Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - March 3, 2018

Ministry of Defence

Exercise Paschim Leher (XPL-18)

Organising command -

  • The Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy concluded a large scale operational exercise in the Arabian Sea.
  • The three week long exercise termed Exercise ‘Paschim Leher’ (XPL), tested the operational readiness of the Western Naval Command and the execution of it's operational plans.
  • Over 40 naval assets including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, frontline ships of the Western Fleet and Eastern Fleet (including the newly inducted Kolkata class), submarines, potent missile vessels of the 22nd Killer Squadron, Patrol vessels and craft of the Local Flotilla and Indian Coast Guard participated in the exercise.
  • In addition, the exercise also witnessed intense flying activity by the carrier borne Mig 29 Ks, P-8Is, IL-38SDs, Dorniers as well as Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

Defence Expo 2018

To be held in Chennai

Enlighten about DefExpo 2018

DefExpo India has become one of the largest events of its kind in the world for the last 10 years.

  • For the first time DefExpo is being held in Chennai from 11 to 14 April 2018
  • The location of the event is Tiruvidanthal, Kancheepuramdistrict on the East Coast Road near Chennai.
  • 42 countries have already confirmed their participation and the number is expected to grow in the coming days.
  • The countries who have confirmed participation include, major defence manufacturing nations like USA, UK, Russia, France, Israel, Korea, Sweden, among others.
  • The main theme of this DefExpo 2018 is to showcase India as a major hub of defence production in the world.
  • This has generated tremendous enthusiasm amongst the domestic industries to showcase their indigenously manufactured platforms and components.

Health Care Sector

Pharma promotions tax exempt: tribunal Ruling allowing companies to claim benefit on funds spent on doctors sparks off ethics debate

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

  • A recent decision of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal’s Pune bench allowing pharmaceutical companies to account for their spending on doctors as a deductible expenditure has sparked off a fresh debate on ethics.
  • Since the companies are out of the purview of the Medical Council of India (MCI), money spent on promotions, which in some cases could be gifts, travel, hospitality and so on for doctors, besides medical conferences and samples, can be claimed as deductible expenditure.
  • Doctors accepting such promotions may be violating the code of ethics of the MCI.

Enlighten about the case -

  • The tribunal’s order came in a case involving Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which filed returns in which expenses of ₹2.07 crore were claimed as ‘advertisement sales promotions’.
  • Of this, about ₹50 lakh was for ‘print and promotion’ and the remaining ₹1.57 crore was for ‘sales promotions’.
  • The pharma company’s claim was disallowed by the IT department on the ground that it violated the MCI code of ethics.
  • A Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) circular disallows deductions that violate MCI regulations.

Tribunal decision -

  • The IT Appellate Tribunal reversed the decision by the assessing officer and ruled in favour of the company.

Reason cited -

  • The bench noted that pharma companies organised seminars and discussions to upgrade the knowledge of doctors, and such activities were undertaken to make doctors aware of products.
  • The order noted that only when the companies made doctors or medical practitioners aware of such products and medicines could they be “launched successfully”.

Code of ethics for pharma companies (way forward)

  • The MCI code may not govern pharma companies. But there are ethical problems as it directly affects patients
  • The companies should also have a code of ethics
  • Freebies and favours taken by doctors pushed up the cost of healthcare.

Defence

Defence Acquisition Council gives its approval for the procurement proposals for the three services

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave approval for various procurement proposals estimated at about ₹9,435 crore.
  • The purchase will include 41,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and over 3.5 lakh close quarter battle (CQB) carbines for the three services.
  • The approval is the first step in the long-drawn defence procurement procedure, and conclusion of the final deals will take several years. All these deals had been repeatedly cancelled in the past.
  • Of the purchases, 75% will be through Indian industry under the “Buy and Make (Indian)” category and the balance through the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

Enlighten about DAC –

  • The Government has set up a Defence Acquisition Council headed by the Raksha Mantri for decision making in regard to the totality of the new planning process.
  • Which inter-alia involves according ‘in principle’ approval of Capital Acquisitions in the long term perspective plan and for each Capital Acquisition programme.
  • The decision flowing from the Defence Acquisition Council are to be implemented by the following 3 Boards –

1. Defence Procurement Board headed by the Defence Secretary
2. Defence Production Board headed by the Secretary (Defence Production)
3. Defence Research & Development Board headed by the Secretary (Defence Research & Development)

Ministry of Women and Child Development

Cabinet approves the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament.

The Bill broadly has the following features:-

1. Addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation.
2. Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc.
3. Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
4. The confidentiality of victims/ witnesses and complainants by not disclosing their identity. Further the confidentiality of the victims is maintained by recording their statement through video conferencing (this also helps in trans-border and inter-State crimes).
5. Time bound trial and repatriation of the victims - within a period of one year from taking into cognizance.
6. Immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The Victims are entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days to address their physical, mental trauma etc. and further appropriate relief within 60 days from the date of filing of charge sheet.
7. Rehabilitation of the victim which is not contingent upon criminal proceedings being initiated against the accused or the outcome thereof.
8. Rehabilitation Fund created for the first time. To be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of the victim including education, skill development, health care/psychological support, legal aid, safe accommodation,etc.
9. Designated courts in each district for the speedy trial of the cases.
10. The Bill creates dedicated institutional mechanisms at District, State and Central Level. These will be responsible for prevention, protection, investigation and rehabilitation work related to trafficking. National Investigation Agency (NIA) will perform the tasks of Anti-Trafficking Bureau at the national level present under theMHA.
11. Punishment ranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh.
12. In order to break the organized nexus, both at the national and international level, the Bill provides for the attachment & forfeiture of property and also the proceeds for crime.
13. The Bill comprehensively addresses the transnational nature of the crime. The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau will perform the functions of international coordination with authorities in foreign countries and international organizations; international assistance in investigation; facilitate inter-State and trans-border transfer of evidence and materials, witnesses and others for expediting prosecution; facilitate inter-state and international video conferencing in judicial proceedings etc.

Enlighten about Human Trafficking -

  • Trafficking in human beings is the third largest organized crime violating basic human rights.
  • There is.no specific law so far to deal with this crime.
  • Accordingly, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 has been prepared.
  • The Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children.
  • The Bill has been prepared in consultation with line Ministries, Departments, State Governments, NGOs and domain experts.
  • A large number of suggestions received by the Ministry of WCD in hundreds of petitions have been incorporated in the Bill.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Cabinet approves signing of MoU between India and Jordan on Cooperation in Health Sector

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Jordan on cooperation in the field of Health & Medical Science.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Macedonia on cooperation in the field of Health

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Macedonia on cooperation in the field of Health.

Ministry of Textile

National Sizing Survey IndiaSize

  • National Sizing Survey to develop a comprehensive size chart for ready-to-wear industry based on the body measurements of the Indian population.

Implementing body –

  • The National Institute of Fashion Technology(NIFT), New Delhi, under the Ministry of Textiles, Govt of India.

Enlighten about the Survey –

  • It is a scientific exercise where anthropometric data will be collected from a sample population in the age group 15 to 65 years to create a database of measurements that will result in a standardized size chart which is representative of the Indian population and can be adopted by the apparel industry.
  • The surveys entail measuring statistically relevant sample size pan country using human safe technology of 3D whole body scanner, a non-contact method of taking body measurements and analyzing the collected data to create size charts.

What’s the need –

  • A large percentage of shoppers face difficulty in finding clothes that fit perfectly according to their body measurements. The reason is differences in anthropometric built of people in different geographical regions across the country.

Environment

Dr Harsh Vardhan App

  • Dr Harsh Vardhan App has been launched.
  • The App is intended, among other things, to promote the theme of ‘green good deeds’ and engage with the public at large.

Enlighten about “Green Good Deeds” campaign:

  • The campaign has been launched by the Environment Ministry to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming.
  • The objective of the campaign is to restore and return the clean and green environment to the next generation.

Defence

Lamitye 2018 8th Edition of bilateral Exercise

  • It is the joint military exercise between the Indian Army and Seychelles People’s Defence Forces.
  • India and Seychelles have been conducting this joint exercise since 2001 with the aim of enhancing military cooperation and interoperability be between the armies of the two countries.

Cabinet Decisions

Cabinet approves Action Plan for Champion Sectors in Services

It was proposed by

  • The Department of Commerce

Why -

  • To give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development, and realizing their potential.

Champion Sectors -

  • These include Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT & ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and Logistics Services, Accounting and Finance Services, Audio Visual Services, Legal Services, Communication Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Financial Services and Education Services.

Fund -

  • A dedicated fund of Rs. 5000 crores has been proposed to be established to support initiatives for sectoral Action Plans of the Champion Sectors.

Enlighten about the benefits -

  • This initiative will enhance the competitiveness of India's service sectors through the implementation of focused and monitored Action Plans, thereby promoting GDP growth, creating more jobs and promoting exports to global markets.
  • As the Services sector contributes significantly to India's GDP, exports and job creation, increased productivity and competitiveness of the Champion Services Sectors will further boost exports of various services from India.
  • Embedded services are substantial part of 'Goods' as well. Thus, competitive services sector will add to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector as well.

Enlighten about the Background

  • The Group of Secretaries in their recommendations to the Prime Minister, had identified ten Champion Sectors, including seven (7) manufacturing related sectors and three (3) services sectors, for promoting their development and achieving their potential
  • It was subsequently decided that Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the nodal department for 'Make in India', would spearhead the initiative for the Champion Sectors in manufacturing and Department of Commerce would coordinate the proposed initiative for the Champion Sectors in Services.
  • Accordingly, Department of Commerce, with wide stakeholder consultation coordinated the preparation of draft initial sectoral reform plans for several services sectors and, subsequently the action plan.

Sources – The Hindu,PB, Indian express