Union Cabinet approves re-establishment of Pharmacopoeia Commission
The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi approved the Pharmacopoeia commission. The cabinet has approved to re-establish the commission for Indian Medicine and Homeopathy under Ministry of AYUSH.
The commission has been set up by merging Pharmacopoeia Laboratory for Indian Medicine and Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory. The two central laboratories were established at Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh in 1975.
The commission is an autonomous body that operates under Ministry of AYUSH. It is in operation since 2010.
About the merger:
The merger will optimize the use of resources and also enhance outcomes of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy drugs towards effective quality control. After the merger, the commission is to have adequate administrative structure under the ministry.
Pharmacopoeia means drug making. The Government of India has re-established the Pharmacopoeia Commission of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy. The commission will help to optimize technical manpower, infrastructural facilities, financial resources.
Cabinet Approves to form Empowered Group of Secretaries
The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi approved to set up “Empowered Group of Secretaries”. The group will also have Project Development Cells to attract investments in India.
The Empowered Group will provide investment support to global investors. It will also ensure timely clearances from the Government side in different departments and ministries. The group consists of members from NITI Aayog, revenue department secretary, secretary of economic affairs, etc.
The Project Development Cell is also a part of the group.
Project Development Cell:
The Project Development Cell will take care of the investible projects. It will also coordinate between State Government and Central Government. This will help in growth of pipeline of investible projects in the country and also increase FDI inflows.
An officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary is to be placed in charge of the Project Development Cell. The cell will conceptualize, implement and disseminate the details that are related to the projects.
Global Economic Prospects Report, 2020 by World Bank
The World Bank recently launched the Global Economic Prospects Report, 2020. The report highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on countries.
Key findings of the report:
The report says that the Emerging Market and the Developing Economies are highly vulnerable. They face health crisis, external shocks, restrictions, tourism, falling trade, capital outflows and commodity prices. These countries according to the report are expected to have 3% to 8% output loss.
Around 60 million people may be pushed to extreme poverty due to COVID-19 this year. The financial crisis due to recession will reduce the potential output by almost 8%.
The report makes the following recommendations:
The report suggests to make better policy choices. It includes greater debt transparency, major expansion of cash safety and faster advances in digital connectivity.
Along with addressing health emergencies, policies to boost long term boost should also be considered. This includes improving environment for business, enhancing outcomes of education and improving governance.
10 Sectors identified to cut imports
The Department of Promotion for Industry and Internal Trade identified 10 sectors where in the imports are to be cut. This includes textiles, jewelry, mobile, gems, pharmaceuticals, garments, electronics, machinery, etc.
The GoI has recently changed the set targets in order to become self-reliant in footwear, furniture and air conditioner. In parallel, the Government has also laid groundwork to become self-reliant in 10 other sectors.
The Government has selected these 10 sectors in particular as India has natural advantage in these sectors. Hence, given a small push, these sectors have the potential of becoming the strength of the country.
The Government has made the decision of cutting imports to target the quality of domestically made products. Also, India will focus on increasing quality controls.
Imports in India:
India imported 467.2 billion USD worth goods in the year 2019-20. Of this, leather and leather products amounted to 1.01 billion USD, machinery of 37.7 billion USD and machine tool imports of 4.2 billion USD.
The AC industry concern:
The AC industry of India is largely dependent on imports, mainly imported compressors. These imports account to 60%-65% of AC production value.
What is the issue?
The Japanese split AC companies that are market leaders are taking advantage of India-ASEAN Free Trade Pact and importing from Vietnam and Thailand claiming to be registered in India. This is so common especially in new inverter category ACs.
Concerns of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan:
The steps of cutting imports and encouraging domestic manufacturing is being done under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. However, these steps may bring on certain issues. They are as follows:
Import Substitution Industrialization
The ISI is criticized for the following:
SWADES Initiative: Skill Mapping programme for Indians returning from Abroad
The Government of India is to conduct SWADES initiative to map the skills of Indians returning from abroad. SWADES is Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support.
The SWADES initiative has been begun under Vande Bharat Mission. The initiative aims to generate database of Indians returning from abroad based on their skill sets and experience. The database will then be used to fulfil need of foreign companies and Indian companies.
The maximum number of Indians returning are mainly from UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. These persons returning were primarily employed in automotive, oil and gas, tourism, aviation, IT, hospitality and IT.
The initiative is to be conducted by Ministries of Civil Aviation, External Affairs, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. The returning citizens will need to fill up forms under the programme. The form consists of details of job title, work sector, years of experience, etc. A toll free facility has also been set up to support citizens for their queries in filling the forms.
The main aim of the initiative is to provide employment for the Indians returning from abroad.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closing of companies all over the world. This made 1000s unemployed. Thus, they are returning to India.
Vande Bharat Mission:
The Mission aims at bringing Indians from all over the world. Under the mission, the non-scheduled commercial flights will carry people from Singapore, USA and London. Currently, the mission is working in bringing around 80,000 Indians from Gulf countries.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: EY World Entrepreneur of the year
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was named the EY World Entrepreneur of the year 2020.
She was selected among 46 other entrepreneurs from 41 countries.
Kiran is the second woman to win the award after Olivia Lum of Hyflux, Singapore. She is also the third Indian to win the award after Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra in 2014 and Narayana Murthy of Infosys in 2005.
Kiran founded Biocon in 1978. It is a bio-enzymes company. The company began its journey with just two employees and an investment of 500 USD. Today, the company has grown with more than 11,000 people and also has become one of the strongest innovation driven biotech companies in Asia.
Why is she being honoured with the award?
She is being presented with the award for her contribution in improving universal access to affordable life saving medicines.
It is to be noted that in September 2019, Biocon announced that the company will supply rh-insulin at less than 10 USD per day to patients taking 40 units per day. The company has in the last 15 years supplied more than 2 billion affordable doses of insulins (biosimilar insulins).
The Biosimilar medicine is an identical copy of an original product that was manufactured by another company. They are allowed to be manufactured when the patent of the original product expires. Biosimilars help to bring down the prices of medicines greatly.
World Environment Day
Every year the World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5. This year the day is being celebrated under the theme
Theme: Celebrate Biodiversity
This year, in 2020, the day is to be hosted in Colombia in partnership with Germany. The day was hosted by India in 2018. It was then India emphasized on prevention of Plastic pollution. In 2019, the day was hosted by China under the theme “Air Pollution”.
The day was first designed by the United Nations in 1972 during the United Nations Conference on Human Environment. However, it was first celebrated in 1974.
Significance of the theme:
Biodiversity is important for the survival of all the living organisms. The theme is significant as human beings are part of the ecosystem and cannot live in isolation.
The interdependence of humans and webs of life can very well be learnt from the recent locust attacks, COVID-19 pandemic and bush fires.