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March 23, 2021
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22nd March Current Affairs

PLI: Centre’s nod for 33 API applications

In News:

The government has approved 33 applications with a committed investment of ₹5,082.65 crore under the production linked incentive scheme for active pharmaceutical ingredients.

What is an API?

Every medicine is made up of two main ingredients — the chemically active APIs and chemically inactive, excipients, which is a substance that delivers the effect of APIs to one’s system.

API is a chemical compound that is the most important raw material to produce a finished medicine.

In medicine, API produces the intended effects to cure the disease. For instance, Paracetamol is the API for Crocin and it is the API paracetamol that gives relief from body ache and fever.

Fixed-dose combination drugs use multiple APIs, while single-dose drugs like Crocin use just one API.

How an API is manufactured?

API is not made by only one reaction from the raw materials but rather it becomes an API via several chemical compounds. The chemical compound which is in the process of becoming an API from raw material is called an intermediate.

There are some APIs that pass “through over ten kinds of intermediates in a process when it changes from being a raw material into an API”. The long manufacturing process is continued until it is purified and reaches a very high degree of purity.

How India lost its API market to China?

During the early 90s, India was self-reliant in manufacturing APIs.

  • However, with the rise of China as a producer of API, it captured the Indian market with cheaper products and it eventually led to high economies of scale for China.
  • China created a low-cost API manufacturing industry. The industry was backed by the low cost of capital followed by aggressive government funding models, tax incentives.
  • Their cost of operation is one-fourth of India’s cost. Even the cost of finance in China is 6-7 per cent against India’s 13-14 per cent.
  • So, due to low-profit margins and non-lucrative industry, Indian pharma companies over the years stopped manufacturing APIs.

Plea in SC against wrongful prosecution

In News:

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court highlighting need for the government to frame guidelines for compensating victims of wrongful prosecution by the police or authorities.

Need for:

India, with a population of around 1.5 billion, has no effective statutory/legal mechanism for the wrongful prosecutions due to police and prosecutorial misconduct resulting in a pandemic of false cases.

This has not only destroyed the social fabric of the nation but also affected the over-burdened judiciary with alarming pendency of over 40 million cases.

Way ahead:

The government should implement the recommendations made by the Law Commission of India in its 277th report on the miscarriage of justice in 2018.

The Commission had prepared the report on the basis of a Delhi High Court order in the Babloo Chauhan case in November 2017 to undertake a “ comprehensive examination of issue of relief and rehabilitation to victims of wrongful prosecution and incarceration”.

Background:

Undertrials account for nearly 70 per cent of India’s prison population. States including Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi have recorded Covid-19 cases in their prisons. However, several ailing or elderly undertrials are denied bail due to the gravity of their offence, as the contagion reportedly sweeps through several prisons.

Padyatra to commemorate salt march

In News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off the foot march to re-enact the historic Mahatma Gandhi-led Salt March, while launching the ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’, the government’s initiative to mark 75 years of India’s Independence.

Details:

The march from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi in Navsari district, a distance of 386 km, will take 25 days.

It will mark the 91st anniversary of the historic march against the tax on salt imposed by the British in India.

About the 75th anniversary celebrations:

To be continued till August 15, 2023 under five themes of the celebrations as the guiding force for moving forward, keeping dreams and duties as the inspiration. The themes are:

  • Freedom Struggle.
  • Ideas at 75.
  • Achievements at 75.
  • Actions at 75.
  • Resolves at 75.

About the Salt Satyagraha:

On March 12, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi embarked a historic Salt March from Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad to the village of Dandi in the state’s coastal area to protest against the steep tax the British levied on salt.

  • The Salt March began on March 12, 1930 and continued till April 6, 1930.
  • It was a 24-day Salt March, which was non-violent in nature, is historically significant as it led to the mass Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Upon reaching the seashore in Dandi, Mahatma Gandhi broke the law by producing illegal salt.

Why Gandhiji chose Salt Satyagraha to start the civil disobedience movement?

In every Indian household, salt was indispensable, yet people were forbidden from making salt even for domestic use, compelling them to buy it from shops at a high price.

The state monopoly over salt was deeply unpopular; by making it his target, Gandhiji hoped to mobilise a wider discontent against British rule.

Salt was chosen to symbolize the start of civil disobedience movement because salt was deemed as something on which each Indian had the basic right.

Plea to constitute district medical boards

In News:

The Supreme Court has asked the government to respond to a plea to constitute district medical boards with expert gynaecologists and even paediatricians to help rape survivors.

The court also said that if a woman is raped and is pregnant, she must be told about her legal rights.

What’s the case?

The court was hearing the case of a 14-year-old rape survivor seeking an abortion.

However, following a report from a medical board, to which the top court had referred her, she withdrew her plea for termination of pregnancy.

Need for:

This case highlighted the need for setting up medical boards in every district so that rape survivors could benefit from early medical intervention and not be forced to go through more trauma.

There has been a strong push against the law, which imposes severe restrictions on the reproductive choice of a woman, her personal liberty and bodily autonomy.

Several affected women, even rape survivors, have approached the apex court against the 1971 law.

So far, the apex court has dealt with pleas for medical termination of pregnancy on a case-to-case basis.

What the law says?

Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 prohibits termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks.

An exception to the law is made if a registered medical practitioner certifies to a court that the continued pregnancy is life-threatening for the mother.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is passed by the Lok Sabha and it will be discussed in the Rajya Sabha.

It seeks to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances.

Abortion vs Fundamental Right:

The “right to exercise reproductive choice is the right to choose whether to conceive and carry pregnancy to its full term or to terminate it. This choice is at the core of one’s privacy, dignity, personal autonomy, bodily integrity, self determination and right to health recognised by Article 21 of the Constitution.”