Here is todayâ€™s digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
Need for a generics prescription law
In a bid to push the state run Jan Aushadi stores the government is considering making it mandatory for doctors to prescribe generic drugs. The budget had promised to open 3000 new Jan Aushadi stores in the present financial year all over the country.
A major hurdle is that doctors donâ€™t prescribe generic medicines supplied through Jan Aushadi stores, so patients find it tough to ask for the correct generic equivalents. The Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) has proposed an ordinance or Act of Parliament to ensure that doctors prescribe generic drugs or include a clause â€˜or equivalent generic drug,â€™ when they prescribe a branded drug.
The BPPI is the agency under the Department of Pharmaceuticals entrusted with implementing the Jan Aushadhi programme which was launched in 2008.
What is the Jan Aushadi Store? – Â Â Â The Government has launched â€˜Jan Aushadhi Schemeâ€™ to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all, especially the poor, throughout the country, through outlets known as Jan Aushadhi Stores (JASs). Â Under the Jan Aushadhi Scheme, the State Governments are required to provide space in Government Hospital premises or any other suitable locations for the running of the Jan Aushadhi Stores (JAS). Â Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is to provide one-time assistance of Â Rs.2.50 lakhs as furnishing and establishment costs, start up cost for setting up a Jan Aushadhi Outlet.
Indian Drugs & Phamaceuticals Ltd. (IDPL) and Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd., (HAL), the Pharma CPSEs are key partners with regard to providing medicines for the scheme.
What is the current reach of these store? – Â Â At present 182 Jan Aushadhi Stores have been opened across 16 States/UTs out of which only 111 Jan Aushadhi Stores are in operation as on 13.07.2015. Â Now, since the availability position has substantially improved, focused attention is being given on opening of new Jan Aushadhi stores.
What are Generics after all? – Â According to WHO, a generic drug is a pharmaceutical product that is manufactured without a license from the innovator company and marketed after the expiry date of the patent or other exclusive rights. These Generic drugs are subject to the same regulations over manufacturing, packaging, testing and quality standards, as their patented/branded equivalent. Â They have the same form, strength, dosages, intended use, safety, and route of administration, performance characteristics and quality on every count. Prices of the branded/patented drugs are generally quite high, due to the temporary monopoly over the product, bestowed by the patent. Once available in the market, without a patent right, they are normally then sold by various pharmacy companies under different brand or company given names. These are expected to be much cheaper due to the market competition as they are sold by various manufacturers. These are normally referred by its chemical or its â€˜salt nameâ€™ by the chemists/pharmacists.
Why is there a need for low cost medicines? – Healthcare costs are the second most frequent reason for rural indebtedness in the country. A major component of healthcare costs is medicines. According to Planning Commission estimates, the cost of medicines in India constitutes anything between 50 to 80 percent of the total cost of treatment. Since 80 % of out-patient care and 60 % of in-hospital care occurs at private facilities in India, households are exposed to private sector market to buy medicines. A large population of the poor people find it difficult to afford such expensive brand named category of medicines as some of them are sold by drug manufacturers at significantly higher prices than their generic equivalents.
Source: TheHindu, PIB
Aadhar Bill under judicial scanner
The passage of Aadhaar Bill as a money bill has come under the judicial scanner. The amendments made to the bill by Rajya Sabha were ignored by the Lok Sabha.
The case may also see the judiciary examine whether the Speakerâ€™s authority to declare a Bill as â€˜Money Billâ€™ is absolute or not. The bigger question is that the deliberate attempt to bypass the Rajya Sabha by introducing an ordinary financial Bill as a Money Bill should be considered as disrespect to the concept of democratic process and federalism.
What is a money bill? – Bills which exclusively contain provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund, etc., are certified as Money Bills. Money Bills can be introduced only in Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments in a Money Bill passed by Lok Sabha and transmitted to it. It can, however, recommend amendments in a Money Bill, but must return all Money Bills to Lok Sabha within fourteen days from the date of their receipt. It is open to Lok Sabha to accept or reject any or all of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha with regard to a Money Bill. If Lok Sabha accepts any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses with amendments recommended by Rajya Sabha and accepted by Lok Sabha and if Lok Sabha does not accept any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha, Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha without any of the amendments recommended by Rajya Sabha.
If a Money Bill passed by Lok Sabha and transmitted to Rajya Sabha for its recommendations is not returned to Lok Sabha within the said period of fourteen days, it is deemed to have been passed by both Houses at the expiration of the said period in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha.
Source: TheHindu, ParliamentofIndia
New mobiles from 2017 to have panic button and GPS
Starting from 2017 all mobile phones sold in India will come with a dedicated â€˜panic buttonâ€™ that can be used to send out a signal in case of distress. The Panic button and Global Positioning System facility in all mobile phone handsets Rules, 2016, notified by the Department of Telecommunications on April 22, says that no handset shall be sold in India from January 1, 2017, without a panic button and all handsets must also have GPS from January 1, 2018.
What will be the impact of this rule? – The new rules are aimed at improving the safety of women and ensuring a quick response from security agencies. Once the panic button is pressed, a signal/call will be made to the nearest security agency. The GPS feature allows narrowing down the area from where the signal has been sent.
Government to reduce the list of allowances
The seventh pay commission has found the system of 200 allowances haphazard. Secret allowance, family planning allowance, desk allowance, cash handling allowance, metropolitan allowance and headquarters allowance are among 52 of the nearly 200 allowances which the commission found lacking inadequate justification.
There are 13 for travel, 14 for additional duty, 51 for risk and hardship, nine for uniform, 4 for good services, 5 sumptuary allowances, 2 for training and 3 for knowledge update. Many were meagre cash payments and lost significance, it concluded. Rejecting the demand for doubling the family planning allowance â€” ranging from Rs. 210 to Rs.1,000 a month depending on grade pay â€” for those who adopt family planning norms after one child, the Commission recommended that it be abolished as a separate allowance was no longer needed.
What are the major recommendations of Pay Commission?
1) Minimum Pay: Based on the Aykroyd formula, the minimum pay in government is recommended to be set at â‚¹18,000 per month.
2) Maximum Pay: â‚¹2,25,000 per month for Apex Scale and â‚¹2,50,000 per month for Cabinet Secretary and others presently at the same pay level.
3) In percentage terms the overall increase in pay & allowances and pensions over the â€˜Business As Usualâ€™ scenario will be 23.55 percent. Within this, the increase in pay will be 16 percent, increase in allowances will be 63 percent, and increase in pension would be 24 percent.
4) New Pay Structure: Considering the issues raised regarding the Grade Pay structure and with a view to bring in greater transparency, the present system of pay bands and grade pay has been dispensed with and a new pay matrix has been designed. Grade Pay has been subsumed in the pay matrix. The status of the employee, hitherto determined by grade pay, will now be determined by the level in the pay matrix.
5) Fitment: A fitment factor of 2.57 is being proposed to be applied uniformly for all employees.
Annual Increment: The rate of annual increment is being retained at 3 percent.
6) Short service commissioned officers will be allowed to exit the armed forces at any point in time between 7 to 10 years of service, with a terminal gratuity equivalent of 10.5 months of reckonable emoluments. They will further be entitled to a fully funded one year Executive Programme or a M.Tech. programme at a premier Institute.
7) The Commission has recommended abolishing 52 allowances altogether. Another 36 allowances have been abolished as separate identities, but subsumed either in an existing allowance or in newly proposed allowances. Allowances relating to Risk and Hardship will be governed by the proposed Risk and Hardship Matrix.
8) Introduction of a Health Insurance Scheme for Central Government employees and pensioners has been recommended.
RS Ethics committee gives time to explain
The Rajya Sabha ethics committee is of the view that that facts that have come before it till now â€œwarrantâ€ expulsion of Rajya Sabha member and businessman Vijay Mallya. The committee has given him a weekâ€™s time to explain his conduct and position.
The panel will take a call on recommending his expulsion on May 3, after it has given him a chance to respond to the charges.
Mr. Mallya has ignored the Enforcement Directorate orders to return to India and face investigation. He defaulted on a loan of about Rs. 9,000-crore and left India after the CBI issued a lookout circular against him.
What is the Ethics Committee? – Rajya Sabha was the first among the two Houses to form an ethics committee, with a full standing committee status, on 30th May, 1997. Lok Sabha, in contrast, formed an ad hoc ethics panel in 2000 and has been operating as one until August 2015 when it was given a permanent standing committee status.
The Chairman shall, from time to time, nominate a Â Committee on Ethics consisting of ten members. The Committee shall have the following functions, namely:
(a) Â to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of Â members;
(b) Â to prepare a Code of Conduct for members and to suggest Â amendments or Â Â additions to the Code from Â Â time to time in the form of reports to the Council;
(c) Â to examine cases concerning the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct by members as also cases concerning allegations of any other ethical misconduct of members; Â and
(d) Â to tender advice to members from time to time on questions involving ethical standards either suo motu or on receiving specific requests.
Source: TheHindu, RajyaSabha.Nic
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