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National Medical Commission (NMC)

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Why in the news?

The selection of the members of the NMC was held recently.

What is the National Medical Commission?

  • It is a statutory body setup under the National Medical Commission Act, 2019
  • It consists of 25 members selected by the Central Government.
  • Members of the NMC include: (i) the Chairperson (must be a medical practitioner), (ii) Presidents of the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Medical Education Boards, (iii) the Director General of Health Services, Directorate General of Health Services, (iv) the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, and (v) five members (part-time) to be elected by the registered medical practitioners from amongst themselves from states and union territories for a period of two years. 


What are the functions of the National Medical Commission?

The functions of the NMC include: 

  • framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals,
  • assessing the requirements of healthcare related human resources and infrastructure,
  • ensuring compliance by the State Medical Councils of the regulations made under the Act
  • framing guidelines for determination of fees for up to 50% of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities which are regulated under the Act.

The Act also sets up autonomous boards under the supervision of the NMC.  Each autonomous board will consist of a President and four members, appointed by the central government.  These boards are:

  • the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) 
  • Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB):  These Boards will be responsible for formulating standards, curriculum, guidelines, and granting recognition to medical qualifications at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels respectively. 
  • The Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB):  MARB will have the power to levy monetary penalties on medical institutions which fail to maintain the minimum standards as laid down by the UGMEB and PGMEB.  The MARB will also grant permission for establishing a new medical college, starting any postgraduate course, or increasing the number of seats.
  • The Ethics and Medical Registration Board:  This Board will maintain a National Register of all licensed medical practitioners, and regulate professional conduct.  Only those included in the Register will be allowed to practice medicine. The Board will also maintain a separate National Register for community health providers. 



Local Treatment of Urban Sewage streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS-HR)

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Why in the news?

  • A joint launch of the second phase of the Local Treatment of Urban Sewage streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS-HR) program was done by Netherlands and India.
  • In this phase, 10 thousand litres sewage water will be treated per day. Dutch and Indian companies are contributing to the project by sharing their existing technologies and will showcase how one can treat urban waste water into clean water for various purposes.

What is the LOTUS-HR programme?

  • The project was initiated in July 2017 and aims to demonstrate a novel holistic (waste) water management approach that will produce clean water which can be reused for various purposes. The innovative pilot scale modular plant upon commissioning will treat 10,000 L sewage water per day and will showcase a self-sustaining model for the end user.
  • This pilot scale facility will employ multiple technologies so that the data generated at the pilot scale becomes a tool-box of treatment technologies for replication at other sites in Delhi as well as other parts of India where similar drains exist. The rationale is that the mixing and matching of technologies from this tool-box will depend on the quantity (flow rate) and quality (pollutant load) of drain water, land availability, site accessibility as well as topography. 
  • The LOTUS-HR project is jointly supported by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research /STW, Government of Netherlands.



Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in the news?

  • Several states signed MoUs to join FASTag, paving the way for a Common Electronic Tolling System across the country
  • Under the National Electronic Toll Collection programme of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, toll collection at national highways toll plazas is done through RFID based FASTags. However, collection at state highways toll plazas is done either manually or through other tags. This leads to inconvenience for the road users. The Ministry is therefore encouraging states to come onboard FASTag, so that seamless movement of transport can be assured across the nation. 

What is FASTag?

A FASTag is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it and is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables the commuter to drive through toll plazas without stopping for cash transactions.



National Investigation Agency (NIA)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Why in the news?

The circulation of high quality Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) was one of the six major emerging challenges cited by the NIA at the national conference of chiefs of anti-terror squads of State police. The others listed by the agency are increase in Khalistani activities, collection of evidence from cyber space and capacity enhancement of cyber forensic labs.

About the NIA

  • NIA is the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India established under the NIA Act, 2008
  • NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised. The conviction rate of this anti-terrorism agency is currently 95 per cent as it has managed to convict 167 accused in the 185 cases registered by it since its inception.
  • Various Special Courts have been notified by the Central Government of India for trial of the cases registered at various police stations of NIA under Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act 2008. Any question as to the jurisdiction of these courts is decided by the Central Government. These are presided over by a judge appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court with jurisdiction in that region.
  • Supreme Court of India has also been empowered to transfer cases from one special court to any other special court within or outside the state if the same is in the interest of justice in light of the prevailing circumstances in any particular state. The NIA Special Courts are empowered with all powers of the court of sessions under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for trial of any offense.
  • The NIA is also the nodal agency for FICN related cases and has so far investigated 48 such cases, of which 13 ended in conviction.


Prelims Specific

    • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) launched a website and mobile application [Learn to Protect, Secure and Maximize Your Innovation] on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). The website and app has been developed by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM)-DPIIT in collaboration with Qualcomm and National Law University (NLU), Delhi. The modules of this e-learning platform [L2Pro India IP e-learning Platform and the L2Pro India Mobile App] will aid and enable youth, innovators, entrepreneurs and small and medium industries (SMEs) in understanding IPRs for their ownership and protection, integrate IP into business models and obtain value for their R&D efforts. The learning app has been customized for India in order to ensure that innovation which is fundamental to startups are protected, managed and commercialised.
    • Wetlab a Design challenge is jointly supported by DBT-BIRAC and Netherlands Enterprise Agency is a novel way of competition which provides a unique learning and networking platform for both Indian and Dutch young professionals and students to think differently for innovative ideas to solve India’s urban water challenges and contribute to cleaning up India’s rivers. The intent of Wetlab is focussed on making best ideas becoming an input for the realisation of the Water Experience Center that may further lead to turning the project site into an attractive center for education and technology demonstration for students, young professionals and creating opportunities for startups.
    • Sewa Service is an initiative of the Indian Railways to provide last mile connectivity using trains between small towns and major cities. 10 trains under this service will start plying from 15 October.
    • 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel more commonly called the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded jointly to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.