Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
SC suggests changes to draft MoP
After the government drew a draft Memorandum of Procedure(MoP) for appointment of judges, the Supreme Court has sent the draft back to the government for reconsideration of certain clauses.
Which are the contentious clauses? – The role of the Attorney-General of India in the appointment of Supreme Court judges and Advocates-General in the appointment process of High Court judges.
Government having the right to reject the collegiumâ€™s recommendation. Currently government is bound to comply if the Supreme Court collegium chooses to override its disapproval of a person recommended for judicial appointment. If the government returns the candidateâ€™s file to the collegium, and the latter reiterates its recommendation, the government has no choice but to comply.
What is the Memorandum of Procedure(MoP)? – The memorandum of procedure lays down the method of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. It has always been prepared by the executive in consultation with the President and the CJI in consonance with the judgments of the Second Judges and Third Judges cases which ushered in and fine-tuned the collegium system.
What is the need for a new MoP? – The Supreme court had declared the National Judicial Appointment Commission(NJAC) Act as unconstitutional. Â In December 2015, a Constitution Bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar, after restoring the collegium system, had directed the Centre to frame a new MoP to improve the working of the collegium. The Bench had directed the government to do this in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, who would in turn take into confidence his four seniormost puisne judges of the Supreme Court and who are part of the collegium.
Plant derived drugs in India
Sun Pharma which is Indiaâ€™s largest pharmaceutical company, signed an agreement with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) to turn a plant extract into a potential drug for dengue fever.
ICGEB, has been working on dengue drugs and vaccine for nearly two decades. They recently reported the potency of a plant extract – Cissampelos pariera , known as abuta or laghupatha – in treating the disease.
The government has also notified a new regulatory regime to encourage plant derived drugs.
What was the earlier regulatory regime? – In November 2015, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), which vets applications by drug developers to test new drugs, clarified the procedure to test potential new drugs that derive from plant-based sources.
A new drug, before it begins the clinical trials to test its safety and efficacy, must either register as a new chemical molecule or show that its use is well established in traditional systems such as Ayurveda.
The former is a long-drawn and expensive process – almost no drug has been tested this way in India – and the Ayurvedic route means that herbal drugs canâ€™t pass regulatory muster in several other countries.
Therefore, manufacturers of botanical formulations didnâ€™t know whether to approach the DCGI or the Ministry of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddhi and Homeopathy (AYUSH) for approval.
What is the new regulatory regime? – The new route is essentially a clarification by the DCGI that botanical raw material, claiming to be a drug, be subject to a standardised process and satisfy regulators that it can be consistently manufactured.
It should also have proved to be safe and effective for other ailments in traditional literature. This makes it easier for plant-based extracts to be recognised as valid drugs that can be clinically tested.
Sighting of Amur Falcon down South
An Amur falcon was sighted at the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary near the Pench Tiger Reserve, 60 km from Nagpur. The raptor (bird of prey) â€” the size of a pigeon â€” makes its home in Nagaland, flying a staggering 22,000 km from there to South Africa, then onto Mongolia and back to Nagaland. The bird has one of the longest and most fascinating migratory paths in the avian world.
The falcon breeds in south-eastern Siberia and north-eastern China, where the Amur River divides the Russian Far East and China.
What is the IUCN status of Amur Falcon? – The wide breeding range and large population size of the Amur falcon have led to the species being assessed as being of least concern. The flocking behaviour during migration and the density at which they occur, however, expose them to hunting and other threats.
The birdsâ€™ roosting in Nagaland made them particularly vulnerable to hunters who mass-slaughtered them for their tender meat. It was reported that in 2013, nearly 1,20, 000 of these falcons were trapped and killed at just one location in Nagaland.
Several green groups, along with concerned locals and the church, joined hands and launched a conservation and patrolling programme called â€˜Friends of the Amur falconâ€™ to end the killings.
Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia
Need for Independent regulators for professional services
Government is planning to appoint independent regulators for services such as medicine, law, chartered accountancy, cost accountancy and company secretaryship. This has been the recommendation of committees like the Administrative Reforms Commission.
According to sources in the commerce ministry, the existing structure of a regulator-cum-professional body for these services has resulted in several alleged instances of conflict of interest. The bodies being referred to by the commerce ministry include Medical Council of India (MCI), Bar Council of India (BCI), Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Institute of Cost Accountants of India and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). All these are statutory bodies under an Act of Parliament.
The independent regulators will maintain distance from the professional bodies similar to the situation in developed countries
This hurt the credibility and reputation of these bodies and hampered Indiaâ€™s attempts to secure Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other countries to enable easier temporary movement of skilled workers and professionals across borders.
The move comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court recently citing a Parliamentary panel report to state that the MCI â€œwas repeatedly found short of fulfilling its mandated responsibilitiesâ€ and that the â€œquality of medical education was at its lowest ebbâ€.
What are Mutual Recognition Agreements(MRA)? – A mutual recognition agreement (MRA) is an international agreement by which two or more countries agree to recognize one another’s conformity assessments. A mutual recognition arrangement is an international arrangement based on such an agreement.
MRAs have become increasingly common since the formation of the World Trade Organization in 1995. They have been forged within and among various trade blocs, including APEC and the European Union.
MRAs are most commonly applied to goods, such as various quality control MRAs. However, the term is sometimes applied to agreements on the recognition of professional qualifications as well.
Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia
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