09 Mar 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India can bridge IT staff shortage in Japan
POLITY
1. Supreme Court recognises living will, right to die with dignity
2. Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Bill
3. Union govt. to set up Arbitration Council
HEALTH ISSUES
1. WHO launches plan for cheaper TB drugs
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. A new NAM
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India can bridge IT staff shortage in Japan

 

  • Japan is facing a shortage of 200,000 information technology professionals due to an ageing population and falling birth rate and India can fill the gap with its huge talent pool, a Japanese trade official said. There are about 920,000 IT professionals in Japan.There is an immediate demand for more than 200,000 professionals and the shortage is likely to touch 800,000 by 2030.
  • India can bridge that gap. If a company in Japan has an immediate demand for say 5,000 engineers, only India can come to their aid. All sectors are facing the crunch as they are interlinked and connected, whether it is healthcare, agriculture, research and development or services or finance.

Easing of rules

  • Japan eased rules for issuance of green card and permanent residency status for highly skilled professionals in April last year. The new norms shortened the required period for permanent residency to one year from five years earlier.
  • In 2016, there were 5,549 certified highly skilled foreign professionals registered in Japan. Of this 3,621 professionals were from China, 290 from the U.S. and 266 from India.
  • All the top Indian professionals are eager to go to the U.S.Competition is tough in U.S. When you compare that to Japan, life is much easier. China is the most populous nation and it is easier for a Chinese to learn the Japanese language. It is also closer to Japan.
  • Also, about 30,000 Japanese firms operate in China, much more than in U.S. In India 1,369 companies from Japan have set up base while only 71 Indian companies operate in Japan.
  • Of the total number of Japanese companies operating in India, 220 are out of Maharashtra, 197 in Tamil Nadu and 162 in the National Capital Region.
  • Japan’s comes at a time when the U.S. administration last month imposed curbs on H-1B visas affecting companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro, which rely on the visas to do work for American firms.
  • As per the new U.S. policy, companies will have to prove that its H-1B employee at a third-party site has specific and non-qualifying speculative assignments in a speciality occupation. Now on, H-1B visas would be valid only for the period for which the employee has work at a third-party site. Earlier, it was valid for three years at a time and the move came ahead of H-1B visa filing which starts on April 2.
  • Japan has set an inward foreign investment target of $330 billion by 2020.
  • Japan has become the third-largest investor for India after Mauritius and Singapore. Companies such as Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi have already initiated the process of establishing an R&D centre in India.
  • Japan also eased rules for Indian travelers and from January this year, applicants do not require to submit their employment certificate and letters of explanation for multiple-entry visas. The number of documents to be submitted has been cut to three.

Category: POLITY

1. Supreme Court recognises living will, right to die with dignity

 

  • The Supreme Court recognised the living will made by persons suffering from chronic terminal diseases and likely to go into a permanent vegetative state.
  • The apex court said it has laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board.
  • Chief Justice Dipak Misra said other members of the five-judge Constitution bench have concurred on the guidelines and directives passed by it.
  • Recognising the right to die with dignity as a fundamental right under Article 21 (Right to Life), the court said its guidelines and directives shall remain in force till a legislation is brought to deal with the issue.
  • A living will is a document prepared by a person in their healthy sound state of mind under which they can specify in advance whether or not they would like to opt for artificial life support if he/she is in a vegetative state, due to an irreversible terminal illness, in the future or not.

2. Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Bill

The Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Bill has been doing the rounds among States for the past seven years.

What is the new law for?

  • The proposed law, drafted by the Law Commission of India, is meant to penalise honour killings and uphold the right of adults to marry persons of their own choice without unlawful interference from caste panchayats or persons and relatives intent on harming the couple.
  • So far, 23 States have responded to the Bill with suggestions; the other six have not responded yet. The Supreme Court has now stepped in to fill this legislative vacuum and is expected to frame guidelines in a judgment to protect adult couples from the fury of the mob.

Some features of the law

  • The 2011 Bill defines “unlawful assembly” as a group of persons who congregate with the “view or intention to deliberate on or condemn any marriage on the basis that such marriage has dishonoured the caste or community tradition or brought disrepute to all or any of the persons forming part of the assembly or the family or the people of the locality concerned.” “Marriage” under the draft legislation includes “proposed or intended marriage.”
  • The punishments are meted out in a phased manner. Participating in any unlawful assembly is punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but which may extend to one year and is also liable to a fine of up to Rs. 10,000.
  • Making exhortations that endanger the liberty of a couple is punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one year but which may extend to two years and is also liable to a fine of up to Rs. 20,000.
  •  Criminal intimidation of the couple or their relatives or supporters is punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one year but which may extend to three years and is also liable to a fine of up to Rs. 30,000.
  • The maximum punishment in case of actual harm or injury caused shall extend to seven years of imprisonment. The provisions under the proposed law do not negate the offences under IPC but only adds to them.

3. Union govt. to set up Arbitration Council

  • In an effort to make India a global hub for arbitration, the government will set up an Arbitration Council that will grade institutions that offer alternative dispute resolution mechanism for commercial disputes.
  • Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, briefing reporters on Thursday, said as India attracted foreign investments, it was essential to provide for a reliable platform that included arbitration and resolution of commercial disputes in a time-bound manner.The Union Cabinet approved the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. WHO launches plan for cheaper TB drugs

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) invited pharmaceutical companies around the world to submit proposals to manufacture affordable versions of newer medicines for treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis.
  • The aim was to replicate the success of addressing the HIV epidemic. Competition among Indian drug producers had then brought down the price of HIV medicines by 99% from $15,000 per patient per year to less than a dollar a day.
  • WHO has now requested drug makers to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) for Bedaquiline and Delaminid, two new-generation drugs, recommended for drug resistant-TB. Under WHO norms, drugs submitted upon such requests and complying with its standards are included in a list for procurement by the UN and other organisations.
  • India has nearly 1.3 lakh DR-TB patients, the most in the world, but the Health Ministry gets only 10,000 doses of Bedaquiline and 400 doses of Delaminid. The medicines are obtained as donations from Janssen (US) and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals (Japan), the respective manufacturers.
  • One of the aims of pre qualification is to ensure that a greater number of manufacturers are supplying quality medicines, which, in turn, means a more competitive market and more affordable prices. We have seen this with HIV, where the pre-qualification of many predominantly Indian manufactured products brought the price down of many anti-retrovirals. Inclusion within the scope of PQ has also incentivised the development of fixed dose combinations, which have yielded much better results for patients.
  • In the case of HIV, one company, Cipla, came up with a ‘AIDS cocktail’ combination of Stavudine, Lamivudine and Nevirapine, enabling effective treatment.
  • Cheaper drugs to treat HIV became possible at the time as the Indian Patents Act did not provide for product patents on pharmaceutical products, until required by the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO). India became TRIPS compliant with pharma product patents in 2005.

Is WHO now open to generics?

  • Inclusion of the two new drugs, Bedaquiline and Delaminid, in the pre-qualification call is being interpreted by aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as WHO’s backing for generics.
  • It is clear from the EoI that WHO considers the two drugs key compounds to address challenges of drug-resistant TB. It also means that they want to encourage generic competition to start finding ways to make these medicines available in countries where they are not yet registered.
  • The EoI allows generics manufacturers interested in producing these two drugs, and currently facing technical challenges, to address their questions to WHO’s pre-qualification team.

C. GS3 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. A new NAM

Return of Cold War era

  • From all accounts, the Cold War is breaking out again. The United States has identified both China and Russia as adversaries, whose leaders, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, are strong and determined to stand up to a faltering Donald Trump, who is desperately clinging on to doctrines of ultranationalism and nuclear hegemony.
  • Putin has just announced that Russia has invincible doomsday machines like an underwater drone armed with a nuclear warhead powerful enough to sweep away coastal facilities, aircraft carriers and a hypersonic vehicle impossible to intercept as it flies in a cloud of plasma like a meteorite.
  • Cuba is in the dog house again and the axis of evil has emerged once again under Iran’s leadership. This time it is a three-cornered Cold War, without any corner having committed countries to act together as military allies.
  • Potential allies are hedging, with no viable grouping to protect the interests of the weak and the poor.

What is the role of NAM now?

  • If the Cold War is here in a new form, can a reincarnation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) be far behind?
  • NAM is anathema today even to those who helped shape it and revelled in it for years. India was one of its leaders.
  • India had a stake in its integrity and India toiled tirelessly to keep it on the middle road, not to be hijacked by Cuba to the left or Singapore to the right.
  • We fought to keep Egypt within it when every Arab country wanted it to be ousted in 1979 after the Camp David agreements.
  • Indira Gandhi risked a bear hug from Fidel Castro as she took the NAM gavel to save it from the uncertain leadership of Iraq.
  • Had it not been for India, NAM would have been wound up at a ministerial meeting in Ghana in 1991 soon after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It was characterised as the last gasp of the old style radicals.
  • India argued vehemently against those who felt that NAM had outlived its utility. Since the essence of nonalignment was freedom of thought and action, India insisted that it was valid whether there was one bloc or no bloc.
  • Even while building alliances with others, we availed of the NAM umbrella to promote our national strategies when it suited us. The very lack of homogeneity and unity in NAM enhanced its utility for us.
  • One forum where we effectively used the NAM constituency was the Working Group on UN Reform, where we blocked an effort by the U.S. and others to add Germany and Japan as permanent members and close the doors for further expansion.

Hit refresh

  • An effort was made in 2012 to craft a ‘Nonalignment 2.0’ in the context of the new global situation, India’s growing importance and the rivalry between the U.S. and China.
  • The report moved the concept of nonalignment away from its origins. It reiterated that India needed to move quickly to extend its global role and influence.
  • But the authors said India’s big challenge would be to aim at not just being powerful but to set new standards for what the powerful must do.
  • India’s legitimacy in the world will come from its ability to stand for the highest human and universal values and at the global level. India must remain true to its aspiration of creating a new and alternative universality.
  • In a situation where the world is no longer bifurcated between two dominant powers, nonalignment today will require managing complicated coalitions and opportunities in an environment that is not structurally settled.
  • The policy of strategic autonomy recommended that India should not take sides in the rivalry between China and the U.S. The report emphasised that for its strategic and foreign policy to be successful, India must sustain domestic economic growth, social inclusion and democracy.

Where we stand today

  • Into the second half of his term, Mr. Modi’s balance sheet shows an altogether different scenario. As a close defence partner of the U.S. and a member of the “Quadrilateral”, India is right in the U.S. camp.
  • As the baton of the orchestra passed into the hands of a wayward conductor, the new symphony in India-U.S. relations promised in 2016 has not quite materialised.
  • Both China and Russia, which have been identified as adversaries in the U.S. world view, have their problems with India.
  • Doklam and the Maldives have shown that China is in no mood for a compromise. In fact, China has attributed the increase of its defence budget to the formation of the Quadrilateral, which is being seen as a direct threat to China.
  • An obvious way is to revive NAM by breathing new life into it and making it fit to deal with the new norm. But it has baggage, which may be difficult to unload.
  • A movement conceived in the context of a bipolar world may not suit a tripolar world, which could become a multipolar world. A partnership of near equals like IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) with similar interests without any ideological conflict is probably the best model to follow.
  • Something on the lines of the G-15 organised by India and like-minded countries some years ago could be put together with the objective of dealing with the kind of issues identified by Mr. Modi at Davos — climate change, terrorism and protectionism.
  • The members may have links with the U.S., China and Russia, but should be able to work together without the undue influence of the three.
  • Given the present impasse in international relations with little leeway for game-changing initiatives, India will do well to move away from being a camp follower of one of the emerging poles to create our own fourth pole.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:
  1. NAM is a grouping against the power blocs of cold war era.
  2. NAM is headquartered in Jakarta.

Which of the statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about H1B Visa:
  1. The H-1B allows U.S. employers to employ domestic workers.
  2. It applies for speciality occupations.

Which of the statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. Passive euthanasia is a condition where there is withdrawal of medical treatment.
  2. Active euthanasia is the use of lethal substances or forces, such as administering a lethal injection.

Which of the statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements about Bedaquiline and Delaminid:
  1. Delamanid is a bactericidal drug that kills Tuberculosis bacteria.
  2. It will be included in the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP).
  3. Bedaquiline was launched by the ministry of health in 2016.

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

General Studies II 

  1. With India-Seychelles Military Agreement leaking online and protests against India, discuss the importance of Assumption Island to India.

General Studies III

  1. The Pesticide Management Bill, 2017 addresses important issues but fails to meet the demand of all stakeholders. Critically Analyze.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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