10 Mar 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. SC upholds passive euthanasia
2. Rajasthan passes Bill to give death penalty for child rape
C. GS3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Rare mineral found in plants for first time
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Trade goes on
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Death with dignity
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. SC upholds passive euthanasia

 

  • The Supreme Court has upheld passive euthanasia and the right to give advance medical directives or ‘Living Wills’ to smoothen the dying process as part of the fundamental right to live with dignity.
  • Passive euthanasia is the act of withdrawing or withholding medical support to a dying patient who has no hope for revival or cure.

Unwarranted support

  • A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in four separate and concurring opinions, ruled that the fundamental right to life and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution includes the “right to die with dignity.” Dignity is lost if a man is allowed or forced to undergo pain and suffering because of “unwarranted medical support.”
  • The right of a dying man to die with dignity when life is ebbing out and in the case of a terminally ill patient or a person in permanent vegetative state, where there is no hope of recovery, accelerating the process of death for reducing the period of suffering constitutes a right to live with dignity.
  • In his separate opinion, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed that to deprive a person of dignity at the end of life is to deprive him of a meaningful existence.
  • Meaningful existence includes a person’s right to self-determination and autonomy to decide his medical treatment, the court held. Justice Ashok Bhushan agreed that right to a dignified life includes a “dignified procedure of death.
  • Justice A.K. Sikri, in his separate opinion, said though religion, morality, philosophy, law and society have conflicting opinions about whether right to life includes the right to die, they all agree that a person should die with dignity.
  • The court described the exact stage at which suffering robs a dying person of his dignity.
  • “A state where the treating physicians and the family members know fully well that the treatment is administered only to procrastinate the continuum of breath and the patient is not even aware that he is breathing,” Chief Justice Misra wrote.

Quest to prolong life

  • Justice Chandrachud said modern medical science should balance its quest to prolong life with the task of ensuring “quality of life.” One is meaningless without the other, he added.

Comparison of Passive Euthanasia, Suicide and Active Euthanasia

  • The court distinguished passive euthanasia from suicide and active euthanasia. It called passive euthanasia as a “mere acceleration of the inevitable conclusion.”
  • Active euthanasia, the court concluded, is unlawful. Suicide involves “overt acts” which culminates in an unnatural death. A valid ‘Living Will’ facilitates passive euthanasia.
  • A failure to legally recognise an advance medical directive inconveniences the “right to smoothen the dying process”, the court reasoned. In cases of terminally ill or permanently vegetative state patients, where there is no hope for revival, priority should be given to the Living Wills and the right of self-determination.
  • The court referred to how societal pressure and fear of criminal liability by relatives and medical doctors had led to suffering and undignified deaths.

Role of Doctors

  • Guidelines prescribed by the Supreme Court on Friday while upholding passive euthanasia and ‘Living Will’, place a huge burden on the treating physician and hospital.
  • For one, the responsibility is on the treating doctor to ascertain the “genuineness and authenticity” of a Living Will of a terminally ill patient from the Judicial Magistrate in whose custody the document is kept.
  • Once satisfied that there is no cure, the doctor should give due weight to the instructions left by the patient in his or her Living Will. After the doctor decides that the Living Will needs to be “acted upon”, it is his responsibility to convey to the guardian or close relative the medical condition, the availability of care and consequences of alternative forms of treatment and the consequences of remaining untreated.
  • The physician or the hospital concerned has to then constitute a Medical Board consisting of the head of the treating department and at least three experts from the fields of general medicine, cardiology, neurology, nephrology, psychiatry or oncology with experience in critical care and a standing of 20 years in the profession. They will have to visit the patient and release a preliminary opinion on whether or not to withdraw treatment as per the Living Will.
  • In case the Medical Board decides not to follow a Living Will, it can apply to the District Collector concerned. In case it supports the Living Will, the doctor or the hospital has to “forthwith” inform the District Collector, who will also form a Medical Board with the Chief District Medical Officer as Chairman for endorsement of the decision.

2. Rajasthan passes Bill to give death penalty for child rape

 

  • Rajasthan became the second State, after Madhya Pradesh, to pass a Bill providing for death penalty to those convicted of raping girls of 12 years and below. The State Assembly passed the Bill seeking to amend the Indian Penal Code with the insertion of new provision by voice vote.

A deterrent

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2016 report, the cases of crimes against children have seen a steady increase in Rajasthan.
  • The State recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which was 3.8% of the crimes against children registered across the country. In 2015, the State had registered 3,689 cases of crimes against children.Mr. Kataria said the Bill had inserted two new sections, 376-AA and 376-DD, in the IPC.
  • Section 376-AA provides for capital punishment or rigorous imprisonment ranging between 14 years and lifelong incarceration.
  • Section 376-DD makes a similar provision for gang-rape of a girl child, while laying down death penalty or imprisonment from 20 years to lifelong incarceration for those convicted of the offence. Each of the persons constituting the gang will be deemed to be guilty of the offence.

C. GS3 Related

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Rare mineral found in plants for first time

 

  • In a first, researchers have discovered on alpine plants a rare mineral that holds potential as a new material for industrial and medical applications.
  • The mineral vaterite, a form of calcium carbonate, is a dominant component of the protective silvery-white crust that forms on the leaves of a number of alpine plants, according to the study published in the journal Flora.
  • Naturally occurring vaterite is rarely found on Earth. Small amounts of vaterite crystals have been found in some sea and freshwater crustaceans, bird eggs, the inner ears of salmon, meteorites and rocks.
  • This is the first time that the rare and unstable mineral has been found to be associated with plants.
  • Biochemists are working to synthetically manufacture vaterite as it has potential for use in drug delivery, but it is not easy to make.
  • Vaterite has special properties that make it a potentially superior carrier for medications due to its high loading capacity, high uptake by cells and its solubility properties that enable it to deliver a sustained and targeted release of therapeutic medicines to patients.
  • For instance, vaterite nanoparticles loaded with anti-cancer drugs appear to offload the drug slowly only at sites of cancers and therefore limit the negative side-effects of the drug, Wightman added.
  • The findings are part an ongoing research project that is probing the inner workings of plants using new microscopy technologies.
  • Other potential uses of vaterite include improving the cements used in orthopaedic surgery and as an industrial application improving the quality of papers for inkjet printing by reducing the lateral spread of ink.
  • Wightman said vaterite was often associated with outer space and had been detected in planetary objects in the Solar System and meteorites:
  • Vaterite is not very stable in the Earth’s humid atmosphere as it often reverts to more common forms of calcium carbonate, such as calcite.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Trade goes on

Context:

  • The United States under Donald Trump may not be a huge fan of free trade across borders, but that’s not stopping other countries from embracing it.

Key takeaways:

  • Recently, 11 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, Australia and Canada, signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in Chile.
  • The CPTPP is, in effect, the original Trans-Pacific Partnership struck during the Barack Obama presidency minus the U.S.
  • Interestingly, the CPTPP comes soon after the U.S. had made clear its plan to impose tariffs on the import of aluminium and steel in an attempt to protect domestic manufacturers.
  • The countries signing the agreement, which account for more than 13% of the world economy, have agreed to bring down tariffs on cross-border trade by as much as 98% after domestic ratification.

Consequences:

  • More countries are expected to sign the CPTPP in the future, and there is hope that a post-Trump U.S. may join the bloc.
  • But even in the absence of the world’s largest economy, countries that are currently part of the deal will only gain from any reduction in the costs imposed on trade.
  • This will leave the world, which has largely been moving towards increasing free trade even as the U.S. has turned inwards, better off than without the deal.

Criticism of the TPP

  • Even in its original form as a 12-member agreement, was the alleged influence of special interests in dictating its broad framework.
  • The TPP text, had also been flayed for mandating labour and other regulations that increase the bureaucratic burden on businesses.
  • Benefits from tariff reductions may be cancelled out by the massive increase in regulatory requirements.
  • While there may be no hard and fast rule to gauge the net benefit of the agreement, addressing these concerns will only strengthen the chances of more countries joining it.
  • A simpler trade agreement can also help the cause of transparency and lower the chances of lobbying by special interests in the future.
  • Last but not least, amid palpable fears of a global trade war, the survival of a free trade agreement despite the sudden pullout of the U.S. offers some respite to the supporters of free trade.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Death with dignity

  • The court has laid down a much-needed legal framework for enforcing living wills
  • The Supreme Court’s verdict allowing passive euthanasia and giving legal status to ‘advance directives’ is that the right to a dignified life extends up to the point of having a dignified death.
  • The outcome of the exercise is a progressive and humane verdict that lays down a broad legal framework for protecting the dignity of a terminally ill patient or one in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) with no hope of cure or recovery.
  • The core message is that all adults with the capacity to give consent “have the right of self determination and autonomy”, and the right to refuse medical treatment is also encompassed in it.
  • Passive euthanasia was recognised by a two-judge Bench in Aruna Shanbaug in 2011; now the Constitution Bench has expanded the jurisprudence on the subject by adding to it the principle of a ‘living will’, or an advance directive.
  • The court’s reasoning is unexceptionable when it says burdening a dying patient with life-prolonging treatment and equipment merely because medical technology has advanced would be destructive of her dignity.
  • The court has invoked its inherent power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant legal status to advance directives, and its directives will hold good until Parliament enacts legislation on the matter.

Important Definitions:

  • Living will is a practice whereby a person, while in a competent state of mind, leaves written instructions on the sort of medical treatment that may or may not be administered in the event of her reaching a stage of terminal illness.
  • Passive euthanasia essentially involves withdrawal of life support or discontinuation of life-preserving medical treatment so that a person with a terminal illness is allowed to die in the natural course.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:
  1. Irula tribes inhabit the area of the Nilgiri mountains.
  2. They are spread over the states of Karnataka and Kerala.

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:
  1. Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is setup to investigate corporate frauds.
  2. It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

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 criteria about Vanishing Companies:
  1. It should have failed to file returns with Registrar of Companies (ROC) or with Stock Exchange for a period of two years.
  2. None of its Directors are traceable.

Which of the statements are correct?

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

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

General Studies II (IR)

  1. The trump’s administration call for imposing high tariff barriers spurts global trade war. What are its implications for India? How should this Problem be handled?
  2. India Vietnam ties have been elevated from “strategic” to a “comprehensive strategic” partnership. Explain the importance of Vietnam to India and its growing relationship.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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