Comprehensive News Analysis – 28 August 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Pharmacies not likely cause of TB drug resistance

2. Need for an HPV vaccine

3. Why the Surrogacy Bill is necessary

4. Holland to raise concerns on free speech in India at UN review

5. Own arbitration tool must for BRICS

C. GS3 Related:

1. 4-D printing

2. GST may face hurdles before rollout

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here today folks!

 

B. GS2 Related


1. Pharmacies not likely cause of TB drug resistance

Category: Health

Topic:Multi Drug Resistance

Key Points:

  • The medical community has been blaming pharmacies for indiscriminately giving antibiotics to patients with tuberculosis (TB), instead of referring them to a doctor.
  • ALancet paper has now corrected the popular misconception when a study found that none of the 622 pharmacies in Delhi, Mumbai and Patna handed out first-line anti-TB drugs to these patients. So, pharmacies are the unlikely source of irrational drug use that contributes to multidrug resistant tuberculosis.
  • TB drug resistance occurs primarily due to incorrect regimens, intake of drugs irregularly or intake of drugs for very short duration of time.
  • It appears that pharmacies are not playing a role in deciding the anti-TB regimens and are also not dispensing anti-TB drugs over-the-counter
  • So the drug resistance in India could be due to either patient related-factors or provider-related factors or health system related factors
  • However, the good news ends here. The researchers found that that a vast majority of these pharmacies did dispense antibiotics to TB patients even when they did not have a prescription. This links to an earlier study which showed the tendency of private practitioners to liberally use antibiotics in treating TB, leading to a delay in diagnosis and treatment and an increase in the chances of TB spreading within a community.
  • Most worrying is the dispensation of fluoroquinolones. “Fluoroquinolones are an essential part of the MDR-TB [multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis] treatment regimen and emerging regimens, so quinolone abuse is a concern.

 

Need for an HPV vaccine

Category: Health

Topic: Vaccination

Key Points:

  • HPV Vaccine offers protection from the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV). But 10 years after its launch in the global market, the debate around the HPV vaccine is far from over, with public health experts in India far from convinced.
  • While pharma giants showcase the vaccine’s uptake in various countries and also its inclusion in some national immunization programmes (IP), oncologists and doctors in India’s public hospitals cite the drop in the incidence of cervical cancer without the vaccine figuring in the country’s IP.
  • Their key reservation is that it is too early to determine the vaccine’s efficacy, and too expensive an intervention.
  • Robust data from population-based cancer registries have shown that the incidence of cervical cancer in rural and urban India is decreasing. The paper notes that it is early days yet to measure the vaccine’s efficacy in preventing invasive cancer.
  • Improved personal hygiene, availability of running water in washrooms, and better nutrition have been cited as the cost-effective measures leading to the drop.
  • Malaysia and Bhutan, which have the vaccine in their IPs, have better health-care programmes. But in India, the vaccine could just be used as a shortcut for all things related to women’s health issues, leaving a host of other concerns unattended.
  • Proponents of the vaccine, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), have said that interventions such as screening and vaccination need to coexist and can even eliminate the cancer.

 

3. Why the Surrogacy Bill is necessary

Category: Indian Polity, Health

Topic: Bills, Surrogacy

Key points:

  • In the past decade, commercial surrogacy has grown tremendously in India. It is currently estimated to be a $2-billion industry. Before November 2015, when the government imposed a ban, foreigners accounted for 80 per cent of surrogacy births in the country. This is because most countries, barring a few such as Russia, Ukraine and some U.S. states, do not permit commercial surrogacy. Many countries in Europe have completely prohibited surrogacy arrangements, both to protect the reproductive health of the surrogate mother as well as the future of the newborn child.
  • The debate began when, in 2008, a Japanese doctor couple commissioned a baby in a small town in Gujarat. The surrogate mother gave birth to a healthy baby girl. By then the couple had separated and the baby was both parentless and stateless, caught between the legal systems of two countries. The child is now in her grandmother’s custody in Japan but has not obtained citizenship, as surrogacy is not legal in Japan.
  • There has been a total disregard for the rights of the surrogate mother and child and have resulted in a number of public interest litigations in the Supreme Court to control commercial surrogacy. The 228th report of the Law Commission of India also recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy to needy Indian citizens by enacting a suitable legislation.
  • While infertility is a growing problem in India, there are many different ways of making a family. Adoption is an underutilised option that can not only give happiness to a childless couple but also provide a home and a future for an orphan child. While the Bill will now be placed before Parliament and the details debated, the basic tenet of disallowing commercial surrogacy is at its heart, and will remain.

 

Features of The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016

  • The bill proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by permitting it as an option for couples who cannot naturally have children, have a lack of other assisted reproductive technology options, are keen to have a biological child, and can find a surrogate mother among their relatives.
  • Altruistic surrogacy, which means an arrangement without transfer of funds as inducement, is currently practised in some centres in India, though the majority of surrogacy centres use women who are paid for their services.
  • The child born through surrogacy will have all the rights of a biological child.
  • Indian infertile couples between the ages of 23-50 years (woman) and 26-55 (man) who have been married for five years and who do not have a surviving child will be eligible for surrogacy.
  • The surrogate mother should be a close relative of the intending couple and between the ages of 25-35 years and shall act as a surrogate mother only once in her lifetime.
  • Implementation will be through the national and State surrogacy boards. Any establishment found undertaking commercial surrogacy, abandoning the child, exploiting the surrogate mother, selling or importing a human embryo shall be punishable with imprisonment
  • Registered surrogacy clinics will have to maintain all records for a minimum period of 25 years.


4. Holland to raise concerns on free speech in India at UN review

Category: International Relations

Topic: Human Rights, Free Speech

Key Points:

  • India’s recent track record in protecting freedom of expression is expected to come under close scrutiny in the UN’s next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2017, and leading the charge could be Holland.
  • A recent Human Rights Watch Report (HRW) report titled ‘Stifling Dissent: The Criminalisation of Peaceful Expression in India’, as well as the adverse remarks on India’s law governing foreign donations to NGOs by the UN Special Rapporteur MainaKiai, prompted an MP to raise India’s human rights record in the Dutch Parliament.
  • Holland is prepared to raise the issue of free speech with India in the framework of the UPR. The UPR is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council that periodically reviews the compliance of member states with international human rights law.
  • India’s human rights record becoming a talking point in EU forums assumes significance in the context of the recent incident involving Amnesty International India, which was slapped with sedition charge in connection with an event it organised to highlight human rights violations in the Kashmir Valley.
  • This development comes close on the heels of a letter written by HRW to the President of the European Commission in March this year, requesting the EU to “urge the Indian government” to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, repeal the sedition law, and “amend the FCRA so that it does not interfere with the rights to freedom of expression and association and cannot be misused to choke the protected peaceful activities of civil society organisations”.

 

5. Own arbitration tool must for BRICS

Category: International Relations

Topic: BRICS

Key Points:

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has expressed that, it is extremely important for BRICS nations to develop an arbitration mechanism among themselves at a time when certain centres in the world have monopolized the bulk of the cases, at a conference on international arbitration in BRICS
  • There is a need to have a lot of restraint as far as domestic jurisdictions of courts to interfere in those arbitrations. The arbitration centres must be detached from local commitments.
  • The experience over the years was that some centresmonopolized a bulk of the international arbitrations and many countries fear — and have periodically voiced concerns about — the fact that many awards emerging from these arbitration centres were loaded against the emerging economies
  • Some issues that currently plague the international arbitration system – lack of adequate representation of the developing nations in the arbitration process, the need to quickly dispose off frivolous cases and the need to take into account the exigencies of populous nations.


C. GS3 Related

 

  1. 4-D printing

Category: Science & Tech

Topic:  4-D Printing

Key Points:

  • 3-D printing, or when a printer can spit out intricate objects from guns to artificial skin, by following programmed instructions, is in for an upgrade.
  • A team at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, says that it has made 3-D objects that can reshape themselves when exposed to heat or electricity, an approach it has labelled as ‘4-D printing’.
  • The technique involves origami-like folding being applied to 3-D printing techniques. In a research paper, the researchers describe creating primary shapes from an ink made from soybean oil, additional co-polymers and carbon nanofibres, and then “programming” them into a temporary shape at an engineered temperature, determined by chemical composition.

 

2. GST may face hurdles before rollout

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: GST

Key Points:

  • Many back-end accounting issues need to be addressed for early rollout of Goods and Services Tax Regime.
  • While the Constitutional Amendment Bill to enable GST finally secured Parliament’s nod this month, several more steps remain to be taken on the political and legislative side to complete the transition from the current indirect tax regime.
  • At least 15 states have to ratify the Constitutional changes in their legislative assemblies, followed by the President’s approval of the amendments.
  • A GST Council has to be formed to determine the actual tax rates and modalities and then the Cabinet has to approve the state, central and integrated GST laws.
  • Following this, the CGST and IGST laws have to be passed in Parliament. Each state has to pass the SGST law followed by the notification of the GST Rules.
  • There is still no clarity in the GST Bill about who the tax collection authority will be for GST, whether it will be the banks or some other body authorized by the government.
  • In addition, there are other modalities apart from the rate that the GST Council will have to work out, such as the manner in which the IGST will be shared.
  • Once the rates are notified, companies will have to adapt themselves, let’s say one manufactures in Maharashtra and sells all over the country. Now such companies will have to register themselves in every state where consumption is happening, since GST is a consumption tax.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:

 

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Multi Drug Resistance is associated with which of the following diseases?
a) Dengue

b) Tuberculosis

c) AIDS

d) Kala Azar


Question 2: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection can cause which of the following cancers?
(a) Cervical Cancer

(b) Lung Cancer

(c) Brain Cancer

(d) Breast Cancer


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 permits surrogacy only for married infertile couples.
  2. It promotes both altruistic surrogacy and commercial surrogacy.

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 4: The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is brought out by?
(a) UNDP

(b) UNHRC

(c) UNEP

(d) UNFCCC


Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. The President must first approve the GST bill and then at least 15 states should consent for the constitutional amendment to come into force.
  2. A GST Council has to be formed to determine the actual tax rates and modalities and then the Cabinet has to approve the state, central and integrated GST laws.

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

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