(D/o Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Fertilizers and Pharmaceuticals)
DEPARTMENT OF FERTILIZERS (DoF) 1. Neem Coating of Urea · Neem Coating achieved w.e.f.: - ü 1st September, 2015 in respect of entire quantity of indigenously produced urea and w.e.f. ü 1st December, 2015 in respect of imported urea
· As per the interim report of study by DAC&FW in 2016, the benefits of use of Neem Coated Urea are as under: - ü Improvement in soil health ü Reduction in usage of plant protection chemicals ü Reduction in pest and disease attack
ü An increase in yield of paddy, sugarcane, maize, soybean, Tur/Red Gram ü Diversion towards non-agricultural purposes negligible. ü Due to slow release of Nitrogen, Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) of Neem Coated Urea increases resulting in reduced consumption of NCU as compared to Normal urea.
· On 1st March, 2018, DAC&FW has notified the MRP of 45 kg bag of urea at Rs 242 per bag and a period of two months from the date of DAC&FW gazette notification given to urea units as lead time to ensure smooth implementation of the policy.
· DAC&FW has been requested to conduct a study regarding the impact of introduction of 45 kg bag on urea sales during the ongoing Kharif Season as well as the upcoming Rabi Season.
From 28th March, 2018 DoF revised Dealer’s Margin from Rs.180/200 per MT of Urea (for Private Agencies/Institutional Agencies) to Rs.354 per MT of Urea.
Rs 354/MT being paid uniformly to all Dealers/Distributors effective from 1st April, 2018,on the quantity sold through POS devices only.
Benefits of increasing dealer margin: - ü Enhance the financial viability of Dealers/Distributors post DBT implementation. ü Around 23,000 Dealers across the country benefitted.
· Effective from 1st June 2015.
· Objectives: - ü to maximize indigenous urea production; ü to promote energy efficiency in the urea units; and ü to rationalize the subsidy burden on the Government of India
Achievements of NUP-2015: - · The production of urea during the year 2016-17 and 2017-18 was 242.01 and 240.92 LMT, which is significantly higher than the production of urea during 2012-13 (225.75LMT) and 2013-14(227.15 LMT).
· DoF, on 28th March, 2018, notified the following in respect of Target Energy Norms:
ü In respect of11 urea manufacturing units,target energy norms have come into force w.e.f. 1stApril, 2018. ü In respect of remaining 14 urea units, existing norms extended for further period of 2 years with penalties,in consultation with the Ministry of Finance.
· Target energy norms to be continued upto 31st March, 2025. An expert body under NITI Aayog constituted to recommend the energy norms to be achieved from 01st April, 2025.
· The Government announced New Investment Policy (NIP)-2012 on 2nd January, 2013 and its amendment on 7th October, 2014 to facilitate fresh investment in urea sector and to make India self-sufficient in the urea sector. · Under NIP- 2012 read with its amendment, Matix Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (Matix) set up a Coal Bed Methane(CBM) based Greenfield Ammonia-Urea complex at Panagarh, West Bengal with the installed capacity of 1.3 MMT per annum.
· The commercial production of Matix started on 1st October, 2017. · Chambal Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited proposed to set up a brownfield project with capacity of 1.34 MMT at Gadepan, Rajasthan.
(a) Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni unitsof FCILbeing revived through nominate route by forming a JV of nominated PSUs by setting up gas based newammonia-urea fertilizer plants of 1.27 MMTPA capacity each. · A JV company by name Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL) formed with shareholding of 29.67% of NTPC, IOCL & CIL each and 10.99% of FCIL/HFCL
· The pre-project activities completed in respect of all the three projects. · Environmental clearance obtained. · Gas supply & transportation agreement signed with GAIL (India). · Lump sum turnkey (LSTK) contracts for the 3 plants have been awarded.
· State Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar & Jharkhand waived off stamp duty with respect to Gorakhpur, Barauni &Sindri projects respectively. · GoI approved interest free loan equivalent to Interest during construction component of Rs 422.28 crore, 415.77 crore and 419.77crore for Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni projects respectively to HURL’s at a total value of Rs. 1257.82 crores. The repayment to be spread over a period of 11 years.
· Construction works have begun in all three projects, which are progressing as per the overall schedule. · These projects are likely to start production in FY 2021-22.
(b) Talcher unitof FCIL in Odishabeing revived through ‘Nomination Basis’ by forming JV of nominated PSUs. · JV company named as Talcher Fertilizers Ltd. (TFL). Equity of GAIL, RCF & CIL in TFL is 29.67% each & FCIL’s 10.99%. · New Ammonia Urea plant of 1.27 MMTPA capacity based on Coal Gasification Technology being set up · MoU with IOCL for supply of petcoke from Paradip refinery signed.
· Power Price Parity for Bridge Linkage Coal approved by Ministry of Coal. · Captive coal mine allotted. · Environment Clearance for the project received. · Financial appraised of project DFR done. · Site preparation work commenced. · Bids for coal gasification and ammonia-urea project opened. · The Talcher Project likely to start production in FY 2022-23.
(c) Ramagundam unit of FCILbeing revived through nomination route by forming JV of nominated PSUs · JV company named as Ramagundam Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. (RFCL) has been formed. · Equity of NFL & EIL is 26% each and FCIL’s 11%. · RFCL being revived by setting up a gas based fertilizer plant of 1.27 MMTPA capacity.
· Contract for laying of Gas pipe line awarded to GSPL India Transco Ltd (GITL), a subsidiary of Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL). · Gas Supply agreement signed with GAIL. · Water & Power connectivity being executed by State Govt. at their expense.
· Cumulative progress of RFCL project as on 30.11.2018 is 92.6%. · The project is targeted to be commissioned by FY 2019-20.
· The DoF has successfully implemented DBT in the entire country. The Pan India rollout of DBT completed in March 2018.
· 100% subsidy on various fertilizer grades being released to fertilizer companies on basis of actual sales made by the retailers to beneficiaries. Sale of all subsidised fertilizers to farmers/buyers is made through Point of Sale (PoS) devices installed at each retailer shop and the beneficiaries to be identified through Aadhaar Card, KCC, Voter Identity Card etc.
· A Project Monitoring Cell setup in the Department to oversee implementation of DBT exclusively. 24 State Coordinators appointed across all States to monitor the on-going DBT activities.
· A dedicated 15-member Multi-lingual Help Desk set up to provide quick response to the queries of wide range of stakeholders across the country as a preparatory to DBT implementation.
· The Government of India approved a policy on promotion of City Compost, notified by the DoF on 10.02.2016 granting Market Development Assistance of Rs. 1500/- for scaling up production and consumption of city compost.
· From 28.9.2016, to increase sale volumes, compost manufacturers willing to market city compost allowed to sell city compost in bulk directly to farmers. This boosted city compost sales to 199061.91 MT during 2017-18 from 96584.00 MT in 2016-17. An increasing trend in financial year 2018-19 observed. During the current year, the overall sale of city compost by marketers and manufacturers in bagged and bulk form till November, 2018 is 183378 MT.
· Fertilizer companies marketing city compost covered under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for Fertilizers. · Fertilizer Companies adopted 384 villages for promoting the use of City Compost.
· DoF commissioned a three year Pilot Study on “Resource Mapping of Rock Phosphate using Reflectance Spectroscopy and Earth Observations Data” by National Remote Sensing Centre under ISRO, in collaboration with Geological Survey of India(GSI) and the Atomic Mineral Directorate (AMD).
· The MoU for the propose study signed on 21.08.2017. Letter of Authorization for release of funds of Rs. 31.40 lakh issued by the DoF on 10.05.2018.
· The work on first phase is in progress. Preliminary Data processing for the phosphate mapping is completed. Spectral analysis of samples collected during field work is completed.
1. ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ (PMBJP) (As on 30.11.2018)
· 4504 PMBJP Kendras functional in 35 States/UTs of the country. · 800+ medicines and 154 surgicals & consumables available in the product basket. · 625 medicines and 32 surgicals & consumables available in CWH of BPPI for sale.
· PMBJP guidelines amended to provide incentives to PMBJP Kendras run by private entrepreneurs on the basis of their purchase of medicines (from Distributor/ Central Warehouse/ Regional Warehouse) in a month. The incentive given @ 15% of monthly purchase subject to a ceiling of Rs. 10,000/- per month upto a total limit of Rs. 2.5 lakhs.
· Use of point-of-sale software by PMBJP Kendra will not be a mandatory condition for receipt of incentives. The applicants belonging to weaker sections like SC/ST/Differently abled are provided medicines worth Rs. 50,000/- in advance within the incentive of Rs. 2.5 lakhs.
· For north eastern states, naxal affected areas and tribal areas, the rate of incentive will be 15% of monthly purchase subject to a ceiling of Rs. 15,000/- per month upto a total limit of Rs. 2.5 lakhs.
· Directors at NIPER Hyderabad and Hajipur appointed in June 2018 and November 2018 respectively. Now, all NIPERs have regular Directors. · Constitution of BoG for other six NIPERs in process. · 60% work of construction of NIPER Guwahati campus completed.
· 50 acres of IDPL land allotted to NIPER Hyderabad. · Govt. of West Bengal recently allotted 10 acres of land at Nadia District for NIPER Kolkata. · Department decided to accept 12.5 acres of land allotted by State Govt. for NIPER Hajipur.
· Construction of regular campus approved for NIPER Ahmedabad and Guwahati only @ Rs 103.88 crores each. Rs 100.00 crores each approved for equipment to NIPER Ahmedabad, Guwahati & Hyderabad while Rs 55.00 crores each to NIPER Hajipur, Kolkata &Raebareli.
· The matter of starting B. Pharma courses discussed in the 33rdmeeting of Steering Committee of NIPERs held under Chairmanship of Secretary, Pharmaceuticals on 1.10.2018 at NIPER Kolkata. NIPERs have initiated procedural formalities for starting the undergraduate courses from next academic session.
· NIPER Mohali has bagged rank Number 1, NIPER Hyderabad as Number 6 and NIPER Ahmedabad as Number 14 in NIRF Survey 2018 conducted by M/oHRD.
· The DoP is sued guidelines for implementation of Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order, 2017 related to Medical Devices on 15.06.2018.
· Further, the DoP, on 16.10.2018, amended the guidelines clarifying that USFDA/CE Certifications etc. shall not be mandatory for those medical devices for which Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standards exist. This move is expected to boost manufacturing of indigenous medical devices.
· The Department approved a sub-scheme termed as Development of Common Facility Centre for Medical Devices (DCFC-MD) under the umbrella scheme for Development of Pharmaceuticals Industry. It aims to give financial assistance for creation of Common Facility Centers (CFC) in the upcoming Medical Device Parks. This is expected to lower down the cost of manufacturing of indigenous medical devices and hence making it more competitive.
· Central Sector Scheme with a total financial outlay of Rs. 480 crores. · Objective to ensure drug security in the country by increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of domestic pharmaceutical industry with the following sub-schemes:
ü Assistance to Bulk Drug Industry for Common Facility Centre -Rs. 200 crores earmarked; creation of common facilities in any upcoming Bulk Drug Park promoted by State Governments/State Corporations;
ü Assistance to Medical Device Industry for Common Facility Centre -Rs. 100 crores earmarked; creation of common facilities in any upcoming Medical Device Park promoted by State Governments/State Corporations;
ü Pharmaceuticals Technology Upgradation Assistance Scheme (PTUAS) - Rs. 144 crores earmarked; facilitate Small and Medium Pharma Enterprises (SMEs) to upgrade their plant and machinery to World Health Organization (WHO)/Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards;
ü Assistance for Cluster Development - Rs. 30 crores earmarked; creation of common facilities in any pharma clusters including Bulk Drug, Medical Device, Ayurvedic, Unani and Cosmetics Units; and
ü Pharmaceutical Promotion Development Scheme (PPDS) - Rs. 6 crores earmarked; promotion, development and export promotion in Pharmaceutical sector; 22 events conducted during January, 2018 to November, 2018.. The said scheme; 3rd India Pharma 2018 and India Medical Device 2018 held at Bengaluru from 15-17 February 2018.
· NPPA has fixed retail prices of the 357 new drug under DPCO 2013 in 2018.
· Cardiac Stents to cost 85% lesser ü Ceiling price of Coronary Stents revised w.e.f. 12thFebruary, 2018. All types of cardiac stents now available in the price range of Rs. 7,923 to Rs. 28,849.
ü Bare Metal Stents(BMS), having 10% market share, capped at Rs. 7,923; ü Drug Eluting stent (DES), having 90% market share, capped at Rs. 28,849; ü Millions of Heart patients in the country to save up to Rs. 1 lakh; ü Total estimated savings to consumers around Rs. 4547 crores.
· Knee Implants to cost 69% lesser ü Knee Implant ceiling prices fixed w.e.f.16thAugust, 2017 for one year; further extended for one year w.e.f. 15thAugust, 2018. ü Various types of knee implants now available in the price range of Rs. 54,720 to Rs. 1,13,950. ü Total estimated savings to consumers around Rs. 1500 crores.
1. Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIRs): · The Government of India approved setting up of 4 PCPIRs in the States of Gujarat (Dahej), Andhra Pradesh (Vishakhapatnam–Kakinada), Odisha (Paradeep) and Tamil Nadu (Cuddalore- Nagapattinam).
· 4 PCPIRs estimated to attract an investment of about Rs. 7.62 lakh crore and provide employment to around 34 lakh persons. These PCPIRs are at different stage of implementation.
· HPCL-GAIL completed feasibility study for 1.0 MMTPA cracker-cum-petrochemical complex at Kakinada in AP PCPIR.
· Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change granted Environment and Coastal Region Zone (CRZ) clearance on 14.09.2017 for an area of 44445.18 hectare excluding forest land of 853.41 hectare for development of Gujarat PCPIR.
· Master Plan for Gujarat PCPIR completed. Master Plan for Odisha PCPIR and AP PCPIR underway. · Tamil Nadu PCPIR region notified by the State Government.
· A Committee co-chaired by Secretary (Petroleum) and Secretary (Chemicals and Petrochemicals) constituted to examine the issue of petrochemical demand and supply over next 15 to 20 years and to recommend policy options to the Government including recommendations regarding amendments to the existing PCPIR Policy of the Government.
· CIPET focuses on ‘STAR’ – Skill Development, Technology Support Services, Academic and Research in all the domains of Polymer Science & Technology.
· Presently, 32 centres of CIPET functional across the country and 7 more are in pipeline.
· The Foundation Stone of CIPET: Centre for Skilling and Technical Support (CSTS) – Chandrapur laid on 11thNovember, 2018 jointly by Shri Nitin Gadkari and Shri Hansraj G. Ahir.
· An Advanced Polymer Design and Development Research Laboratory (APDDRL)being set up at Bengaluru for R&D in key areas of polymeric applications in defence, healthcare, solar energy, e-waste recycling etc.
· CIPET tied-up with various PSUs and industries for indigenization of plastics products, technology solutions, R&D with focus on "MAKE IN INDIA" such as Defense, marine & industrial applications.
· During 2018-19 (upto Nov, 2018), CIPET has trained 28,774 students through Long Term Skill Development Programmes and Short Term Skill Development Programmes. CIPET also rendered around 50,118 (upto Nov, 2018-19) Technology Support Service assignments / job works for plastics industries.
· The Project dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister of India on 5th February 2016. The Plant is operating at more than 100% capacity continuously in the current financial year.
· The project has capacity to produce 2.20 lakh tonne per annum (TPA) of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)/Linear Low Density Polyethylene and 60,000 TPA Polypropylene (PP).
· Two new Plastic Parks in the States of Jharkhand & Madhya Pradesh (Bilaua) accorded ‘final approval’ by the Scheme Steering Committee, under the Chairmanship of Secretary (C&PC) in its meeting held on 05.12.2018.
· The DoCPC is the nodal Department for implementing the provisions related to procurement of goods and services related to ‘Chemicals’sector.
· Department has issued Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2017 for six chemicals viz. (i) Soda Ash, (ii) Caustic Soda, (iii) Aluminium Fluoride, (iv) Carbon Black, (v) Formaldehyde and (vi) Chlorine, on 25th May 2018.
· Further, the Department has issued Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2017 for fourty-nine additional Chemicals, Petrochemicals, Dyestuff and Pesticides, on 23rd October 2018.
· Status of implementation of the restructuring plan of HOCL (as on 30.11.2018) is as follows:
ü All plants of Rasayani unit except N2O4 plant have been closed down. ü N2O4 plant has been transferred to ISRO along with 20 acres land and 131 employees associated with the plant. ü Out of 442 acres land at Rasayani to be sold to BPCL, sale transaction for 251 acres have been completed. Sale of remaining 191 acres will be done after land survey report is cleared by the State Government.
ü Approval of the Government for sale of additional 242 acres (+/- 10%) land at Rasayani to BPCL and for lease transfer of 1000 sq m land at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, to NALCO has been accorded on 09.10.2018. ü For disposal of the remaining unencumbered land at Rasayani (approx. 258 acres) and Panvel land (8 acres), negotiations are underway with Govt. agencies like BPCL and MIDC.
ü All the 10 Nestle flats (Mumbai), closed down plants and utility blocks have CPC 10 been successfully e-auctioned through MSTC. ü All the non-regular employees and about 313 regular employees of Rasayani unit have been separated through VRS/VSS. ü Liability relating to redemption of Govt. guaranteed bonds of Rs.250 crore has been fully settled by HOCL from the GoI bridge loan.
· After implementation of the restructuring plan, the Phenol/Acetone plant at Kochi unit resumed regular operations from July, 2017 and has been operating regularly since then with positive contribution. This has enabled HOCL to earn net profit of about Rs.24 crore (Prov.) from Kochi unit operations during the current FY 2018-19 (up to September, 2018).
· The 10th edition of India Chem 2018 was successfully held during 04th-06th October, 2018 at Mumbai with the theme “Chemicals and Petrochemicals – Advantage India”.
ü Participation from 24 countries. ü Partner States: West Bengal, Gujarat, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. ü States Participation: Maharahstra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. ü 285 exhibiting companies.
Concurrent events held as part of India Chem 2018 ü Global CEOs Round Table ü Conclave with Overseas Industry Associations coinciding India Chem 2018 organized by Indian Chemical Council ü INDIA-JAPAN Chemicals & Petrochemicals forum, supported by Japan External Trade organization (JETRO)
ü INDIA-GERMANY Chemicals & Petrochemicals forum, supported by Indo-German Chamber of Commerce ü FICCI Chemicals & Petrochemicals Awards Distribution Function
ü Buyer Seller Meet by CHEMEXCIL ü Conclave on Indian Petrochemical Industry ü Conclave on Agrochemical Industry”
· In order to make revised quality standards BIS standards IS 252:2013 for Caustic Soda mandatory for both domestic makers and imports, this DoCPC has notified the order of mandation of BIS standards IS 252:2013 for caustic soda, to reduce the consumption of inferior grade caustic soda having mercury impurity.
Background: Section 66A had been dubbed as “draconian” for it allowed the arrest of several innocent persons, igniting a public outcry for its scrapping. This had led to the Supreme Court striking it down as unconstitutional in March, 2015 in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India.
Why SC struck down section 66A? The SC had noted that Section 66A arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invades the right of free speech, under article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution, and upsets the balance between such right and the reasonable restrictions that may be imposed on such right and the definition of offences under the provision was open-ended and undefined.
The court also said that the provision, introduced in 2009 to the original Act of 2000, used expressions “completely open-ended and undefined” and every expression used was “nebulous” in meaning. “What may be offensive to one may not be offensive to another. What may cause annoyance or inconvenience to one may not cause annoyance or inconvenience to another. Even the expression ‘persistently’ is completely imprecise.
What is Section 66A all about? Section 66A defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device like a mobile phone or a tablet. A conviction can fetch a maximum of three years in jail and a fine.
The bill is designed to amend the Constitution to extend 10% reservation in direct recruitment in government jobs and for admission in higher educational institutions to “economically weaker” sections among all castes and communities, Christians and Muslims included, who are not eligible under the existing quotas.
The proposed amendment Bill will define Economically Weaker Section (EWS) as one having: Annual household income below Rs 8 lakh. Agriculture land below 5 acres. Residential house below 1000 sqft. Residential plot below 100 yards in notified municipality. Residential plot below 200 yards in non-notified municipality area.
What would it take for the quota to become reality? It will need an amendment of Articles 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment) of the Constitution. The amendment will have to be ratified in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, by at least two thirds of members present and voting, and by the legislatures of not less than half the states.
Implications: The 10% reservation will be in addition to the existing cap of 50% reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking total reservation to 60%. The quota targets the poor among the upper castes. This will be over and above 50% mandated by Constitution and hence the need for Constitution amendment Bill.
Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney case: The proposed law would face roadblocks if challenged in the Supreme Court. A nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney case of 1992 specifically answered the question “whether backward classes can be identified only and exclusively with reference to the economic criterion.”
The constitution bench had categorically ruled that a backward class cannot be determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion. The bench had held that economic criterion may be a consideration or basis along with, and in addition to, social backwardness, but it can never be the sole criterion.
The bench in its judgement declared 50% quota as the rule unless extraordinary situations “inherent in the great diversity of this country and the people” happen. Even then, the court stated that extreme caution is to be exercised and a special case should be made out.
Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018: Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, seeks to end the discrimination against leprosy persons in various central laws: the Divorce Act, 1869; the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939; the Special Marriage Act, 1954 etc.
The Bill eliminates leprosy as a ground for dissolution of marriage or divorce. The condition under Section 18 (2) (c) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, that a Hindu wife is entitled to live separately from her husband without forfeiting her claim to maintenance if the latter is suffering from a virulent form of leprosy has been omitted. The amendments introduced in the Bill omit the provisions which stigmatise and discriminate against leprosy-affected persons.
Significance of the Bill: The Bill is meant to provide for the integration of leprosy patients into the mainstream. It is in keeping with the UN General Assembly Resolution of 2010 on the ‘Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members’ . The proposed law follows a National Human Rights Commission recommendation a decade ago to introduce amendments in personal laws and other statutes.
Background: Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest diseases with India accounting for over 60% of the annual new cases of leprosy. Official data says that the number of new Leprosy cases detected during 2016-17 is around 140000 and the prevalence Rate per 10000 population as on March 2017 for India is 0.66, it is established that the number underestimates the real Leprosy burden. In 2017, India along with Brazil and Indonesia are the only countries where more than 10000 new cases are reported per year.
What necessitated this? Over 110 Central and State laws discriminate against leprosy patients. These laws stigmatise and isolate leprosy patients and, coupled with age-old beliefs about leprosy, cause the patients untold suffering. So there is a need for a separate bill.
Government Initiatives in Recently: The Government has announced the three-pronged strategy for early detection of leprosy cases in the community. It was introduced in 2016 under the National Health Mission, especially in the hard-to-reach areas. A special Leprosy Case Detection Campaign was carried out in 2016. As a result, more than 32000 cases were confirmed and were put on treatment.
Supreme Court Ruling: The Supreme Court has asked the Centre, states and Union Territories to undertake a campaign to spread awareness about the curability of leprosy so that those suffering from it are not discriminated. It recommended for repealing archaic provisions from 119 statutes that stigmatise leprosy patients. No government hospital shall decline treatment to leprosy patients. People suffering from leprosy also have the right to live with human dignity.
What is leprosy? Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases in recorded history. Also, known as Hansen’s disease (HD), it is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae.
It primarily affects the nerves of the extremities, the skin, the lining of the nose, the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. The disease produces skin ulcers, nerve damage, and muscle weakness. If it isn’t treated, it can cause severe disfigurement and significant disability.
It is known to occur at all ages ranging from early infancy to very old age. It is common in many countries, especially those with a tropical or subtropical climate.
About the Performance Grading Index (PGI): Aim: The index is aimed at helping states understand where they may be lagging behind and prioritise areas for intervention to ensure that the school education system is robust at every level.
The union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry is compiling this schooling index. The Index will assess states on a 1,000 point grading system with 10-20 points per parameter.
Areas: The 70 indicators will grade state schooling systems on areas like number of existing teacher vacancies, number of direct entry recruitments especially at leadership positions, school infrastructure and so on. The Niti Aayog which was earlier developing its own School Education Quality Index, will be using 33 of the 70 criteria under the PGI for their own assessments.
Significance: The move is in keeping with the government’s overall thrust on quality improvement, teacher training and learning outputs. It will prioritize areas for intervention to ensure that the school education system is robust at every level.
There is a need for the policy due to the following reasons: Employer-dominated, domestic work industry is characterised by low, stagnant wage rates. Wages are particularly low for Bengali and Adivasi workers. Irregular payment of wages by employer. Extraction of more work than agreed upon at the start of employment. Practice of arbitrarily reducing wages. Private power of regulation enjoyed by the employer.
Private nature of regulation has allowed the employer to exercise quasi-magisterial powers over the domestic worker in India. Workers’ attempts to renegotiate their terms of work or to leave such employment are outbid by verbal, and often, physical assaults by employers. Domestic workers are on an almost absolute risk of unemployment or criminalisation when they try to obtain their dues.
Proposed national policy for domestic workers: Its aim is to protect the domestic workers from abuse, harassment, violence and guarantee them rights in the matter of social security and minimum wages. The policy also includes social security cover and provisions against sexual harassment and bonded labour.
It is a national policy for all kinds of household helps, under which payment of wages will be made to the board under fixed slab rates and the central board/trust will be managed by all stakeholders. The policy intends to set up an institutional mechanism to social security cover, fair terms of employment, grievance redressal and dispute resolution. It provides for recognising domestic workers as a worker with the right to register themselves with state labour department or any other suitable mechanism.
The policy will also promote the rights for them to organise and form their own unions/associations and affiliate with other unions/associations. It will also provide for model contract of employment with well-defined period of work and rest.
It also aims to regulate the recruitment and placement agencies by respective governments through formulation of a policy. It will also have a tripartite implementation committee at centre, state and district levels. It will also clearly define various terms such as part time workers, full time workers, live in workers, employers and private placement agencies.
The species is currently part of Appendix II of CITES that has species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival. But, India doesn’t want that for rosewood.
Why India wants rosewood removed from the list? The species grows at a very fast rate and has the capacity to become naturalised outside its native range, even it is invasive in some parts of the world. The regulation of trade in the species is not necessary to avoid it becoming eligible for inclusion in Appendix I in the near future and the harvest of specimens from the wild is not reducing the wild population to a level at which its survival might be threatened by continued harvesting or other influences.
About Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): It is an International agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species. It also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, clothing, medicine, and souvenirs It was signed on March 3, 1973 (Hence world wildlife day is celebrated on march
It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Secretariat — Geneva (Switzerland). CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
Classifications: It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened. They are. Appendix I: It lists species that are in danger of extinction. It prohibits commercial trade of these plants and animals except in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.
Appendix II species: They are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted. Their trade is regulated by permit.
Appendix III species: They are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member states and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.