Daily Current Affairs 4th and 5th April 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. World Bank Growth Forecast
  2. NATO
  3. Indian Justice Report
  4. UN Water conference
  5. Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023
  6. PM Svanidhi
  7. Scottish Independence
  8. Facts for Prelims

      1 . World Bank Growth Forecast 

      Context: The World Bank recently released South Asia Economic Focus: Expanding Opportunities: Toward Inclusive Growth report ahead of next week’s Spring Meetings in Washington DC. 

      Key Findings of the World Bank Growth Forecast 

      • In this report, the World Bank cut India’s growth forecast for 2023-24 to 6.3% from its December estimate of 6.6% amid global headwinds and with rising borrowing costs and slower income growth leading to a moderation in consumption, though the Indian economy continues to show strong resilience to external shocks
      • While India fared better than the rest of the South Asian region, two major concerns were  :
        • The female labour participation rate, which had dropped to below 20%, and  
        • The informal sector neither becoming more productive nor shrinking. 
      • Asia’s third-largest economy recorded year-on-year growth of 4.4 per cent in October-December, down from 11.2 per cent a year back and 6.3 per cent in the preceding quarter. 
      • The finance ministry’s Economic Survey has projected economic growth to be 6.5 per cent in the 2023-24 fiscal beginning April 2023, while the RBI has projected India’s economic growth to slow down to 6.4 per cent in FY24 from 7 per cent in the previous fiscal. 
      • The World Bank estimated last fiscal year’s growth at 6.9%. It projected the current account deficit to narrow to 2.1% of gross domestic product for the current fiscal year from an estimated 3% in the previous year. 

      What are the reasons for slow growth rate? 

      • Rising borrowing costs and slower income growth will weigh on private consumption growth 
      • Government consumption is projected to grow at a slower pace due to the withdrawal of pandemic-related fiscal support measures 

      What are the concerns? 

      • Spill over from recent turmoil in financial markets in the United States and Europe pose a risk to short-term investment flows to emerging markets, including India. 
      • Tighter global financial conditions could also weigh on the risk appetite for private investment in India. 
      • Several factors responsible for India’s growth resilience such as strong infrastructure spending, export growth driven by services, improved labour market, and robust revenue collections to support public spending. 
      • The services sector — and then the construction sector — were the fastest going industries in India, according to the World Bank. Investment growth remained strong and business confidence was high in India, the report said. 
      • The government has done a lot to improve social protection, but that is by itself not enough. Ultimately, it is about increasing more opportunities in the labor market. 
      • Outlook for India’s neighbours– Sri Lanka and Pakistan , both of which have experienced economic difficulties, was bleaker. The World Bank forecast for Sri Lanka this calendar year was -4.3% (i.e., a contraction) and for Pakistan was 0.4% for the year ending June 30, 2023. 

      What is GDP? 

      • GDP measures the monetary value of final goods and services—that is, those that are bought by the final user—produced in a country in a given period of time (say a quarter or a year). It counts all of the output generated within the borders of a country 

      2 . North Atlantic Treaty Organization 

      Context: Finland joined the NATO military alliance on April 4, dealing a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a historic realignment of Europe’s post-Cold War security landscape triggered by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

      What is NATO? 

      • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 31 member states – 29 European and two North American.  
      • Established in the aftermath of World War II, the organization implemented the North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington, D.C., on 4 April 1949.  
      • NATO is a collective security system: its independent member states agree to defend each other against attacks by third parties. 
      • During the Cold War, NATO operated as a check on the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Union.  
      • The alliance remained in place after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and has been involved in military operations in the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.  
      • The organization’s motto is “animus in consulendo liber” 

      Objectives of NATO 

      • The main purpose of NATO is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members by political and military means. 

      Functions of NATO 

      • The NATO alliance includes countries in both Europe and North America, which creates an important transcontinental link that allows member nations to cooperate when it comes to defense and security.  
      • Member states also consult and work together when a multinational crisis develops involving non-members. 
      • NATO first strives to prevent conflict through diplomatic channels as part of the organization’s effort to promote democratic values and enable member states to solve problems peacefully.  
      • When diplomatic efforts fall short, NATO’s military might may be activated to engage in crisis management under the principle of collective defense, which states “an attack against one is an attack against all. 

      Signing NATO Treaty 

      • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created on April 4, 1949, with the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty as an attempt to deter Soviet expansionism, prevent nationalist militarism in Europe, and encourage European political integratio 
      • The Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom on 4 March 1947, during the aftermath of World War II and the start of the Cold War, as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of possible attacks by Germany or the Soviet Union. 
      •  In March 1948, this alliance was expanded in the Treaty of Brussels to include the Benelux countries, forming the Brussels Treaty Organization, commonly known as the Western Union.  
      • Talks for a wider military alliance, which could include North America, also began that month in the United States, where their foreign policy under the Truman Doctrine promoted international solidarity against actions they saw as communist aggression, such as the February 1948 coup d’état in Czechoslovakia. 
      • These talks resulted in the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 by the member states of the Western Union plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. 
      • The treaty contains just 14 articles :
        • Article 5: Members agree that an armed attack on any party is an attack on them all with each member taking action it deems necessary, including the use of armed force. 
        • Article 6: An armed attack on any member is defined as an attack on the territory, forces, vessels, or aircraft of any member. 


      • All agencies and organizations of NATO are integrated into either the civilian administrative or military executive roles.   
      • The civilian structure includes: 
        • The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the body which has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO, consisting of member states’ permanent representatives or representatives at higher level (ministers of foreign affairs or defence, or heads of state or government). The NAC convenes at least once a week and takes major decisions regarding NATO’s policies. 
        • NATO Headquarters, located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in the City of Brussels municipality. 
      • The military structure includes: 
        • The Military Committee (MC) is the body of NATO that is composed of member states’ Chiefs of Defence (CHOD) and advises the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on military policy and strategy. 
        • Allied Command Operations (ACO) is the NATO command responsible for NATO operations worldwide. 
        • Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces 

      Why Finland Joins NATO? 

      • Finland has a 1,340km (832 mile) land border with Russia. 
      • In 1948, it agreed to be a neutral country as part of a “friendship agreement” with the Soviet Union. 
      • When the Soviet Union collapsed, it edged closer to NATO, becoming an “official partner” of the bloc in 1994. 
      • Soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both Finland and Sweden asked to be given full entry to NATO as soon as possible. 
      • Finland adds 257,250 regular and reserve troops to NATO’s forces, and 107 combat aircraft. 

      Significance of Finland joining NATO

      • For Finland, while the country is in a better position in terms of security, it is losing out on the significant trade and tourist revenue it was making from Russia, and from its position as the West’s gateway to the East.
      • For NATO, the addition of Finland brings in a military trained to repel an attack from Russia, and, by doubling its border with the country, brings it in a better position to station weapons, including missile launchpads, closer to Russia.
      • For Russia, Finland’s move has brought NATO closer to its doors, the very thing it most strenuously opposes, and the prevention of which it had cited as one of the reasons to invade Ukraine.

      3 . International Justice Report 

      Context: Indian courts are jammed with cases and are seeing pendency increase by the day. At the same time, they are also functioning with fewer judges than the sanctioned number, the India Justice Report (IJR) 2022 said. 

      About India Justice Report 

      • The IJR is an initiative undertaken by Tata Trusts in 2019, in partnership with the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS–Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, and How India Lives.  
      • It is the culmination of quantitative research carried out over 24 months, based on data and official statistics collected from government sources. 
      • The India Justice Report ranks individual Indian states in relation to their capacity to deliver access to justice.  
      • In 2017, the Trusts brought together a group of sectoral experts — Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, Tata Institute of Social Sciences – Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy — to develop a report that would measure the structural capacity of state-based instrumentalities of the justice system against their own declared mandates.  
      • This was done with a view to pinpoint areas that lend themselves to immediate solutions. The first ever ranking was published in November 2019. 
      • 2022 Report compiles and categorises data of states and UTs, based on “four pillars” of justice delivery—the police, judiciary, prisons, and legal aid.   Each pillar was analysed through the prism of budgets, human resources, workload, diversity, infrastructure, and trends (intention to improve over a five-year period), against the state’s own declared standards and benchmark,” the report states adding that it “separately assesses the capacity of the 25 State Human Rights Commissions” as well. 

      Findings of the India Justice Report 2022 

      • Deficiency of fund– The report mentions that India’s justice system as a whole remains plagued by low budgets. This could be due to the fact that “except for two union territories, Delhi and Chandigarh, no state spends more than 1 per cent of its total annual expenditure on the judiciary.”  
        • The report further reasons that most states have not fully utilised the funds given to them by the Centre and “their own increase in spending on the police, prisons, and judiciary has not kept pace with the overall increase in state expenditure.” 
        • Despite this, the national per capita spending on police significantly increased from Rs 912 in 2017-18 to Rs 1151 in 2020-21. 
      • Justice Delivery – Out of the 18 large and medium-sized states having a population of over 1 crore each, Karnataka ranked first in “justice delivery” followed by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh, respectively. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh ranked 18 among the states with a population of over 1 crore each. 
      • Vacancy– The report flags the issue of “vacancy” in areas like the police, prison staff, judiciary, and legal aid. When it comes to the judiciary, it highlights that India has about 20,076 judges for a population of 1.4 billion, indicating a vacancy of 22 per cent among the sanctioned posts. Among high courts, there is a 30 per cent vacancy of judges, it says, adding that “only 13% of High Court judges and 35% of Subordinate Court judges are women.” 
      • Workload– On the aspect of workload in the judiciary, the report said that in 28 states, “one in every four high court cases is pending for more than five years”. Similarly, in district courts of 11 states/UTs, one in every four cases is pending for more than five years,” the report said, adding that “the population per subordinate court judge and high court judge is 71,224 persons and 17,65,760 persons respectively”. 
      • Prisons- On the subject of “prisons,” the report said that “prisons are over-occupied at over 130%”, with more than two-thirds or 77.1% of the prisoners still awaiting the completion of investigation or trial. It also said that the representation of women in prison staff is 13%. Despite this, the share of jails with video conferencing increased to 84% as opposed to the previous 60% in 2020. 
      • Police- When it comes to the “police”, the report flags the issue of inadequate women representation in the police, which currently stands at 11.75%, despite their numbers doubling in the last decade. Moreover, about 29% of the officer positions are vacant%. The police-to-population ratio is 152.8 per lakh, whereas the international standard is 222, the report also mentions. 
      • Diversity- On the subject of diversity, the IJR states that “Karnataka remains the only state to consistently meet its quota for SC, ST and OBC positions, both among Police officers and the constabulary”, whereas in the judiciary, at the Subordinate/District Court level, no state met all the three quotas. 
      • “Only Gujarat and Chhattisgarh met their respective SC quotas. Arunachal Pradesh, Telangana, and Uttarakhand met their respective ST quotas. Kerala, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana met OBC quotas,” the IJR states. 

      4 . UN Water Conference 

      Context: In a report entitled ‘Water for Sustainable Development 2018–2028’, the U.N. recognised the urgent need for action given that we are not on track to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) no. 6 for water: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. 

      About the UN water conference  

      • 2023 United Nations Water Conference held in New York on March 22-24 was the first such meeting on water after 46 years. The conference coincided with the mid-term comprehensive review of the International Decade for Action.   
      • Such international conferences serve to better align activities by governments, companies, NGOs, and funders around a few grand challenges. They also help countries learn from the experiences of others, transfer technology, and invest. 
      • The water sector is particularly prone to fragmentation because water problems tend to be local – like, say, a particular lake is polluted, a particular area gets frequently flooded or a particular slum doesn’t receive drinking water – and need local solutions. So there is an inherent problem of how we can mobilise globally to solve local water problems. 
      • The last U.N. Water Conference was held in 1977, and it was ground breaking in achieving just this. In particular, it resulted in the first global ‘Action Plan’ recognising that “all peoples, whatever their stage of development and social and economic conditions, have the right to have access to drinking water in quantities and of a quality equal to their basic needs.” 
      • This declaration led to several decades of global funding and concerted effort to provide drinking water and sanitation for all. These actions substantially reduced the population without access to safe drinking water in much of the developing world, in fact. 

      What were the conference’s outcomes? 

      • In the complexity of today’s water problems was reflected in the conference’s proceedings: a lot of talk, fragmented discussions, and no binding commitments. 
      • Instead, there were 713 diverse voluntary commitments by philanthropic donors, governments, corporations, and NGOs; 120 of these were relevant to India. They included a $50-billion commitment from the Indian government to improve rural drinking water services under its Jal Jeevan Mission. 
      • The following are some commitments announced at the event 
      • Technology – There were specific innovations in wastewater treatment or solar treatment of water in remote areas, and a number of proposals for incubation platforms, including the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, focused on water management. 
      • Data and models – Before every large investment, we must anticipate potential impact. Simulations are often important to do this, and they need large amounts of input data. Cost-effective approaches to data-generation included sensors and satellite data. Other efforts, like the World Meteorological Organisation’s Hydrological Status and Outlook System, offered data analysis tools. 
      • Knowledge sharing – Solutions to most of these problems already exist, but each region and country often reinvents the wheel. We need to accelerate cross-learning.  
      • Capacity building – Many people lack access to basic services because they are unable to advocate for themselves and because infrastructure projects are designed for and by powerful actors in society. 
      • Civil society – There were several platforms for collective action by civil society groups lobbying for changes in regulations 
      • Environmental, social, and corporate governance – The conference concluded that a big barrier to farmers and industries using water more efficiently is that they have no incentive. Specifically, farmers aren’t becoming more efficient or going pesticide-free unless consumers are willing to pay a premium for more sustainably produced goods. Effective water governance hinges on these broad areas and weaving them into the Water Action Agenda is a step.  

        5 . Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023 

        Context: Both houses of Parliament cleared the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023, paving the way for the government to enact some significant changes to the country’s antitrust regime, including swifter clearances for mergers and acquisitions (M&As). 

        Competition Act 2002 

        • The Competition Act, 2002 was enacted to promote and sustain competition in markets, protect the interest of consumers, and ensure freedom of trade for market participants.  
        • It established the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to eliminate practices having adverse effect on market competition.  
        • Under the Act, enterprises are not allowed to enter into anti-competitive agreements which can cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India or abuse their dominant position.  
        • Persons and enterprises are also not allowed to enter into a combination which causes or is likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within the relevant market in India.  

        Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023 

        • The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was introduced after reviewing the recommendations proposed by the Competition Law Review Committee. 
        • The Bill seeks to broaden the scope of anti-competitive agreements, provide for evaluation of combinations based on value of transactions, reduce the time limit for approval of combinations, and introduce settlement and commitment framework to reduce litigation. 

        Key Proposals of the Bill 

        • Regulation of combinations based on transaction value:  
          • The Act prohibits any person or enterprise from entering into a combination which may cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition.  Combinations imply mergers, acquisitions, or amalgamation of enterprises. The prohibition applies to transactions where parties involved have: (i) cumulative assets of more than Rs 1,000 crore, or (ii) cumulative turnover of more than Rs 3,000 crore, subject to certain other conditions.  
          • The amendment Bill expands the definition of combinations to include transactions with a value above Rs 2,000 crore. 
        • Time limit for approval of combinations:   The Original Act requires the CCI to pass an order on an application for approval of combinations within 210 days.  The Amendment Bill reduces this time limit to 150 days.  
        • Definition of control for classification of combinations:  For classification of combinations, the original Act defines control as control over the affairs or management by one or more enterprises over another enterprise or group.  The amendment Bill modifies the definition of control as the ability to exercise material influence over the management, affairs, or strategic commercial decisions. 
        • Anti-competitive agreements:  The Bill adds that enterprises or persons not engaged in identical or similar businesses shall be presumed to be part of such agreements, if they actively participate in the furtherance of such agreements.  
        • Settlement and Commitment in anti-competitive proceedings:  
          • Under the Act, CCI may initiate proceedings against enterprises on grounds of: (i) entering into anti-competitive agreements, or (ii) abuse of dominant position. Abuse of dominant position includes: (i) discriminatory conditions in the purchase or sale of goods or services, (ii) restricting production of goods or services, or (iii) indulging in practices leading to the denial of market access.   
          • The Amendment Bill permits CCI to close inquiry proceedings if the enterprise offers: (i) settlement (may involve payment), or (ii) commitments (may be structural or behavioural in nature).  The manner and implementation of the framework of settlement and commitment may be specified by CCI through regulations.  
        • Decriminalisation of certain offences : The amendment Bill changes the nature of punishment for certain offences from imposition of fine to penalty.  These offences include failure to comply with orders of CCI and directions of Director General with regard to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position. 

        6 . PM SVANidhi 

        Context: A total of 42.7 lakh loans amounting to ₹5,152.37 crore had been disbursed to street vendors under the PM SVANidhi scheme out of which only 3.98 lakh or 9.3% were to hawkers from the minority communities, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs told the Rajya Sabha. 

        What is PM SVANidhi? 

        • The PM SVANidhi is a micro-credit scheme which was launched by the government in 2020 to provide handholding support to street vendors to tide over pandemic-induced economic stress. It facilitates collateral-free loans of ₹10,000, with subsequent loans of ₹20,000 and ₹50,000 with 7% interest subsidy. 
        • The duration of the scheme initially was until March 2022. It has been extended till December 2024, with focus on enhanced collateral free affordable loan corpus, increased adoption of digital transactions and holistic socio-economic development of the Street Vendors and their families.  

        What are the objectives of the Scheme? 

        The scheme is a Central Sector Scheme i.e. fully funded by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs with the following objectives:  

        (i) To facilitate working capital loan up to `10,000;  

        (ii) To incentivize regular repayment; and  

        (iii) To reward digital transactions 

        The scheme will help formalize the street vendors with above objectives and will open up new opportunities to this sector to move up the economic ladder. 

        Eligibility Criteria 

        The PM SVANidhi scheme is available to all street vendors who are engaged in vending in urban areas as on or before March 24, 2020. The eligible vendors are identified as per following criteria: 

        • Street vendors in possession of Certificate of Vending/Identity Card issued by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) 
        • The vendors, who have been identified in the survey but have not been issued Certificate of Vending/Identity Card; Provisional Certificate of Vending would be generated for such vendors through an IT based Platform. ULBs are encouraged to issue such vendors the permanent Certificate of Vending and Identification Card immediately and positively within a period of one month 
        • Street Vendors, left out of the ULB led identification survey or who have started vending after completion of the survey and have been issued Letter of Recommendation (LoR) to that effect by the ULB/Town Vending Committee (TVC) 
        • The vendors of surrounding development/peri-urban/rural areas vending in the geographical limits of the ULBs and have been issued Letter of Recommendation (LoR) to that effect by the ULB/TVC. 

        Scheme Benefits  

        • Vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year. 
        • On timely/ early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on quarterly basis. 
        • There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan. 
        • The scheme promotes digital transactions through cash back incentives up to an amount of Rs. 100 per month. 
        • The vendors can avail the facility of escalation of the credit limit on timely/ early repayment of loan. 

        7 . Scottish Independence 

        Context: Last week, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was quick to reject a call from the new First Minister of Scotland and leader of the governing Scottish National Party (SNP), Humza Yousaf, to hold a second referendum for Scotland’s independence from the U.K. Mr. Yousaf took over the party’s reigns after an intense in-party contest prompted by the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon, the influential leader who led the party’s independence push for nearly a decade. 


        • The independent Kingdom of Scotland was formed in the 9th century and went on to fight wars to remain independent from the Kingdom of England.  
        • In 1603, the two kingdoms entered a personal union and were then ruled by the same monarchs.  
        • In 1707, due to economic and political vulnerabilities prevailing on both sides, the British and Scottish Parliaments passed the Acts of Union, entering into a political union under the name of Great Britain. 
        • While Scotland could retain some of its decision making powers it did not get equal representation in the united Parliament, and longstanding cultural and political differences remained.  
        • Demands for self-governance soon began to sprout, eventually leading to two referendums in 1979 and 1997, resulting in the formation of a new devolved Parliament of Scotland in 1999. This Parliament was given the mandate to form legislation on devolved issues such as health, transport, education, and so on, while the power to legislate on defence, foreign policy, trade, immigration, and currency was reserved.  
        • The last referendum for independence took place in 2014, where 55% of Scots voted to stay in the three-centuries-old union while 45% voted to walk out. 
        • A large proportion of Scots see independence from the U.K. as question of self-determination and identity. Scotland accounts for 8% of Britain’s population and economy and one-third of its landmass. 

        Why the demand for independence? 

        • The Scottish National Party (SNP) government says that people who live in Scotland should have the right to decide if they want to be an independent country.  
        • To relinquish doubts over the future of Scotland after independence, the SNP has been coming out with White Papers on its vision for “building a new Scotland”.   
        • The SNP government currently gets a bloc grant from the British government for a large part of its annual expenditure which it plans to substitute with oil revenues from the North Sea once its gets independence. It says that instead of using the North Sea oil revenues to invest in future generations, the U.K. is using them to fund its current expenses, which undermines the interests of Scots.  
        • It also plans to rejoin the EU, to expand its trade in the bloc, and to receive other associated benefits.  
        • The SNP also plans to keep using the British pound Sterling as its currency after independence. 
        • It also argues that Scotland is different from the U.K. in that its electoral system is already fairer and more proportionally represented than the U.K.  
        • It says it stands for different things — more open immigration policies, a faster push for green transition, free university education and geriatric care, taxation on higher earners, and inclusion of the LGBTQ community. 
        • It also believes that the U.K. could make other decisions like Brexit in the future that would undermine Scottish interests. 

        What is the U.K.’s stand? 

        • The British government believes that the SNP has failed to give a clearer picture on how issues of pensions and healthcare would work in an independent Scotland.  
        • It has also warned Scotland that if it rejoins the EU, it would lead to the creation of a hard border between Scotland and Britain.  
        • Before the 2014 referendum, the Economic Affairs Committee of Westminster had highlighted that the retaining of the sterling as Scottish currency would be problematic as the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England, which forms policy for the U.K., could not entertain the interests of a separate country. It also said that Scotland would find it difficult to assume its share of U.K.’s public debt, which runs into billions.  
        • Besides, the decommissioning of North Sea Oil would also have economic and trade implications for Britain. 
        • A “biggest impact” of Scotland leaving the centuries-old Union in the current geopolitical environment, would be on “perceptions of Englishness among the English themselves, who make up 85% of the U.K.’s population, and the projection of Englishness as a national identity” to the world. 
        • Recent polls show that the support for a ‘yes’ vote on independence has dropped to 39% in the country, less than it was during the 2014 referendum. 

        8 . Facts For Prelims 

        National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) 

        The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India. It was set up as an attached office of the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals (now Department of Pharmaceuticals since July, 2008) on 29th August 1997. The NPPA regularly publishes lists of medicines and their maximum ceiling prices. It has been entrusted inter-alia, with the following functions 

        • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 1995/2013  in accordance with the powers delegated to it. 
        • To undertake and/or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/formulations. 
        • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps. 
        • To collect/maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc. for bulk drugs and formulations. 
        • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority. 
        • To render advice to the Central Government on changes/revisions in the drug policy. 
        • To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing 


        Price monitoring and resource unit (PMRU) 

        • Under its program called “Consumer awareness, publicity and price monitoring (CAPPMS)” the NPPA has set up 12 Price monitoring and resource units in various States and UTs.It has planned to set up such units in all 36 states and UTs for better outreach of NPPA in the states as these units will help the NPPA and State drug controller to ensure the accessibility of drugs at affordable prices. 

        Asian Development Bank 

        • The Asian Development Bank (ADB), a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, is headquartered in Manila, Philippines. 
        • A resolution passed at the first Ministerial Conference on Asian Economic Cooperation held by the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East in 1963 set that vision on the way to becoming reality. 
        • The Philippines capital of Manila was chosen to host the new institution, which opened on 19 December 1966, with 31 members that came together to serve a predominantly agricultural region. Takeshi Watanabe was ADB’s first President. 
        • During the 1960s, ADB focused much of its assistance on food production and rural development. 
        • The bank also maintains 31 field offices around the world to promote social and economic development in Asia.  
        • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and non-regional developed countries. From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 68 members. 
        • The ADB was modelled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions. ADB releases an annual report that summarizes its operations, budget and other materials for review by the public. 
        • A DB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development. 
        • ADB maximizes the development impact of its assistance by facilitating policy dialogues, providing advisory services, and mobilizing financial resources through cofinancing operations that tap official, commercial, and export credit sources. 

        Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) 

        • Open Network for Digital Commerce, abbreviated ONDC, is a private non-profit Section 8 company established by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) of Government of India to develop open e-commerce.  
        • It was incorporated on 31 December 2021 with initial investment from Quality Council of India and Protean eGov Technologies Limited (formerly NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited). 
        • ONDC is not an application, an intermediary, or software, but a set of specifications designed  
        • To foster open interchange and connections between shoppers, technology platforms, and retailers. 
        • Technological self – reliance, demand for level playing field mainly from small retailers, lower the barrier of entry and discovery online, adoption of open digital ecosystem across key sectors and fixing the non-competitive behavior of big ecommerce firms like Amazon and Flipkart to capture the US$810 billion domestic retail market led to its creation. 
        • Designed to keep check on Big Tech companies from violating Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) (Amendment) Rules, 2021 due to concentration of market power by integrating them into an open-source decentralised network where data portability will break data silos while data interoperability will allow innovation. 

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