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Electoral Bonds Transparency
Paper : General Studies 2, General Studies 4

What is an electoral bond?
It is a bond issued in the nature of a promissory note which shall be a bearer banking instrument and shall not carry the name of the buyer or the payee.

What is the Electoral Bond Scheme?
The electoral bond scheme, notified in January last year by Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, allows the purchase of electoral bonds that a political party can receive and redeem through a bank account. The bonds can be bought at a bank in denominations ranging from Rs.1,000 to Rs. 10 million, and given to a political party, which can encash them. It was introduced to bring transparency in electoral funding.

What is the issue?
The donors remain anonymous. There is no provision to reveal who donates how much to which party. So, the electoral funding system still remains non-transparent.

What is the recent development?
Supreme Court of India has passed an interim order on a petition filed by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) directing political parties to provide complete information to the Election Commission in sealed covers on every single donor and contribution received till date.

Slowdown in Industrial Growth
Paper : General Studies 3

Why in News?
Industrial growth has slowed down in February to 0.1%. Growth in Index of Industrial Production (IIP) slowed to 1.44% Electricity sector was the only sector that saw an acceleration in growth coming in at 1.18% in February from 0.94% in January

What is Index of Industrial Production?
The all India index of Industrial Production (IIP) is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.

Who releases the IIP?
It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation six weeks after the reference month ends.

What does the IIP comprise of?
Industrial production for the purpose of IIP is divided into three sectors, i.e, Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity. In ‘Sectoral’ classification, relative weights of Manufacturing, Mining and Electricity are 75.5%, 14.2% and 10.3% respectively.

CDSCO asks manufacturers to display information on 7 common antibiotics
Paper : General Studies 2, General Studies 3

What is the issue?
The National Coordination Centre of the Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI), watchdog of the Ministry of Health, reported that adverse reactions were being reported for commonly used antibiotics.

What step has been taken?
The Central Drug Standard Control Organization has asked manufacturers to mention in leaflets inserted inside the drug packets or on promotional literature, information about the adervse reactions of these medicines.

Which are these 7 antibiotics?
Cefotaxime, Ofloxacin, Cefixime, Tranexamic Acid, Quetiapine, Sulfasalazine and Sodium Valproate are the seven drugs. ]

Malaysia approves Chinese project after price slash
Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

Malaysia announced a new agreement with China Communications Construction Co., a state owned company to take forward a suspended project -the East Coast Rail Link after costs were cut by a third.

Why is this move significant?
The East Coast Rail Link is one of the elements of the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative of China. It thus poses a big factor in the assertion of Chinese diplomatic and economic influence.

What is the Belt and Road initiative?
The Belt and Road initiative is a plan by China to connect economies across Asia, Africa and Europe by road, rail and ship. It involves construction of transport links, economic infrastructure and development of ports. It involves land corridors as well as maritime roads.

Coup in Sudan
Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

The Sudanese Army removed the incumbent President Omar al-Bashir from power. He had been ruling since a coup in 1989.

Why was he removed?
al-Bashir’s regime has been facing protests due to lack of political freedom, purging of political rivals, suppression of any protests with violent means and economic slowdown especially due to loss of oil fields to South Sudan. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes.

What is the current scenario?
Even though the President has been removed, the regime remains the same and powerful. Several protesters want to topple the regime. This is a critical juncture and it remains to be seen if protests will continue against the Army as well.

DTAB recommends notification of all medical devices under Drugs and Cosmetics Act
Paper : General Studies 2

What is the issue?
The medical device industry in India is unregulated where devices are advertised, sold, and surgically implanted under regulatory systems riddled with holes.

What is the action/advise?
The Drug Technical Advisory Board, the highest statutory decision making body on technical issues related drugs and medical devices in India, has advised that the Centre should “notify” all medical devices in the country under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act in a phased manner. Currently, the government regulates only 23 notified medical devices under the law.

What is the next step?
With the DTAB’s decision, the Health Ministry will now be required to issue either separate rules or an executive order based on these recommendations and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), the country’s medical device regulator, will implement the rules thereafter.