UPSC 2017: Comprehensive News Analysis - December 09

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. Plea for VVIP cars to display registration number
2. Adultery law weighted in favour of men: Supreme Court
3. SC’s re-visit of adultery law signals a paradigm shift in the court's sensibility
4. Prepare detailed plan for Taj Mahal conservation, SC tells U.P.
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. India gets admission into Wassenaar Arrangement
SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. Draft Bill on transgender rights
HEALTH ISSUES
1. Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Pharma sector bats for quality medicine
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Plea for VVIP cars to display registration number

 In news:
 
  • The Delhi High Court asked the Centre and the city government to place before it the rules on the use of the State Emblem of India on cars of constitutional authorities and dignitaries, such as the President, instead of registration numbers.

Petition:

  • NGO Nyayabhoomi claimed that the practice of displaying the State Emblem, instead of the registration numbers, makes the cars conspicuous and the dignitaries become easy targets for terrorists and anyone with malicious intent.
  • It further sought directions to the Delhi government and the Delhi Police to seize the cars used by the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Vice-President, Raj Niwas and Protocol Division of the Ministry of External Affairs for not being registered under the Motor Vehicles Act.
  • It also claimed that the Rashtrapati Bhavan refused to give details of the registration numbers of its cars on the ground that disclosure of this information would endanger the security of the State and life and physical safety of the President.
  • It said that a person meeting with an accident involving such a car cannot bring any claim against it due to the absence of any identification mark.

2. Adultery law weighted in favour of men: Supreme Court

Meaning of Adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse.

In news:

Petition:

  • Drop adultery as a criminal offence from the statute book.
  • The petition challenges the validity of Section 198 (1) and (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure which deems that only a husband can be an aggrieved party in offences against marriage like adultery and only he can go to court.

Supreme Court observations:

  • The dusty Victorian provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code treats a married woman as her husband’s “subordinate.”
  • Time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every respect.

Section 497:

  • Section 497 of the IPC mandates that “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished.”

Court to examine two provisions:

  1. Why does Section 497 treat the man as the adulterer and the married woman as a victim.
  2. The offence of adultery ceases the moment it is established that the husband connived or consented to the adulterous act. So, is a married woman the “property” of her husband or a passive object without a mind of her own?

Key facts:

  • The apex court had earlier on three separate occasions, in 1954, 1985 and 1988, upheld the constitutionality of Section 497.

3. SC’s re-visit of adultery law signals a paradigm shift in the court’s sensibility

Context:

  • The decision of the Supreme Court to re-examine the offence of adultery is prima facie an admission that the court has consistently gone wrong in denying that the colonial penal provision is actually “male chauvinism” disguised as a beneficial legislation for women.

1985 judgment:

Supreme Court’s observation:

  • Section 497 (adultery) of the Indian Penal Code is a “flagrant instance of gender discrimination, legislative despotism and male chauvinism.”

Arguments put forward:

  • Section 497 is a kind of “romantic paternalism,” which stemmed from the assumption that women, like chattels, are the property of men.
  • Section 497 gave husbands the exclusive right as an aggrieved party to prosecute the adulterer in a case involving his wife, a similar right has not been conferred on a wife to prosecute the woman with whom her husband has committed adultery.

Wife has no right to prosecute her husband:

  • The provision does not confer any right on the wife to prosecute her husband for adultery. The law also does not take into account cases where the husband has sexual relations with an unmarried woman. Thus, the provision deems that “husbands have a free licence under the law to have extra-marital relationships with unmarried women.”

 Yusuf Abdul Aziz case

  • Judgment: wife could always initiate civil action against her unfaithful husband. The court agreed that “a man seducing the wife of another” was the most seen and felt evil in society.
  • The protection from prosecution given to women under Section 497 is in tune with Article 15 (3) of the Constitution. Article 15 (3) allows the legislature to make “special provisions” which are “beneficial” for women and children.

1988 case:

  • In 1988,V. Revathi versus Union of India, the Supreme Court had denied gender discrimination in the fact that only the adulterer-man is punished and not the wife who consensually entered into the adulterous relationship.

4. Prepare detailed plan for Taj Mahal conservation, SC tells U.P.

In news:

  • The Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to prepare a comprehensive plan which will secure the world heritage site for the next century or more.
  • The Supreme court bench frowned upon the State government’s “haphazard” measures taken unilaterally and asked it to include experts in evolving a plan that will protect the Taj Trapezium Zone from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation.
  • The court asked the State government to consult historians, experts in planning and architecture and cultural studies, members of civil society and the noted PIL petitioner-advocate M.C. Mehta, who has been fighting in the Supreme Court for the cause of the Taj Mahal since 1985.

Vision document

  • The court said the State should submit a vision document to preserve the Zone, spread over six districts of U.P. and Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. India gets admission into Wassenaar Arrangement

Key Points:

  • The Ministry of External Affairs welcomed the decision of the Wassenaar Arrangement to admit India as the 42nd member of the organisation which aims to regulate trade and use of dual use technology.
  • Importance :
    • India will get access to high technology, which will help address the demands of Indian space and defence sectors.
    • It will also boost New Delhi’s chances of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Basic Information:

Wassenaar Arrangement:

  • The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, commonly known as the Wassenaar Arrangement, is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) with 41 participating states.
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement was established to contribute to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations.
  • Participating states seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities.
  • Every six months member countries exchange information on deliveries of conventional arms to non-Wassenaar members that fall under eight broad weapons categories: battle tanks, armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), large-caliber artillery, military aircraft, military helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems, and small arms and light weapons.

Admission requires states to:

  • Be a producer or exporter of arms or sensitive industrial equipment
  • Maintain non-proliferation policies and appropriate national policies, including adherence to:
    • Non-proliferation policies, such as (where applicable) the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Australia Group
    • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention and, where applicable, START I (including the Lisbon Protocol)
  • Maintain fully effective export controls
  • The People’s Republic of China and Israel are not members, but they have aligned their export controls with Wassenaar lists, and are significant arms exporters. The Arrangement is open on a global and non-discriminatory basis to prospective adherents that comply with the agreed criteria
  • Admission of new members requires the consensus of all members.

Category: SOCIAL JUSTICE

1. Draft Bill on transgender rights

Background

  • The process of recognizing the rights of the Transgender community and seeking to protect it by legislation gained momentum in 2014, when the Supreme Court gave a landmark verdict in the NALSA case.
  • The court recognized the community as a third gender entitled to the same rights and constitutional protection as other citizens.
  • It called for an end to discrimination based on gender against those who do not conform to the gender assigned to them at birth.
  • Besides this negative right against discrimination, the court ruled that transgender persons had a positive right to make decisions about themselves, express themselves and participate in community life.
  • It directed the government to accord them ‘socially and educationally backward’ status so they could benefit from affirmative action.

Differences over Draft

  • The proposed legislation to protect the rights of transgender persons is not sufficiently rooted in a rights-based approach.
  • In 2014, a private member’s Bill moved by DMK MP Tiruchi N. Siva was passed in the Rajya Sabha.
  • In the Lok Sabha, the government introduced its own Bill, which was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The Standing Committee, in its July 2017 report, suggested some modifications and additions to the draft.
  • In particular, it disagreed with the definition of ‘transgender’ in the draft Bill and wanted modifications to bring it in line with global norms.
  • The Committee felt that the definition violated the principle that transgender persons have a right to self-identification of their gender.
  • Activists and experts have also rightly pointed to the absence of any reference to the implications of criminal and civil laws that are based on the traditional gender binary.
  • While provisions on equality and non-discrimination would promote equal opportunity, in the process the real benefit of reservation in jobs should not be denied.
  • Social legislation should not be merely benevolent; rather, it should be imbued with an approach that extends to the marginalized sections the freedom, dignity and autonomy that other citizens enjoy.

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment

  • India’s fight against antibiotic-resistance was focused on getting people to cut down on unnecessary antibiotic consumption.
  • Having too many antibiotics causes bodily pathogens to resist these miracle drugs.
  • For the first time, the 2017 National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance talks about limiting antibiotics in effluent being dumped by drug makers into the environment.

How does Antibiotic resistance spread to Environment?

  • When antibiotic drugs taint soil and water, the scores of microbes that live there grow drug-resistant.
  • Typically, a pathogen can take two routes to antibiotic resistance.
  • The first is for its own genes to mutate spontaneously to help fight the drug.
  • This is a long route, because mutations take time to spread through a bacterial population.
  • The second route, a shortcut known as horizontal gene transfer, is for the bug to borrow resistance genes from its neighbours.
  • Scientists believe that many human pathogens today picked up their resistance genes from the environment through this shortcut.
  • Take ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic launched by the German company Bayer in the mid-1980s.
  • Ciprofloxacin was the most effective among the quinolone class of antibiotics in fighting gram-negative bacteria such as K. pneumoniae .
  • Because bacteria would need multiple resistance mutations to fight cipro, and because such multiple mutations are rare, scientists thought resistance was unlikely.
  • Within a decade, ciprofloxacin resistance had spread globally.
  • Eventually, scientists learnt that bacteria such as K. pneumoniae had been helped along by horizontal gene transfer.
  • They seemed to have borrowed a gene called qnrA, which conferred resistance to ciprofloxacin, from a sea and freshwater bacterium called Shewanella algae.
  • Today, researchers think the Shewanella species may be the environmental source for qnr (quinolone resistance) genes.
  • Similar detective work suggests that another set of genes, which triggered an epidemic of resistance to some cephalosporin antibiotics in the early 21st century, came from a soil-dwelling species called Kluyvera .
  • Soil and water species have a stockpile of resistance genes, which jump to pathogens now and then.
  • In fact, phylogenetic studies suggest that the earliest antibiotic-resistance genes in nature are millions of years old.
  • But when humans starting manufacturing antibiotics in the 1950s, a dramatic shift occurred.
  • Large doses of these drugs seeped into the environment through poultry and human excreta, and waste water from drug makers and hospitals.
  • This led to an explosion of resistance genes in soil and water microbes.
  • This is the context in which the antibiotic-tainted wastewater from pharma companies in Hyderabad must be seen .
  • In 2007, Swedish investigators found that water in a pharma effluent treatment plant had both high levels of ciprofloxacin as well as novel resistance genes, never seen in microbes elsewhere.
  • In 2009, when a deadly resistance gene was discovered in a Swedish patient who had recently travelled to New Delhi, researchers assumed the gene was picked up in India and named it the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1).
  • The Indian government saw this nomenclature as a public relations disaster, arguing that there was no evidence of the gene’s Indian origin.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Pharma sector bats for quality medicine

Context:

  • The captains of the Indian pharmaceutical industry have stressed on the need to achieve high quality standards to enable India partake a large part of the global pharmaceutical market.
  • The emphasis comes in the wake of multiple negative actions taken by the USFDA against products and facilities of Indian drugmakers in the recent times.

Key points:

  • India should build on its strengths to improvise exports and both the Union and State governments must develop a proactive approach in building better quality compliance.
  • The approach towards quality compliance should be a priority and treated with utmost importance with a bottom-up strategy.
  • A distinction should be made between adherence and compliance, with a focus on the former when it comes to on-ground implementation, they said.
  • The MSME sector contributes to about 70% of manufacturing volume but the lack of quality management has caused hindrance in their development, and all industry players are aware that the cost of failure is astounding.
  • The craving for quality is high because it is vital to capture the global market.

Key stats:

  • The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third largest in volume which is about 20% of the total market-share, and thirteenth largest in terms of value which is 1.4% of the Global Pharmaceutical Industry as per a report by Equity Master.
  • India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally with the Indian generics accounting for 20% of global exports in terms of volume. The major sales of the pharmaceutical products come from US, EU and Japan.
  • India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) report:
    • The Indian pharma industry, which is expected to grow by more than 15% per annum between 2015 and 2020, will outperform the global pharma industry, which is set to grow at an annual rate of 5% between the same periods.
    • The market is expected to grow to US$ 55 billion by 2020, thereby emerging as the sixth largest pharmaceutical market globally by absolute size, as per the report.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

E. PRELIMS FACT

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. In context of banking, what does ‘BBB’ stand for?
  1. Bank Broadcast Bureau
  2. Bank Beneficial Bureau
  3. Bank Blogger Bureau
  4. Bank Board Bureau

See

Answer
Question 2. The production of latex in rubber trees is closely related to which of the following? 
  1. Atmospheric pressure
  2. Rainfall
  3. Atmospheric temperature
  4. Soil moisture content

See

Answer
Question 3. Shaphee Lanphee, a traditional textile fabric, is a GI product from which of 
the following states?
  1. Assam
  2. Manipur
  3. Jammu & Kashmir
  4. Andhra Pradesh

See

Answer

Question 4. Economic growth in India is measured by GDP at:
  1. Constant market prices
  2. Current market prices
  3. Factor Cost at constant prices
  4. Factor Cost at market prices

See

Answer
Question 5. Consider the following statements
  1. Dawn is the only mission ever to orbit two extra-terrestrial targets.
  2. The Dawn mission orbited giant asteroid Vesta and now continues to orbit Ceres.

Which of the statement/s given above is/are INCORRECT?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 6. Kanger Ghati National Park is in
  1. Chattisgarh
  2. Orissa
  3. Gujarat
  4. Tripura

See

Answer

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper I
 
  • “The time has come for the society to realise that a woman is equal to her husband in every respect,” Comment.
GS Paper II
  • Section 497 (adultery) of the Indian Penal Code is a “flagrant instance of gender discrimination, legislative despotism and male chauvinism.” Analyze.

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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