Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Hope for India as world's first anti-dengue vaccine approved
At a time when India is struggling with rising number of dengue cases with each passing year, the Mexican government has approved the world's first anti-dengue vaccine which is designed to protect people in the 9-45 age group from nine to 45 years from all four subtypes of the virus.
Called Dengvaxia, the vaccine has been developed by France-based Sanofi Pasteur and is the result of an extensive clinical development programme running for almost two decades.
Today, with this first marketing authorisation of Dengvaxia, we have achieved our goal of making dengue the next vaccine-preventable disease, said Olivier Brandicourt, Sanofi's managing director and chief executive officer, in a statement on Wednesday.
This is a historic milestone for our company, for the global public health community and, most importantly, for half the world's population who lives at risk of dengue," he added.
While dengue affects nearly 400 million people in endemic areas, mostly in tropical and subtropical countries in Latin America and Asia, India saw one of the worst outbreak of the deadly disease this year with 32 deaths recorded in New Delhi alone till October.
With the total number of dengue cases in the capital reaching over 12,000 in October, Delhi recorded the highest number of patients of the viral disease in 19 years, according to health authorities.
Even as Dengvaxia has become the first vaccine to be licensed in the world for the prevention of dengue, the dengue toll in West Bengal has touched 12 with the last death reported on November 5, according to state health officials.
The disease is prevalent throughout India in most of the metropolitan cities and towns. 
According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, there were more than 90,000 dengue cases reported in the country till November this year and more than 180 people died of the disease. Outbreaks have also been reported from rural areas of Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The WHO has called on endemic countries to reduce dengue mortality by 50 percent and morbidity by 25 percent by 2020.
Dengvaxia is, therefore, seen "as major innovation and a public health breakthrough".
According to a statement issued by the Mexico's health ministry, the new vaccine is 60.5 percent effective against dengue and 93.2 percent effective against severe dengue treatment.
The approval of Dengvaxia by Mexico's 's Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) is based on results from an extensive clinical development programme involving over 40,000 people of different ages, geographic and epidemiological settings and ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds living in 15 countries.
Dengue-endemic regions of Mexico participated in all three phases of the clinical development programmes for the vaccine.
This vaccine can prevent more than 8,000 hospitalisations, 104 deaths annually, and save 1.1 billion pesos ($64 million) each year in reduced costs tied to medical attention, the ministry statement added.
In Mexico, a total of 32,100 cases were registered last year, including 8,668 cases of severe dengue, which cost the country over 3.2 billion pesos ($187 million).
In India, too, a new inexpensive dengue vaccine has been developed by scientists at New Delhi-based International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), which is in animal trial stage. But human trials can start only after its efficacy has been proved.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.


RBI extends e-payment facility for imports
RBI's new circular allows authorised dealer category-l banks to offer payment facility for e-commerce players for imports by entering into standing arrangements with the online payment gateway service providers
E-commerce world has taken conventional business by a sweep and has become the new age way of doing business. Online aggregation business has re-defined the service segment from bookmybai to departmental store aggregation to online home services aggregator such as Housejoy
The ease of carrying out business through these platforms has facilitated the growth of e-commerce transactions at both the national and international level. In order to exercise regulatory control over such transactions, specifically to the cross border transactions, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) vide its circular dated 16 November 16 2010 on “Processing and Settlement of Export related receipts facilitated by Online Payment Gateways” issued a set of guidelines to cover such e-commerce arrangements. Under these guidelines, the Authorised Dealer Category- l (AD Category-l) banks were permitted to offer the facility to repatriate export related remittances only by entering into standing arrangements with online payment gateway service providers (OPGSPs) in respect of export of goods and services
However, in order to expand the ambit of e-commerce transactions, RBI has recently come up with the circular dated 24 September 2015 on “Processing and settlement of import and export related payments facilitated by Online Payment Gateway Service Providers” wherein “it has been decided to permit AD Category-l banks to offer similar facility of payment for imports by entering into standing arrangements with the OPGSPs”.
This article at length discusses the new set of consolidated guidelines applicable to both the export and import transactions routed standing arrangement between AD Category-l and OPGSPs.


The AD Category-I banks entering into standing arrangements are firstly required to report the details of each such arrangement as and when entered into to the Foreign Exchange Department, Central Office, Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai. In order to operationalise such arrangement/arrangement(s) AD Category-I banks shall ensure the following:
carry out the due diligence of the OPGSP;
maintain separate Export and Import Collection accounts in India for each OPGSP;
satisfy themselves as to the bonafides of the transactions and ensure that the related purpose codes reported to the Reserve Bank are appropriate;
submit all the relevant information relating to any transaction under such arrangements to the Reserve Bank, as and when advised to do so; and
conduct the reconciliation and audit of the collection accounts on a quarterly basis.

Mandates for operating as OPGSP

Foreign entities:
Before entering into an arrangement with the AD Category-I banks, foreign entities would be required to open liaison office in India with the prior approval of the RBI. In this regard, it will have to adhere with the following:
ensure adherence to the Information Technology Act, 2000 and all other relevant laws / regulations in force;
put in place a mechanism for resolution of disputes and redressal of complaints;
create a Reserve Fund appropriate to its return and refund policy and
onboard sellers, Indian as well as foreign, following appropriate due diligence procedure.
Also, resolution of all payment related complaints in India shall remain the responsibility of the OPGSP concerned.
Domestic entities:
Indian entities functioning as intermediaries for electronic payment transactions intending to undertake cross border transactions are required to maintain separate accounts for domestic and cross border transactions. 

Guidelines for import and export transactions

The following table enumerates the salient features of the export and import transactions undertaken through standing arrangement between the AD Category-I banks and OPGSP:
(Shruti Agarwal works as Research Associate at Vinod Kothari & Co)


CIC penalises CBSE for denying information under RTI
In an important decision, the CIC has asked CBSE to pay a penalty of Rs25,000 for harassment to a parent by denying information and also for taking undertakings from students who file RTI for answer sheets, which amounts to obstructing information
In a noteworthy and heartening decision, Central Information Commissioner Prof M Sridhar Acharyulu, has provided relief to thousands of students who are harassed by  authorities at the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which asks students to sign an illegal undertaking, if they file Right to Information (RTI) application seeking copies of answer sheets. The terms and condition of the undertaking is such that it amounts to denial of information. The CIC order has hit upon three points, which should put the CBSE in place and give students their rightful information, that is, copies of answer sheets. In the 3 December 2015 decision, Prof Sridhar has stated:
  1. That the CIC “considers that the appellant who is the father of the candidate is entitled for the copies of the answer sheets of his son, which shall be supplied to him within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order, free of cost.”
  2. CBSE to pay a compensation of Rs25,000 to the child’s father for “the hardship he was made to face and undergo harassment in obtaining the information from the public Authority.”
  3. CBSE has been taking illegal undertakings from students (who file RTI to seek copies of their answer sheets). He has ruled that the “Commission holds that the undertakings prescribed by the CBSE will be serious obstructions to the access to information. The Public Authority can only deny the information under Sections 8/9 of the RTI Act.” 
The CIC has also directed the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of CBSE, “to show cause why penalty should not be imposed for not furnishing the information within the prescribed period.”
Vijay Kumar Mishra, lives in Samastipur and his son studies in a CBSE School. He filed an RTI application on CBSE seeking answer sheets of his son’s papers way back in 2013. However, the Public Information Officer (PIO) as well as the First Appellate Authority (FAA) denied him the information. Shockingly, the FAA stated denial of information was because the father, not the student had filed the RTI. His reply to the parent was: 
  1. Requests/applications for supply of answer sheets should be made only through online within 10 days from the date of declaration of the result. 
  2. After downloading the hardcopy of the printout of the request/confirmation page, from the website, the candidate should get the same reached to the CBSE office, before the specified date, along with the fee and other prescribed enclosures. 
  3. An undertaking from the candidate, written in his own handwriting and under his own signature and not by anyone else on his behalf should also be enclosed. The signature should correspond to that present on the Admit Card of the candidate. 
  4. The candidate cannot question the evaluation done by the examiner but only point out the errors in the totalling of marks, or the answers which were not evaluated by the examiner and communicate the same in writing to the CBSE within 10 days from the date of receipt of the evaluated answer sheets. 
  5. The copies of the answer sheets shall be provided to the candidates by blocking the information relating to the identity of the Examiner. 
  6. The candidate should also undertake that the copies of his answer sheets shall not be given to any institution or school for display, commercial purpose or to print media.
Finally, Mishra filed second appeal at the Central Information Commission (CIC) at Delhi, where the matter was heard and decided on 3 December 2015. The CIC has considered all the terms and conditions put by CBSE as “illegal” and “serious obstruction to access of information”.
Upholding the right of the father to file RTI for his son, Prof Sridhar also stated, “The CPIO and the CBSE should have the common sense and general knowledge that a 12th class student is generally a minor boy and his father is natural guardian. The natural guardian has a legal duty and authority to secure the rights and benefits of the minor boy. In that capacity he has every right to seek right to information of his son be implemented and any injustice occurring to his son in evaluation of his answer scripts which might affect his career forever. The CBSE did not explain in reasonable terms why it has denied the natural guardian from exercising his legal duty to secure the legal interests of his son including his right to information. Hence the reason cited to deny the ‘father’ is unreasonable and illegal and also in violation of rights of the minor boy. The CBSE has no authority to impose such restriction on the rights of minor and his guardian.”  
Lambasting the CBSE for imposing a condition to relinquish right to seek evaluation, the CIC said, “If a student has a legally recognized right to re­evaluation, why should he relinquish it simply because he wanted to exercise another legal right to information by seeking to have copy of the answer script? By imposing this condition the CBSE is not only restricting that right to information, but also insulating itself from being accountable. This condition that student should sign off his rights by an undertaking is a serious obstruction to right to information of minor boy and his guardian.”
This CIC decision has clearly empowered students of CBSE and their parents, so go ahead and invoke your right to access copies of your answer sheets under RTI and yes, do not sign the “illegal” undertakings.
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)



Praveen Sakhuja

10 months ago

Only ONE question to CIC - If CBSE does not pay penalty imposed, WHAT action CIC proposes to initiate? It will be appreciated if reply and action can be taken is published in leading news papers as other messages are printed will be appreciated and moralize the demoralized citizens.

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