Prelims Booster

21st August – Prelims Booster

Swachh Survekshan Survey

Recently, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) released the results of Swachh Survekshan 2020.

Details –

  • Swachh Survekshan 2020 is the 5th edition of the annual urban cleanliness survey conducted by the Ministry.
  • Indore won the coveted title of the Cleanest City of India, Surat and Navi Mumbai won the second and third position respectively (in the > 1 lakh population category).
  • Ranks for Swachh Survekshan 2020 have been assigned based on the population in two categories of the cities : 1 lakh and above with sub-categories of 1-10 lakh and 10 lakhs and above. Less than 1 lakh (under this category, the rankings are given zone and population-wise). It includes five zones namely, North, East, Northeast, South and West.
  • Chhattisgarh won the prestigious title of the Cleanest State of India in the > 100 ULB category while Jharkhand was adjudged the Cleanest State of India in the <100 ULB category.

Swachh Survekshan 2021 –

  • Recently, MoHUA launched the sixth edition of the survey, Swachh Survekshan 2021. Keeping in mind the Ministry’s efforts towards ensuring sustainability of the sanitation value chain, the Swachh Survekshan 2021 indicators focus on parameters pertaining to wastewater treatment and reuse along with faecal sludge.
  • Similarly, the crucial issues of legacy of waste management and remediation of landfills have been brought to the fore in the sixth edition of the Survekshan.
  • Alongside, Swachh Survekshan 2021 saw the introduction of a new performance category, the Prerak DAUUR Samman which has a total of five additional sub- categories – Divya (Platinum), Anupam (Gold), Ujjwal (Silver), Udit (Bronze), Aarohi (Aspiring).
  • In addition to the present criteria of evaluating cities on ‘population category’, this new category will categorize cities on the basis of six select indicator wise performance criteria.

Progress of Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) –

  • Since its launch in 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) has made significant progress in the area of both sanitation and solid waste management. 4,324 Urban ULBs have been declared ODF, 1,319 cities certified ODF+ and 489 cities certified ODF++ as per MoHUA’s sanitation protocols.
  • This has been made possible through construction of more than 66 lakhs individual household toilets and over 6 lakhs community/ public toilets, far exceeding the Mission’s targets.
  • Additionally, over 59,900 toilets across 2900+ cities have been made live on Google Maps. In the area of solid waste management, 96% of wards have complete door-to door collection while 66% of the total waste generated is being processed – a jump of nearly 4 times over 2014 levels of 18% processing.
  • A total of 6 cities (Indore, Ambikapur, Navi Mumbai, Surat, Rajkot and Mysuru) have been rated as 5-star cities, 86 cities as 3-Star and 64 cities as 1-Star, as per MoHUA’s Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities.

Online Pharmacy in India

Recently, India has seen famous mergers and acquisitions in the online pharmacy business.

  • How is the pharmacy market in India currently shaped?
    Unlike the US, where the top three pharmaceutical distributors have a 90 per cent share in the market, India’s is a fragmented market with over 8 lakh pharmacies — this gives online pharmacies an opportunity to capture their space without opposing large traditional retailers.
  • Currently, companies in the Indian e-pharmacy space mainly operate three business models — marketplace, inventory-led hybrid (offline/online) and franchise-led hybrid (offline/online) — depending on the way the supply chain is structured.
  • In addition to companies like Netmeds, Medlife and PharmEasy, other players in the segment include online healthcare startups such as 1mg, Practo, Myra as well as traditional chemists such as Apollo Pharmacy.

What are the rules governing the pharmacy sector?

  • The government had floated draft regulations for e-pharmacies but these guidelines never saw light of the day.
  • While the lack of proper rules governing the online pharmacy space has kept large investments at bay, it has allowed the existing players in the market to grow and overcome the challenges faced by traditional retailers, which account for almost 85% of the country’s total pharmaceutical sales.
  • For pharmacies overall, India’s drug regulations require retailers to get a licence to dispense medicines from the state in which they are being sold. This may have been a factor in Amazon currently restricting its pharmacy sales to Bengaluru for the time being.
  • What do the draft e-pharmacy regulations propose?
    Considering that e-pharmacies currently are not regulated, their operations are constantly met with opposition from brick and mortar chemists.
  • In the absence of clear regulations, online pharmacies currently operate as marketplaces and cater to patients as a platform for ordering medicines from sellers that adhere to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules of India. Other regulations, like the Information Technology Act and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, also apply.
  • Draft rules for e-pharmacies sought to define the online sale of medicines, what an e-prescription means and what type of licences online firms would need to get from regulators to operate.
  • The draft had proposed to allow e-pharmacies to get a central licence to operate from the country’s apex drug regulator, which could be used to allow it to operate across the country.
  • It also proposed to define e-pharmacies in a way that would allow them to distribute, sell and stock medicines.
  • The proposed regulations prevent them from selling habit-forming drugs like cough syrups specified in Schedule X of the Indian drug regulations.

People’s Liberation Army

It is customary for a nation to have an army but extremely rare for a political party to have one. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is an exception, as it owes allegiance to the Communist Party of China (CPC).


This exclusive arrangement was formalised in December 1929 during the Ninth Meeting of the CPC at Gutian in Fujian province where Mao Zedong, while addressing the men of the Fourth Army, clarified the role of the military: it was “to chiefly serve the political ends”, Mao said.

Formation of PLA –

  • The PLA traces its roots to the ‘Nanchang Uprising’ of August 1, 1927, the day the Communists led by stalwarts like Mao, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De rose against the nationalist forces. It played a key role in the successful culmination of the Communist revolution in 1949, and of the CPC coming to power. The PLA’s iconic commanders, Mao and Deng Xiaoping, led the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for almost a half century as its first and second generation leaders.
  • Given its symbiotic relationship with the CPC, the PLA is well represented in the two apex governing bodies – in the Politburo, the PLA has 2 members out of 25, and in the Central Committee, the PLA accounts for 18-20 per cent of the 205 permanent and 171 alternate members.
  • The Central Committee elects the Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), the highest political body that is currently composed of seven members. Until 1997, the PLA had representation in the PSC as well; General Liu Huaqing was the last general to hold that position.
  • The Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest military body, is composed of the PLA top brass, appointed by the PSC. The chairman of the CMC is the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the PLA, usually the Secretary General of the CPC, and presently President Xi.
  • Senior PLA officers are invariably members of the CPC. While commanders handle operational and training aspects, Political Commissars are responsible for personal matters, propaganda and indoctrination to establish the Party’s authority over the PLA.

Domicile based job quotas

Madhya Pradesh Government has recently reserved all government jobs for “children of the state” raising questions relating to the fundamental right to equality.

What does the Constitution say?

  • Article 16 of the Constitution, which guarantees equal treatment under law in matters of public employment, prohibits the state from discriminating on grounds of place of birth or residence.
  • Article 16(2) states that “no citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect or, any employment or office under the State”. The provision is supplemented by the other clauses in the Constitution that guarantee equality.
  • However, Article 16(3) of the Constitution provides an exception by saying that Parliament may make a law “prescribing” a requirement of residence for jobs in a particular state. This power vests solely in the Parliament, not state legislatures.

Why does the Constitution prohibit reservation based on domicile?

As India has common citizenship, which gives citizens the liberty to move around freely in any part of the country, the requirement of a place of birth or residence cannot be qualifications for granting public employment in any state.

What has the Supreme Court said on reserving jobs for locals?

  • The Supreme Court has ruled against reservation based on place of birth or residence. In 1984, ruling in Dr Pradeep Jain v Union of India, the issue of legislation for “sons of the soil” was discussed. The court expressed an opinion that such policies would be unconstitutional but did not expressly rule on it as the case was on different aspects of the right to equality.
  • Despite Article 16(2), “some of the States are adopting ‘sons of the soil’ policies prescribing reservation or preference based on domicile or residence requirement for employment or appointment… Prima facie this would seem to be constitutionally impermissible though we do not wish to express any definite opinion upon it, since it does not directly arise for consideration..,” the court said.
  • In a subsequent ruling in Sunanda Reddy v State of Andhra Pradesh (1995), the Supreme Court affirmed the observation in Pradeep Jain to strike down a state government policy that gave 5% extra weightage to candidates who had studied with Telugu as the medium of instruction.
  • In 2002, the Supreme Court invalidated appointment of government teachers in Rajasthan in which the state selection board gave preference to “applicants belonging to the district or the rural areas of the district concerned”. “We have no doubt that such a sweeping argument which has the overtones of parochialism is liable to be rejected on the plain terms of Article 16(2) and in the light of Article 16(3). An argument of this nature flies in the face of peremptory language of Article 16(2) and runs counter to our constitutional ethos founded on unity and integrity of the nation,” the court said.
  • In 2019, the Allahabad High Court struck down a recruitment notification by the UP Subordinate Service Selection Commission which prescribed preference for women who are “original residents” of the UP alone.

Does it exist in another state?

  • Exercising the powers it has under Article 16(3), Parliament enacted the Public Employment (Requirement as to Residence) Act, aimed at abolishing all existing residence requirements in the states and enacting exceptions only in the case of the special instances of Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Constitutionally, some states also have special protections under Article 371. Andhra Pradesh under Section 371(d) has powers to have “direct recruitment of local cadre” in specified areas.
  • In Uttarakhand, class III and class IV jobs are reserved for locals.
  • Some states have gone around the mandate of Article 16(2) by using language. States that conduct official business in their regional languages prescribe knowledge of the language as a criterion. This ensures that local citizens are preferred for jobs. For example, states including Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu require a language test.

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