Polity & Governance
- Nidhi Aapke Niakat programme
- 61 MPs move to impeach AP high court judge
- Proposal to amend law for cashless wage payments
- Amazon rolls out global programme Launchpad in India
- Panel suggests one-time licensing for drugs
Science & Technology
- Researchers adopt novel approach to drug discovery
Key Facts for Prelims
- ‘Konkan 16’
Polity & Governance
Nidhi Aapke Niakat programme
Nidhi Aapke Niakat is a public outreach programme, held on the 10th of every month in all the 122 field offices of Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO).
- It is presided over by the officer-in-charge.
- It is an endeavour by the Organization to bring together all its different stakeholders on a common platform.
- The various new initiatives in the interest of employees/employers taken by the Organization are explained during the programme.
- It encourages employees and employers to give their suggestions and feedback regarding the different issues affecting the Organization besides redressing grievances.
- Approximately 17,000 grievances were received by EPFO since its inception in July, 2015. Efforts are to resolve these grievances on the spot itself. Out of the total grievances, as on date, only 268 grievances are pending.
- Nidhi Aapke Nikat not only adopts participatory and broad-based approach in dealing with its stakeholders, but also disseminates information regarding the new initiatives taken in their interest. Such measures shall, in due course, bring about greater public awareness of the rights and responsibilities of all the stakeholders and will in turn, check the number of grievances.
61 MPs move to impeach AP high court judge
More than 60 Rajya Sabha members moved a petition seeking impeachment proceedings against a judge of the Andhra Pradesh/Telangana High Court alleging atrocities against a Dalit judicial officer.
- The Rajya Sabha Secretariat said a decision on its validity will be taken in the next two days after examining the matter.
- But experts said, under the Judges Enquiry Act, 1968, the petition is bound to be admitted.
What does this petition mean?
- As per the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, if the motion is admitted, Speaker of Lok Sabha or Chairman constitutes an investigation committee consisting of three members, including two judges. Hundred members of the LS or 50 members of the RS have to sign the impeachment petition.
What’s the issue?
- The petition, mainly signed by TDP and Left MPs, alleged that Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy committed atrocities against a Dalit principal junior civil judge in Kadapa district to allegedly put pressure on him in a criminal case.
- Allegations of Dalit atrocities and criminal misconduct by the judge against Rama Krishna, ex-principal junior civil judge, Rayachoti, Kadapa District, currently under suspension, surfaced when the latter alleged he was forced by Justice Reddy to remove the name of Pavan Kumar Reddy, brother of Justice Reddy, from a dying declaration recorded by Rama Krishna when he was Magistrate in Rayachoti.
Procedure of removal of Judges:
Article 124(4) and the Judges Inquiry Act 1968 determine the procedure of removal of the judges.
- A member of the higher judiciary, which means the Judges and Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India and the state High Courts, can be removed from service only through the process of impeachment under Article 124 (4) of the Constitution.
- A judge is removable from his office, only on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
- Parliament is empowered to regulate the procedure for the investigation and proof of such misbehaviour or incapacity.
- A judge may be removed from his office only by an order of the president.
- A motion of impeachment addressed to the President is to be signed by at least 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Rajya Sabha and then delivered to the Speaker of Lok Sabha or the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
- The motion is to be investigated by a Committee of 3 judges of the Supreme Court and a distinguished jurist.
- If the Committee finds the judge guilty of misbehaviour or that he suffers from incapacity, the motion along with the report of the committee is taken up for consideration in the House where motion was moved.
- The judge is then removed by the requisite majority, i.e. majority of total and 2/3 of its members present and voting.
Proposal to amend law for cashless wage payments
The Centre has proposed amending a law to empower States and allow industries to pay wages by cheque or by direct credit into bank accounts.
- In this regard, the Union Labour ministry has proposed changes to the Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act of 1936.
- The proposal states that State governments may specify the industry through official notifications where the payment of wages shall be made through cheques or direct credit in bank accounts.
The present law states that all payment of wages should be made in cash, with a provision enabling employers to obtain written permission of the worker to pay either by cheque, or by crediting the wages to his or her bank account.
Significance of this move:
One of the reasons for the ineffective enforcement of payments of wages to workers is the payment of wages in cash.
- So, the payment of wages only through cheque or through bank transfer in the bank account of employed persons will reduce the complaints regarding non-payment or less payment of minimum wages, besides serving the objectives of digital and less cash economy.
Amazon rolls out global programme Launchpad in India
Amazon Inc. has announced the launch of its global programme for start-up products, Launchpad, in India.
What is this Launchpad?
- Launchpad is a destination for start-ups to showcase unique products to millions of consumers world over.
About the programme:
- The Launchpad will offer start-ups and small enterprises access to custom pages where sellers can showcase their products through photos and videos, marketing support to help product discovery, and access to Amazon’s global customer base.
- Amazon provides the marketing, discovery and logistics support for these products, which it claims get access to a global consumer base of over 300 million.
- Overall, Launchpad lists products from 600 start-ups across these seven markets.
- As minimum criteria, these start-ups are required to have a ready, consumer facing physical product that can be ordered and shipped.
India is the seventh country where Launchpad has started. Other countries include the US, Germany, China, France and UK, among others.
Panel suggests one-time licensing for drugs
The Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) recently recommended one-time licensing for manufacture and sales of drugs.
- If the recommendation is approved, it will change present of the renewal of licences for each formulation which rests with state regulators and takes around three years.
- However, the new rule will have a condition that there be at least one annual inspection and in cases where risk is high.
- Separate rules for manufacturing, import, sale and distribution of cosmetics. It has suggested the European Union’s model.
- Making of influenza drugs Oseltamivir and Zanamavir must be made available widely at all pharmacies, by putting it in the Schedule H1 list.
- These two drugs at present have been treated as Schedule X drugs and available at select pharmacies. Retain the four-year approval threshold for ‘new drugs’.
- If the definition of a new drug is extended to 10 years, then innovation will take a back seat and wanting the four-year period to be retained.
Significance of this move:
- It will help in ‘ease of doing business’ and give fillip to domestic pharmaceutical sector under Union Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative at a time when the country is slipping in the competitiveness index.
- It will also give a boost to pharmaceutical industry and give comfort to our customers.
About the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB):
- It is the highest statutory decision-making body under the Union Health ministry on technical matters.
- It is constituted as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
Science & Technology
Researchers adopt novel approach to drug discovery
Researchers from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Delhi have found a novel route to discover new drug targets and potential drugs.
- These new drug targets route and potential drugs are mainly for parasites such as Loa loa nematode (roundworm) and Schistosoma mansoni platyhelminths (flatworm) that cause several diseases.
Why these parasites are dangerous?
- Both these parasites are the major cause of health burden, particularly in African countries.
- They have limited treatment options and there is the threat of drug resistance.
- There also little interest in developing drugs for these diseases by pharmaceutical companies as they do not stand to benefit much commercially.
How it was found out?
- Researchers first looked at Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) of the two parasites instead of blindly screening molecules, which is expensive and takes a long time.
- Then they had picked up one of the enzymes that contribute to protein synthesis and validated it as a drugable target.
- The researchers studied the crystal structure of the enzyme with cladosporin, a very potent compound (drug) that targets these parasites.
- It revealed how tightly the compound binds within the active site of the enzyme. Thus, this approach of looking at the conserved region of the parasites is direct, quicker and cheaper.
What is aaRSs?
- Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are vital enzymes that decode genetic information and enable protein translation.
- This enzyme family has 20 members and each one of enzymes contributes to protein synthesis. Even if one of 20 enzymes is missing then protein synthesis cannot happen.
Key Facts for Prelims
- KONKAN 16 is the 2016 edition of the annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy (British Navy). It is being held at Mumbai and Goa.
- Exercise KONKAN, named after the Western coastal region of India, was institutionalised in 2004. Since then, the exercise hosted in rotation by both the Navies, has grown in complexity, scale and intensity.
- The exercise will involve sharing of best practices and lessons learnt from recent operations, especially in the field of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO).
- It will further strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and UK and enhance India’s capability to work together to contribute towards maritime security in the global commons.