Flash Cards

Day#30 Current Affairs Flash Cards [PRELIMS 2020]

‘Katakey Committee’; Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX); ‘38th parallel north’; ‘One country, two systems’ policy; Pharmexcil;
By IASToppers
August 28, 2019



Pharmexcil is an agency of the government of India. What is the mandate of Pharmexcil’?

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  • The mandate of Pharmexcil is to promote Pharmaceuticals exports and is playing the role of a facilitator in promoting exports of pharmaceutical products.

Enrich Your Learning:


  • Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) was set up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in 2004.

Products and services falling under purview of Pharmexcil

  • Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API)
  • Finished Dosage Forms (FDF)
  • Herbal/ Ayurveda
  • Unani
  • Siddha
  • Homeopathy
  • Biologics
  • Diagnostics
  • Surgicals
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Collaborative Research
  • Contract Manufacturing
  • Clinical Trials & Consultancy
  • Regulatory Services

Key Facts:

  • India’s pharmaceutical exports are expected to cross $20 billion by 2020.
  • India’s pharma exports grew 2.91% to $17.27 billion in 2017-18.
  • India’s pharma exports to the US and North America, which contribute to over 30% of the country’s outbound shipments, dropped in 2017-18.




What was the mandate of the ‘Katakey Committee’?

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  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had constituted the committee in August 2018 to supervise and look into the issue of environmental restoration plan and other connected matters in Meghalaya.

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Katakey Committee’

  • ‘Katakey Committee’ is a three-member committee formed by the National Green Tribunal.
  • It found that coal mining has been going on in Meghalaya despite a ban since 2014.
  • The three-member committee submitted their final report to the NGT in December 2018.
  • The Green Court had imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on the Meghalaya government for its failure to curb illegal coal mining in the state.
  • The Committee has also directed the government to prepare a rehabilitation plan for workers and an alternative employment scheme for them in the mining areas.
  • The three-member committee, headed by retired Justice B P Katakey had stated that there were around 24,000 mines in Meghalaya and majority of them were operating illegally.

The Supreme Court’s Verdict

  • The Supreme Court directed the state to deposit Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for restoration work.
  • The court allowed the state to transfer Rs 100 crore from the Environment Protection and Restoration Fund.
  • The CPCB, as directed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), will utilise the amount of Rs 100 Crores only for restoration of the environment.
  • It rejected the stand of Meghalaya that the NGT has no jurisdiction to deal with the issue, stating that “The state government is under constitutional obligation to ensure clean environment to all its citizens. In cases pertaining to environmental matter, the state has to act as facilitator and not as obstructionist”.
  • The court said that as per the statutory regime brought in force by notification dated January 15, 2016 issued under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, environmental clearance was required for a project of coal for mining of any extent of area.
  • While implementing statutory regime for carrying mining operations in the Hills districts of the state, Meghalaya has to ensure compliance of not only MMDR Act, 1957 but Mines Act, 1952 as well as Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • The court also clarified that the coal extracted and lying in open after May 15, 2016 does not automatically vest in the State and the owner of the coal or the person who has mined the coal will have the proprietary right in the mineral.
  • The court also ordered that all extracted coal as assessed by Meghalaya lying in different districts which as per order of NGT is in custody of Meghalaya shall be handed over to Coal India Ltd. for proper disposal.
  • The Katakey Committee after discussion with Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Meghalaya shall formulate a mechanism for transport, weighment of all assessed coal.



‘One country, two systems’ was frequently appeared in news. Which countries are involved in this?

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  • China applied the “One Country, Two Systems” principle to Hong Kong on July 1, 1997 when sovereignty of the territory was passed from Britain to China.

Enrich Your Learning:

‘One country, two systems’ policy

  • ‘One country, two systems’ policy is a fundamental state policy formulated by Deng Xiaoping, to reconcile the communist mainland with historically Chinese territories Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau that had capitalist economies.
  • The “one country, two systems” model came into effect following the 1997 handover from the UK to China.
  • It is also in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution the Basic Law and Macau, which was returned from Portugal in 1999, has a similar version.

Purpose of the policy:

  • The purpose of the policy is to accomplish the peaceful reunification of China by resolving, the sovereignty questions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan arising from a complicated historical background.

Why is it in news?

  • There are pro-democracy protests taking place in Hong Kong, the protests began over plans that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China.



38th Parallel north geographically divides which two nations?

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  • 38th Parallel north geographically divides North Korea and South Korea.

Enrich Your Learning:

‘38th parallel north’

  • The 38th parallel is a circle of latitude 38 degrees north of the equatorial plane.
  • It divides the Korean peninsula roughly in half (leaving about 56% of Korean territory on the northern side).
  • The actual border between North and South Korea slants across this circle of latitude, it finishes some distance north of it on the east coast.

 ‘38th parallel north’



Recently, the term ‘INSTEX’ was in news. What is it?

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  • Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) is a special purpose vehicle and it aims to facilitate trade between the EU and Iran to get around US sanctions.

Enrich Your Learning:

Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX)

  • INSTEX is a payment system that will allow companies to trade with Iran despite harsh US sanctions.
  • It will function as a diplomatic shield allowing the exchange of goods without requiring direct transfers of money between Iran and EU companies.
  • The European signatories to the nuclear accord, Germany, France and Britain set up and will manage the clearing house.
  • The entity is based in France with German governance and financial support from all three countries.

How does this work?

  • INSTEX works as a barter arrangement operating outside of the US-dominated global financial system.
  • Trade is initially expected to focus on non-sanction able essential goods such as humanitarian, medical and farm products.
Daily Current Flash Cards 2020 Prelims 2020

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