- One Nation One Ration Card
- Introducing millets in Mid-Day Meal Scheme
- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA)
- Active Pharma Ingredients (API)
One Nation One Ration Card
Focus: GS III-Food Security
Why in News?
Recently Department of Food & Public Distribution had reviewed the progress of States/UTs towards the implementation of “One Nation One Ration Card” (ONORC) plan and after successful testing of portability transactions, the Department has approved the integration of Chhattisgarh with the existing cluster of portability States/UTs under ONORC. One Nation One Ration Card
About One Nation One Ration Card
Nodal: Ministry of Finance
- One Nation One Ration Card System is an important citizen centric reform.
- Its implementation ensures availability of ration to beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, at any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.
- The reform especially empowers the migratory population mostly labourers, daily wagers, urban poor like rag pickers, street dwellers, temporary workers in organised and unorganised sectors, domestic workers etc, who frequently change their place of dwelling to be self reliant in food security.
- The reform also enables the States in better targeting of beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/ duplicate/ineligible card holders resulting in enhanced welfare and reduced leakage.
- The poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidised rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country but for that their ration cards must be linked to Aadhaar.
- Migrants would only be eligible for the subsidies supported by the Centre, which include rice sold at Rs. 3/kg and wheat at Rs. 2/kg, It would not include subsidies given by their respective state government in some other state.
- This scheme will ensure that no poor person is deprived of subsidised grains.
- For remaining beneficiaries, all the States have been given one more year to use point of sale (PoS) machines in the ration shops and implement the scheme.
National Food Security Act
- The basic concept of food security globally is to ensure that all people, at all times, should get access to the basic food for their active and healthy life and is characterized by availability, access, utilization and stability of food.
- In pursuance of this, the enactment of the National Food Security Act, (NFSA) 2013 marks a paradigm shift in the approach to food security from welfare to the rights-based approach.
- The Act legally entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized foodgrains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
Introducing Millets in Mid-Day Meal Scheme
Focus: GS II- Health
Why in News?
In order to enhance nutrition among children Central Government requested State Governments/Union Territory Administrations to explore the possibility of introducing millets under PM POSHAN Scheme preferably in the districts where eating millets is a culturally accepted food habit.
About the PM POSHAN (Poshan Shakti Nirman) scheme (New MDM)
- The PM Poshan Shakti Nirman scheme aims to give a hot cooked meal to 11.8 crore government school students from Classes I to VIII.
- From FY 2022-23 it will also cover the 24 lakh children studying in balvatikas, the pre-primary section of government schools. The balvatikas offer one year of pre-school classes.
- The PM POSHAN scheme has been approved for the next five-year period until 2025-26, with a collective outlay of ₹1.31 lakh crore, including ₹31,733 crore as the share to be borne by the State governments.
- It has been rebranded to provide a new shape to the policy “to enhance the nutrition levels of schoolchildren”.
- It is expected to improve nutritional status, encourage education and learning and increase enrolments in government schools.
- The extension of mid-day meals to pre-primary students, who are to be incorporated into the formal education system, was a key recommendation of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.
- However, there has been no progress on the NEP’s other recommendation to start offering breakfasts to school students.
How the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme came to be?
- Post-Independence, Tamil Nadu was the first state to introduce the MDM scheme in the 1960s.
- The Central scheme to provide meals to school children began in 1995, however, most states just limited themselves to providing dry rations.
Supreme Court Order: The Game Changer
- A Supreme Court order of 2001 provided for all states to introduce cooked meals.
- The Supreme Court order specified the states to provide “at least 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days in a year”.
Supreme Court on MDM during Pandemic
- The SC alerted state governments “Non-supply of nutritional food to the children as well as lactating and nursing mothers may lead to large-scale malnourishment, particularly in rural and tribal areas.”
- Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter the Court asked states to ensure that “schemes for nutritional food for children are not adversely affected”.
Has the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme helped?
- Research has shown how hot, cooked food attracted students to schools and improved their nutritional status.
- MDM has been proven to attract children from disadvantaged sections (especially girls, Dalits and Adivasis) to school.
- Along with Improvement of regularity, educational and nutritional benefits, socialisation benefits and benefits to women are also highlighted.
- Hence, the main positives of this scheme are:
- Avoiding classroom hunger.
- Increased school enrolment and attendance.
- Improved socialisation among castes.
- Reducing malnutrition.
- Empowering women through employment.
About the recent study on long term impact of MDM scheme
- Girls who had access to the free lunches provided at government schools, had children with a higher height-to-age ratio than those who did not.
- The prevalence of stunting was significantly lower in areas where the mid scheme was implemented in 2005.
- The linkages between midday meals and lower stunting in the next generation were stronger in lower socio-economic strata and likely work through women’s education, fertility, and use of health services.
Criticism of MDM scheme and Implementation
- Despite the success of the program, child hunger as a problem persists in India, 42.5% of the children under 5 are underweight.
- Some simple health measures such as using iodised salt and getting vaccinations are uncommon in India.
- Many children don’t get enough to eat, which has far-reaching implications for the performance of the country as a whole.
- A 2005 study found that Caste based discrimination continued to occur in the serving of food.
- Media reports have also highlighted several implementation issues, including irregularity, corruption, hygiene, caste discrimination, etc.
- Poor food quality is a major concern, affecting the health of children (as many media reports show students falling sick dur to lapses in quality checking and control). There are provisions for regular social audit, field visits and inspections but these are seldom carried out.
- The schools do not function during holidays and vacations which deprives children of their one daily meal.
PM Poshan Shakti Nirman scheme is not to be confused with: Poshan Abhiyaan
- The term ‘POSHAN’ in the name of the programme stands for ‘Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition’.
- POSHAN Abhiyaan launched in 2018 aims at improving the nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers.
- According to ‘Mission 25 by 2020’, the National Nutrition Mission aims to achieve a reduction in stunting from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.
- POSHAN Abhiyaan focuses on convergence among partner Ministries leveraging technology and Jan Andolan among other things, to address issue of malnutrition comprehensively.
- Near-real time reporting by field functionaries and improved MIS is aimed at smooth implementation of scheme and better service delivery.
- It also targets stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and low birth rate.
- It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and utilize existing structural arrangements of line ministries wherever available.
- Its large component involves gradual scaling-up of interventions supported by on-going World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country by 2022.
- Its vision is to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.
- Implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan is based on the four-point strategy/pillars of the mission:
- Inter-sectoral convergence for better service delivery
- Use of technology (ICT) for real time growth monitoring and tracking of women and children
- Intensified health and nutrition services for the first 1000 days
- Jan Andolan
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA)
Focus: GS III- Security Challenges
Why in News?
The number of terrorist organisations listed in the First Schedule to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) in the country is 42 and the number of organisations declared as Unlawful Associations under the UAPA is 13.
- So far, 31 individuals have been listed as terrorists under Schedule Four of the Act.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967
- The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) of 1967 is an upgrade on the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act TADA (which lapsed in 1995) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act – POTA (which was repealed in 2004).
- Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
- The National Integration Council appointed a Committee on National Integration and Regionalisation to look into, the aspect of putting reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
- The agenda of the NIC limited itself to communalism, casteism and regionalism and not terrorism.
- However, the provisions of the UAPA Act contravenes the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Bill, 2019
- The original Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, dealt with “unlawful” acts related to secession; anti-terror provisions were introduced in 2004.
- It provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, among other things.
Key Provisions of the Amendment
- The Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
- Under the Act, the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it:
- commits or participates in acts of terrorism
- prepares for terrorism
- promotes terrorism
- is otherwise involved in terrorism
- The word “terror” or “terrorist” is not defined.
- However, a “terrorist act” is defined as any act committed with the intent –
- to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India
- to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country
- The central government may designate an individual as a terrorist through a notification in the official gazette.
- The Bill empowers the officers of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
- Under the Act, an investigating officer can seize properties that may be connected with terrorism with prior approval of the Director General of Police.
Some Concerning Points about the designation of someone as terrorist
- The government is NOT required to give an individual an opportunity to be heard before such a designation.
- At present, legally, a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
- In this line, an individual who is convicted in a terror case is legally referred to as a ‘terrorist’.
- And those suspected of being involved in terrorist activities are referred to as ‘terror accused’.
- The Bill does NOT clarify the standard of proof required to establish that an individual is involved or is likely to be involved in terrorist activities.
- The Bill also does not require the filing of cases or arresting individuals while designating them as terrorists.
Issues with UAPA
- UAPA gives the state authority vague powers to detain and arrest individuals who it believes to be indulged in terrorist activities. Thus, the state gives itself more powers vis-a-vis individual liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
- UAPA empowers the ruling government, under the garb of curbing terrorism, to impose indirect restriction on right of dissent which is detrimental for a developing democratic society. The right of dissent is a part and parcel of fundamental right to free speech and expression and therefore, cannot be abridged in any circumstances except for mentioned in Article 19 (2).
- UAPA can also be thought of to go against the federal structure since it neglects the authority of state police in terrorism cases, given that ‘Police’ is a state subject under 7th schedule of Indian Constitution.
How can the names be removed?
- Application – The Bill seeks to give the central government the power to remove a name from the schedule when an individual makes an application.
- The procedure for such an application and the process of decision-making will also be decided by the central government.
- If an application filed is rejected by the government, the Bill gives the person the right to seek a review within one month of rejection.
- Review committee – Under the amendment Bill, the central government will set up a review committee.
- It will consist of a chairperson (a retired or sitting judge of a High Court) and 3 other members.
- It will be empowered to order the government to delete the name of an individual from the schedule that lists “terrorists”, if it considers the order to be flawed.
- Apart from these two avenues, the individual can also move the courts challenging the government’s order.
About the Increasing UAPA cases
- According to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Parliament in March, a total of 1126 cases were registered under UAPA in 2019, a sharp rise from 897 in 2015.
- UAPA, in relaxing timelines for the state to file chargesheets and its stringent conditions for bail, gives the state more powers compared to the Indian Penal Code.
- Union Home Ministry presented data in the Rajya Sabha, based on the 2019 Crime in India Report compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which showed that only 2.2 % of cases registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act between the years 2016-2019 ended in convictions by court.
- As many as 1948 persons were arrested under the UAPA in 1226 cases registered across the country in 2019. Such cases registered in 2015-2018 stood at 897, 922, 901 and 1182 and the number of those arrested was 1128, 999, 1554 and 1421 respectively.
Active Pharma Ingredients (API)
Focus: GS II- Health
Why in News?
India is the third largest player globally in Pharmaceuticals in terms of volume and is the largest supplier of low cost generics and vaccines to the world.
- The Government is also taking steps in the form of various schemes to attract investments in pharmaceuticals and medical devices sectors, including for the Active Pharma Ingredients (API) manufacturing.
The details of the scheme bolstering the Active Pharma Ingredients (API) manufacturers in India is given below:
(i) Production Linked Incentive Scheme for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSMs)/ Drug Intermediates (DIs)/ Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in India.
- The Union Cabinet approved the scheme with the objective to boost domestic manufacturing of identified KSMs, DIs and APIs. The tenure of the scheme is from FY 2020-21 to 2029-30, with the total financial outlay of Rs. 6,940 crores.
- The Financial incentive under the sub-scheme is provided on sales of 41 identified products categorized into four Target Segments.
PLI Scheme for Pharmaceuticals: –
- Eligible drugs under this scheme approved include Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients among other categories of pharmaceutical products.
- The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs. 15,000 crore and the tenure of the scheme is from FY 2020-2021 to 2028-29.
Scheme for Promotion of Bulk drug parks
- The scheme of “Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks” provides for support to establish three Bulk Drug Parks for creation of world class Common Infrastructure Facilities (CIF).
- The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs. 3000 crores. The tenure of the scheme is from FY 2020-2021 to FY 2024-2025.
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients:
- Every medicine is made up of two main ingredients — the chemically active APIs and chemically inactive, excipients, which is a substance that delivers the effect of APIs to one’s system.
- API is a chemical compound that is the most important raw material to produce a finished medicine.
- In medicine, API produces the intended effects to cure the disease. For instance, Paracetamol is the API for Crocin and it is the API paracetamol that gives relief from body ache and fever.
- Fixed-dose combination drugs use multiple APIs, while single-dose drugs like Crocin use just one API.
How an API is manufactured?
- API is not made by only one reaction from the raw materials but rather it becomes an API via several chemical compounds. The chemical compound which is in the process of becoming an API from raw material is called an intermediate.
- There are some APIs that pass “through over ten kinds of intermediates in a process when it changes from being a raw material into an API”. The long manufacturing process is continued until it is purified and reaches a very high degree of purity.