News Excerpt
Recently, Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing various schemes for the socio-economic and educational empowerment of six centrally notified minorities.

Minority has been defined under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992. As per Section 2 (c) of the NCM Act, “minority”, for the purposes of this Act, means a community notified as such by the Central Government. So far, six communities viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains, have been notified as minority communities by the Central Govt.
Various Schemes
Education Empowerment of Minorities
•    Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme (For Class 1 to 10th)
•    Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme (For Class 12th to PhD)
•    Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship Scheme (For Professional and Technical Courses.)
•    Free Coaching and Allied Scheme (NayaSavera) – For Competitive Examination of Professional Courses and Government Jobs.
•    Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for Meritorious Girls belonging to the six centrally notified Minorities (Maulana Azad Education Foundation).
•    “PadhoPardesh”– Scheme of Interest Subsidy on Educational Loans for Overseas Studies.
•    Nai Udaan - Support for students clearing Prelims conducted by UPSC, SSC, State Public Service Commission,

Economic Empowerment of Minorities
•    Employment-oriented Skill Development Initiatives –SeekhoAurKamao - It is a placement linked skill development programme.
•    Nai Manzil – A scheme for formal school education & skilling of school dropouts.
•    Gharib Nawaz Employment Training for providing short-term job oriented skill development courses to youths belonging to minority communities (MAEF).
•    Gharib Nawaz Employment Training for providing short-term job oriented skill development courses to youths belonging to minority communities (MAEF)

Improving living conditions of Minorities
•    Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK):- It is an area development scheme. The Ministry has identified 1300 backward Minority Concentration Areas (MCAs) for the implementation of this scheme.  It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for creating socio-economic infrastructure as well as basic amenities for uplifting the quality of life of minorities in the MCAs. The amenities are meant for all segments of the society including minorities.

Problem Faced by Minorities in India:
    Problem of Identity: Because of the differences in socio-cultural practices, history and backgrounds, minorities have to grapple with the issue of identity everywhere which give rise to the problem of adjustment with the majority community.
    Problem of Security:Different identity and their small number relative to the rest of the society develops feeling of insecurity about their life, assets and well-being. This sense of insecurity may get accentuated at times when relations between the majority and the minority communities in a society are strained or not much cordial.
    Problem Relating to Equity:The minority community in a society may remain deprived of the benefit of opportunities of development as a result of discrimination. Because of the difference in identity, the minority community develops the perception of the sense of inequity.

Way Forward
Only a coalition of the oppressed castes, classes and gender across religions can overcome communalism. But that struggle for secularization has to go along with the resistance to the majoritarian attempt to equate majority and minority communalism. The scourge and cycle of communal hatred and violence can be stopped only by ending first the history of false equivalences and selective silences.

Drug Regulation in India
News Excerpt
In a bid to ensure that all medical devices meet certain standards of quality, the Union Health Ministry recently notified medical equipment used on humans or animals as "drugs" with effect from April 1, 2020, which means that now all imported, as well as locally manufactured medical devices sold in India will be required to clearly specific safety and quality standards before they are introduced in the India market.
The Ministry, through a gazette notification, also released the Medical Devices Amendment Rules, 2020, for mandatory registration of medical devices to ensure that all medical devices meet certain standards of quality and efficacy.

•    In line with the steady growth of the industry and in line with the ‘Make in India’, initiative by the Indian Government, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), published the new Medical Device Rules, 2017, which came into force on Jan. 1, 2018.
•    The new rules have been formulated to promote domestic manufacturing and to regulate import and manufacturing in line with the GHTF (Global Harmonization Task Force) guidelines.
•    These modifications in the medical device rules of 2017 also enable Indian manufactures to export the finished high quality products from India to the world.

About The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)
    CDSCO which is under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India.  
    CDSCO is constantly thriving upon to bring out transparency, accountability and uniformity in its services in order to ensure safety, efficacy and quality of the medical product manufactured, imported and distributed in the country.
    Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, CDSCO is responsible for approval of Drugs, Conduct of Clinical Trials, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs in the country and coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organizations by providing expert advice with a view of bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
    Further CDSCO along with state regulators, is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera.

Challenges faced by Medical Device industry
    In the past, the absence of a clear and consistent regulatory framework and lack of adequate incentives and funding for manufacture devices in India has kept the industry from realizing its full potential.
    High tax rates imposed on domestic manufacturers have made investment unappealing to some foreign companies, especially given the comparatively low amount of tax levied on imported medical goods.
    It is therefore hardly surprising that foreign firms often choose to access India’s medical market without establishing a direct presence, many companies establish factories in neighboring countries and export devices into India.

Why was the move required?
    For much of the last one year, the health sector has been at the centre of attention following revelations about faulty hip implants marketed by pharma major Johnson & Johnson.
    This has caused major embarrassment to the government, too, as it exposed the lack of regulatory teeth when it came to medical devices.
    The matter dragged on, exposing the regulatory loopholes until finally the company agreed in court to pay Rs 25 lakh eachto the 67 people who had had to undergo revision surgeries because the implants were defective.
    In fact, even after Johnson & Johnson agreed in a Texas court to shell out $1 billion to settle about 6,000 lawsuits filed by patients in the US who used its “defective” pinnacle hip implants for 10 years from 2003 to 2013 before the product was withdrawn, in India it had for a very long time maintained that it had not received any adverse events report in the product.

Way Forward
The Indian pharmaceutical industry is the world’s third largest by volume of drugs. The Industry’s journey to annual revenues of about USD 38 billion today can be attributed to world-class capabilities in formulation development, the entrepreneurial ability of the firms and the vision of the industry to establish India’s footprint in large international markets such as the United States. Indian pharmaceutical companies need to take bold strategic moves into uncharted geographies, products and technologies to reclaim its position as a world-class provider of affordable high-quality drugs. Government support in the form of investments, policy support and regulatory interventions is integral to drive this innovation-led growth. IPA can help accelerate the impact by facilitating greater collaboration between the two.

United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA also provides accurate, science-based health information to the public.

Other Recent Issues
Recently, 12 children died in Udhampur district of Jammu due to poisoned cough syrup (Coldbest-PC)& many more are fighting for their life in a hospital. A team of doctors attributed the deaths to the presence of diethylene glycol in the cough syrup which was consumed by all the dead children. Diethylene glycol is an anti-freezing agent that causes acute renal failure in the human body followed by paralysis, breathing difficulties and ultimately death.This is the fourth mass glycol poisoning event in India that has been caused due to a pharmaceutical drug.

Classification of Drugs in Schedule, Hydroxychloroquine