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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India ( BPPI)

5ThAug 2020

Why in News? The Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) has found 25 batches of drugs of 18 pharmaceutical companies to be of substandard quality since January 2018.

BPPI implements the Centre’s flagship affordable medicine scheme Pradhan Mantri Janaushadhi Pariyojana  (PMBJP).

About PMBJP:

  • ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. Of India, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special kendra’s known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra.
  • Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra (PMBJK) have been set up to provide generic drugs, which are available at lesser prices but are equivalent in quality and efficacy as expensive branded drugs.
  • Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency of PMBJP.
About the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI):

·        BPPI is the implementing agency of Pradhan Mantri Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).

·        BPPI was established in December, 2008 under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India.

·        The Bureau has been registered as an independent society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 as a separate independent legal entity in April, 2010.


Salient features of the scheme:

  • Ensure access to quality medicines.
  • Extend coverage of quality generic medicines so as to reduce the out of pocket expenditure on medicines and thereby redefine the unit cost of treatment per person.
  • Create awareness about generic medicines through education and publicity so that quality is not synonymous with only high price.
  • A public programme involving Government, PSUs, Private Sector, NGO, Societies, Co-operative Bodies and other Institutions.
  • Create demand for generic medicines by improving access to better healthcare through low treatment cost and easy availability wherever needed in all therapeutic categories.


What is a Generic Medicine?

Generic medicines are unbranded medicines which are equally safe and having the same efficacy as that of branded medicines in terms of their therapeutic value. The prices of generic medicines are much cheaper than their branded equivalent.

Outreach of generic medicines:

  • With developments like more and more doctors prescribing generic medicines and opening of over 5050 Janaushadhi stores across 652 districts, awareness and availability of high quality affordable generic medicines has increased in the country.
  • About 10-15 lakh people benefit from Janaushadhi medicines per day and the market share of generic medicines has grown over three fold from 2% to 7% in last 3 years.
  • The Janaushadhi medicines have played a big role in bringing down the out of pocket expenditure of patients suffering from life threatening diseases in India.
  • The PMBJP scheme has led to total savings of approximately Rs.1000 crores for common citizens, as these medicines are cheaper by 50% to 90% of average market price.
  • The PMBJP is also providing a good source of self-employment with self-sustainable and regular earnings.




G 20 :

Why in news? Group of 20 environment ministers has recently agreed to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale.

Environment and energy ministers of the Group of 20 major economies met this weekend in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo, ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, on June 28-29.


What are the issues?

  • One of the top issues was ocean plastic waste as images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage,
  • With many countries banning plastic bags outright.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants his country to lead the world in reducing marine plastic trash, including developing biodegradables and other innovations.
  • The new framework is aimed at facilitating further concrete action on marine waste, though on a voluntary basis,
  • After the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany adopted the “G20 action plan on marine litter” in 2017.



Way  forward :

  • Under the new framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.
  • They will also share best practices, promote innovation and boost scientific monitoring and analytical methodologies.
  • Japan plans to host the first meeting under the new framework this autumn when officials of environment ministers in the G20 countries are due to meet for the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue.


About the G20 :

·        The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU).

·        Founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, the G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 and heads of government or heads of state, as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers, have periodically conferred at summits ever since.

·        It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of anyone organization. Membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union.

·        The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank. Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 90% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area.






How does G20 work?

  • The G20 agenda is annual and includes more than 50 meetings, enhanced by working groups and discussions between permanent members and guests.
  • The cycle concludes with the Leaders Summit, where a final declaration is signed by which the leaders commit themselves to address and collaborate on the issues addressed.

For example:

  • At the Hamburg Summit in 2017, the leaders agreed to limit protectionism, commit to a system of regulated international trade and favor policies that spread the benefits of globalization.
  • At the Hangzhou Summit in 2016, the leaders agreed to expand the role of the G20 to establish greater global cooperation in the fight against tax evasion and promote international collaboration to facilitate investments in green bonds.




                        International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA)

Why in news?

National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) held the five-day annual International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA) meet from June 17 to 21.

Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies.

  • The meet is a collaboration of radio astronomers from a dozen countries across the globe.
  • It uses more than 12 radio telescopes all over the world with an aim to detect ultra-low frequency gravitational waves.
  • Ultra-low frequency Gravitational Waves are wrinkles in space-time produced by two massive black holes, each revolving around the other.
  • Such black holes, which weigh billion times more than Sun, are found in the centres of colliding galaxies.
  • These waves affect radio pulses from 10km size stars called radio pulsars by changing ever so slightly the period of radio pulsation of these stars.

About the NCRA:

  • The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) of India is a premier research institution in India in the field of radio astronomy is located in Pune.
  • It is part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.
  • NCRA has an active research program in many areas of Astronomy and Astrophysics, which includes studies of the Sun, Interplanetary scintillations, pulsars, the Interstellar medium, Active galaxies and cosmology and particularly in the specialized field of Radio Astronomy and Radio instrumentation.
  • NCRA has set up the Giant Metre-wave Radio Telescope (GMRT), the world’s largest telescope operating at meter wavelengths located at Khodad, 80 km from Pune.
  • NCRA also operates the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT), which is a large Cylindrical Telescope located near Udhagamandalam, India.




Facts for Prelims:

  • Indian Roofed turtle:
  • The Indian Roofed turtle is a part of the Asian river turtle family, Geoemydidae. It is most commonly found in Southeast Asia (India, Bangladesh). It is locally known as the Kori Kaitta.
  • Indian Roofed turtles often have green shells, red or orange plastrons (underbelly that connects to shell) and black and yellow-striped heads.


  • PC4 Protein:
  • Autophagy Pathway is a molecular mechanism which recycles unnecessary or dysfunctional cell components.
  • When a cell experiences stress, its DNA gets damaged, Cells with damaged DNA can either die or can activate the autophagy pathway and recycle the damaged cell components and survive.
  • According to recent discovery absence or down regulation of a particular protein positive co-activator 4 (PC4) is responsible for enhanced autophagy.
  • Lack of PC4 protein leads to irregular nuclear shape and defects in chromosome distribution in daughter cells.
  • Men T:


The research team found a new toxin, called MenT, produced by the TB bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The researchers built an extremely detailed 3-D picture of MenT which, combined with genetic and biochemical data, showed that the toxin inhibits the use of amino acids needed by the bacteria to produce protein.


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