|171.||NPPA caps prices of orthopaedic knee implants|
The drug price regulator National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the prices of orthopaedic knee implants upto 70% lower than current market rates.
It will be valid for all orthopaedic knee implants sold within India – whether domestic or imported. Earlier in February 2017, the NPPA had capped the prices of stents used in cardiac surgery.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimation, osteoarthritis is going to be the fourth largest cause of immobility in globally by 2020. NPPA in its preliminary analysis had found that importers, distributors and hospitals are earning hefty trade margins ranging from 67% to as high as 449% orthopaedic knee implants.
Now, the most widely used Cobalt chromium knee implant will cost around Rs. 55000 instead of current average price of over Rs. 1.58 lakh. Titanium Oxidized Zirconium surgery implant has been capped at Rs.76,600 against the current average prices of Rs.2.5 to 4.50 lakh. The High flexibility implant costing from Rs. 1.80 to 4.5 lakh has been capped at Rs. 56,490. The revision implants for second surgery has been capped at over Rs. 1.13 lakh. Besides, the Specialized implants for cancer and tumor will be charged at over Rs. 1.13 lakh.
This decision has been taken keeping people’s interest and health security of the nation into consideration. It is considered as a major relief to patients suffering from knee problems. It will help check unethical profiteering in the implant surgery. It will benefit around 1.5 to 2 crore knee patients and result in savings of Rs 1,500 crore annually to patients requiring surgery.
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)
NPPA is an independent body under Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. Its functions are to fix/revise the controlled bulk drugs prices and formulations, enforce prices and availability of the medicines under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995/2013, recover amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers and monitor the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.
|172.||CCEA approves procedure and mechanism for Strategic Disinvestment|
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved revision in the procedure and mechanism for strategic disinvestment.
In this regard, the proposal was forwarded by the Department of Investment and public Asset Management (DIPAM). The approval will help in speedy completion of strategic disinvestment transactions.
Revised mechanism for strategic disinvestment
Setting up an Alternative Mechanism (AM): It will decide on the matters relating to terms and conditions of the sale from the stage of inviting of Express of Interests (Eols) till inviting of financial bid. It will consist of the Finance Minister, Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Minister of Administrative Department.
Empowering the Core Group of Secretaries (CGD): It will enable CGD to take policy decisions with regard to procedural issues and consider deviations as necessary from time to time for effective implementation of decisions of CCEA.
In Strategic disinvestment, significant proportion of a Public Sector Unit’s (PSU) share and the management control goes to a private sector which is considered as strategic partner. It is different from the ordinary disinvestment in which management of PSU is retained with Government.
Department of Investment and public Asset Management (DIPAM)
DIPAM is the nodal agency of Union Finance Ministry mandated to advise the Union Government in the matters of financial restructuring of PSUs and also for attracting investment through capital markets. It will also deal with all matters relating to sale of Union Government’s equity in PSUs through private placement or offer for sale or any other mode in the erstwhile Central PSUs.
|173.||GeM and CII sign MoU to establish GeMSamvad|
The Public procurement portal Government eMarketplace (GeM) and industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have signed a MoU to establish GeMSamvad, a GeM -Industry forum.
GeMSamvad aims to create awareness about online purchase of goods and services by government agencies and departments,
GeMSamvad will be a participative and collaborative approach with the industry for promoting Indian industry and entrepreneurship. The MoU will facilitate GeM and CII to work together to create GeM related awareness across the country.
The MoU facilitates establishment of GeM-Industry Forum for collaboration with the Indian Industry for seeking inputs on the technical specifications of products and service-level agreement of services to be procured by government agencies. It also calls for improving the quality of products procured from the MSMEs and organize annual Public Procurement Convention of all stakeholders. It also calls for setting up of GeM Resource Centres at CII Regional Offices.
About Government eMarketplace (GeM)
GeM is an online market platform to facilitate procurement of goods and services by various Ministries and agencies of the Government. It was established by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposal (DGS&D), Ministry of Commerce and Industries.
GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government procurement. It is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-market place that enables procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.
|174.||Earths Largest volcanic region found in Antarctica|
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Britain have discovered the largest volcanic region on Earth, two km below the surface of the vast ice sheet in west Antarctica.
They have found 91 previously unknown active volcanoes in the region known as the West Antarctic rift system, adding to the exiting 47 volcanoes that were discovered earlier. This makes it largest volcanic region on the Earth.
These active peaks are concentrated in the west Antarctic rift system region — which stretches 3,500 km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf
to the Antarctic peninsula. The height of these newly discovered active volcanoes range from 100 to 3,850 metres, with the highest being almost as tall as Switzerland’s Eiger mountain (3,970 metre). All of these volcanoes are covered in thick layers of ice.
This region is larger than east Africa’s volcanic ridge which is currently rated as the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world. Any volcanic activity of Antarctic rift system may have crucial implications for the rest of the planet.
If one of the volcanoes in Antarctic rift system erupts, it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets. If it causes the melting of ice on eruption may speed up the flow of ice into the sea. It will enhance sea level rises that are already affecting our oceans due to climate change.
|175.||El Nino of 2014-16 aided in massive carbon dioxide release: Study|
According to recent study conducted by scientists, the monster El Nino of 2014-16 caused over 3 billion tonnes of carbon to get released into the atmosphere, pushing carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration to record levels.
The study was based on analysis of data collected by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite, which measures level of CO2 in the atmosphere. These are the first measurements for satellite tracking CO2 levels.
El Nino is a complex periodic climate event that causes waters to warm up in east-central Pacific Ocean. The warming of ocean causes huge changes in wind directions which bring less rain to south-east Asia and Indian subcontinent, while increasing rain in other parts of the world.
Key Highlights of study
The El Nino led to excessive carbon dioxide releases in three ways. They are (i) Hot weather and drought caused extensive wildfires in south-east Asia, (ii) Drought in the Amazon rainforest stunted plant growth, reducing the amount of carbon they absorb while growing (iii) Warmer weather and near normal rainfall in Africa caused forests to exhale more CO2.
The rate of growth of CO2 in the atmosphere had hit an all-time high of 2.94 parts per million per year in 2015 and slightly below that at 2.89 ppm per year in 2016. In other words, CO2 was being added to the atmosphere at a much higher rate than ever before even though carbon emissions were flat.
In 2014 and 2015, CO2 emissions from burning of fossil fuels had flattened out to about 36.2 billion tonnes. Projections for 2016 too indicated that emissions were still flat.
The industrialised countries do not appear to be on course to meet the targets that they pledged at the Paris Climate Accord of 2015. Emissions from European Union countries have actually increased in 2015, the rate at which emissions from US and Japan are declining does not comply with what they had pledged at Paris.
|176.||IMMSAREX: IONS’s maiden maritime search and rescue exercise will be held in November 2017|
Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’s (IONS) maiden International Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) will be held in November 2017 in the Bay of Bengal under the chairmanship of Bangladesh.
The ships and aircraft of the members and observers of the IONS including China, India and Pakistan will participate in the exercise. In addition, Bangladesh is also scheduling to host “extraordinary conclave of Chiefs,” a meeting of chiefs of Navy of IONS members before it hands over the Chair to Iran.
The side-by-side participation of the Indian and Chinese Navies in IMMSAREX exercise will come amid growing India’s skepticism of Chinese naval activities in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and establishment of China’s first overseas base at Djibouti. India has considerably expanded its engagement with countries to further its own interests as well as to check the rapid expansion of Chinese naval forays in the IOR. Other countries in the region are also engaged in rapid expansion of their military capabilities.
About Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
The IONS is a regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states launched by India in February 2008. It is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
It endeavors to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on the way ahead.These states are represented by the heads of their navies.
Under the IONS charter of business adopted in 2014, the forum has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I) and maritime security (anti-piracy).
Members to IONS
There are 35 members – navies of the IONS which have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:
|177.||Scientists develop world’s first plant-based Zika vaccine|
Scientists from US have developed the world’s first plant-based Zika vaccine that may be more effective, safer and cheaper than other vaccines against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
The vaccine was developed using proteins derived from Tobacco plant. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics available to combat Zika.
The plant-based Zika vaccine works against DIII, a part of a Zika viral protein that plays a key role for the virus to infect people. All flaviviruses have the envelope protein on the outside part of the virus. It has three domains. The domain III has a unique stretch of DNA for the Zika virus.
Researchers exploited domain III to generate a robust and protective immune response that is unique for Zika. First they had grown the envelope protein in bacteria then prepared the DIII protein domain in tobacco plants. The multiple immunisation experiments of the vaccine performed on mice shows 100% protection against multiple Zika virus strains in mice.
Significance: The plant protein-based vaccine uses smallest and most unique part of the Zika virus that can still elicit a potent and robust immune response. It produces a potent protective immune response against Zika Virus and also not produce antibodies that may be cross reactive for West Nile fever, Dengue, Yellow fever or others.
About Zika virus
Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue, West Nile fever, Yellow fever. The virus has been named after Zika forest in Uganda where it was first isolated in 1947.
The virus is capable of causing serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller heads. Besides a possible link between the virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected. It is also found that, sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible.
The worldwide Zika threat first emerged in 2015, infecting millions in South America. The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the disease as epidemic and global health emergency but later revoked it after the outbreak was brought under control.
|178.||Indra: India, Russia for first time conduct tri-services exercise|
India and Russia for first time are going to conduct Indra tri-services exercise, involving their armies, navies and the air forces in October 2017 to further ramp up military ties.
It will be for the first time India will participate in a tri-services exercise with a foreign country with such large scale participation by Army, Navy and Air Force.
The 2017 Indra exercise will be held in Russia including in mountainous Vladivostok region. It will primarily focus on achieving coordination between forces of the two countries in a tri- services integrated theatre command scenario.
A total of 350 Indian Army personnel will participate at the mega exercise. The contingents by the Indian Navy and AirForce (IAF) will also be sizeable in numbers. Russian army, navy and air force also for time holding tri-services exercise with other country.
The exercise will take place in the midst of evolving unpredictable security situation in the region. It will be conducted at a time when India’s ties with China have nosedived over the border dispute issue and also at time when its ties with Pakistan have deteriorated over cross-border terrorism and number of other issues.
India is significantly ramping up its defence capability and has lined up billions of dollars of procurement proposals as part of military modernisation. Russia has been a long-standing defence partner of India and both the countries are now eyeing to further deepen the ties. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia in June 2017, both countries had decided to “upgrade and intensify” defence cooperation through joint manufacture, co-production and co-development of key military hardware and equipment. A vision document, issued then also had mentioned that both the countries also decided to work towards a qualitatively higher level of military-to-military cooperation.
|179.||India’s first online course on Infusion Therapy launched by INS|
The Infusion Nurses Society (INS)-India in its 6th National conference launched country’s first online course on Infusion Therapy for nurses. INS is global authority in infusion therapy.
Under the online course, the INS aims to train over 3000 nurses in the vital medical procedure. The course will enable members to access the various infusion therapy modules and presentations through its website.
About Infusion therapy
Infusion therapy involves the administration of medication drug intravenously i.e. through intramuscular injections and epidural routes. It is prescribed when a patient’s condition is severe that it cannot be treated effectively by oral medications.
Nine of ten patients admitted in hospitals receive infusion therapy for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. Some of the diseases requiring infusion therapy include infections that are unresponsive to oral antibiotics, cancer and cancer-related pain, gastrointestinal diseases, dehydration and more. Improper infusion practices may lead to complications, causing an increase in morbidity, mortality, duration of hospital stay and healthcare costs.
|180.||India-ASEAN Youth Summit begins in Bhopal|
The India-ASEAN Youth Summit began in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh to commemorate 25th anniversary of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)–India dialogue partnership in the ongoing year.
The first of its kind event was organised by Union Foreign Ministry, Union Sports Ministry, Madhya Pradesh government and India Foundation.
The five day Summit will commemorative this year’s theme of “Shared Values, Common Destiny”. Madhya Pradesh was chosen for this event as the Sanchi stupa located here strengthens the state’s cultural affiliation with the ASEAN countries.
Around 100 delegates from ASEAN countries Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are going to participate in the summit. It will also have participation of 75 youth leaders from India.
The participants will represent some of the largest institutions in their countries, including leaders from ruling as well as opposition parties, think tanks, media and universities to renew and revitalise engagement with the region reflecting close cultural and civilisational links.
About Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
ASEAN regional organisation comprising 10 South east Asian countries that aims to promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic integration amongst its members. It came into existence on August 8, 1967 after ASEAN declaration (also known as Bangkok declaration).
Principal aims of the ASEAN are to accelerate economic growth, intergovernmental cooperation, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, protect of regional stability and facilitate political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members and Asian states.
Its 10 members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Its motto is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.