Polity & Governance
- West Bengal Assembly passes resolution to rename state as Bangla
Government Schemes & Policies
- Panel recommends ban on 343 fixed dose combination medicines
- Lok Sabha passes Trafficking of Persons Bill, 2018
- India slips 3 ranks in FDI Confidence Index 2018
- National Waterways Projects in the North East
Bilateral & International Relations
- BRICS Summit 2018
Science & Technology
- Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog & MyGov launches “Innovate India Platform”
Key Facts for Prelims
- Two Indians win Ramon Magsaysay Award
- India celebrates 19th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas
- India’s first state-run all-woman hotel
For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here
Polity & Governance
West Bengal Assembly passes resolution to rename state as Bangla
West Bengal state assembly has unanimously passed resolution to change state’s name to ‘Bangla’ in all three languages – Bengali, Hindi and English.
- The name change will only become official when resolution gets approval from Union Home Ministry and Parliament passes Bill.
Why this name changing move?
- The main reason cited by State Government for changing name of West Bengal to Bangla is that whenever there is meeting of all states, West Bengal figures at bottom of the list, as it is prepared according to alphabetical order. With change in its Bangla, it will appear (or leapfrog) to fourth place after Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in list of states in alphabetical order.
Procedure of renaming of the state:
Process for changing the name of a state can be initiated by state itself. However, by virtue of article 3 of Constitution, Parliament has power to change name of state even if such proposal does not come from the concerned state.
If initiated by state assembly:
- If initiated by state assembly, it will first pass a resolution for such change and this passed resolution will be sent to Central government (Union Home Ministry). Then Union Home Ministry prepares note for Union Cabinet for amendment to Schedule 1 of Constitution.
- Thereafter, Constitution Amendment Bill is introduced in Parliament under Article 3 of Constitution, which has to be approved with simple majority, before President gives his assent to it. Thereafter name of state will be changed.
- The procedure of renaming of the state can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislator and the procedure is as follows:
In case of initiated by Parliament:
- A bill for renaming a state may be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.
- Before the introduction of the bill, the President shall send the bill to the respective state assembly for expressing their views within a stipulated time. The views of the state assembly are not binding, neither on the President nor on the Parliament.
- On the expiry of the period, the bill will be sent to the Parliament for deliberation. The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a simple majority.
- The bill is sent for approval to the President. After the approval of the said bill, the bill becomes a law and the name of the state stands modified.
Government Schemes & Policies
Panel recommends ban on 343 fixed dose combination medicines
An expert panel of Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has recommended prohibition of 343 fixed drug combinations (FDCs) after reviewing 349 and called for regulation and restriction of remaining six.
- The expert sub-committee has clearly stated in its report that “for most FDCs, their use would lead to unnecessary overuse and the patients would be exposed to the risk of multiple ingredients when one would suffice”.
- In March, 2016, total 344 FDCs were banned by the central government on the suggestion of the panel formed under the chairmanship of C K Kokate.
- Kokate committee, which studied the irrationality of various FDCs, recommended the ban on 344 of them, citing the rising “antibiotic resistance” in the country as one of the reasons.
- In December 2016, Delhi High Court struck down the ban stating that the government had acted in a “haphazard manner”. The matter then went to the Supreme Court.
- In December 2017, the Supreme Court had directed the health ministry’s expert body, Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), for a fresh review of safety, efficacy and therapeutic justification of these 349 FDCs.
What are fixed dose combination (FDC) medicines?
- A fixed dose combination (FDC) is one that contains two or more drugs combined in a fixed ratio of doses and available in a single dosage form.
- They are widely used to improve patient compliance as it is easier for them to take one drug than several.
- They are acceptable only when the drugs so combined have a therapeutic advantage.
India is one of the world’s largest markets for FDC drugs that make up almost half the market share.
- Rampant introduction of irrational FDCs not only exposes the patients to unnecessary risk of adverse drug reactions but also creates health problem in larger groups of people.
- Most of these FDCs are available in India as over-the-counter products.
About Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB):
- The DTAB is the highest decision-making body under the Union health ministry on technical matters.
- It is constituted as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
- It is part of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- Director General of Health Services (DGHS) is the ex-officio chairman of this statutory body.
Lok Sabha passes Trafficking of Persons Bill, 2018
The Lok Sabha has passed the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018.
- The Bill provides for the prevention, rescue, and rehabilitation of trafficked persons.
Key features of the Bill:
National Anti-Trafficking Bureau (NATB):
- The Bill proposes establishment of NATB to investigate trafficking cases and implement provisions of Bill.
- NATB will comprise of police officers and any other officers as required.
- It will take over investigation of any offence under Bill referred to it by two or more states.
- Further, it may request state government to co-operate in investigation or transfer the case to state government for investigation and trial, with approval from central government.
Functions of NATB:
- Coordinate and monitor surveillance along known trafficking routes, facilitate surveillance, enforce and take preventive steps at source, transit and destination points, maintain coordination between law enforcement agencies and NGOs and other stakeholders and increase international cooperation with authorities abroad for intelligence sharing and mutual legal assistance.
State Anti-Trafficking Officers:
- The Bill mandates state government to appoint State Nodal Officer.
- The officer will be responsible for follow up action as per provisions of Bill and as per instructions of State Anti-Trafficking Committee and provide relief and rehabilitation services.
- It also mandates state government to appoint Police Nodal Officer at state and district levels.
- The state government will also designate Anti-Trafficking Police Officers for each district to deal with all matters related to trafficking in the district.
- The Bill provides setting up of Anti-Trafficking Units (ATUs) at district level.
- They will deal with prevention, rescue and protection of victims and witnesses and for investigation and prosecution of trafficking offences.
- In districts where ATU is not functional, this responsibility will be taken up by local police station.
Anti-Trafficking Relief and Rehabilitation Committee:
- The Bill provides for establishment of these committees (ATCs) at all three levels viz. national, state, and district levels.
- These committees will be responsible for providing compensation, repatriation and re-integration of victims in society, among others.
Search and rescue:
- The Bill empowers Anti-Trafficking Police Officer or ATU to rescue persons, if they are in imminent danger. They will be produced before Child Welfare Committee or Magistrate for medical examination.
- The district ATC will provide relief and rehabilitation services to rescued persons.
Protection and rehabilitation:
- The Bill mandates central and state government to set up Protection Homes to provide shelter, food, counselling, and medical services to victims.
- It also mandates central or state government will maintain Rehabilitation Homes in each district to provide long-term rehabilitation to victims.
- In all cases, rehabilitation of victims will not be dependent on criminal proceedings being initiated against accused or outcome of proceedings.
- Union Government will also create Rehabilitation Fund which will be used to set up these Protection and Rehabilitation Homes.
- The Bill provides for setting up designated courts in each district to complete trial within year.
- The Bill specifies penalties for various offences including for promoting trafficking, trafficking of persons, disclosing identity of victim and aggravated trafficking such as trafficking for bonded labour and begging.
- For trafficking it prescribes rigorous imprisonment of 10 years up to life imprisonment, along with minimum fine of Rs. 1 lakh.
- For publishing of any material it prescribes imprisonment between 5 to 10 years, and fine between Rs 50,000 to Rs.1 lakh.
India slips 3 ranks in FDI Confidence Index 2018
According to recently released 2018 Kearney FDI Confidence Index, India has fallen out of top 10 destinations for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in terms of its attractiveness.
About FDI Confidence Index:
- The index was released by global consultancy firm A T Kearney.
- Created in 1998, the index is an annual survey of the business executives that ranks countries which are likely to attract the most FDI in the next three years.
- The Index is calculated as a weighted average of the number of low, medium and high responses to questions on the possibility of making a direct investment in a market over the next three years.
- Companies participating in survey have annual revenues of $500 million or more.
Highlights of the report:
Performance of various countries:
- The United States (US) topped the index, followed by Canada at 2nd and Germany at the 3rd place.
- China falls three spots to 5th place this year, the lowest ranking of the country in the history of the Index.
- Switzerland and Italy entered the top 10 for the first time in more than a decade, pushing out India and Singapore to 11th and 12th spots, respectively.
- Only four emerging markets appear among the top 25 countries for FDI intentions- China, India, Mexico and Brazil.
- The newcomers to the Index are all European countries- Denmark (20th), Portugal (22nd) and Norway (23rd).
- The countries, that appeared on the 2017 Index but do not appear this year, are all emerging markets: Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa.
Performance of India:
- India was ranked 11th, down from 8th in 2017 and 9th in 2016.
- Fall in India’s rankings may be due to teething troubles in implementation of goods and services tax (GST) and Government’s demonetisation decision in 2016.
- These policies may have deterred investors in the short term as they have disrupted business activity and weighed on economic growth
- Several of India’s reforms such as removing Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and liberalising FDI limits in key sectors such as retail, aviation, and biomedical industries have maintained India’s high rankings in terms of FDI attractiveness.
- In future, potential investors are likely to be cautious as they are monitoring political risks such as China abolishing presidential term limits and upcoming general election in India. But sheer size of Chinese and Indian markets, will continue to be draw for investors and they will remain highest-ranking emerging markets on the index.
National Waterways Projects in the North East
In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, the government has informed that 20 National Waterways out of 111 are in North Eastern Region (NER).
- NW-2 (river Brahmaputra) from Dhubri to Sadiya (891 km) is operational for transport and cruise and cargo vessels are moving on it.
About National Waterways Act 2016:
- The National Waterways Act 2016 declared 106 new waterways as national waterways (NWs) in addition to the existing five NW.
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has estimated that approximately Rs 25,000 crore would be required for development of identified projects on NWs till 2022-23.
Bilateral & International Relations
BRICS Summit 2018
The 10th BRICS Summit 2018 is being held in South Africa.
- The theme for the 10th BRICS Summit is: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.
- The theme is intended to align and ensure strategic continuity with the approved themes for South Africa’s Chairship of both the South African Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
New areas of BRICS cooperation:
The new areas of BRICS cooperation as proposed by South Africa, are as follows:
- Establishment of a Working Group on Peacekeeping;
- Establishment of a Vaccine Research Centre for Collaboration with BRICS vaccine innovation and development partners – this is intended to be a physical research centre focused on research and development and vaccine innovation;
- Establishment of a BRICS Gender and Women’s Forum – intended as a dedicated track for gender and women’s issues, given the economic benefit to be derived from the socio-economic empowerment of women, particularly in developing countries;
- Leveraging the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership towards the pursuit of Inclusive Growth and Advancing the 4th Industrial Revolution – this is intended to foster discussions to addresses opportunities provided by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as a means of leapfrogging development stages and bridging the digital divide; and
- Establishment of a BRICS Tourism Track of Cooperation.
All about BRICS:
BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) is an association of five major emerging national economies.
- BRICS comprises 43% of the world population, having 30% of the world GDP and 17% share in the world trade.
- It was established in 2009.
- The acronym BRIC was first used in 2001 by Goldman Sachs in their Global Economics Paper, “The World Needs Better Economic BRICs” on the basis of econometric analyses projecting that the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China would individually and collectively occupy far greater economic space and would be amongst the world’s largest economies in the next 50 years or so.
- In 2011, South Africa joined this informal group and BRIC became BRICS.
- The first formal summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
- The BRICS members are all developing or newly industrialised countries.
- It is important to note that all five BRICS nations are G-20 members.
- They are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs.
Ninth BRICS Summit:
- The Ninth BRICS Summit was held in Xiamen, China under the theme “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”.
- The leaders built on achievements already made with a share vision for future development of BRICS, discussed international and regional issues of common concern and adopted the Xiamen Declaration.
BRICS Leaders’ Summit:
- The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually with discussions representing spheres of political and socio-economic coordination, in which member countries have identified several business opportunities, economic complementarities and areas of cooperation.
The Chairship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S. Cooperation among members is predicated on three levels or “tracks” of interaction, namely:
- Track I: Formal diplomatic engagement between the national governments.
- Track II: Engagement through government-affiliated institutions, e.g. state-owned enterprises and business councils.
- Track III: Civil society and “people-to-people” engagement.
Science & Technology
Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog & MyGov launches “Innovate India Platform”
NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission and MyGov has jointly launched ‘InnovateIndia Platform’.
About Innovate India Platform:
It is citizen centric platform that aims to serve as common point for all innovation happening across the nation.
- It creates much-needed innovations platform for registering both grassroots and deep-tech innovators at national level.
- It will help those who are searching for critical innovation for benefit of the economy as well as national social needs.
Key features of the platform:
- It is open to all Indian citizens.
- Using it, users can view, comment, share, and rate innovations crowdsourced on #InnovateIndia platform.
- They can view leaderboard which is calculated based on votes on each innovation.
- It allows citizens to share their organizations or someone else’s innovation on platform by login to MyGov website.
- These innovations also can be shared on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
About Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):
- AIM is flagship initiative to promote culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in country.
- Its mandated is to create umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of country and revolutionize innovation eco-system.
- Its sub-schemes include establishing Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) and Atal Incubation Centers (AICs), for providing scaling up support to Established Incubation Centres.
- It also includes finding ultra-low cost solution to India’s most intractable problems through Atal Grand Challenges and Atal Vikas Challenges.
- Develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of economy.
- Provide platform and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders, create awareness.
- Create umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country.
Key Facts for Prelims
Two Indians win Ramon Magsaysay Award
- Two Indians Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk are among six who have been declared winners of 2018 Ramon Magsaysay Award.
- Bharat Vatwani is a psychiatrist who works for mentally-ill people living on the streets and Sonam Wangchuk, known for his reforms in the education sector in Ladakh, started a movement to help poor village students clear examinations.
About Ramon Magsaysay Award:
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is considered Asia’s highest honour.
- It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine President after whom the award is named.
- It was established by trustees of the New York City based Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Philippine government in the memory of Philippines’ third President Ramon Magsaysay.
- It is given every year to individuals or organisations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.
- It carries Medallion bearing the likeness of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, cash prize and a certificate.
- Many Indians have received the prestigious award in the past, including Mother Teresa, Jayaprakash Narayan, Satyajit Ray, Kiran Bedi, P. Sainath and current Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
India celebrates 19th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas
- Kargil Vijay Diwas is held on July 26th every year.
- The day marks the victory of the Indian forces over Pakistan in the hills of Kargil and the success of India’s Operation Vijay in 1999.
- The war took place between May and July of 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil district. It began with the infiltration of both Pakistani troops and terrorists into Indian territory. The infiltrators positioned themselves in key locations that gave them a strategic advantage during the start of the conflict.
- Safed Sagar, the Indian Air Force’s operation, was a major part of the Kargil war. It used air power at the height of 32,000 feet for the first time.
- Indian Army declared the Kargil mission successful on July 26, 1999. Since then the day has been celebrated annually as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
India’s first state-run all-woman hotel
- India’s first public sector hotel, run entirely by women for women, was launched by Kerala Tourism.