Daily Current Affairs 22nd March 2018

Daily Current Affairs 22nd March 2018

Pharma exports do not need regulator’s approval, Govt tells companies :-

Important step taken by the government

  • Pharmaceutical companies will no longer have to obtain a drug regulatory clearance for exporting drugs and medical devices. It is a step taken by the government aimed at making it easier to do business
  • According to a notice put out by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), all pharma exporters can continue exporting without having to obtain no-objection certificates (NOC) from the regulatory authorities


  • This facility was earlier available only for pharma exports to the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and European Union

Why was it needed?

  • India’s pharma exports stood at $16.8 billion in 2016-17 and are expected to grow by 30% to reach $20 billion by 2020, according to the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India
  • The move is expected to reduce “unnecessary paperwork” and “corruption”
    Will help in ending unnecessary delay
  • Even when the manufacturers were obtaining NOC from the CDSCO, the regulatory authorities were not responsible for the quality of the products
  • So obtaining NOC was only adding to the paperwork and corruption
  • This move will help end malpractices and unnecessary delay


Cabinet Approves Continuation of National Health Mission (NHM) :-

In a major boost to health infrastructure the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of the National Health Mission – with effect from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2020 with a budgetary support of Rs. 85,217 crore as Central Share over this period.

Cabinet approves continuation of National Health Mission (NHM)

The Cabinet has also approved continuation of the Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu & Kashmir 2015 – “Stepping up of support under creation of Infrastructure in District Hospitals, Sub-district Hospitals and Primary Health Centers over 5 years” – with effect from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2020 with a budgetary support of Rs. 625.20 crores as total centrally-funded scheme.

Read more on :- Cabinet Approves Continuation of National Health Mission (NHM) in detail


Cabinet approves Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission :-

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the launch of a new Centrally Sponsored Ayushman Bharat -National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) having central sector component under Ayushman Bharat Mission anchored in the MoHFW.

  • The scheme has the benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year.
  • The target beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database.
  • AB-NHPM will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).

Read more on :- Cabinet approves Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission


Cabinet approves moving official amendments in the “Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016” :-

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for moving official amendments in the “Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016”.

  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and, State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the States and Union Territories.
  • The proposed legislation ensures effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian infertile couples.

Once the Bill is enacted by the Parliament, the National Surrogacy Board will be constituted. The States and Union Territories shall constitute the State Surrogacy Board and State Appropriate Authorities within three months of the notification by the Central Government.

Major impact :-

  • Once in effect, the Act will regulate the surrogacy services in the country and will control the unethical practices in surrogacy.
  • It will prevent commercialisation of surrogacy and will prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.
  • While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions and for specific purposes.
  • Further, the rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy will be protected.

The Bill shall apply to whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.


Cabinet apprised of an MoU between India and Guyana :-

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in Renewable Energy between India and Guyana.

Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy issues on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity.

  • The MoU envisages establishing a Joint Working Committee to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation.
  • The MoU aims for exchange of expertise and networking of information.

The Memorandum of Understanding will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.


Cabinet approves revision of the DTAA between India and Qatar :-

Cabinet also approved for revision of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Qatar for the avoidance of double taxation & for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income

The revised DTAA updates the provisions for exchange of information to the latest standard includes Limitation of Benefits provision to prevent treaty shopping and aligns other provisions with India’s recent treaties. The existing DTAA with Qatar was signed on April 7, 1999.


Cabinet approves North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS) 2017 :-

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017 with financial outlay of Rs.3000 crores upto March, 2020. Government will provide necessary allocations for remaining period of scheme after assessment before March 2020. NEIDS is a combination of the incentives covered under the earlier two schemes with a much larger outlay.

In order to promote employment in the North East States, Government is incentivising primarily the MSME Sector through this scheme. Government is also providing specific incentive through the scheme to generate employment.


Cabinet approves the extension of the term of the Commission constituted to examine the issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes :-

The Cabinet approved the extension of the term of the committee constituted to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes in the central list. Sub-categorisation of OBCs aims to ensure more equitable distribution of reservations in government jobs and educational institutions so that dominant groups among OBCs do not corner benefits.

A five-member commission, headed by retired Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini, was constituted to examine sub-categorisation of OBCs.

Cabinet approves Revision of Energy Norms under New Urea Policy :-

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has accorded the following approval to the proposal of Department of Fertilizers.

(a)   The government has allowed 14 urea units, which could not meet this new energy norms under the 2015 policy, to continue with existing norms for a period of two years with token penalties. 

Note :- Under the New Urea Policy 2015, 27 urea units were to meet the energy efficiency norms by the end of this fiscal but only 11 urea units have mostly achieved the target. 

(b)   Three Naphtha based urea units are also allowed the existing energy norms for another two years/till gas pipeline connectivity.

(c)   The target energy norms as per NUP-2015 will be continued for 5 years w.e.f. 1st April, 2020.

Impact :-

  • The extension of present energy norms for further period of 2 years will ensure easy availability of urea to farmers throughout the country. It will also help to maximize the indigenous urea production and will lessen the import of urea.
  • The approval will also help to recover some part of the CAPEX invested by urea manufacturing units for making their units more energy efficient. Energy efficient urea manufacturing units shall reduce the carbon footprint and it will be more environment friendly.

Chemical Fertilizers have played an important role in making the country self-reliant in food grain production and provide a very vital input for the growth of Indian agriculture.

The energy efficiency norms notified by the Department for the year 2018-19 are capital intensive. The cost economics of the companies does not support the implementation of energy saving schemes as the simple pay back on investment is very long.



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