‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Development of Science & Technology – Govt. regulator gives nod for GM mustard

                                                    Mustard set to be India’s first GM food


  • The GM mustard was developed by a Delhi University institution.
  • In 2010, the Bt Brinjal was cleared but the decision was not accepted by then environment minister.
  • Decision of the GEAC was, however, vehemently opposed by environmentalists.

   What is important to know:

  • India’s central biotech regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), on 11th May cleared the genetically modified (GM) Mustard for commercial cultivation and recommended its approval to the environment ministry.
  • The GM mustard, developed by a Delhi University institution, is only the second food crop which got its clearance from the central regulator. The GEAC had earlier in 2010 cleared the Bt Brinjal but the decision was not accepted by then environment minister Jairam Ramesh. Currently, only Bt Cotton – a non-food GM crop – is commercially cultivated in the country.
  • Pental, ex-vice chancellor of the Delhi University and a well-known genetics scientist, had filed the application for commercial release of the GM Mustard in December 2015.
  • The ‘Sarson Satyagraha’, a broad platform of hundreds of NGOs representing farmers, consumers, scientists and others that has been at the forefront of resisting the approval of GM mustard in India’ too condemned the green signal to the herbicide tolerant GM Mustard.
  • The BJP in its 2014 election manifesto had said GM crops would not be allowed without proper scientific investigation. But GM crops are central to the government’s plans for pushing investment and growth in the biotechnology sector. It is also considered critical by the government for boosting farm productivity in India.

   Source: Times of India


      ‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Management of Security Challenges – Boost for defence manufacturers

                    Ministry moots new procurement model to give private sector a shot in the arm


  • Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on 11th May held consultations with representatives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CII) on the proposed Strategic Partnership (SP) model meant to promote the private sector in defence manufacturing.
  • The proposed strategic partner model is intended to enhance competition, increase efficiencies, facilitate faster and more significant absorption of technology, create a tiered industrial ecosystem, ensure development of a wider skill base, trigger innovation and enable participation in global value chains as well as promote exports.
  • Under the model, the government intends to boost private sector participation and create domestic expertise in four key areas, namely, fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines, and armoured vehicles and main battle tanks.
  • Indian Rafale

   Technology Transfer:

  • One company would be selected for each area based on its competence, which would then tie up with the foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer selected through the procurement process, to build the platform in India with significant technology transfer.
  • The fine points would be discussed in a Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting scheduled for early next week. Officials expressed confidence that the policy can be finalized in the next couple of months.

   Army Apprehensive:

  • The Armed Forces are apprehensive over the overall model as they feel the SP model will block new technology and new players coming to the defence sector. On the other hand, existing defence players argue for committed orders for the next 30 years to give them the economies of scale as defence involves large investments.

   Source: Indian Defence News


          ‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Issues & Services relating to Health Sector – What’s in a Generic Name

            The core issues are affordable access to medicines and their rational prescription and use

   What you need to know:

  • The Medical Council of India (MCI) issued a circular on April 21 drawing attention to clause 1.5 of its regulations regarding the professional conduct of doctors: “Every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names legibly and preferably in capital letters and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription of drugs.” Further, the circular said, “For any doctor found violating clause 1.5 of Ethics Regulation, suitable disciplinary action would be taken by the concerned SMC/MCI.”
  • This has caused considerable unease among medical professionals. It appears that the MCI has responded to the statement by the Prime Minister on April 17 that the government intended to ensure that doctors prescribe medicines by generic names only.
  • Nearly all drugs have three types of names, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the non-proprietary or generic, most commonly the International Non-proprietary Name (INN) administered by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the brand name. Some countries, such as the U.S., Britain and Japan, have their own generic names or approved names.

   Centre pushes for generic drugs: (Issues)

  • The core issues are affordable access to medicines and their rational prescription and use. These objectives require an enlarged list of essential and life-saving medicines under price control, elimination of all irrational FDCs, no brands for drugs off patent, and briefer officially approved names to make it easier for doctors to prescribe generics including the rational FDCs.
  • The WHO advocates generic prescribing as part of an overall strategy to ensure rational medical treatment and prescribing tailored to local conditions. In India, there are many barriers to rational prescribing. For example, there are a bewildering number of fixed-dose combinations (FDCs), the vast majority of which have no therapeutic justification. These FDCs account for about 45% of the market (about ₹45,000 crore). The British National Formulary lists very few FDCs whereas in India there are thousands.
  • Of the total domestic pharmaceutical formulations, a market of over ₹1 lakh crore, generic medicines, as understood by the pharma trade, account for not more than 10%, or ₹10,000 crore. Therefore, even if a doctor prescribes a drug by generic name, the patient will generally end up buying a branded product.

   Source: The Hindu