Daily Current Affairs: 8th February 2020: The Hindu+PIB

The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The HinduThe Indian ExpressBusiness Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.

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As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.

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    Context: The National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges has been set up under the Chairpersonship of Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog.


    The Committee has been set up to provide policy directions to address India’s nutritional challenges through coordinated inter-sectoral action and review programmes for nutrition on a quarterly basis.  Apart from this, an Executive Committee has also been set up under the Chairpersonship of Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development with representation of line Ministries and States for nutrition related activities for children and women to provide direction, policy and guidelines for implementation of various programmes/schemes under the POSHAN Abhiyaan. WHAT IS THE NEED OF SUCH A COMMITTEE?

    • As per the report of National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) conducted in 2015-16, 35.7% children under 5 years of age are underweight and 38.4% are stunted.
    • As per the recent report of Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) 2016-18, the prevalence of underweight and stunting among children is 33.4% and 34.7% respectively, which indicates a reduction when compared to the levels reported by NFHS-4. 
    • Further, as per NFHS – 4, 22.9% women (15-49 years of age) have chronic energy deficiency (BMI less than 18.5) which is a decline from the previous NFHS-3 (2005-06) levels which reported 35.5% women having chronic energy deficiency.
    • Also, malnutrition is a complex and multi-dimensional issue which is affected by a number of generic factors including poverty, inadequate food consumption due to access and availability, inequitable food distribution, improper maternal, infant and child feeding and care practices, inequity and gender imbalances, poor sanitary and environmental conditions and restricted access to quality health, education and social care services.


    A number of schemes/programmes of different Ministries/Departments through States/UTs has been implemented by the Government of India in order to address various aspects related to nutrition.  The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing POSHAN Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Anganwadi Services and Scheme for Adolescent Girls under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) as direct targeted interventions to address the problem of malnutrition in the country including the State of Maharashtra. Further steps taken under the National Health Mission (NHM) in order to address malnutrition include: 

    • Promotion of appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices.
    • Anaemia Mukt Bharat.
    • Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation.
    • De-worming.
    • Promotion of iodized salt and Vitamin-A supplementation.
    • Mission Indradhanush to ensure high coverage of vaccination in children. 
    • Conducting intensified diarrhoea control fortnights to control childhood diarrhoea.
    • Management of sick and severely malnourished children at Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers.
    • Monthly Village Health and Nutrition Days, Home Based Newborn Care (HBNC) and Home Based Young Child Care (HBYC) programmes.
    • Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram.

    ABOUT POSHAN ABHIYAN Government has set up POSHAN Abhiyaan in December 2017. The major goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of children from 0-6 years, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers in a time bound manner with fixed targets as under: 

    • Prevent and reduce Stunting in children (0- 6 years) : @ 2% p.a.
    • Prevent and reduce under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) in children (0-6 years) : @ 2% p.a.
    • Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among young Children(6-59 months) : @ 3% p.a.
    • Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among Women and Adolescent Girls in the age group of 15-49 years : @ 3% p.a.
    • Reduce Low Birth Weight (LBW) :  @ 2% p.a.

    The major activities undertaken under the POSHAN Abhiyan are community mobilization including community based events, creating awareness, advocacy leading to Jan Andolan- to educate the people on nutritional aspects.



    Context: The Central Government is providing honorarium of Rs 4,500/- per month to Anganwadi Workers (AWWs), Rs 3,500/- per month to AWWs at mini-AWCs and Rs 2,250/- per month to Anganwadi Helpers (AWHs).


    Apart from this, The Government is also providing performance linked incentive of Rs 250/- per month to AWHs effective from 1st October, 2018. AWWs are paid performance linked incentive of Rs 500/- per month for using ICDS-CAS (Common Application Software) under POSHAN Abhiyaan. In addition to this, most of the States/UTs are also providing monetary incentives to these workers out of their own resources. ABOUT ANGANWADI SERVICE SCHEME Anganwadi Services Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme which is implemented by the States / UTs as per the guidelines/instructions issued by Government of India. All the issues pertaining to implementation of the scheme including theenrolment and recruitment of the Anganwadi staffrests with the concerned States/UTs.  As per norms,one post of Anganwadi Workerand one post of Anganwadi Helper is sanctioned for main Anganwadi Centres (AWCs). For Mini-AWCs only one post of AWW is sanctioned.  Presently, there is no proposal under consideration to increase the honorarium of Anganwadi Workers. Under the Anganwadi Services Scheme, the funding pattern between Centre and States/UTs is as under:

    • For States/UTs with Legislature
      • General: 60:40
      • Salary: 25:75
      • SNP: 50:50
    • NE/Himalayan States& UT of J&K
      • General: 90:10
      • Salary: 90:10
      • SNP: 90:10
    • UT Without Legislature
      • General: 100:0
      • Salary: 100:0
      • SNP: 100:0

    WHO ARE ANGANWADI WORKERS? AWWs/AWHs are honorary workers who come forward to render their services on payment of monthly honorarium. In view of the very nature of the role of Anganwadi Workers/Helpers, it is not feasible to declare them as regular/permanent employees Anganwadi is a type of rural child care centre in India. They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.  As of 31 January 2013, as many as 13.3 lakh Anganwadi and mini-Anganwadi centres (AWCs/mini-AWCs) are operational out of 13.7 lakh sanctioned AWCs/mini-AWCs. These centres provide supplementary nutrition, non-formal pre-school education, nutrition and health education, immunization, health check-up and referral services of which the last three are provided in convergence with public health systems.


    Context: Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing a centrally sponsored Child Protection Services (CPS) Scheme (erstwhile Integrated Child Protection Scheme) for supporting the children in difficult circumstances.

    Integrated Child Protection Scheme

    As per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, orphanand destitute children in the country are “Children in need of care and protection (CNCP)”. The primary responsibility of execution of the Act lies with the States/UTs. ABOUT THE SCHEME The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) is a centrally sponsored scheme which is aimed at building a protective environment for children in difficult circumstances, as well as other vulnerable children, through Government-Civil Society Partnership. The primary responsibility of implementation of the Child Protection Scheme lies with the State Governments/UT Administrations. Under the provisions of the CPS, Central Government is providing financial assistance to the States/UTs for undertaking a situational analysis of children in difficult circumstances, inter-alia.  Under the scheme institutional care to Children in need of care and protection and Children in Conflict with Law is provided in Child Care Institutions (CCIs).  The scheme also provides for non-institutional care wherein support is extended for adoption, foster care and sponsorship. The scheme set up a child protection data management system in order to formulate and implement effective intervention strategies and monitor their outcomes.  The key features of the revised Scheme included increased maintenance grant for children in homes, from Rs.750 to Rs.2000 per child per month. The ICPS was renamed as CPS as sub-scheme under Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services w.e.f. 1st April, 2017, as communicated vide Government order dated 20th November, 2017. Following modifications have come into effect pursuant to the said order: (i)    Maintenance grant for children in homes was enhanced to Rs.2160 per child per month, (ii)   Sitting allowance of Child Welfare Committee and Juvenile Justice Board’s members has been enhanced from Rs.1000/- to Rs.1500/- in accordance with new JJ Model Rules, 2016 and (iii) Programmatic allocation for Childline India Foundation Head office and four regional Centres, was increased by Rs.9.70 Crore for protection services of CHILDLINE, to address expansion and emerging protection needs. ABOUT JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN) ACT, 2015 The Bill was introduced by Maneka Gandhi in July 2014, the then Minister of Women and Child Development. The Act came into force from 15 January 2016. It replaced the Indian juvenile delinquency law, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, and allows for juveniles in conflict with Law in the age group of 16–18, involved in Heinous Offences, to be tried as adults. The Delhi gang rape case in December 2012 had tremendous impact on public perception of the Act. One of the accused in the 2012 Delhi gang rape was a few months younger than 18 years of age and under the Act was tried in a juvenile court. A revamped Juvenile Justice Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 7 May 2015. The new bill will allow minors in the age group of 16-18 to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes.  The Act also sought to create a universally accessible adoption law for India, overtaking the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956) (applicable to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs) and the Guardians and Wards Act (1890) (applicable to Muslims), though not replacing them. To streamline adoption procedures for orphan, abandoned and surrendered children, the existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been given the status of a statutory body in order to enable it to perform its function more effectively.  Key Provisions of the Bill

    • The bill will allow a Juvenile Justice Board, which would include psychologists and sociologists, to decide whether a juvenile criminal in the age group of 16–18 should be tried as an adult or not.
    • The bill introduced concepts from the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption, 1993 which were missing in the previous act.
    • The bill introduces foster care in India. Families will sign up for foster care and abandoned, orphaned children, or those in conflict with the law will be sent to them. 
    • A person giving alcohol or drugs to a child shall be punished with 7 years imprison and/or Rs 100,000 fine. Corporal punishment will be punishable by Rs 50,000 or 3 years of imprisonment. A person selling a child will be fined with Rs 100,000 and imprisoned for 5 years.
    • One of the most criticized step in the new JJ Bill 2015 is introduction of “Judicial Waiver System” which allows treatment of juveniles, in certain conditions, in the adult criminal justice system and to punish them as adults. This is for the first time in India’s history that such a provision has been prescribed.



    Context: The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing two Centrally Sponsored Umbrella schemes – Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and  Mission for Empowerment and Protection for Women across the country, including Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu



    • The Anganwadi Services Scheme is a unique programme for early childhood care and development. It offers a package of six services, viz. Supplementary Nutrition, Pre-School Non-Formal Education, Nutrition and Health Education, Immunization, Health Check-Up and Referral Services
      • The beneficiaries under the Scheme are children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • Poshan Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) targets to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies by reducing mal-nutrition/under nutrition, anemia among young children as also, focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) scheme provides cash incentive amounting to Rs.5,000/- in three installments directly to the Bank/Post Office Account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother(PW&LM) in DBT Mode during pregnancy and lactation in response to individual fulfilling specific conditions.
    • Scheme for Adolescent Girls aims at out of school girls in the age group 11-14, to empower and improve their social status through nutrition, life skills and home skills. The scheme has nutritional and non-nutritional components which include:
      • Nutrition; 
      • Iron and folic acid supplementation; 
      • Health check up and referral service; 
      • Nutrition and health education; 
      • Mainstreaming out of school girls to join formal schooling bridge course/ skill training; 
      • Life skill education, home management etc,; 
      • Counselling/ guidance on accessing public services.
    • National Creche Scheme provides day care facilities to children of age group of 6 months to 6 years of working women. The facilities are provided for 7.5 hours a day for 26 days in a month. Children are provided with supplementary nutrition, early childcare education, and health and sleeping facilities. 
    • Child Protection Services Scheme aims to contribute to the improvement and well-being of children in difficult circumstances, as well as, reduction of vulnerabilities to situation and actions that leads to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children from parent. The Scheme aims to spread awareness regarding the ways and means to prevent all children from child abuse of any kind including child sexual abuse.


    • Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme empowers rural women through community participation by involvement of Student Volunteers. 
    • Swadhar Greh scheme targets women victims of unfortunate circumstances who are in need of institutional support for rehabilitation so that they can lead their life with dignity.
    • Ujjawala is a comprehensive scheme with the objective to prevent trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, to facilitate rescue victims and placing them in safe custody, to provide rehabilitation services by providing basic amenities/needs, to facilitate reintegration of victims into the family and society, to facilitate repatriation of cross border victims.
    • Working Women Hostel aims at providing safe and affordable accommodation to working women. These hostels have day care facility for the children of inmates too. The Ministry provides financial support for establishing such hostels by NGOs or State Governments.
    • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme is a tri-ministerial initiative of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development with a focus on awareness and advocacy campaign for changing mindsets, multi-sectoral action in select districts, enabling girls’ education and effective enforcement of Pre-Conception & Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act
      • The specific objectives of the scheme is to address declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) by preventing gender biased sex selective elimination; ensuring survival and protection of the girl child and ensuring education and participation of the girl child.
    • One Stop Centre (OSC) facilitates access to an integrated range of services including police, medical, legal, psychological support and temporary shelter to women affected by violence. The Scheme is funded through the Nirbhaya Fund.
    • Women Helpline Scheme is being implemented since 1st April, 2015 to provide 24 hours emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence through referral and information about women related government schemes/programmes across the country through a single uniform number (181).
    • Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) Schemeis being implemented by theMinistry of Women and Child Developmentin collaboration with theMinistry of Home Affairs. It envisages engagement of Mahila Police Volunteers in States/UTs who act as a link between police and community and facilitates women in distress.


    Context: Global Gender Gap Index has been released by World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2020.


    Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) ranks 149 countries on their status of gender equality through various parameters. On this index, India ranked 108th on its performance on gender equality. In the Global Gender Gap Index 2020, the number of countries increased to 153 in which India’s ranking was 112th. India’s score has moved from 0.665 in 2018 to 0.668 in 2020.


    The report’s Gender Gap Index ranks countries according to calculated gender gap between women and men in four key areas: health, education, economy and politics to gauge the state of gender equality in a country. The report examines four overall areas of inequality between men and women in 130 economies around the globe, over 93% of the world’s population. This year number of countries have increased to 153.  Government of India has given utmost priority to end the gender based inequities, reducing disparity between men and women, improving socio-economic status of women and increasing their participation in various fields. Some of the major initiatives taken by Government of India to ensure that women gain equal rights, opportunities and access to resources are: Constitutional Provisions: Articles such as Article 14, Article 15 (3), Article 39A, and Article 42 make special provisions for rights of women to ensure gender equality. Legislative Provisions: Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Act (PCPNDT), 1994; Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013; Equal Remuneration Act, 1976; Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amended in 2017) aimed at mandating women’s rights. Schemes/Programmes: With respect to the parameters of GGGI, following are the key initiatives taken.

    • Economic Participation & Opportunity: Various programmes/Schemes that are intended towards women development and empowerment are:
      • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) ensures the protection, survival and education of the girl child.
      • Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) aims to empower rural women with opportunities for skill development and employment.
      • Working Women Hostel (WWH) ensures the safety and security for working women.
      • Mahila Police Volunteers(MPV) envisages engagement of Mahila Police Volunteers in States/UTs who act as a link between police and community and facilitates women in distress.
      • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) is an apex micro-finance organization that provides micro-credit at concessional terms to poor women for various livelihood and income generating activities.
      • The National Crèche Scheme ensures that women take up gainful employment through providing a safe, secure and stimulating environment to the children.
      • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandna Yojna aims  to provide maternity benefit  to  pregnant and lactating mothers.
      • Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana aims to provide housing under the name of the woman also.
      • Deen Dayal Upadhyay National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) focuses on creating opportunities for women in skill development, leading to market based employment.
      • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana empowers women and protects their health by providing LPG cylinder free of cost.
      • Pradhan Mantri Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna– Under this scheme girls have been economically empowered by opening their bank accounts.
      • Female Entrepreneurship: To promote female entrepreneurship, the Government has initiated schemes like Stand Up India and Mahila e-Haat (online marketing platform to support women entrepreneurs/ SHGs/NGOs). Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) provides access to institutional finance to micro/small business.
    • Educational Attainment:
      • Several steps and initiatives have also been taken up in school education system such as National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 and flagship programme like Samagra Shiksha and the subsequent Right to Education Act (RTE). 
      • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) have been opened in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs). 
      • Gender sensitisation is also done which includes gender sensitization module- part of in-service training, construction of toilets for girls, construction of residential quarters for female teachers and curriculum reforms.
    • Political Participation:
      • Also, to bring women in the mainstream of political leadership at the grass root level, government has reserved 33% of the seats in Panchayati Raj Institutions for women.
      • Capacity Building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) programme by Ministry of Women and Child is conducted with a view to empower women to participate effectively in the governance processes.



    Context: In a written reply to Lok Sabha, information about women empowerment was given by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani.



    Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) Scheme, under Ministry of Women and Child Development, was approved in November, 2017 as a centrally sponsored scheme to empower rural women through community participation.  AIM: The major aim of the scheme is to facilitate inter-sectoral convergence of schemes and programs meant for women both at the Central and State/UT level The scheme envisages community engagement through College Student Volunteers in 115 aspirational districts as part of block level initiativesDistrict Level Centre for Women (DLCW) in 640 districts to facilitate women centric schemes and provide foothold for BBBP scheme; State Resource Centre for Women to support respective government in implementation of women centric schemes/programmes and also function as Project Management Unit for BBBP Scheme with separate funds allocated for State/UT level activities. In the first year (2017-18), DLCW will be set up in 220 districts, in the second year 220 new districts will be covered and in the third year (2019 – 20) 200 new districts will be covered. Block Level initiative will cover 115 most backward blocks (as identified by NITI Aayog) District level Centre for Women (DLCW) has been set up in 14 districts  out of 32 approved districts in Tamil Nadu namely, Salem, Chennai, Cuddalore, Virudhanagar, Perambalur, Villupuram, Namakkal, Thiruvannamalai, Trichy, Thiruvallur, Ariyalur, Thanjavur, Theni and Vellore. As per MSK Scheme guidelines, at the district level, District Level Task force with District Collector/District Magistrate as the Chair acts as the Selection Committee for recruitment of DLCW staff. FUNDING: MSK will be implemented with a cost sharing pattern between the Central Government and the States as 60:40, except in respect of North Eastern and Special Category States where the cost sharing ratio shall be 90:10. In the UTs the scheme will be implemented with 100% central funds All payments made under the scheme must be through PFMS under DBT mode.


    Context: A draft National Policy for Rare Diseases has been finalized and placed on the website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with a view to elicit comments / views of the stakeholders, including the States/UTs and the general public by 15-02-2020. 


    The draft policy provides for lowering the incidence of rare diseases based on an integrated preventive strategy encompassing awareness generation and screening programmes and, within the constraints on resources and competing health care priorities, enable access to affordable health care to patients of rare diseases which are amenable to one-time treatment. WHAT IS A RARE DISEASE? A rare disease, also referred to as an orphan disease, is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population. Most rare diseases are genetic, and are present throughout a person’s entire life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear. In Europe a disease or disorder is defined as rare when it affects less than 1 in 2000 citizens. Rare diseases are characterised by a wide diversity of symptoms and signs that vary not only from disease to disease but also from patient to patient suffering from the same disease. According to the draft policy number of persons suffering from diseases considered rare globally, is lacking in India and accordingly provides that for the purpose of the policy the term rare diseases shall construe three group of disorders identified and categorised by experts based on their clinical experience. WHAT ARE THE THREE GROUPS OF RARE DISEASE COVERED FOR TREATMENT UNDER RASHTRIYA AAROGYA NIDHI? Group 1: Disorders amenable to one time curative treatment: A. Disorders amenable to treatment with Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) –

    • Such Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs) for which Enzyme replacement Therapy (ERT) is presently not available and severe form of Mucopolysaccharoidosis (MPS) type I within first 2 years of age.
    • Adrenoleukodystrophy (early stages), before the onset of hard neurological signs.
    • Immune deficiency disorders like Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), Chronic Granulomatous disease, Wiskot Aldrich Syndrome,etc.
    • Osteopetrosis
    • Fanconi Anemia
    • Others if any to be decided on case to case basis by a technical committee

    B. Disorders amenable to organ transplantation

    • Liver Transplantation -Metabolic Liver diseases:
      • Tyrosinemia,
      • Glycogen storage disorders (GSD) I, III and IV due to poor metabolic control, multiple liver adenomas, or high risk for Hepatocellualr carcinoma or evidence of substantial cirrhosis or liver dysfunction or progressive liver failure,
      • MSUD (Maple Syrup Urine Disease),
      • Urea cycle disorders,
      • Organic acidemias
    • Renal Transplantation-
      • Fabry’s disease
      • Autosomal recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD),
      • Autosomal dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) etc.
    • Patients requiring combined liver and kidney transplants can also be considered if the same ceiling of funds is maintained. ( Rarely Methyl Malonic aciduria may require combined liver & Kidney transplant) etc    

    Group 2: Diseases requiring long term / lifelong treatment having relatively lower cost of treatment and benefit has been documented in literature and annual or more frequent surveillance is required: A. Disorders managed with special dietary formulae or Food for special medical purposes (FSMP)

    • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
    • Non-PKU hyperphenylalaninemia conditions
    • Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)
    • Tyrosinemia type 1 and 2
    • Homocystinuria
    • Urea Cycle Enzyme defects
    • Glutaric Aciduria type 1 and 2
    • Methyl Malonic Acidemia 
    • Propionic Acidemia
    • Isovaleric Acidemia
    • Leucine sensitive hypoglycemia
    • Galactosemia
    • Glucose galactose malabsorbtion
    • Severe Food protein allergy

    B. Disorders that are amenable to other forms of therapy (hormone/ specific drugs)

    • NTBC for Tyrosinemia Type 1
    • Osteogenesis Imperfecta – Bisphosphonates therapy
    • Growth Hormone therapy for proven GH deficiency , Prader Willi Syndrome and Turner syndrome, others (to be decided on case to case basis by technical committee)
    • Cystic Fibrosis- Pancreatic enzyme supplement
    • Primary Immune deficiency disorders -Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG) replacement eg. X-linked agammablobulinemia etc.
    • Sodium Benzoate, arginine, ,citrulline ,phenylacetate (Urea Cycle disorders), carbaglu, Megavitamin therapy (Organic acidemias, mitochondrial disorders)
    • Others – Hemin (Panhematin) for Acute intermittent Porphyria, High dose Hydroxocobalamin injections (30mg/ml formulation – not available in India and hence expensive if imported)
    • Others (if any) to be decided on case-to-case basis, by a technical committee.

    Group 3: Diseases for which definitive treatment is available but challenges are to make optimal patient selection for benefit, very high cost and lifelong therapy A. Based on the literature sufficient evidence for good long-term outcomes exists for the following disorders  

    • Gaucher Disease (Type I & III {without significant neurological impairment})
    • Hurler Syndrome [Mucopolysaccharisosis (MPS) Type I] (attenuated forms)
    • Hunter syndrome (MPS II) (attenuated form)
    • Pompe Disease diagnosed early (Both infantile & late onset)
    • Fabry Disease diagnosed before significant end organ damage.
    • Spinal Muscular Atrophy 
    • MPS IVA
    • MPS VI

    B. For the following disorders for which the cost of treatment is very high and either long term follow up literature is awaited or has been done on small number of patients

    • Wolman Disease
    • Hypophosphatasia
    • Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis
    • Cystic Fibrosis
    • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy



    Context: In a written reply to the question asked in Rajya Sabha, information about Minimum Support Price (MSP) was provided by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar.

    Minimum Support Price (MSP)

    WHAT IS MSP? Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a form of market intervention by the Government of India to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices. These are announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) MSP is price fixed by Government of India to protect the producer – farmers – against excessive fall in price during bumper production years. The minimum support prices are a guarantee price for their produce from the Government. HOW IS IT DETERMINED? In formulating the recommendations in respect of the level of minimum support prices and other non-price measures, the Commission takes into account, apart from a comprehensive view of the entire structure of the economy of a particular commodity or group of commodities, the following factors:-

    • Cost of production
    • Changes in input prices
    • Input-output price parity
    • Trends in market prices
    • Demand and supply
    • Inter-crop price parity
    • Effect on industrial cost structure
    • Effect on cost of living
    • Effect on general price level
    • International price situation
    • Parity between prices paid and prices received by the farmers.
    • Effect on issue prices and implications for subsidy

    Government has announced its historic decision to fix MSP at a level of at least 150% of the cost of production for kharif crops 2018-19. WHAT ARE THE CROPS COVERED? Government fixes minimum support prices (MSPs) of 22 mandated crops including paddy, wheat, for every agricultural year and fair & remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP), after considering the views of State Governments and Central Ministries/Departments concerned & other relevant factors.  The mandated crops are 14 crops of the kharif season, 6 rabi crops and two other commercial crops. In addition, the MSPs of toria and de-husked coconut are fixed on the basis of the MSPs of rapeseed/mustard and copra, respectively. The list of crops are as follows.

    • Cereals (7) – paddy, wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, maize and ragi
    • Pulses (5) – gram, arhar/tur, moong, urad and lentil
    • Oilseeds (8) – groundnut, rapeseed/mustard, toria, soyabean, sunflower seed, sesamum, safflower seed and nigerseed
    • Raw cotton
    • Raw jute
    • Copra
    • De-husked coconut
    • Sugarcane (Fair and remunerative price)
    • Virginia flu cured (VFC) tobacco

    National Commission on Farmers (NCF) headed by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan had recommended that the MSP should be at least 50 % more than the weighted average cost of production. 

    The Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced the pre-determined principle to keep MSP at levels of one and half times of the cost of production. Accordingly, Government has increased the MSPs for all mandated Kharif, Rabi and other commercial crops with a return of atleast 50 per cent of cost of production for the agricultural year 2018-19.

    During 2019-20 also, Government has increased the MSP of all mandated kharif and rabi crops in line with the principle of fixing the MSP with a return of atleast 50 % of the cost of production.


    Context: Coal India’s flagship subsidiary Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL) has set up a centre named “Science and Applied Research Alliance and Support”(SARAS) to promote Innovation, Research & Development and skill development along with improving company’s operational efficiency and utilize resources at optimum level. 


    What is SARAS?

    SARAS stands for “Science and Applied Research Alliance and Support”It aims to promote innovation, R&D and skill development along with improving company’s operational efficiency and utilize resources at optimum level. SARAS will help and enable the company in Integration of Innovation and Research for enhancing coal production, productivity, and safety in mines. Besides, the SARAS would also help establish centres of excellence to ensure technical support to R&D along with thrust on quality skill development and employment to local youths in and around company’s operational area. ABOUT NATIONAL COALFIELDS LIMITED NCL accounts for 15% of India’s coal production and 10% of thermal power generation of the country is met by the coal produced by this Miniratna Company of Govt. of India. The company produces more than 100 million tonnes of coal every year. It has planned to produce 107 million tonnes of coal in the current fiscal.

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