Mains Marathon Tutorial

Answer-Writing Practice: Read this to avoid Mistakes

Mains Marathon 2017 has started. Daily answer writing practice is very important. The key to prepare for Civil Services Examination 2017 is Reading Current Affairs on a daily basis and continuous answer writing practice. For Reading Current Affairs on a daily basis, we have Must Read Articles from NewspaperThe 9 PM Brief and Daily Editorials. For Answer writing practice, start answering in Mains Marathon 2017.


Read the Article below on how to start Answer-Writing Practice and avoid mistakes:

Answer writing

Answer writing is the main tool & practicing is the key for perfection in mains examination. The article below addresses some of the Unanswered Questions of every aspirant regarding Mains Answer writing.

How is it different from answering our university papers?
What should be done to score high?
How should we start as a beginner?
How to balance our approach in answers?

Lets see the above questions one by one.

How is it different from answering our graduation papers?


In University theory papers one can write as much as he/she can. But in CSE-Mains, there is a fixed word limit and it is expected from you that you would not cross that limit. The trick is that in UPSC, You have to touch every aspect of the question and have to frame it within that limit. Though this will be difficult in the beginning good practice will help a lot.


In university paper, both matter but in CSE -quantity is fixed and quality only rules.


In university exams questions are quite repetitive but in CSE ,No one knows.


University is better of passing you and sending you out … less work load, better statistical image.Government is better of keeping you out … coz if you are not knowledgeable and you get through you turn into a long term liability

What should be done to score high?

  • Answers should be multifaceted.
  • Try and keep the introduction and conclusion very short.
  • Avoid reiteration of the similar thoughts
  • Use as many concepts as possible especially for your optional papers.
    For example:-While writing about top down model of globalization or modernization One can use Durkheims concepts of Anomie or Ogburn’s concept of Cultural Lag. Or say while answering a question on grassroots democracy, one can write about Ambedkar and Gandhi’s debate
  • Give as many examples as possible to support your view. Try to have a contemporary relevance to you answer.
  • Write in very simple English, Academic jargons is not appreciated by UPSC.
  • Your answers need to be more dynamic and holistic. As UPSC says “The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
  • Write answers directly; do not beat around the bush. Some punctuation marks like this one (;) play a crucial role.

How should we start as a beginner?

  • As a beginner starting from point zero one can buy previous years question paper module and attempt some questions daily, moreover the questions from NCERT too will help.
  • Start writing answers as and when you study, don’t wait for the whole or even sufficient amount of syllabus to be finished.
  • Say you are studying polity and finished President, soon after, check previous years’ papers on this topic and try to answer as many as you wish, you could pick a single question that is the easiest for you and start answering on a piece of paper.You might not be able to answer questions that involve president and the prime minister as you wouldn’t have covered the latter yet. You can skip such questions for later.

How to balance our approach in answers?

  • For a balanced answer that too within the specified word limit -you first need a reasonable level of knowledge base.
  • First read and learn a topic. Attempt simple questions, Commit mistakes again and again while practising. Practice makes it perfect.
  • When a Question is asked to present your views try to give a generalist’s view. Sometimes you need not to give your suggestion, but you are expected to present existing facts in the present context. For e.g. Instead of writing ‘I feel’,it is better to write ‘it is felt….’.
  • If they are asking what innovation means, then a simple definition with one relevant example will be better rather than explaining it with lot of jargon/theory/models.
  • Also while writing for a particular paper do not think that you can write points from that particular syllabus only. Take a holistic view, broaden your outlook, Use relevant concepts/knowledge from other subjects also.
  • Communication skill, command over a language etc are known as SOFT Skills. A good vocabulary is needed to articulate your thought in a precise manner.

    All the best. Keep writing 🙂


Mains Marathon

Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – December 22

Read the following questions and answer them by clicking on the links in not more than 200 words

Time: 30-40 Minutes

Kindly review each others answers, so that everyone improves.

1.East coast of India is highly vulnerable to cyclones. Discuss the causes and suggest suitable measures of mitigation.

भारत का पूर्वी तट चक्रवात से अत्यधिक संवेदनशील है। इसके कारणों पर चर्चा करें और शमन का उपयुक्त उपाय सुझाएँ।


2.With a brief overview of Challenges faced by port sector of India, introduce the objectives and features of Sagar Mala project.

भारत के बंदरगाह क्षेत्र द्वारा सामना किये गए चुनौतियों के अवलोकन के साथ, उद्देश्यों और सागर माला परियोजना की सुविधाओं पर प्रकाश डालें।

Link-1 | Link-2

3.What is big data analytics? How can it be useful in dealing with the social issues faced by India?

‘बीग डेटा’ विश्लेषण क्या है? यह कैसे भारत के सामाजिक मुद्दों से निपटने में उपयोगी हो सकता है?




Must Read News Articles – December 14


The Hindu

Front Page / NATIONAL

Centre to finance digital discounts: Public sector insurers, oil-marketing firms and others not to take a hit for cashless push.

Urjit Patel to appear before House panel on Finance: Members said questions to Mr. Patel would focus on the reasons for the decision, data on just how much black money has actually been wiped out of the system, and the maintenance of status quo as far as interest rates were concerned, despite liquidity flowing into the system.

Venezuela warns about cybercrime: Venezuela, which like India has withdrawn its highest currency note from the market, has cautioned New Delhi about cybercrimes that target the digital economy.


Why ‘cashless’ may be the new normal: The demonetisation drive is not so much about curbing black money. Consider the likely outcomes of a cashless society, and read back from them the intent behind such a move.

More than a BIT of protectionism: Termination of BITs by India will not impact existing foreign investment in India.

Free flow of wheat: The Centre’s decision to waive import duty on wheat has predictably attracted flak.


Centre to review IT Act to bolster cybersecurity: The government is mulling a review of the more than 15-year-old Information Technology (IT), Act to strengthen cyber security infrastructure, following the push for digital payments post-demonetisation.

IBSA meet may see pact to boost trade: The proposal for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the two separate customs unions involving Brazil and South Africa – MERCOSUR and SACU respectively – to boost trade and investment ties, is set to get a leg up with New Delhi likely to accord it priority at the forthcoming IBSA Summit.

Science and Technology

‘War against malaria far from over’WHO records 212 million new cases in 2015; India among countries worst-affected.

Indian Express

No proof required: Demonetisation dispassionately demystified: Politicians shouting shrill about demonetisation augur well for the prospects of a new demonetised India. It indicates that the initiative is working.

Live Mint

The perils of the cashless economy narrative: Digitization alone will not justify the political and economic risk attached to the currency swap.

A level playing field for debtors and creditors: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 can make credit cheaper, its sources wider and engender corporate accountability.

Spare a thought for Big Pharma: Big Pharma, even if it is driven by avarice rather than public good, is our best punter to make the kind of bets needed to fight diseases like Alzheimer’s.


New Governance Program Pragati – Proactive Governance and Timely Implementation.

What is it ?

New governance Reform initiative  Pragati –  Proactive Governance and Timely Implementation. It is touted to be a credible mechanism for redressal of public grievances.

Features of the program

– Three major objectives of the program

  • grievance redressal
  • project implementation
  • project monitoring

For this an IT  based redressal and monitoring system has been designed i.e the Pragati IT platform .

– It will be a monthly conference call with state chief secretaries and secretaries of the Union government for the speedy redressal of grievances and monitoring and implementation of projects. The Pragati sessions will take place every fourth Wednesday.

– It is to see that programmes and projects launched by the central and state governments are monitored properly for timely implementation and desired outcome. For holistic development of the country, it is necessary to facilitate from central government level the projects of the states.

How will it work ?

– Programme will be tied together by technology, with information on projects being available at a click.

– Every month, 7 days prior to the meeting, the issues to be tackled will be uploaded into the system. Hence, secretaries and state chief secretaries will be able to view them in advance. They will be able to add their comments and updates on the issues flagged in the system before itself. The PMO’s team will then review all the comments and updates a day before the meetings.

– The design is that when the PM reviews the issue he should have on his screen the issue as well as the latest updates regarding the same. During the interaction, PM will discuss and understand the problem areas and will give suitable directions. These directions will remain in the system for further follow-up and review till finality of the matter.


The initiative could give rise to concerns about the Centre- State framework. The system may be seen as bypassing the chief ministers. The move has been criticized for not respecting the federal structure of the country.

However, the Pragati programme will attempt to find solutions for issues picked up from the available data base regarding public grievances, on-going programmes and pending projects. This new system of governance will definitely give a boost to government projects that have been publicized due to their delays. The need of the hour is speedy implementation and completion of government projects.


Major Highlights of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 Passed by Parliament

The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was passed by the Parliament. The passage of the Bill paved the way for major reform related amendments in the following acts : –

  • Insurance Act, 1938
  • The General Insurance Business (Nationalization) Act, 1972
  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) Act, 1999.

I have prepared this post with inputs from PIB. Have a look at the major highlights of the changes that the amendment will bring.

1. . The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act 2015 to  will replace the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.

2. The amendment Act will remove archaic and redundant provisions in the legislations and incorporate certain provisions to provide Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) with the flexibility to discharge its functions more effectively and efficiently.

3. Provides for enhancement of the foreign investment cap in an Indian Insurance Company from 26% to an explicitly composite limit of 49% with the safeguard of Indian ownership and control. The enactment of the bill will also raise the foreign investment cap in the pension sector since it was linked to the ceiling in the insurance sector at the time of the passage of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority bill in 2013.

4. Capital Availability: It will enable capital raising through new and innovative instruments under the regulatory supervision of IRDAI. Greater availability of capital for the capital intensive insurance sector would lead to greater distribution reach to under / un-served areas, more innovative product formulations to meet diverse insurance needs of citizens, efficient service delivery through improved distribution technology and enhanced customer service standards. . It would also boost infrastructure funding since only an insurance corpus can fund long-gestation public works projects.

Four public sector general insurance companies had to be 100 % government owned as per The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 (GIBNA, 1972). They are now allowed to raise capital. This is due to the need for expansion of the business in the rural and social sectors, meeting the solvency margin for this purpose and achieving enhanced competitiveness. But government equity will not be less than 51% at any point of time.

5. Consumer Welfare: It will enable the interests of consumers to be better served through provisions like those

  • Enabling high penalties on intermediaries / insurance companies for misconduct, mis-selling and misrepresentation by agents / insurance companies
  • Disallowing multilevel marketing of insurance products in order to curtail the practice of mis-selling.

This could act as a deterrent against the rampant mis-selling menace which has resulted in many policyholders being duped into buying unsuitable products.

6. Empowerment of IRDAI: The Act will entrust responsibility of appointing insurance agents to insurers and provides for IRDAI to regulate their eligibility, qualifications and other aspects. It enables agents to work more broadly across companies in various business categories. The safeguard being that conflict of interest would not be allowed by IRDAI through suitable regulations.

IRDAI is empowered to regulate key aspects of Insurance Company operations in areas like solvency, investments, expenses and commissions and to formulate regulations for payment of commission and control of management expenses.

It empowers the Authority to regulate the functions, code of conduct, etc., of surveyors and loss assessors. It also expands the scope of insurance intermediaries to include insurance brokers, re- insurance brokers, insurance consultants, corporate agents, third party administrators, surveyors and loss assessors and such other entities.

Further, properties in India can now be insured with a foreign insurer with prior permission of IRDAI, which was earlier to be done with the approval of the Central Government.

7. Health Insurance: The amendment Act defines ‘health insurance business’ inclusive of travel and personal accident cover and discourages non-serious players by retaining capital requirements for health insurers at the level of Rs. 100 Crore, thereby paving the way for promotion of health insurance as a separate vertical.

8. Promoting Reinsurance Business in India: The amended law enables foreign re-insurers to set up branches in India and defines ‘re-insurance’ to mean “the insurance of part of one insurer’s risk by another insurer who accepts the risk for a mutually acceptable premium”. It excludes the possibility of 100% ceding of risk to a re-insurer, which could lead to companies acting as front companies for other insurers. Entry of reinsurance companies into the Indian market will bring in knowledge and expertise together with underwriting capacities. Must be wondering what re-insurance is ? Re-insurance means that multiple insurance companies share risk by purchasing insurance policies from other insurers to limit the total loss the original insurer would experience in case of a disaster. By spreading risk, an individual insurance company can take on clients whose coverage would be too great of a burden for the single insurance company to handle alone.

9. Strengthening of Industry Councils: The Life Insurance Council and General Insurance Council have now been made self-regulating bodies by empowering them to frame bye-laws for elections, meetings and levy and collect fees etc from its members. Inclusion of representatives of self-help groups and insurance cooperative societies in insurance councils has also been enabled to broad base the representation on these Councils.

10. Robust Appellate Process: Appeals against the orders of IRDAI are to be preferred to SAT as the amended Law provides for any insurer or insurance intermediary aggrieved by any order made by IRDAI to prefer an appeal to the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT).

Thus, the amendments are in tune with the evolving insurance sector scenario and regulatory practices across the globe. The amendments will enable IRDAI to create an operational framework for greater innovation, competition and transparency, to meet the insurance needs of citizens in a more complete and subscriber friendly manner. The amendments are expected to enable the sector to achieve its full growth potential and contribute towards the overall growth of the economy and job creation.


All you need to know about Soil Health Card Scheme

Deteriorating soil health has been a cause of concern and that has been leading to sub optimal utilization of farming resources. Soil health needs to be assessed at regular intervals so as to ensure that farmers apply the required nutrients while taking advantages of the nutrients already present in the soil.

A new centrally sponsored nation-wide ‘Soil Health Card’ scheme has been rolled out for the same.

What is Soil Health Card Scheme ?

• Soil Health card will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients, fertilizers required for farms of different soil types and will make it possible for farmers to improve productivity through judicious use of inputs. It will list the vital components of a particular patch of land. It will contain detailed information on various minerals present on the land, suitable crops, fertilizers to be used, and also whether the land is acidic or alkaline.

•  Thus  the card will contain all basic information and recommendations for the farmers which will help in improving productivity by using appropriate inputs. A Soil Health Card also displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms. The indicators are typically based on farmers’ practical experience and knowledge of local natural resources.

• A computerized system is being developed to allow local agriculture science centers across the country to keep details of soil test results. Soil samples will be collected even from small tract of farm land in remote village.

• All soil samples will be tested in various soil testing labs across the country. After which the experts will analyze the strength and weaknesses (micro-nutrients deficiency) of the soil and suggest measures to deal with it. The result and suggestion will be displayed in the cards.

• The scheme will provide all 145 million farm owners in the country with a soil health card in the next three years. They will be provided assistance by Krishi Vigyan Kendra.

Why the need ?

• Imbalanced use of fertilisers, low addition of organic matter and non-replacement of depleted micro and secondary nutrients over the years, has resulted in nutrient deficiencies and decrease in soil fertility in many parts of the country. It is fueled by a skewed fertilizer policy where urea is heavily subsided, leading to overuse.

• In absence of knowledge about soil health and adequate fertilizer recommendations, farmers often adopt excessive use of nitrogen which not only deteriorates the quality of agricultural products but also enhances nitrate content in ground water and creates several environmental problems.



• It will help the farmers in identifying health of the soil . Thus help in improving productivity through judicious and selective use of fertilizers and water.



Functions of NITI Aayog

I’ve prepared this article with excepts from the official press release of Niti Aayog. As a dedicated Think Tank of the Government, Niti Aayog will carry out the ‘directional’ role, strategically charting the future of the nation.

Functions of Niti Aayog as envisioned by the institution are : –

1. Cooperative and Competitive Federalism

  • Primary platform for operationalizing Cooperative Federalism by enabling States to have active participation in the formulation of national policy, as well as achieving time-bound implementation of quantitative and qualitative targets.
  • Replacement of the one-way flow of policy from centre-to-state. Systematic and structured interactions between the Union and State Governments, to better understand developmental issues and forge a consensus on strategies and implementation mechanisms.
  • Cooperation would be further enhanced by the vibrancy of Competitive Federalism with the Centre competing with the States and vice versa, and the States competing with each other, in the joint pursuit of national development.

2. Shared National Agenda

  • Evolve a shared vision of national development priorities and strategies, with the active involvement of States. This will provide the framework ‘national agenda’ for the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to implement.

3. State’s Best Friend at the Centre

  • Support States in addressing their own challenges, building on strengths and comparative advantages. This will be through coordination with Ministries, championing their ideas at the centre, providing consultancy support and building capacity.

4. Decentralized Planning

  • Restructure the planning process into a bottom-up model.
  • Empower States, and guide them to further empower local governments
  • Develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level, which are progressively aggregated up the higher levels of government.

5. Vision & Scenario Planning

  • Design medium and long-term strategic frameworks across all sectors.
  • Identify critical gaps and harness untapped potentialities.
  • Constantly monitor for necessary mid-course recalibration and incorporate evolving trends and addressing emerging challenges.
  • Fundamental transition from merely planning for where the nation’s money goes, to planning where we want the Nation to go.

6. Domain Strategies

  • Build a repository of specialized domain expertise , imbibe good governance measures nationally and internationally  to assist Central and State governments.

7. Network of Expertise

  • Main-stream external ideas and expertise into government policies and programmes through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and other partners. This would entail being Government’s link to the outside world.

8. Knowledge and Innovation hub

  • Be an accumulator as well as disseminator of research and best practices on good governance, through a Resource Centre which identifies, analyses, shares and facilitates replication of the same.

9. Harmonization

  • Facilitate harmonization of actions across different layers of government through communication, coordination, collaboration and convergence amongst all stakeholders. The emphasis will be on bringing all together on an integrated and holistic approach to development.

10. Conflict Resolution

  • Provide a platform for mutual resolution of inter-sectoral, inter-departmental, inter-state as well as centre-state issues.
  • Facilitate consensus acceptable and beneficial to all, to bring about clarity and speed in execution.

11. Coordinating interface with the World

  • Be the nodal point for strategically harnessing global expertise and resources from multilateral platforms , nations etc.

12. Internal Consultancy

  • Offer an internal consultancy function to central and state governments on policy and program design , specialised skills such as structuring and executing Public Private Partnerships.

13. Capacity building

  • Enable capacity building and technology up-gradation across government, benchmarking with latest global trends and providing managerial and technical knowhow.

14. Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Monitor the implementation of policies and programmes, and evaluate their impact through tracking of performance and evaluations. This will help  to identify weaknesses and bottlenecks for necessary course correction. It will also enable data-driven policy making encouraging greater efficiency as well as effectiveness.

Reforms required in higher education ; Choice based Credit System

Higher Education  paves the path for growth and is a generator of ultimate knowledge and innovation. India’s Higher education sector should come in pace with global standards benchmarks

Rising costs of higher education and the changing profile of education seekers, aided by technological innovation are leading to the creation of alternative models of knowledge dispensation. Central universities have the responsibility to lead the transformative processes of India’s higher education system.

Reforms that need to be brought in are : –

(1) Steps to create an eco-system for research and innovation : – The recently launched Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching will set performance standards and create world-class facilities for innovative teaching. There should be an increased stress on publication and research papers which will help in improving quality by leaps and bounds.

(2) Capacity development of faculty, alumni participation and use of technology.

(3) Deepen engagement of Central Universities with community and address the growing disparity between cities and villages. Increase capacity and intake in the higher educational institutions. In many fields we are stagnating like pure sciences. Increasing attention needs to be paid to that now.

(4) Creating international and national networks for quality education : – Under Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), the HRD Ministry has asked Central Universities for a list of eminent scholars and researchers for inviting them as guest speakers or scholars. An e-platform needs to be developed to facilitate scholars from within and outside the country to log in their details. It shall, in due course, lead to creation of a robust database of global experts for the Indian higher education system. There will be constraint for resources. But a balance needs to achieved between international and domestic resources. Young academicians within the nation should be encouraged.

(5) A blended Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) strategy and SWAYAM (Study Web of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) could pave the way for speed, scale and efficiency for teaching in the higher education system.

(6) Central Universities must establish Innovation clubs , Inspired Teachers’ Network, and Industry-interface cells within the stipulated time.

(7) In addition to international rankings, the universities should attempt ratings on a National Ranking Framework which needs to be expeditiously developed

(7) Adoption of Choice Based Credit System.

CBCS provides choice for students to select from the prescribed courses.  The credit based semester system provides flexibility in designing curriculum and assigning credits based on the course content and hours of teaching. The choice based credit system provides a ‘cafeteria’ type approach in which the students can take courses of their choice, learn at their own pace, undergo additional courses and acquire more than the required credits, and adopt an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Mobility should be provided to students. If they want to transfer from Institute A to B, his credits should also be transferred.

Choice Based Credit System must be implemented from the academic year 2015-16 in all Central Universities. Each Central university will set up a Community Development Cell which will identify at least 5 villages in its vicinity for adoption as model villages by the university.

Prerequisites for CBCS : – Besides introduction of semester system, restructuring of syllabi in the form of modules, standardisation of examinations and switching over from numerical marking system from grading system are among the prerequisites for the introduction of the choice-based credit system.

Problems : – normal tendency is to move from not so well known institution to better ones. Peripheral universities might be sidelined and it will also create institutional pressure and infrastructural bottlenecks to the target institute/university.

Hurried implementation of drastic restructuring without rigorous academic scrutiny will fail the responsibility that the university has towards students.

(8) Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) should be implemented properly. It addressed the overall quality of existing State higher educational institutions. Improve it by ensuring their conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework. Certain academic, administrative and governance reforms are a precondition for receiving funding under RUSA. Under RUSA, participating States are permitted to mobilize 50% of the State contribution of funding through Public-Private Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibility funds, philanthropic contributions etc.

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Disaster Management – How to build Resilience ?

India’s disaster management system has seen a significant shift from a relief-driven response to being more proactive, with an emphasis on disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. It has been a decade to Disaster Management Act, 2005. Considering the recent trend of increased natural disasters , what should India focus on now ?

India must focus on building resilience. Resilience according to IPCC is the ability to anticipate, absorb, accommodate, or recover from the effects of a hazardous event in a timely and efficient manner, including through ensuring the preservation, restoration, and/or improvement of its essential basic structures and functions. For example, consider the case of Orissa. It has invested greatly in structures and their functions. There is a need to learn from past disasters and improve functional capabilities to cope with future disasters.

How to build resilience ?

• States should have a functional SDMA, a State Executive Committee (SEC) and District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA). They can enable states to focus on long-term disaster risk management and build capacities to deal with disaster, both within the government as well as among the citizens . The exercise of designing disaster management plans by districts will enable states to better understand and know in advance which districts or blocks are more prone to disasters, and which are better prepared to handle them. It will also assist the states in mapping processes and identifying deficiencies in infrastructure. Such information can be stored in databases that will help to prioritise mitigation activities. Thus improving the preparedness of high-risk zones to face disasters.

• There is a need to integrate  the Panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies  in disaster risk planning and management. They could play a significant role not only in planning, but also help in tapping the traditional wisdom of local communities. For more proactive participation they should be adequately trained  to prepare for and respond to major threats from multiple disasters.

Involving the community in risk identification, risk planning and risk management will enable the joint development of adequate measures and plans. It will also provide a sense of collective responsibility for mitigating vulnerability and risk. In Odisha, the multipurpose cyclone shelters built along the coastlines are managed and maintained by the community.

Awareness building and communication in a pre-disaster phase must include the following :

  • Preparedness messages through newspaper, radio, television, mobile phones, and internet and conducting public information campaigns
  • training in disaster response for community groups and institutions
  • early warning systems
  • evacuation routes
  • demarcation of safety zones

Through a robust communication strategy, a safety culture within the community would be inbuilt enabling them to be aware of what to do at the onset of a disaster and also support efforts during and post disaster.



Jan Aushadhi Initiative – What will be the effect on people and pharmaceutical companies ?

What is Jan Aushadhi Initiative ?

• Central government will procure medicines in bulk from public as well as private drug manufacturing firms . It will be sold under the brand  ‘Jan Aushadhi’. These will be sold in the retail market at a competitive price, allowing consumers to buy a cheaper yet quality product from the government. 

• Government has identified 504 essential medicines, which include antibiotics, painkillers, vitamins and medicines used in treatment of cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes and gastroenterology diseases. Medicines have been identified from the top 100 drugs based on their sales.

Who will implement the project ?

• The Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India ( BPPI ), the nodal agency under the Department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) will implement this project.

Effect on People ?

• Consumers are often unable to make an informed choice for purchasing medicines. They rely on the doctor’s prescription or on chemists.  In a bid to provide relief to people who have to spent a huge amount on costly branded medicines available in the market the government is will launch its own Jan Aushadhi brand of medicines that will be comparatively cheaper than the medicines generally prescribed by the doctors. 

• The middle class people and poor people certainly will get the benefit of it by getting cheaper medicines. It will reduce the out of pocket expenditure they have to incur on health services. 

Effect on Pharmaceutical Companies ?

• It is aimed at encouraging bulk drug manufacturing and thus reduce dependence on imports. For this, setting up of clusters for small and medium-sized pharma companies has been suggested. 

• Participation will mainly come from small-scale enterprises. Keeping a strict check on quality will be a major challenge to the government.  Maintaining a transparent and efficient supply chain to distribute the products at such a large-scale seamlessly will also pose a challenge.

• Large pharma companies might not be keen to participate in this as it would disturb their existing cost structure and also directly cannibalise their products in the retail market. ja

Precautions that need to be taken

•  Enforcement of procurement norms and sampling to ensure quality control.

• Medicines need to be properly standardised and there should be no impurity . Effort should be to keep the quality at par with the international standard. Recall the Bilaspur  sterilization incident. The owner of that particular Pharmaceutical factory was an MLA, and because of some impurity in the medicines, 13 lives were lost. And therefore the quality control is the need of the hour.

What are Jan Aushadhi stores ?

• Jan Aushadhi is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals in 2008,  in association with Central Pharma Public Sector Undertakings, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses. Jan Aushadhi stores 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.

•  State Government has to provide space in Government Hospital premises for the running of the outlets- Jan aushadhi stores. The State Government has to ensure prescription of unbranded generic medicines by the Government doctors. The Jan Aushadhi Programme is accordingly a self sustaining business model not dependent on government subsidies or assistance.  It is run on the principle of “Not for Profits but with Minimal Profits”.

•  Under the present initiative, government plans to launch “Jan Aushadhi Brand” of drugs, that will be available at all stores.