Regulating Online Pharmacy Business

A sub-committee had been constituted by the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) to examine issues relating to Online Pharmacy Business and sale of drugs. The Sub-Committee has submitted its report to the Drugs Consultative Committee.

The Sub-Committee has inter alia recommended

  • Creation of a National Portal to act as the nodal platform for transacting and monitoring Online Pharmacy Business and sale of drugs.
  • Necessity of evolving a mechanism to register e-pharmacies. 
  • Geographical restrictions for operation of e-pharmacies.
  • Existing licensees involved in retail sale of drugs could also register on the National Portal for carrying out online sale of drugs.
  • Requirement of registration with CDSCO under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. 
  • Certain categories of drugs viz. the Narcotic and Psychotropic drugs, tranquilizers, habit forming drugs and Schedule X drugs that are prone to being abused or misused be excluded from sale through e-pharmacies. 

Analysis

  • Online pharmacies laws in India are still in nascent stage and there are no dedicated online pharmacy laws in India. The Information Technology Act 2000 governs some of the legal issues pertaining to online dealings but it is silent on the aspect of online pharmacy. As a result, illegal online pharmacies have been increasing in India. If properly regulated, Online pharmacies in India could prove beneficial to various stakeholders.
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, have guidelines on the sale of Schedule H and Schedule X drugs. These can be sold only on prescription and there are specific rules, including for labelling. As most of the online pharmacies in India are not complying with Indian laws and the laws of other jurisdictions, they have been facing regulatory sanctions.

Conclusion

The Government has issued a notice seeking public comments on regulation of sale of drugs including introduction of an electronic platform for regulation of sale of drugs in the country.

Defence Agreements With Russia

Details of Defence Agreements signed with Russia over the past five years is as under

  • Defence Agreements for training of Indian armed forces personnel in the military educational establishments of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation. (Date of signing 11.12.2014).
  • Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on cooperation in Aircraft flight safety. (Date of signing 21.01.2015).
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation on cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering. (Date of signing 24.12.2015).
  • Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India on supply of S-400 Triumph Air Defence Missile systems to the Republic of India. (Date of signing 15.10.2016).
  • Defence Agreements between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India for construction of follow-on-ships of project 11356 in Russia and in India (Date of signing 15.10.2016).

India-Russia defence relations

India and Russia have several major joint military programmes including –

  • BrahMos cruise missile programme
  • 5th generation fighter jet programme
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKI programme (230+ to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics)
  • Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft

Additionally, India has purchased/leased various military hardware from Russia 

  • S-400 Triumf 12.
  • Kamov Ka-226 200 to be made in India under the Make in India initiative.
  • T-90S Bhishma with over 1000 to be built in India.
  • Akula-II nuclear submarine (2 to be leased with an option to buy when the lease expires).
  • INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier programme.
  • Tu-22M3 bombers (4 ordered).
  • US$900 million upgrade of MiG-29.
  • Mil Mi-17 (80 ordered) more in Service.
  • Ilyushin Il-76 Candid (6 ordered to fit Israeli Phalcon radar).
  • The Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan is currently jointly operated by Indian Air Force and Tajikistan Air Force.

Defence Agreements | Conclusion

The Government makes all efforts to encourage greater manufacturing of defence equipment in India through the ‘Make in India’ framework, including through transfer of technology arrangements.  Several licensed production agreements have been implemented with Russian companies in India, such as for Sukhoi-30 aircraft, T-90 tanks, BMP-2 armoured personnel carriers etc. Divulging the texts of such Agreements will not be in the interest of national security.

Doklam Standoff – India China Border

Doklam StandoffDoklam Standoff near Bhutan between India and China is becoming a major concern, near the Chumbi Valley at the corner of India-China-Bhutan tri-junction. This month long border Doklam Standoff has become the longest ever between the two nations. This is also the first time when Indian troops have confronted the People’s Liberation Army of China on the soil of a third country i.e. Bhutan. There are two reasons for this standoff – India has a long standing commitment to Bhutan’s defence and serves as a virtual security guarantor to Bhutan through the 2007 friendship treaty. Secondly, the Doklam sector is critical to India as it brings China even closer to the Indian border in a vulnerable location towards the 27-kilometres long Siliguri Corridor or “Chicken’s neck” that connects the Northeastern states of India with the rest of India. China has repeatedly disputed Bhutan’s claims over Doklam. Beijing considers this plateau as vital to fortify the dagger-shaped Chumbi valley by piercing the tri-junction.

Doklam Standoff | History

Intrusions in Sikkim area may be new but there is a general pattern of such incursions are traced back to 2008 Beijing Olympics. In Ladakh and other places, the Chinese troops have been repeatedly working towards ingression in such areas. In 2009, the Chinese refused to give visas on Indian passports for several months for citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Commander-in-Chief of the then Northern Command.Three factors started emerging in 2008 which are converging now in 2017 – the first being Pakistan’s renewed animosity against India which was earlier demonstrated during the Mumbai attacks, the second was the street rage which was demonstrated within the Kashmir valley, and the last being China’s attempts to stymie India’s growth trajectory while it still can do it in the long term.

Actually, the border dispute in the region dates back to the 19th century when the states in the region were expanding in the areas which were loose in nature – North East Frontier Agency, North West Frontier Agency by the British Empire, and the Qing dynasty under the warlordswas expanding the Empire in Tibet and Sichuan. The 1890 treaty was signed between the British Empire and the Qing dynasty in China, 1914 Shimla Agreement between the British Empire, the Tibetans and the nationalist China are the two agreements being cited by China to stake legal claims over the region. The treaty of 1890 was signed but the delineation and demarcation did not happen subsequently, specifically in the Sikkim sector. In the 1914 Shimla Agreement, China was represented by Ivan Chen, LonchenShatra represented Tibet and McMahon represented the British-India Empire, yet this agreement is labelled as Imperialist in nature by the Chinese authorities. They have ignored the 1885 Treaty between France-controlled Vietnam and the Qing dynasty at the time. Therefore, selectively implementing treaties according to their own convenience is the issue at hand with China.

It is being said that one of the objectives of China is to test India’s resolve to defend its ally Bhutan in the case of a border dispute turning into a war. This current Doklam Standoff around the tri-junction of India-China-Bhutan border is an extension to the policy of encirclement being pursued by the Chinese around India. India has spent too much time on the ‘principles of Panchsheel in dealing with an aggressive state like China, the current standoff between the two neighbours at a strategic territory is a reflection of the change in this decades old approach by India towards China.

The May 2015 ‘White Paper on National Defence’ by China talks about Chinese armed forces protecting China’s interests abroad. In November 2014, President Xi Jinping addressed the fourth Foreign Affairs Work Conference and mentioned that the foreign ministry has to protect the interests of China abroad. Hence, the Foreign Ministry and the military is now showcasing a synchronised effort to secure their strategic interests at the Tibet region. China has adopted a strategy of legal, media and psychological warfare which was initiated in 2005. China is playing a psychological warfare through its state controlled media, cash-controlled global think tanks and tactical strategies by the PLA troops on the ground to aggravate India to enter into a war. It is using legal strategies to point out that India is entering a third-country i.e. Bhutan, forgetting for the moment that the Chinese entered the Korean war in the 1950s.

Doklam Standoff | Present

China can roughly mobilise about 28-30 divisions in all in the case of a conventional war which includes mobilisation of around 5 divisions in the Sikkim-Bhutan sector, 8 in the Arunachal sector, about 3 divisions in Barahoti (middle sector of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) and roughly about 14 divisions in the Western sector. These divisions would be mobilised through the narrow passages because of the high Tibetan plateau region that makes it easier for the Chinese to push through such forts. Currently, China possesses around 62-63 division in the PLA, out of which they would have to muster around half of the strength towards India which is actually difficult for them, considering the volatile situation in China’s other long boundaries with other hostile nations. In the Sikkim-Bhutan sector, the Chinese face geographical issues because India is at the high ground over the hills, so the casualties can roughly be regarded as 33,000 on the other side. Hence, the Chinese would take a backseat in the conventional warfront. At the sub-conventional level, it is quite possible that the 158 monasteries that India has in the trans-Himalayan belt will come under stress due to the current standoff between India and China. Therefore, India needs to worry more about the sub-conventional warfare techniques of China, more than the conventional warfare strategies because it is untenable for China to go for it.

India is successfully holding to all the semantics played by China and the Government is responding to such semantics with appropriate responses at the most opportune times. As rightly pointed out by the India’s Defence Minister ArunJaitley,

“India is not the same as that of 1962.”

First Solar Powered Train Launched | PIB Summary

Minister of Railways dedicated to the nation the first 1600 HP DEMU train with Solar Powered Coaches with a unique facility of Battery Bank.

Details

  • The entire electrical need of the coaches for Lighting, Fans and Information Display System will be met from the Solar Energy produced from the solar panels fitted in the roofs of coaches.
  • While this train has been manufactured by the Coach Factory of Indian Railways namely Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, its Solar panels and Solar systems have been developed and fitted by Indian Railways Organisation of Alternative Fuel (IROAF) Delhi.
  • This first rake has been commissioned and based at Shakurbasti DEMU shed in Delhi of Northern Railway. Twenty-four more coaches will be fitted with this system within the next 6 months. The first rake will be put in the commercial service over the suburban railway system of Delhi division of Northern Railway.

DEMU Trains

  • Normally, DEMU trains provide power for its passenger comfort systems – lights and fans – from a diesel driven generator fitted on its Driving Power Car (DPC).
  • IROAF has developed this system with a smart MPPT inverter which optimises power generation on a moving train to cater to full load even during the night.
  • The unique feature of Battery Bank through storage battery ensures sufficient electricity when the sunlight is not available.
  • The system helps in reducing Diesel consumption of the DPC and hence reduces carbon signature of these commuter trains by reducing CO2 generation by 9 Tonnes per coach per year.

Significance

A solar power DEMU train with six trailer coaches will save about 21,000 Litres of Diesel and thereby bring cost saving of Rs.12 Lac every year. Savings for a 10 coach rake with 8 trailer coaches will increase proportionately. These benefits will continue for entire 25 years’ life time of the rake. This will help in making DEMU commuter services better, more economical and environment friendly.

Other important facts

  • Indian Railways is trying to increase use of non-conventional sources of energy. More solar powered trains may be inducted in future. Indian Railways has already made a target of 1000 MW Solar Plants in next five-years.
  • Indian Railways is also taking several others environment friendly measures like Tea Plantation, Bio-toilet, Water-Recycling, Waste Disposal, using Bio-fuel CNG and LNG, Wind Energy etc.

India’s First TISC in Punjab | PIB Summary

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, signed an Institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology in New Delhi today to establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab, under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program.

Objective

The objective of the Technology and Innovation Support Centre is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation, thereby promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of Technology and Innovation Support Centres in India.

Services offered by Technology and Innovation Support Centre include

  • Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications;
  • Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
  • Training in database search;
  • On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
  • Monitoring technology and competitors;
  • Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing.

Details

  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is designated as the National Focal Point for the TISC national network.
  • As the national focal point, CIPAM shall identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities and support them in joining the TISC program.
  • CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the national TISC network.

Significance

WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Centre program provides innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

Conclusion

Over 500 Technology and Innovation Support Centres operate worldwide and establishing TISC in India will give the host institutions an access to the global network. In upcoming years, CIPAM is planning to establish TISCs in Universities, State Science Councils, R&D institutions etc. TISC will give an impetus to knowledge sharing, sharing of best practices among the TISCs, capacity building, generation and commercialization of IPs.

SASEC Road Connectivity Programme | PIB Summary

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur at a cost of Rs. 1630.29 crores.

SASEC  | Details

  • Manipur being a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain presently has only road transport as a means of mass transport system within the state. Hence development of the road infrastructure is of paramount importance to improve connectivity and progress of the State and to ensure that the administrative set up reaches the isolated and remote habitats.
  • The project will improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of the state. Based on the existing and projected traffic requirements the NH-39 will be widened to 4 lane between Lilong village and Wanginj village, while the stretch between Wanginj village to Khongkhang will be upgraded to 2 lane with paved shoulder.

SASEC  | Financing of the project

The project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program which aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity among BBIN nations.

SASEC  | Significance

  • The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India’s Gateway to the East. Thus trade, commerce and tourism in the region will get a boost.
  • The workers of Manipur who specialize in creating bamboo and wood based handicraft items and uniquely designed hand woven textile items will get a new market among the Myanmar’s customers.
  • Small scale industries such as those making farm implements and tools, stationery, plastic extrusion items, carpentry units, could also develop markets beyond the border.
  • Besides socio-economic development the project will also lead to reduction in average travel time along the project road by nearly 40%.
  • In addition, the new features of road safety namely vehicular underpasses, crash barriers, road signs & markings, service roads for segregation of slow and high moving traffic, truck lay-by, bus-bays etc. will help in greatly reducing accidents.
  • Improved highway and lesser travel time will lead to savings in terms of fuel cost.

SASEC  | Background

For fulfilling India’s “Look East” Policy and to promote and enhance trade link with South East Asia, the Government of India has notified an Integrated Custom Post (ICP) at Moreh. The development of this project is essential in order to support the increased traffic volume due to coming up of ICP.

For more information keep visiting Raj Malhotra IAS Academy

South Asia Regional Centre ( ISARC ) | PIB Summary

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) in Varanasi. 

ISARC | Details

  • Under the proposal, a Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) will be set up in Varanasi.
  • This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.
  • The Centre will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.
  • This Centre will be the first international Centre in the eastern India and it will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.

Benefits from ISARC

  • The Centre will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties.
  • This will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents.
  • India’s food and nutritional security issues will also be addressed.
  • The Centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country. This will reduce wastage, add value and generate higher income for the farmers.
  • The farmers in Eastern India will benefit in particular, besides those in South Asian and African countries.

Management of ISARC

  • ISARC will operate under the governance of the IRRI Board of Trustees who will appoint an appropriate IRRI staff member as Director.
  • A Coordination Committee will be headed by Director General, IRRI as Chair and Secretary, Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW) as Co-Chair.
  • The other members of Coordination Committee are Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR; Director, NSRTC; IRRI representative in India, representative of Government of UP and representatives of Governments of Nepal & Bangladesh and Private Sector.

Kashmir Terrorism – The Last Gasp or Not

The increase in Kashmir Terrorism and violence levels on the streets and participation of the local population became a cause for worry in 2016. The peace dividend achieved at great cost only a couple of years earlier seemed to be losing out to the mindlessness of violent mobs.

Kashmir Terrorism | Troubled waters

  • There was an enhanced local recruitment, especially within the ranks of the Hizb-ulMujahideen (HM).
  • A larger proportion of the new recruits came from South Kashmir, unlike in the past when North Kashmir was the hub of violence and terrorism.
  • The security forces were routinely the target of stone pelting mobs.
  • And finally, children and women had been pushed into the line of pellets and bullets due to relentless propaganda, coercion and the resultant cycle of violence.

Kashmir Terrorism | Analyzing the trends

All this indicate an upswing in the levels of violence and a hardening of approach by Pakistan, which controls and coordinates major terrorist groups like the LeT and HM. Contrary to this seemingly obvious conclusion, however, the reality could be the very opposite. In fact, we may well witness a shift in the ground situation in Kashmir.

Kashmir Terrorism | Lessons from the Punjab experience

  • Even as terrorism was at its peak in the state during 1980s and 90s, the criminalisation of terrorist groups had led to senseless violence, with humiliation and atrocities being unleashed against policemen and their families as well as common citizens. This led to a fight for survival between the people and the local police on one side and the terrorists on the other.
  • Given the nature of violent acts perpetrated by the terrorists, the struggle also became personal. The alienation of the population and victimisation of the local police turned the tide in favour of the State.
  • The gradual rise in terrorism in Punjab stood in contrast to its sudden elimination. Terrorists were hunted down without pity or remorse.

Replicating Punjab’s strategy in Kashmir

  • The misdirected angst of terrorists against policemen, their families, a defenceless Kashmiri army officer on leave and innocent pilgrims all appear to represent a sign of disarray in their ranks.
  • It is a reflection of the frustration that has surfaced against Kashmiris employed in the police and in the security forces as well as against the syncretic culture of tolerance prevalent in the state.
  • The debacle of terrorism in Punjab suggests that all this violence against security forces and policemen could push the common people who came for the funerals of terrorists to shift their loyalties.
  • The return of violence also sets back any possibility of bringing different groups to the negotiating table in the near future.

Shift on the ground

  • The turning of the tide through a series of counter terrorism operations seems to suggest that the shift is already underway. For instance, June 2017 witnessed a series of successful strikes by security forces against terrorists and especially their leaders. To a casual observer, this may seem to be a coincidence. But the reality is that these strikes were enabled by accurate intelligence provided by angry locals who may not be able to voice their dissent in public, given their fear of being targeted by terrorists, but have helped punish them for their wanton acts of violence.
  • For the common Kashmiri people, the Amarnath pilgrimage is an important event in the annual calendar that contributes significantly to their income. The attempt to disrupt it suggests a disconnect with the local economics of the region.The distancing of every segment of Kashmiri politics, population and even separatists from the Amarnath pilgrim attack is a clear indication of anger and frustration that seems to be building up against senseless acts of terrorism. It is also a reality check for Kashmiri leaders, both mainstream and separatist.
  • The decision of some within terrorist ranks to reject Kashmiriyat and secularism is likely to propagate a radical ideology that the present leadership in the state will be unable to reconcile with their own objectives.

Conclusion

If this reality does not lead to a rejection of senseless violence, it is a matter of time before the people and their police in Kashmir turn the tide of violence and defeat terrorism in conjunction with other security forces, as happened in Punjab.

National Strategic Plan For Malaria Elimination | PIB

Shri J P Nadda, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2017-22.

National Strategic Plan For Malaria Elimination | Details

  • The Strategic Plan gives details about year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next 5 years.
  • Recalling the launch of the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) last year, Shri Nadda had stated that NFME outlined India’s commitment for eliminating malaria by 2030.
  • National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22) gives strategies for working towards the ultimate goal of elimination of malaria by 2030.
  • Encouraging results have been achieved in the North East India and the efforts are now focussed in other states such as Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

National Strategic Plan For Malaria Elimination | Features of the plan

The strategies involve strengthening malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, promoting the prevention of malaria by the use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years.

About Malaria

  • Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.
  • Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, feeling tired, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, and / or death.
  • The methods used to prevent malaria include medications, mosquito elimination and the prevention of bites. There is no vaccine for malaria. The presence of malaria in an area requires a combination of high human population density, high anopheles’ mosquito population density and high rates of transmission from humans to mosquitoes and from mosquitoes to humans. 

Air-Sewa Web Portal Upgraded

The Ministry of Civil Aviation held a meeting of all stakeholders last week to invite suggestions for designing Air Sewa 2.0, the upgraded version of the Air-Sewa Web Portal and mobile app that was launched in November last year to make air travel convenient and hassle-free.

Air-Sewa Web Portal | The Need

To provide a safe, and comfortable air travel experience to users. Flight delays, problem in refunds, long queues, inadequate facilities at airports and complaints of lost baggage are the most common problems that air travellers face.

­There was a need to respond to these problems in a systematic manner rather than on ad-hoc basis. ­The Ministry had launched AirSewa web portal and mobile app on 26.11.2016 to address this need.

Air-Sewa Web Portal

AirSewa is operated through an interactive web portal and a mobile app for both Android and iOS platforms. ­e-portal includes a mechanism for grievance redressal, back office operations for grievance handling, flight status/schedule information, airport Information and FAQs.

Air-Sewa Web Portal | New Features

  • Users can now check live flight status for all inbound and outbound flights in a single click.
  • Information regarding weather conditions and services for some selected airports is also available on this portal.
  • Flights can be searched by flight number or for all flights to or from a particular airport. Information such as airport services like wheel chair, transport/parking, rest and relax, Wifi services etc. can also be easily accessed.
  • Timely and satisfactory grievance redressal was an important priority as users had to approach several stakeholders to get their grievances redressed.
  • AirSewa is a one-stop solution for grievance redressal as passengers can now register any grievance on the mobile app or web portal.
  • Th­ey can also upload voice or video along with an elaborate description of their issues.

Air-Sewa Web Portal | Significance

  • Th­e portal has helped make the grievance redressal system responsive, transparent, accountable andefficient by using technology.
  • Users can now track the status and response through reference number provided. ­There are stipulated timelines in place to address the issue.
  • ­The portal is closely monitored by control room to ensure timely and effective redressal. A message is sent to the concerned nodal officer if any grievance remains unattended or unresolved.
  • To improve the user experience an option to provide feedback and rate the overall experience and satisfaction has been provided.