Current Affairs – November 2016

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PM Narendra Modi launches Indian Police at Your Call mobile app

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently had launched the ‘Indian Police at Your Call’ mobile app at a national police conference held in Hyderabad. It was organised by the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

The app is a GIS Map based interface for the citizens to locate police stations near to their current location so that they can easily reach the police station in case of emergency.

Key Features

  • The app was developed by Nation Information Centre (NIC). It has been developed on Android and iOS platforms.
  • It was launched as part of the Digital India initiative aimed at the safety and security of the citizen anytime anywhere.
  • The app provides the names of the police stations, distance from the place where you are and how much time it will take to reach police station one wants to go to.
  • It provides the police station number, number of control room and also the SP office number. However, no mobile phones numbers are provided.
  • It also promotes facility to “Tap to Call” any of these police stations and know the route and road distance to reach there.

WHO settles India, EU medicine dispute issue

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dropped the term ‘counterfeit’ and retained ‘falsified’ to describe medicines of inferior quality.

This decision was taken by a WHO’s technical working group on draft working definitions of substandard/spurious /falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products.

It settles longstanding India, EU medicine dispute and battle about labelling of drugs. It is considered as a significant victory for the global access to medicines campaign.

What is the issue?

  • The above mentioned terms were used interchangeably to confiscate Indian made cheap generic drugs exported to other countries by showing that they were in violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
  • It was also alleged that big pharmaceutical companies were using term ‘counterfeit’ to describe generic medicines and disrupting trade of generic medicines especially from India.
  • Even the European Union Free Trade Agreement (EU FTA) was derailed after affordable, safe-to-use generic drugs made in India were confiscated as ‘illegal’ and ‘counterfeit.’
  • Between 2008 and 2009, nearly 20 shipments of generic drugs were detained while in transit from India to several developing countries via Europe.

What were the concerns?

  • Under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) — the definition of counterfeit was clearly targeted at one particular area.
  • It clearly mentioned that it is wilful infringement of trademark on a commercial scale.
  • However in reality, campaigns and legislation against counterfeit drugs often have nothing to do with concerns about drug quality.
  • The major European and US pharmaceutical companies used these rules for vested interest by limiting competition from generic drugs.
  • They were using increased enforcement of IP laws as a tool to clamp down on the legitimate trade in high-quality generic medicines between developing countries

Significance of WHO decision

  • The adopted definition will use falsified and drops the word counterfeit. The term falsified is much more in line with public health concerns regarding medicines.
  • It makes false claims about what they contain or where they are from, that represent a genuine problem.
  • It clarifies that the term ‘counterfeit’ will now be used by member States with respect to protection of IPR.
  • Settles a long-standing battle about labelling of drugs as for far too long, genuine generic medicines have been labelled as counterfeit.
  • Removes confusion on the much needed attention from the substandard medicines — which is a bigger public health problem for developing countries.

WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.  It was established on 7 April 1948. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board sets up two advisory committees

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has set up two high-level advisory committees to gather inputs from experts, including on service providers and corporate liquidation.

IBBI has been set up under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and is expected to soon operationalize. The two committees have begun their deliberations.

Key Facts

  • The advisory committee on services: It will be headed by educationist Mohandas Pai. It includes National Stock Exchange Vice-Chairman Ravi Narain, SEBI Executive Director J Ranganayakulu, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy’s Professor Ajay N Shah and senior lawyer Amarjit Singh Chandiok.
  • The advisory committee on corporate insolvency and liquidation: It will be headed by noted banker Uday Kotak. It includes Credit Information Bureau Chairman M V Nair, Corporate and Economic Research Group Advisory’s Chairperson Omkar Goswami and BSE CEO Ashishkumar Chauhan.

About IBBI

  • IBBI seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation as well as insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner.
  • It has been set up by the code to regulate professionals, information utilities (IUs) and agencies engaged in the resolution of insolvencies of companies.
  • It has chairman and 10 members. Present chairman is M S Sahoo. There four government-nominated members.

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