TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related POLITY 1. Primacy of collegium 2. Collegium allotting cases will cause chaos 3. Death penalty proposed for rape of boys under 12 too INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. India, China are engines of global growth, says Xi 2. A day of smiles as Koreas aim for denuclearisation 3. Indian doctors denied U.K. visas C. GS3 Related ECONOMY 1. India wins admissibility argument in Mallya case D. GS4 Related E. Editorials AGRICULTURE 1. Failed by design ECONOMY 1. Robust job growth, not fake news 2. The elephant in the Patent Office F. Prelims Fact G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
1. Primacy of collegium
As Justice Indu Malhotra took oath as Supreme Court judge and the fate of Justice K.M. Joseph’s elevation remains uncertain, former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha said the segregation of their names by the government was a challenge to the primacy of the Supreme Court Collegium in judicial appointments.
- Earlier in 2014, Justice Lodha had written to the government a scathing one-page latter against unilaterally segregating names jointly recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium without consulting the Chief Justice of India.
- The letter came in the aftermath of the failed elevation of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium to the Supreme Court. Justice Lodha was the Chief Justice of India then.
Repeat after 4 years
Justice Lodha acknowledges that four years later, the government has repeated the act by de-linking Justice Malhotra’s file from Justice Joseph’s without first informing Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. His letter had spelt out the norm and should have been followed by the government as a matter of course.
- The judicial appointments’ process is a consultative one. Though not mentioned in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) or in any judgments, Justice Lodha said prior consultation with the CJI before segregation is the integral component of the primacy of the collegium.
- The former CJI said the only way to resolve the crisis was a new Memorandum of Procedure wherein it was stated that segregation would be done by the government only after consulting the CJI.
2. Collegium allotting cases will cause chaos
- Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal on Friday differed with a plea by former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan to have a collegium of Supreme Court judges collectively allocate cases in the court rather than leave the entire power in the hands of the Chief Justice of India in his administrative capacity as “master of roster”.
- Venugopal said having a collegium to allocate cases among judges would invite chaos.Unlike a collegium to recommend new judges, a collegium to allocate cases would mean judges deciding for themselves which cases they should hear. Better have the CJI decide for all as master of roster, Mr. Venugopal said in his submissions.
- Venugopal, at this point, recalled how one of the major grievances of the controversial former Calcutta High Court judge, C.S. Karnan, was that he was not given bail matters.
- Justice Ashok Bhushan said there may be difficulties in having a collegium to allocate cases, but the Supreme Court’s primary concern would be whether the Constitution intended it.
- The court said the plea should be tested on the touchstone of Article 145 (Rules of the court governing its practices and procedures) of the Constitution. The court reserved Mr. Shanti Bhushan’s plea for final orders.
- The Supreme Court had earlier agreed to examine a petition filed by Mr. Shanti Bhushan to declare that the authority of the Chief Justice of India as ‘master of roster’ should not be reduced to an absolute, singular and arbitrary power.
- The Bench had decided to hear the petition despite two separate judgments by the Supreme Court in November 2017 and April 9, 2018 upholding the Chief Justice of India’s complete administrative authority to allocate cases and constitute Benches. Both judgments were pronounced by Benches led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
- The April 9 verdict called the CJI an institution in himself. In his petition, Mr. Bhushan has said such absolute discretion cannot be confined in just one man, the Chief Justice of India.
- Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, for Mr. Bhushan, referred to the judges case of 1998 to argue that the Supreme Court itself had interpreted the term ‘Chief Justice of India’ to collectively mean the CJI and his four senior-most judges.
3. Death penalty proposed for rape of boys under 12 too
- The Centre will amend the POCSO Act to provide death sentence for rape of boys under the age of 12, after the Ordinance promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind provided the same punishment for rape of girls in this age bracket.
- The Ordinance seeks to amend Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code to enhance punishment of rape and gang-rape of minors under two different age groups – “woman” under 12 years and 16 years.
- Those convicted of rape of girls under 12 years would be awarded jail for 20 years or life imprisonment or death penalty, while those convicted of rape of girls under 16 years would be imprisoned for 20 years or for the rest of their life.
- A formal amendment to the POCSO Act making death sentence gender neutral is being moved. A draft Cabinet note is being prepared.
- The stricter punishments were proposed after the Ordinance led to an anomaly where similar crimes under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, – which deals with offences against boys and girls – had less severe punishments.
- While crimes against girls were enhanced recently by amending the IPC, combined with a revision of Section 42 of the POCSO Act to imply that the stricter punishment in the IPC will apply, there was no mention of crimes against boys.
1. India, China are engines of global growth, says Xi
Huang Jiang, Richard Von Weizsacker fellow at the Bosch Academy in Germany points out that U.S.-led protectionism provides the strategic cement for bonding China and India.
A search for partners
- Observers say that China has understood that under the cover of a trade war, the Trump administration is obstructing China’s rise, triggering Beijing’s search for new geo-economic partners, including India.
- Another official earlier told that the Prime Minister is looking for progress on two pet themes — a final settlement of the border rather than “management” of the frontier and the rise of an “Asian century” in cohabitation with China.
- Some Chinese scholars are signalling that the discussion on resolving the border issue is likely to be intertwined with the resolution of “Tibetan separatism.”
- In a lecture ahead of the Xi-Modi informal summit, Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual head in exile, said Tibet can remain a part of China. Last year, the Dalai Lama expressed his readiness to return to Lhasa from his abode in Dharamsala.
- Historically the boundary issue and the Tibetan question is linked. If the Tibetan issue is resolved, it is very favourable for China and India to resolve the boundary.
2. A day of smiles as Koreas aim for denuclearisation
- The leaders of North and South Korea embraced on Friday after pledging to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” on a day of smiles and handshakes at the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.
- Earlier, Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader since the 1950-53 Korean War to set foot in South Korea, after shaking hands with his counterpart President Moon Jae-in over a concrete curb which marks the border in the heavily fortified demilitarised zone.
- The two Koreas announced they would work with the U.S. and China this year to declare an official end to the 1950s Korean War and seek an agreement on “permanent” and “solid” peace.
For a peace zone
- The Panmunjom Declaration, named after the truce village that hosted the talks, included promises to pursue phased arms reduction, cease hostile acts, transform their fortified border into a peace zone and seek multilateral talks with other countries, including the U.S.
- President Moon Jae-in agreed to visit the North Korean capital Pyongyang later this year, sources said.
- The meeting comes weeks before Mr. Kim is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in what would be the first-ever meeting between sitting leaders of the two countries.
3. Indian doctors denied U.K. visas
- A crisis governing the U.K. government over the implications of its tough immigration regime continued to spiral, amid revelations that hundreds of Indian doctors, who had been recruited to fill crucial gaps in National Health Service (NHS) had been unable to take up their duties after being denied their visas.
- British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) had agreed to assisting the scheme on the understanding that it would be a “learn and return” programme, where the doctors would receive training during their time in the U.K. to ensure it was an experience as beneficial to them as possible, and that it did not lead to a brain-drain in India or any other country they were coming from.
- The system could have benefited India — by helping doctors further develop their skills in emergency medicine, while at the same time helping Britain meet acute staffing shortages that have plagued many trusts.
- The issue of visas for non-EU doctors has been simmering for a while now, as monthly quotas for Tier 2 visas — the main category for work visas in the U.K. — was repeatedly hit, triggering a system which gave preference to filling shortage or PhD level roles.
The U.S. stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.The war pitted the South, U.N. and U.S. forces against the communist North, backed by China and Russia.
C. GS3 Related
1. India wins admissibility argument in Mallya case
- The attempt by business tycoon Vijay Mallya’s defence team to rule out much of the evidence in the case against him presented by India, suffered a setback as the judge hearing the extradition case ruled that most of the evidence produced thus far in the case would be admissible, save for an email conversation covered by legal professional privilege (LPP).
- Judge Emma Arbuthnot, who had in a previous hearing indicated this was likely to be the case, confirmed that “everything” aside from the LPP email would be taken into account, and that she would reserve judgement on this latter issue.
Defence for delay
- This ruling, which will be welcomed by Indian authorities in the overall progress of the case, came during a hearing, in which the defence appeared to be pushing for more time, through a request for a further hearing at which both sides could put across their closing arguments.
- A final hearing in July was agreed upon, with both sides set to present further details, including signed attestations from the compiling official of the evidence from the Indian side.
- The brief hearing will add further time to an extradition proceeding already much beset by delays.
- During the hearing it emerged that the prosecution had introduced further evidence relating to the role and disproportional assets of B.K. Batra, a former IDBI official who was arrested last year.
- After previous hearings when the quality of the documentation from India and the nature of its presentation faced questions, the judge appeared much more content on this count.
- The prosecution will have a further six weeks to present further details, and the defence another 4 weeks to respond. The next hearing is set for July 11.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
1. Failed by design
- Pay-out delays are hampering Centre’s crop insurance scheme, the government should fund the entire premium subsidy
- Insurance companies collected premiums of Rs 22,180 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 24,454 crore in 2017-18, both directly from farmers and as government subsidy, under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
- But they disbursed only Rs 12,959 crore of claims in 2016-17 and have paid out just over Rs 400 crore for the last crop year so far.
- It’s possible that claim payments have been low because of 2016 and 2017 witnessing normal monsoons and may well go up in years of widespread natural calamities.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana: Ground Reality
- The sums insured cover production costs, equal to banks’ scale of finance for various crops, with farmers having to pay an average 2 per cent premium rate.
- The gap vis-à-vis the actuarial rates based on the insurance companies’ statistical risk assessment is filled by government subsidy.
- And with losses at every stage, from sowing to post-harvest, being covered, farmers cannot possibly ask for more.
- Unfortunately, though, the scheme’s implementation has been plagued by delays in payouts.
- The 2017 kharif crop’s harvesting was over by December, but farmers have till now got only Rs 402 crore of payments, as against estimated claims of Rs 13,655 crore by state government and Rs 1,759 crore approved by insurance companies.
- Even for the 2016-17 crop year, there is a difference of Rs 1,474 crore between the payments approved and actually made.
- It defeats the whole purpose of insurance which is to provide timely relief against crop loss/damage, so that the farmer can at least repay his bank loans and is not forced to go to the moneylender.
- The main flaw in PMFBY is its design, wherein 50 per cent of the premium subsidy is borne by the state governments that are also responsible for conducting crop cutting experiments (CCE) to determine yield losses.
- Given that the scheme is in the prime minister’s name and insurance is worth subsiding far more than fertilisers or crop loans it makes sense for the Centre to fund the entire premium subsidy.
- The insurance companies can no longer, then, complain about not getting their premium monies, especially states’ share of subsidy, in time.
- The Centre can further link release of subsidy to the states adhering to prescribed operational schedules, including carrying out the requisite number of CCEs using remote-sensing technology for smart selection/sampling of fields and capturing survey data using mobile phones with time and date stamping. This will enable faster processing and payment of claims.
1. Robust job growth, not fake news
Why in news:
- The best macro-economic performance ever in India was obtained in 2014-18. Modi’s challenge remains the reining in of the enemies within.
- In a recent Financial Times article on the US elections, the author warns: “As midterms approach, election officials are learning to combat fake news, malware and troll farms”.
- 2018/19 is a national election year in India, and in an anything goes manner, the political opposition has begun to hammer home the “fact” that because of demonetisation and other “bad” policies of the Modi government, job growth in India has been scarce in 2017. Hence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP are vulnerable and “poised” to lose.
The veracity of the claim that the Indian economy is in a terrible shape and that despite economic reforms like demonetisation and GST (or because of them), it is fighting to create jobs.
- The number most frequently touted is that the economy needs 8 to 12 million jobs a year, to keep unemployment and social tensions at bay.
- It is “clearly” producing very few jobs, and hence economic growth, and job creation, is the fault line in the Indian economy.
Previous General election year Scenario- 2014
- At the time of the national elections in May 2014, India’s macro-economy was in a shambles.
- CPI inflation was running at 9.4 per cent, and had averaged 7.8 per cent over the previous 10 years of UPA rule.
- The previous five years, 2009-2013, had witnessed an average inflation rate of 9.7 per cent per annum. GDP growth had also slowed down from 7.7 per cent in UPA-I to 7.1 per cent in UPA-II.
- Not surprisingly, Modi’s election campaign centred around the macro-economic malaise and corruption.
- The campaign emphasised growth, lower inflation, employment generation and the promise of “acche din”.
Four years later, a legitimate question arises — how has the reality lived up to the promise (and expectations)?
Robust job growth, not fake news
- Regarding the macro-economy, there is no question that the situation is considerably better today.
- In the last fiscal year (2017/18), CPI inflation is 6 percentage points (ppt) lower at 3.7 per cent; GDP growth is just 0.4 ppt lower at 6.7 per cent.
But what about jobs?
- Are we in a period of jobless growth, and if so, Modi’s popularity, and vote, is likely to be considerably dented.
Going by reports in the media, this is exactly what the political opposition believes. They believe that jobless growth is a new Modi phenomenon. Is this the reality, or fake analysis?
- Job growth is very important for votes, but am willing to take a historical perspective before passing judgement.
- However, there is a sense in which Modi is held to a higher standard than other politicians he must deliver job growth, because he promised to do so.
- This higher expectation is flattering (to Modi). But how many of you know that during India’s peak growth period, UPA-1 and 2, job growth was at a very slow rate of 0.6 per cent per annum so labour productivity was at a China-beating pace of over 7 per cent an annum for seven years.
- That is not the reality hence, the only reasonable conclusion is that the NSSO data is understating job creation that is employment growth, during the UPA years. By how much is a subject for research?
- In order to properly assess what has happened to employment in 2017, we want to base our assessment on two separate age-groups 15-24 and 25-64.
- The reason for this separation is that when you have increased enrolment in education by the young (and especially young women who are catching up with, and exceeding, the enrolment of men), then the employment (and labour force) definition should include the fact that you are attending school or college.
- We employ two sources of data — the recent provident fund (EPFO) data (as first popularised by Soumya Ghosh and Pulak Ghosh) for the age-group 15-24, and the CMIE employment data for the 25-64 age group (see table).
- The EPFO data refers to the net additions of employees in the formal, provident fund payment sector; however, not all net additions are new employment.
- But for the young, given the difficulty, and attraction, of a formal sector job, it is unlikely that the 18-21 group will have any job-hoppers.
- For the six-month period, September 2017-February 2018, total net additions in the 18-21 age-group was 1.1 million; in the 22-25 group (college graduates?) net additions were lower at 0.8 million.
- Even after allowing a reasonable amount of job-hopping (20 per cent), the EPFO data suggests that in 2017, 3 million jobs were added in the 15-24 age group.
- For the 25-64 age group, the CMIE data suggests that total employment creation in 2017 was a robust 12 million.
- Total job-creation in 2017, 15 million. While this estimate may not be the “truth”, it is unlikely to be far away from the truth. But as the FT quote suggests, beware of trolls.
- The table also reports female labour-force participation (LFPRF) rates, an important ingredient in estimates of employment for India and selected countries in the world.
- This reveals that there are major problems with the CMIE data (and the problems are such as to bias the estimate of employment downwards).
- The CMIE data suggests that employment opportunities are so few in India that one half of the population, the women, have almost completely withdrawn from the labour market.
- For the 15-64 age group, CMIE’s estimate of LFPRF is 12.5 per cent only one out of every eight women are offering themselves for work.
- And that the LFPRF is the lowest in the world and declining! In 2015, the lowest LFPRF in the world was Iran, 14.4 per cent; the next lowest, Saudi Arabia, at 21.4 per cent. NSSO data (for 2011/12) had India’s LFPRF at 27.2 per cent. But CMIE has India’s LFPRF, circa 2017, at 12.5 per cent.
- The CMIE survey is also a large sample survey (more than 5,00,000 respondents), and the survey is done every month.
How can such a low LFPRF be obtained?
- The only manner in which such a large outsized anomaly can be obtained is via incorrect weights. (For the not so statistical, weights is the blow up factor to go from the sample to the population.)
- It appears likely that 15 million jobs were created in 2017, not much different from the Vajpayee average of five years.
- Between 1999-2004, 11 million jobs were created each year (weekly status definition of employment, closest to the daily status CMIE definition; the usual status definition gives an increase of more than 12 million a year).
- For reasons unknown, but deserving investigation, the UPA-I and II era (2004 through 2011) reveal an employment gain of less than 4 million a year.
- Any non-partisan interpretation of the data would suggest that in economic terms, the Modi period 2014-2018 has delivered the best macro-economic performance ever in India — several economic reforms, steady GDP growth (and growth that can, and should, accelerate to an 8 per cent+ potential), low inflation (shoo — don’t tell the MPC that!), and robust job-creation. But woman does not live by bread alone.
- While social tension in the form of riots has definitely declined post 2014, there has been a worrisome increase in “communal tensions”. Every political party in the world has its fringe — and the BJP has both a left fringe (with economic policies similar to the communists and the Congress left) and an ultra-nationalist and an ultra-religious “right” fringe — those who would kill a Muslim in the name of the cow. How to rein in the fringes is the biggest challenge for India, and PM Modi.
2. The elephant in the Patent Office
- The first step that pharmaceutical corporations take on discovering an entirely new drug is to secure intellectual property rights for it in the form of a patent.
- A primary patent, covering a new molecular/chemical entity, rewards innovation with a free reign over the marketplace for a period of 20 years, which is the term of the patent.
- Once this expires, generics enter the fray with cheaper versions and compete in this lucrative marketplace to drive prices down. One would expect innovators to do what they do best—innovate—going back to cranking out the next life-saving drug.
- Innovators instead seek to reset the 20-year clock by subsequently filing patents that are minor variants of the parent compound, called secondary patents.
- This practice, known as evergreening, allows a prolonged monopoly that unfairly denies the public access to medicines at equitable prices
India’s Tough Patent laws
- The Indian Patent Office (IPO) has set an example of having one of the toughest standards in the world to distinguish real innovation from trivial tweaks — a change brought about by the introduction of the anti-ever greening provisions in the Patents Act.
- India hit the headlines when it incorporated certain anti-evergreening provisions such as Sections 3(d), 3(e) and 3(i) into the Patents Act to restrict patentability of a host of secondary patents — essentially alternative forms of already existing patented drugs aimed at further extending their term of protection.
- These provisions together with the decision of the Supreme Court in the Novartis case have shown us a way forward to have access to affordable medicines.
- Through these provisions, India is leading by example for other developing countries such as Brazil, the Philippines, Argentina and South Africa.
Expeditious approval of patents- Pharmaceutical Patent Grants in India Study
- However, the IPO has now been focusing on granting patents expeditiously and reducing the backlog of pending applications.
- Newly recruited examiners have been sending in examination reports rapidly in a race to reduce the examination timeline and increase the grant rate.
- An analysis of pharmaceutical patent applications suggests that the IPO is operating at an error rate as high as 72%, which corresponds to all secondary patents granted by the IPO. In short, seven out of 10 patents granted by the IPO are likely granted in error.
- In the last two decades, the IPO has granted 1,654 secondary patents, of which 91% were directed to formulations, compositions and combinations.
- Much of these would come under the purview of
- Section 3(d), which covers “combinations and other derivatives of known substance”,
- Section 3(e), which covers “substance obtained by a mere admixture resulting only in the aggregation of the properties of the components or a process for producing such substance”.
- Whenever an objection is raised under these sections, the law requires the applicant to submit efficacy data for the former and demonstrate synergism for the later.
- While Section 3(d) sets the bar high for secondary patents with the mandated requirement for clinical evidence, others such as Section 3(e) set less well-defined thresholds.
- They would direct the attention of the IPO to another provision which has traditionally governed the grant of patents for combinations—Section 3(e).
- Section 3(e) stipulates a requirement of demonstrating synergy (of any property, not solely therapeutic) where the invention is an admixture of known substances.
- The possible explanations are: demonstrating synergy under Section 3(e) is a relatively easier exercise compared to the requirements of efficacy data under Section 3(d), as mandated by the Supreme Court in the Novartis case.
- Second, Section 3(d) is being interpreted narrowly by the courts and the IPO to apply only to a new form of a known substance, and not to combinations and compositions involving known substances.
- Section 3(i) of the Act categorically excludes methods of treatments from the purview of patent protection.
- But a total of 63 patents were granted for methods of treating an individual for a disease, specifying a particular dosage regimen or a mode of administering a drug.
- However, though statutorily barred, such patents were granted by clever drafting and legal argument.
Issues in set precedence
- To remove the applicability of Section 3(d) in cases where combinations are involved, patent applicants rely on the decision of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in Ajanta Pharma Ltd v. Allergan Inc, which also finds mention in the 2014 IPO guidelines for examination of pharmaceutical patent applications.
- However, in this case, the issue of applicability of Section 3(e) was not considered as the patent was rejected on other grounds.
- Moreover, a mere passing observation made by the IPAB cannot be considered as a binding authority as such a narrow interpretation of Section 3(d) would defeat the objective of the section.
- Keeping in mind the widespread practice in the pharmaceutical industry of creating new compositions/combinations, it should be given an expansive meaning to cover combinations with other substances and at the same time the IPO should steer its focus towards grant of quality patents than on the quantity.
F. Prelims Fact
Nothing here for today!!!
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Consider the following statements about United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD):
- It is only legally binding international agreement to address problem of desertification.
- India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal Ministry for this Convention.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 2. Consider the following statements about CSIR:
- CSIR is an autonomous body and India’s premier research and development (R&D) organisation.
- It is mainly funded by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
Which of the above statements are incorrect?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
- Saraswati Samman is an annual award bestowed upon Indian citizen.
- Saraswati Samman is considered one of the highest literary awards in India.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 4. Consider the following statements about National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA):
- It is a statutory body under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
- Its mandate is to coordinate response to natural or man-made disasters.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
India’s reset of ties with China is much needed to overcome the clouds of Protectionism. Explain.
General Studies III
- Indian Patent laws are assumed to be one of the toughest to prevent evergreening, but its focus has shifted to quantity from Quality. What are the various issues involved and how can India address them?
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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