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Explained: How to send an Indian into space?

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Gaganyaan

Mains level: India’s aspiration for a manned mission in Space


News

Gaganyaan 2022

  1. With PM’s announcement that an Indian astronaut would go into space by 2022, ISRO has finally got a definitive timeline for a project it has been working on for the last 15 years.
  2. In 2004 the manned space mission was first endorsed by the ISRO Policy Planning Committee.
  3. There was lack of clarity on when exactly the mission would be launched, although the target initially in discussion was 2015.

Defining a manned-Mission

  1. A manned space mission is very different from all other missions that ISRO has so far completed.
  2. In terms of complexity and ambition, even the missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan) and Mars (Mangalyaan) are nowhere in comparison.
  3. For a manned mission, the key distinguishing capabilities that ISRO has had to develop include the ability to bring the spacecraft back to Earth after flight, and to build a spacecraft in which astronauts can live in Earth-like conditions in space.
  4. Over the years, ISRO has successfully tested many of the technologies that are required, but many others are still to be developed and tested.

The rocket: GSLV Mk-III

  1. One of the most important requirements is the development of a launch vehicle that can carry heavy payloads into space.
  2. The spacecraft carrying human beings, called crew module, is likely to weigh in excess of 5 to 6 tonnes.
  3. ISRO successfully tested GSLV Mk-III, now called LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3).
  4. It successfully launched the first developmental flight of LVM-3, which carried the GSAT-19 satellite into space.
  5. The LVM-3 is the declared launch vehicle for taking the manned crew module into space as it will help for sending up heavier and heavier payloads.

Reentry & recovery tech

  1. The satellites normally launched by ISRO, like those for communication or remote sensing, are meant to remain in space, even when their life is over.
  2. Any manned spacecraft, however, needs to come back. This involves mastering of the highly complicated and dangerous reentry and recovery ability.
  3. While reentering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft needs to withstand very high temperatures, in excess of several thousand degrees, which is created due to friction.
  4. Also, the spacecraft needs to reenter the atmosphere at a very precise speed and angle, and even the slightest deviation could end in disaster.
  5. The first successful experimental flight of GSLV Mk-III also involved the successful testing of an experimental crew module that came back to Earth after being taken to an altitude of 126 km into space.
  6. Called the Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE), the spacecraft reentered the atmosphere at about 80 km altitude and landed in the sea near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Crew Escape System

  1. This is a crucial safety technology, involving an emergency escape mechanism for the astronauts in case of a faulty launch.
  2. The mechanism ensures the crew module gets an advance warning of anything going wrong with the rocket, and pulls it away to a safe distance, after which it can be landed either on sea or on land with the help of attached parachutes.
  3. ISRO has completed the first successful flight of the crew escape system (the recent Pad Abort Test).

Life support

  1. The Environmental Control & Life Support System (ECLSS) is meant to ensure that conditions inside the crew module are suitable for humans to live comfortably.
  2. The inside of the crew module is a twin-walled sealed structure that will recreate Earth-like conditions for the astronauts.
  3. It would be designed to carry two or three astronauts.
  4. The ECLSS maintains a steady cabin pressure and air composition, removes carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, controls temperature and humidity, and manages parameters like fire detection and suppression, food and water management, and emergency support.
  5. While the layout and design of the ECLSS has been finalised, its many individual components and systems are in the process of being tested.
  6. The design and configuration of the inside of the crew module have also been finalised. Ground testing will have to be followed by tests in the space orbit while simulating zero gravity and deep vacuum.

Astronaut training

  1. While ISRO still plans to set up a permanent facility, the selected candidates for the first manned mission will most likely train at a foreign facility.
  2. Candidates will need to train for at least two years in living in zero gravity and dealing with a variety of unexpected experiences of living in space.
  3. Some training would also be imparted at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine of the Indian Air Force at Bengaluru.
ISRO Missions and Discoveries

Super-insulating gel could help build Mars habitats

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Aerogel and its properties

Mains level: Utility of Aerogel can revolutionize insulation from heat, which is a major concern for space missions.


News

Aerogel

  1. Scientists at University of Colorado at Boulder have developed a transparent heat-resistant gel using beer waste that may one day be used to build greenhouse-like habitats for human colonised on Mars.
  2. It is made up of common plant sugar cellulose and is a thin, flexible film that is roughly 100 times lighter than glass.
  3. The gel is transparent and so resistant to heat that you could put a strip of it on your hand and a fire on top without feeling a thing.

90% made up of air

  1. Aerogels are at least 90 per cent gas by weight, but their defining feature is air.
  2. Their thin films are made up of crisscrossing patterns of solid material that trap air inside billions of tiny pores, similar to the bubbles in bubble wrap.
  3. This trapping capacity makes them such good insulators.

Utility of Aerogel

  1. Transparency is an enabling feature hence it can be used in windows for extraterrestrial habitats. A peel-and-stick film could simply be attached to home windows.
  2. Its thermally-insulating nature helps protecting from big oscillations in temperature in Space.
  3. The group’s gel is also cheaper to produce because it comes from beer waste.
  4. It can be developed for many other applications, including smart clothes, for insulating cars and protecting firefighters.

Odisha launches health scheme for 70 lakh families

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level:  Non-compliance of states to AB-NHPM


News

Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana

  1. Odisha CM launched Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, a health for all scheme, on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day.
  2. The scheme provides health assurance coverage to 70 lakh families, covering more than 70% of the State’s population
  3. It may be recalled that the Odisha government had rejected the National Health Protection Scheme as it covered much lesser number of people in Odisha by adopting the 2011 census.
  4. The State government went ahead with its own scheme with coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per year per family. The amount is ₹7 lakh per family with women members.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Verdict of Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal Comes

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the States, issues & challenges pertaining to the federal structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Verdict on Water Sharing

Mains level: River water disputes in India


News

Award of the Tribunal

  1. The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal which has been hearing the tussle over sharing of the Mahadayi or Mandovi river between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, delivered its final verdict.
  2. Ending a 50-year-old dispute, the tribunal allowed Karnataka access to 13.4 tmc of water for its consumptive use (5.4 tmc) and power generation (8.02 tmc).
  3. The share of Goa was pegged at 24 tmc with the Tribunal allowing it for the state’s municipal water needs, irrigation water requirements and industrial water demands.
  4. Maharashtra got the lowest share of 1.33 tmc for meeting its in-basin needs with respect to five projects.
  5. The tribunal also directed the Centre to set up the Mahadayi Water Management Authority to implement its report and final decision.

Quick recap of the issue

  1. The Mahadayi river basin drains an area of 2032 square kilometres of which 375 square km lies in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and the remaining in Goa.
  2. It originates in the Belagavi district of Karnataka, briefly passes through Maharashtra and flows through Goa (where its known as Mandovi), and drains to the Arabian Sea
  3. Since the eighties, Karnataka has been was contemplating linking of Mahadayi with Malaprabha river, a tributary of Krishna
  4. In 2002, Karnataka gave the idea a shape in the form of the Kalasa-Bhanduri project
  5. Goa strongly opposed it as Mahadayi is one of the two rivers the State is dependent on and thus Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in 2010

Back2Basics

Interstate River Water Disputes Act

  1. The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted under Article 262 of Constitution of India.
  2. It sets basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.
  3. Article 262 of the Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the state/regional governments.
  4. River waters use / harnessing is included in states jurisdiction (entry 17 of state list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution).
  5. However, union government can make laws on regulation and development of inter-State rivers and river valleys when expedient in the public interest (entry 56 of union list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution).
  6. When public interest is served, President may also establish an interstate council as per Article 263 to inquire and recommend on the dispute that has arisen between the states of India.
  7. This act is confined to states of India and not applicable to union territories.
  8. Any river water sharing treaty made with other countries has to be ratified by the Parliament per Article 253 and all the riparian states of India per Article 252 to make the treaty constitutionally valid.

Tribunals under IRWD Act

  1. Whenever the riparian states are not able to reach amicable agreements on their own in sharing of an interstate river waters, Section 4 of IRWD Act provides dispute resolution process in the form of Tribunal.
  2. As per Section 5.2 of the Act, the tribunal shall not only adjudicate but also investigate the matters referred to it by the central government and forward a report setting out the facts with its decisions.
  3. Under Section 6A of this Act, central government may frame a scheme or schemes to give effect to the decision of a tribunal. Each scheme has provision to establish an authority for implementation of a tribunal verdict.
  4. When a tribunal verdict, after formally gazetted by the union government shall be complied by the union government as the tribunal verdict is equal to Supreme Court verdict.
Kaveri River Water Dispute

India fares poor on Global Liveability

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization, their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Liveability Ranking

Mains level: Measures undertaken to improve living conditions in Indian cities


News

Global Liveability Index

  1. The rankings of 140 global cities, based on their living conditions were released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
  2. The EIU is part of UK magazine The Economist and provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis.
  3. The index assigns cities scores on five broad parameters — stability, healthcare, culture/environment, education, and infrastructure using 30 indicators.

India fares poor in Liveability

  1. India has fared poorly on the Global Liveability Index, 2018, with Delhi ranking 112 and Mumbai five places behind at 117.
  2. Delhi has outperformed Mumbai on education, healthcare and infrastructure, while faring marginally better on culture/environment. The only parameter in which Mumbai fares better than Delhi is stability.
  3. The weakest area for Delhi is its instability due to the high prevalence of petty and violent crimes, and a high risk of terrorism and civil unrest.
  4. It also achieves the lowest possible ranking for public transport, an indicator within infrastructure.
  5. Mumbai fares low in the infrastructure category as it is let down by poor roads and public transport and lack of water provision and quality housing.

Why makes India fare poor?

  1. Even newly-developed areas (in Indian cities) are poorly served by public transport, suffer from congestion and pollution, and have inadequate water.
  2. While private health and education are acceptable in both Mumbai and Delhi, the level and quality of public provision is well below the global average.
  3. High levels of corruption and social and religious restrictions also reduce liveability markedly in both cities.

Contrasting with Indian Study

  1. The EIU report is in contrast with the MoHUA’s recent Ease of Living Index for 111 Indian cities that was released wherein Mumbai ranked at number 3, far ahead of New Delhi at a low 65th rank.
  2. While much of the parameters and data sources are different for the two reports, New Delhi is far behind Mumbai on parameters such as health, education and physical infrastructure.
  3. EIU, which was involved in developing the methodology to measure city GDP for the Indian government’s Ease of Living report, had nothing to do with the ranking process itself.

Other Highlights of the ranking

  1. As per their ranking, the liveability factor of these two Indian cities is the same as Mexico City, Jeddah, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.
  2. Austria’s capital Vienna has been ranked as the best city to live in, displacing Australian city of Melbourne, which had held the record for seven consecutive years.
  3. Syrian capital of Damascus continues to be ranked at the bottom of 140 cities despite the report noting that it has witnessed.
  4. Dhaka in Bangladesh is the second worst with Pakistan’s capital Karachi ranked as the fourth worst.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] New Central Sector scheme for promoting Pharmacovigilance of AYUSH Drugs

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

Scheme for Pharmacovigilance of ASU&H drugs

  1. Ministry of AYUSH has introduced new Central Sector scheme for promoting pharmacovigilance of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) Drugs.
  2. Prime objective of the scheme is to develop the culture of documenting adverse effects and undertake safety monitoring of ASUH drugs and surveillance of misleading advertisements appearing in the print and electronic media.
  3. The scheme intends to facilitate the establishment of three-tier network of National Pharmacovigilance Centre (NPvCC), Intermediary Pharmacovigilance Centres (IPvCCs) and Peripheral Pharmacovigilance Centres (PPvCC).
  4. All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH, has been designated as National Pharmacovigilance Centre for coordinating various activities of the initiative.

Implementation of Scheme

  1. In the initial phase of implementation, five National Institutes of AYUSH are designated as the Intermediary Pharmacovigilance Centres.
  2. Another forty two institutions of AYUSH having clinical facilities are designated as Peripheral Pharmacovigilance Centres
  3. These will take up the work of reporting, documentation, analysis, causality assessment of the adverse reactions and events associated with the consumption of ASUH drugs.
  4. It is intended to have more such centres across the country and achieve the target of 100 peripheral Pharmacovigilance centres by 2020.
  5. Representatives of Central Drug Standards Control Organisation as the national drug regulatory authority and the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission being the WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmacovigilance in the country are associated in the initiative as mentor and guide.

Why such scheme needed?

  1. The quality issues and safety concerns of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy Drugs have been raised from various sources.
  2. The Ministry felt it necessary in the interest of Public Health to oversee the impact of ASU&H Drugs consumed by the people from the perspective of their safety profile.
  3. Similarly, publicizing improper drug information in the form advertisements is a matter of concern that needs to be addressed to safeguard the interest of AYUSH drug consumers.
  4. Pharmacovigilance initiative will facilitate detection of potentially unsafe ASU&H medicines and misleading advertisements for taking regulatory action against them.
AYUSH – Indian Medicine System

[pib] NITI Aayog launches “Pitch to MOVE”

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pitch to MOVE

Mains level:  The newscard highlights the importance of clean energy options in manufacture of electric vehicles that gives various benefits.


News

Pitch to MOVE Contest

  1. It is organised by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Invest India and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) as a part of a series of engaging featured events in the run up to the main event.
  2. The competition aims to identify and reward the start-ups offering innovative solutions for shared, connected, and environment friendly mobility.
  3. The Startups can be from the domain of Public Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Shared Transport, Last Mile Connectivity, Passenger Transportation, Battery Technology, Automotive IoT, Freight & Logistics, Powertrain/Drivetrain, Experiential, Travel, Mobility Infrastructure and Automotive Electronics etc.
  4. The Mobility Pitch Competition is open to primarily startups from various parts of India who are interested in showcasing their business ideas to jury members.

Aim of the initiative

  1. Startups working in the various fields of mobility can pitch their ideas to industry leaders and Venture Capitalists for raising investments.
  2. With rapidly evolving technologies and business models for delivering mobility services, our goal of cleaner and more efficient mobility systems will be achieved with the help of the dynamic entrepreneurial class of India.
  3. The objective is to harness the latest disruption for generating employment and growth in our country.
  4. Winners of the event will be felicitated by PM during the Global Mobility Summit.

Back2Basics

Global Mobility Summit

  1. Steeply falling technology costs and business – model innovation are driving the world’s transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles.
  2. Against this background, NITI Aayog, in collaboration with various ministries and industry partners, is organising ‘MOVE: Global Mobility Summit’.
  3. This Summit will help drive Government’s goals for vehicle electrification, renewable energy integration and job growth and also speed up India’s transition to a clean energy economy.
  4. MOVE Summit aims to bring together and engage with key stakeholders within the rapidly transforming global mobility landscape and to evolve a public interest framework for a shared, connected, zero emission and inclusive mobility agenda for the future.
  5. The Summit, hence, aims to encourage synergies between indigenous industries such as Automobile Manufacturing, Information Technology, Electronics, Telecommunications and others, to integrate with global supply chains and cement India’s position as a progressive, forwarding looking nation.
NITI Aayog’s Assessment

[pib] Australia recommences its adoption programme with India

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CARA, Hague Adoption Convention

Mains level: Problem of Child Trafficking


News

Recommencing Adoptions from India

  1. The Government of Australia has decided to recommence the Adoption Programme with India, as per Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption.
  2. The adoptions from India had earlier been put on hold by the Government of Australia eight years ago, on the reported charges of trafficking of children for Inter-country adoption by some of the recognized Indian placement agencies (the Adoption agencies mandated to place children in Inter-country adoption at that point of time).

Strict regulations by India pushed the move

  1. The regulation of Inter-country adoptions has been made strict by the Government of India with the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017.
  2. The Ministry of Women & Child Development along with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) have been constantly engaging with Australian Government for recommencement of the Adoption Programme.
  3. The recommencement of the adoption programmes will now enable large number of prospective adoptive parents including those of Indian origin settled in Australia in fulfilling their desire of adopting a child from India.

Back2Basics

Hague Adoption Convention

  1. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking.
  2. The Convention was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the preeminent organization in the area of private international law. It was concluded on 29 May 1993 and entered into force on 1 May 1995.
  3. It is an effort to protect those involved from the corruption, abuses, and exploitation which sometimes accompanies international adoption.
  4. The Convention has been considered crucial because it provides a formal international and intergovernmental recognition of intercountry adoption to ensure that adoptions under the Convention will generally be recognized and given effect in other party countries.
  5. 96 countries including India has signed and ratified this convention. Whereas Nepal, South Korea and Russia are yet to ratify it.

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)

  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory autonomous body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  2. It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  3. CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  4. CARA primarily deals with the adoption of the orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
Child Rights – POSCO, Child Labour Laws, NAPC, etc.

[op-ed snap] The roadmap to military reform

Related image

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise Gaganshakti

Mains level: The idea of integrated theatre command in Indian military and what are the obstacles in implementing it


Context

Debate on reform in the Indian military

  1. The initial flavour of the debate in the decades following the Group of Ministers’ report, the Kargil Review Committee report, and the Naresh Chandra Committee report focussed on a restructuring of higher defence organisation as the first step
  2. This was intended to improve synergy among different tools of statecraft (bureaucracy, military, research and development, intelligence, internal security mechanisms, and more)
  3. The debate has now shifted to the second tier of reform in the operational realm
  4. This has unfortunately pitted the three services against one another in a series of turf wars that have ranged from control over space to control over cyber and special forces

The idea of standalone integrated theatre commands

  1. Dissection of the recently conducted exercise, Gaganshakti, would be good in weighing this idea
  2. The main apprehensions of the IAF leadership revolve around how best to exploit its dwindling offensive resources if they are hived off to multiple theatre commands
  3. A more serious concern is how the limited availability of enabling equipment and platforms (AWACS, refuelers, electronic warfare platforms and more) could seriously jeopardise operations even in a single-adversary limited conflict
  4. This conflict could involve up to three of the proposed theatre commands, including the Indian Navy

Crucial role of IAF

  1. If there is any service that is truly ‘joint’ in terms of participation in statecraft or military operations in tandem with other tools, particularly as first responders, it is the IAF
  2. If the flying task of the IAF in terms of its distribution between joint and exclusive tasks is scrutinised, 60% of it is used in joint operations
  3. Capturing ground beyond a few kilometres or taking physical control of vast maritime spaces for prolonged durations are no longer sustainable operations of war as they arguably result in avoidable depletion of combat potential
  4. This causes unacceptable attrition in limited but high-tempo operations
  5. It is in this context that air power would offer a viable alternative by shaping ‘battlespaces’ adequately before the other services enter combat

Other alternatives for integration

  1. India’s armed forces have little experience in training, staffing and exercising Joint Task Forces based on at least a division-sized land component
  2. Creation of three division-sized task forces for operations in varied terrain, including out-of-area contingency operations, could be mulled over
  3. These would be commanded by an Army, Navy and Air Force three-star officer, respectively, reporting to the Chairman of the Chief of Staffs Committee

Way forward

  1. National security reforms and restructuring are bound to have far-reaching consequences and call for political sagacity, wisdom and vision
  2. A concurrent three-pronged approach to military reform would be ideal
  3. Such an approach should respect the collective wisdom of past reports and take into account contemporary political and security considerations
Indian Army Updates

[op-ed snap] Fear isn’t the key: On regulation of securities markets

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Investment model

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SEBI

Mains level: T.K. Vishvanathan panel recommendations and their impact on the functioning of SEBI as well as investors


Context

Regulating stock markets

  1. A panel headed by T.K. Viswanathan, a former Lok Sabha Secretary General, has now submitted recommendations to curb illegal practices in the markets and ensure fair conduct among investors
  2. Front-running, insider trading, shady accounting practices that are tantamount to window-dressing firms’ performance, and other shenanigans to manipulate share prices continue

Panel’s recommendations

  1. A key recommendation is that the stock market watchdog be granted the power to act directly against “perpetrators of financial statements fraud”
  2. This means SEBI can act not only against listed entities under its extant powers but also against those who aid or abet financial fraud — including accountants and auditors
  3. The panel has suggested that SEBI, rather than the Central government, be given the power to grant immunity to whistle-blowers who help uncover illegal activities
  4. It has mooted new ideas to address market manipulation, from a better scrutiny of price-sensitive information to the creation of processes to expedite the investigation into cases
  5. It goes to the extent of recommending that SEBI be given powers to tap phone calls

Pros & Cons of these recommendations

  • Pros
  1. Greater executive powers can help the regulator take swifter action against offenders instead of relying on government bodies such as the Ministry of Corporate Affairs
  2. This could also free SEBI from various manifestations of political influence
  • Cons
  1. Given that SEBI is now considering a cap on trading by retail investors based on their assessed ‘net worth’, the committee’s suggestion that it may consider any trading by players beyond their known ‘financial resources’ as fraud could lead to undue harassment of investors

Way Forward

  1. Granting more teeth to enable the market regulator to fulfil its primary role of protecting investors is fine
  2. A strong regulator serves as a good deterrent to truants in the market, but banking on fear too much could also scare away genuine investors
  3. It is equally critical to empower it with the right tools so that a sledgehammer is not deployed to crack a nut
Capital Markets: Challenges and Developments

[op-ed snap] Questioning a crackdown

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Oxytocin, Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC), Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940,  Indian Council of Medical Research, National Dairy Research Institute

Mains level: Laws regulating pharma sector in India & their occasional usage in an adverse way leading to more problems than solutions


Context

Recent ban on Oxytocin

  1. The decision of the Ministry of Health to restrict, from September 1, the manufacture of oxytocin only to the public sector unit, Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (KAPL), has sparked fears of shortages and a disruption of supplies of this drug
  2. The restriction is because of alleged misuse of the drug by dairy farmers on milch cattle to stimulate milk production
  3. The Ministry now hopes to control distribution channels and prevent misuse

About Oxytocin

  1. Oxytocin is a hormone that acts on organs in the body (including the breast and uterus) and as a chemical messenger in the brain, controlling key aspects of the reproductive system, including childbirth and lactation, and aspects of human behaviour
  2. Oxytocin is important during childbirth and breastfeeding
  3. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter and a hormone that is produced in the hypothalamus
  4. From there, it is transported to and secreted by the pituitary gland, at the base of the brain

Is oxytocin really harmful?

  1. Minutes of the meetings of the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) — (statutory bodies under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 cite experts from the medical and veterinary sciences who advised the DTAB that oxytocin is required in the treatment of both humans and animals
  2. Two studies by the Central government, by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Dairy Research Institute, conclude that the use of oxytocin does not have an adverse effect on either people or animals
  3. With cattle, the danger of misuse is that it may cause addiction, in which case cattle do not react to normal milk ejection stimuli

Why was production restricted to public sector company?

  1. It is due to a judgment by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh in a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by the court after it came across newspaper reports of oxytocin misuse
  2. The court passed a judgment in 2016 blaming oxytocin for a number of diseases, including breast and uterine cancers, male impotence, excessive hair growth in women and balding for men
  3. However, the court did not cite a single scientific study to support these claims
  4. Towards the end of its judgment, the court directed the State government to consider the feasibility of restricting manufacture to the public sector
  5. The Central government decided to adopt the judgment as the basis of its order restricting manufacture to the public sector
  6. The fact is that the High Court sought a study of the feasibility of restricting manufacture to the public sector; it never ordered the restriction to be imposed

What should be the basis of the ban?

  1. A study of the degree of misuse
  2. The demand for the drug
  3. The manner in which the proposed restriction will affect the supply of the drug
  4. It’s impact on public health

Way Forward

  1. The regulation of drugs has to be rigorous and reasoned
  2. It appears that the government has gone ahead to restrict manufacture without conducting any kind of feasibility study
  3. The case for restricting the manufacture of oxytocin is neither rigorous nor reasoned
Pharma Sector – Drug Pricing, NPPA, FDC, Generics, etc.