Essential Facts (Prelims): 20 January, 2019


  • The Health Ministry has decided to throw open AMRIT stores to private players in a bid to increase access to affordable drugs.
  • The Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) pharmacies — the first of which was opened at AIIMS, Delhi in 2015 — sell expensive drugs such as those used for treating cancer and cardiovascular diseases at a cost that is 30-40 per cent cheaper.
  • Unlike Jan Aushadhi stores, which are run by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, AMRIT stores do not sell generic versions of drug but sell branded drugs.
  • The World Health Organisation estimates that in 2015, an estimated 8 per cent of the Indian population had been pushed below the poverty line by high out-of-pocket payments for health care.
  • The cost of medicines is estimated to comprise as much as 70 per cent of the total out-of-pocket expenditure that families have to make on healthcare.


  • The National Crime Records Bureau is looking to deliver a richer and more varied picture by categorising offences like attacks on journalists, RTI activists, hate crimes, lynchings and fake news.
  • It will be for the first time that NCRB’s annual report will provide data on crimes that have been in discussion but were not logged in separate categories.
  • The new data will tabulate how many people were killed in police lathicharge, police firing or by a riotous mob.
  • earlier crimes were classified in 40 categories, which have been increased to 70 crime heads in NCRB report.
  • Among other interesting inclusions this time are crimes committed in schools, or by political leaders, “sants” (religious leaders), khap panchayats, illegal immigrants, transgenders, bank officials, students, private bodyguards and incidents of stone pelting, encounters of civilians and death of security personnel in terrorist incidents.
  • An organised crime category will for the first time reveal how many crimes were committed by contract killers, sand and mining mafia, examination racketeers or hawala operators.
  • While dealing with crimes involving communication devices under the IT Act, the report will analyse cases of fake news on social media, cyber stalking of women and children apart from any incident of abetment to suicide via an online activity.
  • People who have committed rape after befriending a woman or a girl on social media or created a fake profile, morphed a picture or defamed a woman online would also be part of the latest statistics.
  • Till now, government didn’t collect data on attacks on RTI activists, journalists, social activists, whistle-blowers and witnesses who struggle or write on issues related to corruption, gender-based violence, caste, or expose illegal activities related to any mafia or a political party.


The placenta regulates how much oxygen and nutrients it transports to babies during challenging pregnancies.

  • The placenta is a poorly understood organ and hard to study in pregnant women.
  • But its ability to function properly is vital as it impacts pregnancy outcomes and the lifelong health of mother and child.
  • The placenta develops during pregnancy and connects the developing baby to the mother.
  • It serves as the lungs, kidneys, gut and liver for growing babies and carries oxygen and nutrients to the foetus whilst secreting hormones and discarding waste.
  • The placenta mitochondria have a remarkable ability to adapt and compensate for environmental impacts such as when women are living in low oxygen areas at high altitude and not eating enough of a healthy diet during pregnancy.


  • Using Cassini spacecraft’s observations of Saturn’s rings, researchers have estimated length of a day on the planet.
  • It is 10 hours 33 minutes and 30 seconds.
  • The wave patterns on the rings, caused by the planet’s internal vibrations, prompted the discovery.