- Government brings 376 drugs under new list of essential medicines
Environment & Ecology
- Olive Ridleys find new haven in East Godavari
Art & Culture
- 12th Century monument resurrected from ruins
Science & Technology
- Tech Mahindra launches NFC-based wallet MoboMoney
- Astra missile proves anti-jamming capability
Government brings 376 drugs under new list of essential medicines
For bringing down prices of medicines for critical diseases like cancer, HIV and diabetes, the Health Ministry has revised the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) (earlier list prepared in 2011) to add 106 more drugs while 70 other drugs, which are not prescribed frequently or where better alternatives are now available in the market, have been taken off the list.
- This means, the total number of essential medicines, prices of which are capped by the government, would increase from 348 to 384, including diagnostic agents and contraceptives.
- The existing Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013 which guides prices of medicines in the country was implemented in May 2013 after the NLEM, 2011 was finalized following stringent directives from the Supreme Court asking government to make essential medicines affordable.
- However, immediately after the implementation of the DPCO, 2013, the drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority as well as health groups raised concerns about many important medicines remaining outside the purview of price control.
- Taking cognizance of the matter, the health ministry had constituted the core committee under M. Katoch to evaluate NLEM periodically in order to keep prices under check.
- The committee submitted its report on Dec. 9.
- The government has accepted the recommendations of the committee in toto and adopted the National List of Essential Medicines 2015 as finalized.
What are Essential medicines?
- Essential medicines, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) are those drugs that satisfy the health care needs of the majority of the population; they should therefore be available at all times in adequate amounts and in appropriate dosage forms, at a price the community can afford.
About National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM):
- The NLEM is a dynamic list and reviewed every three years to include or exclude drugs as relevant to the newest medical innovations and aligned to the current market competition.
- It should be noted that National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the Union Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser decides the ceiling prices essential medicines under The Drug (Prices Control) Order 2013.
The Indian government recognized the national list of essential medicines as a key instrument in balanced healthcare delivery system which includes accessible, affordable and quality medicine at the primary, secondary, tertiary levels of healthcare.
[Courtesy: ET, BS]
Environment & Ecology
Olive Ridleys find new haven in East Godavari
Every year in the month of December, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles come all the way from the Indian Ocean to the shores of the Bay of Bengal in search of suitable places for nesting.
- The seashores in Odisha are the most sought after sites for these turtle varieties to lay eggs before swimming back to the Indian Ocean.
- But, of late, more and more species are finding the islands in East Godavari district safe abodes for nesting.
- There has been a steady increase in the number of these seasonable visitors arriving at the Hope Island, Sacemento Island, Yellaiahpeta and Surasani Yanam.
About Olive Ridley turtles:
- The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world, inhabiting only in warmer waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
- These turtles, along with their cousin the Kemps ridley turtle, are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
- Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years, and the species is recognized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red list.
- The Olive Ridley turtles live in the Indian Ocean, but they can’t mate there.
- They have to come all the way to the Bay of Bengal by travelling thousands of kilometres to mate and to lay eggs.
- Interestingly, the male turtles won’t reach the sandy stretch, but wait for their mates to return to the waters. After laying eggs, both male and female turtles return to their native ocean.
- After laying the eggs in the sandy stretches, they begin their return journey. Hatching takes place naturally and the baby turtles too swim back to the Indian Ocean by June every year.
- EGREE Foundation, a GOI-UNDP-GEF project to protect the flora and fauna in the East Godavari River Estuarine Ecosystem Region, are conducting awareness programmes among the fishermen and preventing them from catching the turtles using fishing nets.
- Similarly, they are also conducting sensitization programmes for various stakeholders, including officials and representatives of industries.
- WWF-India, along with the fishermen community, has been involved in protecting the Olive ridley rookery at the mass nesting site at Rushikulaya, in Orissa, by fencing off the nesting area and patrolling it till hatching and ensuring a safe passage for the hatchlings to the sea.
- The Forest Department too has joined hands to protect Olive Ridleys and engaged its men at the nesting points to guard the turtles and undertake the census.
- The turtles lay eggs only during the night. So the Forest Department are planning to introduce eco-tourism packages for the nature lovers, who can stay with us for the whole night in the seashore and witness the egging process.
[Courtesy: The Hindu, WWF-India]
Art & Culture
12th Century monument resurrected from ruins
The condition of Someshwara temple complex, Karnataka few years ago, was so pathetic that visitors were left disappointed over the ugly scene of disfigured monuments, ruins, debris, and stinking waste scattered all around.
- But today, it has regained its lost grandeur and has emerged as a model for conserving rich cultural heritage through public private partnership.
- Thanks to the Infosys Foundation that invested Rs. 4.5 crore to restore this monument. It took three years to restore this monument.
About Someshwara temple complex:
- It is one of the marvels of the 12th century Kalyan Chalukya architecture and has four doorways with beautiful sculptural details.
- The Vesara style main structure has a unique Vimana (tower) having intricate designs.
- A statue of a Jain Teerthankara on a parapet wall of the temple is an indication of its Jain heritage.
- It is surrounded by smaller shrines, which had been corroded due to nature’s vagaries. But now, they have been restored to their original beauty.
About Vesara Style:
- Vesara (or Karnataka Dravida or Chalukyan or Deccan style) is a type of Indian architecture primarily used in temples lying in the region between the Vindhyas and the river Krishna.
- The two other prominent styles are Dravida and Nagara. Vesara is a combination of these two temple styles.
[Courtesy: The Hindu, BS, Wiki]
Science & Technology
Tech Mahindra launches NFC-based wallet MoboMoney
Software services company Tech Mahindra Ltd, which is among the 11 firms to get a payments bank licence has launched a mobile wallet called MoboMoney.
- MoboMoney is a prepaid wallet issued in the form of a NFC (Near Field Communication) contactless tag that could be used to ‘Tap N Pay’ for goods and services.
- MoboMoney is run with the help of near-field communication (NFC) technology, where merchants and customers are issued NFC tags.
- Tech Mahindra claims it to be a first of its kind ‘Tap N Pay’ contactless digital payment solution for the Indian masses.
- The digital wallet will allow consumers to complete online as well as offline transactions, including payments at grocery stores, tea vendors and restaurants that accept only cash.
- While customers are not charged for this service, the merchants have to pay a service charge.
- It will reduce costs associated with cash management by replacing currency notes with digital currency.
How it works:
- While the merchant would need a point of sale (POS) device or a NFC-enabled Smartphone for the transaction, the customer would just need the NFC tag at the time of purchase.
- During the transaction, the two tags will have to be tapped once. The merchant will enter the amount which has to be debited and then the traction will happen automatically.
- The cash which remains unused can also be retrieved into the linked bank account of the user.
The process eliminates the need for pin and two-factor authentication required for credit or debit cards, making it a much faster process compared with other prepaid wallets.
About Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology:
- NFC is a type of communication technology between mobile devices like smart phones or tablets and an NFC tag embedded card reader, a band or any other device.
- NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology.
- It is basically a set of protocols that enable two electronic devices (one usually us a portable device such as a Smartphone) to establish radio data communication with each other by bringing them closer typically, 10 cm (4 in) from each other.
[Courtesy: Live Mint, Hindu, Wiki]
Astra missile proves anti-jamming capability
A crucial capability of the indigenously developed compact air-to-air Astra missile —its resistance to jamming — was successfully validated in recent trials conducted by missile scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- After carrying out some more trials, including air launch trial with a warhead, the missile will be inducted into the Air Force next year.
- During the recent ground and air trials conducted near Pune, the missile’s RF seeker and other electronic components were sought to be jammed to see how it performs in such a scenario at the time of war when the enemy tries to jam its operation.
- The ECCM (electronic counter-counter measure) features of the missile to overcome any jamming were evaluated.
- Astra is an active radar homing beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
- The 60-km plus range missile possesses Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) making it one of the most reliable in its class of weapon systems.
- The missile could be launched at different altitudes from sea level to 20 km for engaging aerial targets at various ranges.
- The all-weather, radar homing missile has high manoeuvrability and capability to engage and destroy aerial targets at supersonic speeds.
- Apart from integrating the missile with Su-30, it is planned to be mounted on other fighter aircraft including Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, Mirage-2000 and MIG-29.
- Astra has been developed by the missile complex at Hyderabad and several DRDO laboratories in partnership with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Indian Air Force.
As per a defence scientist, the missile is technologically more sophisticated than the nuclear capable Agni missile series of strategic ballistic missiles.
[Courtesy: The Hindu]