from Pharma manufacturers.
Daily Current Flash Cards 2020 Prelims 2020

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