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Procurement of medicines in India UPSC NOTE

 Pooled procurement of medicines and its significations

  • In 1995, Tamil Nadu pioneered the centralised procurement and distribution of drugs and medicines to government hospitals across the State

  • This helped in buying drugs at a far cheaper rate due to the sheer volume of drugs procured.

  • Other States have replicated the model with varying levels of success

  • Like all vaccines supplied to the national immunisation programme at a very low cost, during the pandemic.

  • The Central government was able to procure COVID-19 vaccines at about ₹150 per dose from

Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute due to centralised procurement. 

  • The COVID-19 vaccines were priced many times more when State governments and private hospitals were asked to procure them directly from the companies.

  • The drugs included both generic and patented medicines, and the participating cancer centres  included both private and public cancer hospitals from across the country. 

  • Cost savings were most for generic drugs and less for patented drugs.

  • The concentration of demand significantly strengthened our negotiating power, while the centralised negotiation approach, combined with larger purchase quantities, allowed us to secure substantial price discount.

  • The demand for each drug was determined from the participating centres

  • Prior to tendering, the reserve price of each drug was determined by requesting the participating centres to share the cost of procurement of each drug for the previous year.

  • The lowest price for every listed drug was used as the reserve price for each drug.

  • The reserve price list was shared with all participating centres and it served as the maximum price at or below which the centres agreed to buy the drugs. 

  • All participating centres also agreed to a minimum purchase commitment based on the reserve price. 

  • The minimum purchase commitment helped in communicating to the drug companies the likely annual volumes required for each drug. 

  • This was followed by online tendering.

  • The technical evaluation of the drug companies before financial evaluation ensures that only quality drugs will be supplied.

  • Once the drug companies were selected, an agreement was signed between the companies and each cancer centre.

  • For instance, the companies were required to supply drugs to all cancer centres immaterial of their location

  • The negotiated price was valid for two years.

  • With the success of the pilot programme, more centres have now evinced interest in participating in the pooled drug procurement.

  • The drastic reduction in drug cost can in turn greatly decrease the out-of-pocket adherence to treatment even in private hospitals.

Digi Yatra

What is Digi Yatra

  • The Digi Yatra initiative aims to promote digital processing of passengers for paper-less and seamless movement through various checkpoints at airports.

  • The Digi Yatra policy was unveiled by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2018 as an entirely voluntary programme. 

  • It was rolled out from December 2022 at three airports.

  • Today, it is present at 13 airports, and will be expanded to 24 more airports in 2024.

  • The Digi Yatra app is not owned by the government.

  • But by a consortium called the Digi Yatra Foundation whose shareholders comprise the Airports Authority of India and five private airports, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi. 

  • The government does not provide any funding for its implementation, and airports are required to spend from their kitty

Objectives of Digi Yatra

  • The implementation involves an app that passengers can download. 

  • They need to provide their name, mobile, email address and Aadhaar document to register. 

  • They also have to upload a selfie so that their image can be matched with the one on the Aadhaar. 

  • These two steps lead to the creation of a digi yatra travel id

  • When passengers upload their air tickets, the digi yatra id gets updated with their travel details.

  • At airports, passengers scan their boarding pass at an e-gate and look into a camera that captures their image. 

  • Once the face verification is successful, the e-gate opens. 

  • This also creates the passenger data-set which is a combination of their facial scan and PNR

  • This data is then used as a single token at the remaining check points so that a passenger can simply zip through them with a mere facial scan without the need to produce a boarding pass. 

  • The aim is to improve operational efficiency and allow faster processing of passengers, allowing airlines to track delayed passengers and enhancing security by ensuring there is no exchange of passes among passengers or wrong boarding.

Issues about implementation

  • The government maintains that there is no central storage of a passenger’s data.

  • The data was not encrypted and stored in a secure wallet on his or her mobile device. 

  • Though the data is shared with the departure airport on the day of travel, it is purged within 24 hours. 

  • According to a detailed analysis by the Internet Freedom Foundation, the Digi Yatra policy states that the airports using the Digi Yatra Biometric Boarding System will adhere to the data protection law as mandated by the Government of India. 

  • But the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 was passed by Parliament in August 2023 and the rules are yet to be framed. 

  • The Bill has also been criticised for giving the government broad powers to exempt any of its agencies from all its provisions. 

  • Additionally, these exemptions are also granted in the Digi Yatra policy. 

  • It also provides that the Biometric Boarding System will “have an ability to change the data purge settings based on security requirements on a need basis.”


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Procurement of medicines in India UPSC NOTE
Procurement of medicines in India UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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