National Medical Commission
The National Medical Commission Bill envisaged the creation of a National Medical Commission (NMC) to replace the erstwhile Medical Council of India. In line with this objective, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has been constituted along with four Autonomous Boards.
- This new body would be responsible for the medical accreditation of all medical education institutions within the country as well as maintaining a national registrar of all certified allopathic medical practitioners within the country.
- Along with NMC, the four Autonomous Boards of UG and PG Medical Education Boards, Medical Assessment and Rating Board, and Ethics and Medical Registration Board have also been constituted to help the NMC in day to day functioning.
- With the coming into effect of the NMC Act, the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 stands repealed and the Board of Governors appointed in supersession of Medical Council of India has also been dissolved.
Key functions of NMC –
- The key functions of the NMC will be further streamlining regulations, rating of institutions, HR assessment, focus on research.
- Besides they will work on modalities of the common final year exam after MBBS (NEXT- National Exit Test) to serve for both registration and PG entrance; prepare guidelines for fee regulation by private medical colleges; and developing standards for Community Health Providers to serve in primary healthcare with limited practicing licence.
- It may be recalled that the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament in August, 2019.
Background of MCI –
- The Medical Council of India (MCI) was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act of 1933.
- At the time, its primary function was to standardise both training in medicine and the accreditation of medical and surgical proficiency.
- In 1956, the original IMC Act was repealed and redesigned. It has subsequently received face-lifts with amendments enacted in 1964, 1993, and 2001.
- The Council was composed of one representative from each State (appointed by the Central Government), one medical faculty member from each University (appointed by the Senate of the public University), one representative of each State which maintains a Medical Register (elected by members on the register), seven members enrolled on any of the State Medical Registers (elected from amongst themselves) and eight Central Government representatives (appointed by the Central Government).
- The MCI elected its President and Vice-President.
Way forward –
After looking at various other countries and their accreditation systems,, five changes can be recommended –
- Removing NMC members from the Medical Advisory Council,
- Creating regional medical councils in the place of third party organisations,
- Adopting WHO guidelines as the basis of all standards set by the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board and the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board,
- Ensuring that post-graduate schools receive accreditation only if they have a research based meritocracy for students and staff, and
- Mandating that all medical school graduates work in the country for a limited amount of time.
The first look India’s first RRTS (Region Rapid Transit System) train was unveiled recently. It is an environment friendly, energy efficient train which will improve the quality of life in and around NCR by accelerating economic growth, creating economic opportunities and at the same time reducing air pollution, carbon footprint, congestion, and accidents.
About RRTS train –
- The state-of-the-art RRTS rolling stock will be first of its kind in India with a design speed of 180 kmph.
- With radiating stainless steel outer body, these aerodynamic RRTS trains will be lightweight and fully air-conditioned.
- Each car will have six automatic plug-in type wide doors, three on each side (Business Class will have four such doors, two on each side) for ease of access and exit.
- The RRTS trains will have transverse 2×2 seating with adequate legroom, optimised aisle width with grab handles and grab poles for a comfortable journey for standing passengers, overhead luggage rack, mobile/laptop charging sockets and on board Wi-Fi among other commuter-centric features.
- RRTS rolling stock will have lighting and temperature control systems to enhance the passenger experience with less energy consumption. Equipped with modern amenities, the RRTS rolling stock will be a unique amalgamation of new-age technology and India’s rich heritage.
Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Corridor –
- The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor is one of the three prioritised RRTS corridor being implemented in phase-1.
- The 82 km long Delhi–Ghaziabad–Meerut Corridor is the first RRTS corridor being implemented in India.
- The corridor will bring down the travel time between Delhi to Meerut by around 1/3rd.
- The commute time from Delhi to Meerut will be reduced to less than an hour from 3-4 hours by road at present.
About NCRTC –
- National Capital Region Transport Corporation is a joint venture of the Government of India (50%) and State Governments of Haryana (12.5%), NCT Delhi (12.5%), Uttar Pradesh (12.5%) and Rajasthan (12.5%).
- It is mandated to design, construct, finance, operate and maintain RRTS in NCR and works under the administrative control of Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, GOI.
- NCRTC is mandated to implement India’s first RRTS in NCR.
Minimum Support Price
One of the major criticisms of the recently enacted Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill is that it does not give any statutory backing to MSP. Forget making it a legal right, there isn’t even a mention of either “MSP” or “procurement” in the Bill.
What is MSP?
- Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a form of market intervention by the Government of India to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices.
- The minimum support prices are announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
- MSP is price fixed by Government of India to protect the producer – farmers – against excessive fall in price during bumper production years. The minimum support prices are a guarantee price for their produce from the Government.
- The major objectives are to support the farmers from distress sales and to procure food grains for public distribution. In case the market price for the commodity falls below the announced minimum price due to bumper production and glut in the market, government agencies purchase the entire quantity offered by the farmers at the announced minimum price.
About MSP –
- The Minimum Support Price is not a legal right till now. Unlike subsidised grains through the PDS, MSP isn’t an entitlement for farmers. They cannot demand it as a matter of right.
- It is only a government policy that is part of administrative decision-making. The government declares MSPs for crops, but there’s no law mandating their implementation.
- The Centre currently fixes MSPs for 23 farm commodities — 7 cereals (paddy, wheat, maize, bajra, jowar, ragi and barley), 5 pulses (chana, arhar/tur, urad, moong and masur), 7 oilseeds (rapeseed-mustard, groundnut, soyabean, sunflower, sesamum, safflower and nigerseed) and 4 commercial crops (cotton, sugarcane, copra and raw jute) — based on the CACP’s recommendations.
- But the CACP itself is not any statutory body set up through an Act of Parliament. This, despite its coming to existence in 1965 and MSPs being announced since the time of the Green Revolution, starting with wheat in 1966-67.
- The CACP is just “an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India”. It can recommend MSPs, but the decision on fixing (or even not fixing) and enforcement rests finally with the government.
- The government can procure at the MSPs if it wants to. There is no legal compulsion. Nor can it force others (private traders, organised retailers, processors or exporters) to pay.
- The only crop where MSP payment has some statutory element is sugarcane. This is due to its pricing being governed by the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966 issued under the Essential Commodities Act.
Eminent Malayalam poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, popularly known as Akkitham, has been chosen for the 55th Jnanpith Award, according to an announcement by the Jnanpith Selection Board.
- Born in 1926, Mr. Akkitham is one of the revered names in Malayalam poetry. His literary excellence has footprints in genre like drama, reminiscence, critical essays, children literature, short stories and translations.
- Akkitham has contributed such seminal works as Pathalathinte Muzhakkam, Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam, and Balidarshanam.
- His work Balidarshanam won the State and Central Sahitya Akademi awards in 1972-73.
About Jnanpith Award –
- Jnanpith Award is a literary award presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith organisation to Indian writers every year. This was instituted in 1961 and is given only to Indian writers who write in Indian languages and English.
- The winner is given a cash prize of Rs. 11 lakh and a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning.
- The first recipient of the award was Malayalam writer G Sankara Kurup in 1965 for his novel ‘Odakkuzhal’ (The Bamboo Flute).
- The first woman writer to be awarded this award was Ashapoorna Devi, a Bengali writer, in 1976.
- The organisation which presents this award was founded in 1944 by industrialist and philanthropist Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain.
Cybersecurity of UCBs
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has come out with a document to enhance cybersecurity of urban co-operative banks (UCBs).
- The ‘Technology Vision for Cyber Security for Urban Cooperatve Banks (UCBs) 2020-2023’ has been formalised based on inputs from various stakeholders.
- It plans to achieve its objective through a five-pillared strategic approach GUARD, viz –
- Governance Oversight,
- Utile Technology Investment,
- Appropriate Regulation and Supervision,
- Robust Collaboration and Developing necessary IT,
- cybersecurity skill sets.
- With concerted efforts and involvement of all stake holders, the vision document, with its 12 specific action points –
- aspires to involve more board oversight over cybersecurity;
- enable UCBs to better manage and secure IT assets;
- implement an offsite supervisory mechanism framework for UCBs on cybersecurity-related controls;
- develop a forum for UCBs so that they can share best practices and discuss practical issues and challenges; and
- implement a framework for providing awareness/training for all UCBs.
- The document also says that cybersecurity landscape will continue to evolve with wider adoption of digital banking channels, thus necessitating the UCBs to manage the associated risks effectively.
- Active collaboration within UCBs and stakeholders would be necessary for sharing and coordinating various measures taken on cyber security aspects.
India and Pakistan crossed swords over terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir at the Foreign Minister’s meetings of the 8-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the 27-nation Conference on Interaction and ConfidenceBuilding Measures in Asia (CICA).
About CICA –
- The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is an inter-governmental forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.
- It is a forum based on the recognition that there is close link between peace, security and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world.
- The key idea of the Conference is based on the priority of the indivisibility of security, joint initiative and mutually beneficial interaction of small and large states.
- The idea of convening the CICA was first proposed by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev on 5 October 1992, at the 47th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
- The first meeting of the CICA Ministers of Foreign Affairs was held on 14 September 1999 with participation of 15 Member States (Meeting between Foreign Ministers is held every two years). The Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations between CICA Member States was adopted at this meeting.
- The first CICA summit was held on 4 June 2002 with participation of 16 Member States and Almaty Act, the charter of the CICA, was adopted. The impetus for this meeting came from the 9-11 terrorist attacks of the previous year. Thus, counter-terrorism became an important issue for CICA, and this theme has run through the subsequent meetings.