TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related POLITY 1. Supreme Court refuses to stay amendments to SC/ST Act INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. Hand-over of Chabahar port on track 2. COMCASA to help keep a watch over Indian Ocean HEALTH 1. IMA moots ethics code overhaul 2. Every patient will have to be evaluated: J&J on hip implants C. GS3 Related ECONOMY 1. Can India take SAHI road to urban mobility? D. GS4 Related E. Editorials INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. 2+2 = ?: On India-US defence relationship ECONOMICS 1. Post office solutions: the challenges facing India Post Payments Bank F. Tidbits G. Prelims Fact 1. Joint naval exercise with Sri Lanka H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
The SC had issued directions to prevent misuse Of SC/ST Act of 1989. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill of 2018 had restored the legislative intent of the original Act of 1989, which barred anticipatory bail to a person accused of insulting or hurting a Dalit. The SC has now refused to stay the amendments to the Act.
The Amendment Bill sought to insert three new clauses after Section 18 of the original Act:
- Preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of a First Information Report against any person.
- The arrest of a person accused of having committed an offence under the Act would not require any approval.
- The provisions of Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure — which deals with anticipatory bail — shall not apply to a case under this Act, “notwithstanding any judgment or order of any Court.”
- The Centre brought the amendment after nationwide protests against the SC order which said there would be no automatic arrest and police must conduct a preliminary enquiry within seven days before taking any action.
- A month after Parliament amended the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to overturn a Supreme Court verdict introducing a provision for anticipatory bail, the legislation was back in the apex court with two PILs challenging the validity of the amendment.
- A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan agreed to hear the PILs and issued notice to the Centre to justify the validity of the amendment within six weeks.
- It, however, refused to stay operation of the law.
Why has the SC refused to stay the amendments?
- The effect of the draconian provision is that once any citizen of this country is charged under atrocity act he will be immediately arrested without following due process of law or preliminary inquiry and he is barred from applying for anticipatory bail.
- The court opined that the amendment is most draconian, barbaric and destroy the very basic structure of Constitution as it takes away liberty of the person to apply for anticipatory bail.
- It was also pointed out that in both the Houses of Parliament this amendment was passed by the voice vote, without any discussion or debate.
- The amendments were introduced without explaining why the Supreme Court judgement was wrong. The Supreme court has now, directed the government to reply to allegations that the amendments were meant to appease the Dalits ahead of the 2019 general election.
Iran has stuck to the agreed timeframe in its plans to hand over the operational responsibility of a part of the Chabahar port to an Indian company in a month. Iran’s Transport Minister at the Global Mobility Summit, said that Tehran would proceed with handing over responsibility of running the Chabahar port to an Indian company in a month.
Iran’s Chabahar port is located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country. The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast and India can bypass Pakistan with the Chabahar port becoming functional.
Significance of Chabahar port to India:
- India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan.
- Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
- With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline.
- It will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port.
- With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India.
- Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.
- It will lead to better economic ties between Afghanistan and India.
Despite US displeasure:
- US Secretary of State said “We have told the Indians consistently, as we have told every nation, that on November 4th the sanctions with respect to Iranian crude oil will be enforced, and that we will consider waivers where appropriate, but that it is our expectation that the purchases of Iranian crude oil will go to zero from every country, or sanctions will be imposed. So we’ll work with the Indians.”
- Following the 2+2 dialogue with the U.S. delegates, Indian sources said they were expecting a ‘carve out’ on the Chabahar project as it is strategically important to India.
- This is an important exception that India hoped to receive even as the United States indicated that it would expect India to reduce dependence on Iranian crude and ‘zero out’ energy ties with Tehran.
India and the U.S. on September 6 signed the foundational or enabling agreement COMCASA on the side-lines of the inaugural 2+2 dialogue. The landmark Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) will lead to a new generation of bilateral military partnership.
- It is one of the three foundational defence pacts that needs to be signed by a country in order to obtain high-tech military hardware from the US.
- With Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), India has concluded three of the four foundational agreements with the U.S. that had been planned for years.
- India has already signed two of them — General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002 and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016.
- The two countries are yet to begin talks on Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).
- The agreement will give Indian military access to function on high-end secured and encrypted communication equipment which are installed on American platforms obtained by Indian Armed Forces. These platforms include C-130 J, C-17, P-8I aircraft, and Apache and Chinook helicopters.
- The act is usually known as the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). But, it was changed to COMCASA to signify its India-specific alterations.
- It will also provide a legal framework for the transfer of encrypted communication security equipment from the US to India. It is believed to be safer and more secure than the system that India uses right now. “Signing of Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) will enable India to access advanced technologies from USA,” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while addressing the media.
- Critics had also pointed out that the agreement could jeopardise India’s established military ties with Russia and access to their weapons systems.
- The agreement is also of political significance with the general elections scheduled to take place next year. In 2016, the BJP government had to face a lot of criticism from the opposition parties for signing LEMOA.
- These agreements and Donald Trump administration’s decision to give India STA-1 status (Strategic Trade Authorization-1) shows the country’s importance in the US strategic calculus.
Significance of COMCASA:
- It will enable Indian military to get a better picture of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) which is seeing increasing Chinese movements.
- With CISMOA [COMCASA is an India-specific version of CISMOA], Indian armed forces will get to fully exploit the capability of the military platforms procured from the US. For instance, the P-8I reconnaissance aircraft of the Navy which have emerged as a major force multiplier are currently operating at limited capacity.
- As a consequence of CISMOA, India will get access to Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System, or CENTRIXS, which is the secure communication system network of the US.
- Navy ships with CENTRIXS on board can communicate securely with the U.S. Navy when needed and can benefit from the wider situational picture of the region as they have a large number of ships and aircraft deployed. This will reduce the stress on the assets and allow prioritising the deployments more efficiently.
- CENTRIXS consists of a collection of coalition wide area networks (WAN) known as enclaves” and is a “great enabler, allowing ship-to-ship operational dialogue between the two nations in text and web-based formats.
- It is believed that there are persistent concerns that this would allow U.S. Navy access to India’s own secure communication network and also that the information shared with the U.S. will be accessible by Pakistan.
- Officials brushed aside these fears as specific measures have been incorporated in the agreement to “have full access to the relevant equipment and there will be no disruptions”.
- Data acquired through such systems cannot be disclosed or transferred to any person or entity without India’s consent.
- It is an enabling instrument and does not commit India to acquiring U.S. platforms.
Marking a bold departure from the existing code of ethics that covers the medical profession, the Indian Medical Association is in the process of redefining the code in order to ensure a much more contemporary outlook.
Indian Medical Association:
- IMA — an umbrella voluntary body that counts more than 2.5 lakh, or about a third, of the country’s doctors as its members.
- It is the only representative, national voluntary organization of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine, which looks after the interest of doctors as well as the well being of the community at large.
- It was established in 1928 as the All India Medical Association, renamed “Indian Medical Association” in 1930.
- It is a society registered under The Societies Act of India.
Need to redefine the code:
- The current code of medical ethics by the Medical Council of India dates back to 2002.
- Much has changed in the medical field since then and many relevant topics do not find a mention in the present code. Therefore, it became necessary to brainstorm on redefining the exising code.
- The code would subsequently be submitted to all the relevant Central Ministries – health, medical education, law and justice and the MCI – for consideration.
Questions being addressed:
- Can individual doctor advertise, have a website to promote her practice to compete with aggressively marketed corporate hospitals?
- Should the donation of cadaver organs be made mandatory for all?
- Is it important for medical students to study ethics throughout the duration of the MBBS course?
- The handbook would comprise 24 topics that either need to be reviewed or find no mention in the current code. For example, the current MCI norms do not allow doctors to publicise their practice through any type of advertising. The concern is that when Big private hospitals are constantly promoting their set ups through advertisements in all mediums,how will individual doctors, especially those who have just begun practice, survive such competition
- IMA believes that any publicity material should be ethical and approved after scrutiny by the respective State medical councils.
- The topic of ‘end of life’. “After much discussion, we are of a view that doctors cannot give consent for deciding on pulling the plug. We are against physician-assisted suicide. This decision can only be taken by relatives,” said Dr. Wankhedkar.
- Ethical issues around Assisted Reproductive Technology and surrogacy also find a mention in the handbook and the IMA states that doctors should ethically ensure that surrogates and egg donors are not exploited.
- The IMA also recommends that cadaver organ donations must be made compulsory for all unless an individual specifically states that he or she does not want to become an organ donor. As there is a long waiting list of patients for organ transplants. It is also observed that India carries out a high number of living donor transplants as compared to cadaver organ donations.
An expert committee report on faulty hip prosthetics sold by a subsidiary of the U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson has revealed incriminating details about its negligence in dealing with Indian patients. It indicated that the company has suppressed key facts on the harmful effects of the company’s “faulty” hip replacement systems, withdrawn globally after complications required many patients to undergo revision surgery.
How is hip replacement done?
The hip joint consists of a ball and a socket, which are covered with cartilage and surrounded by a lubricating membrane to protect against wear. In total hip replacement, all components are replaced with prosthetic components. While a metal stem is placed into the hollow centre of the thighbone (femur), the prosthetic ball, socket and cartilage can be made of strong plastic, metal or ceramics. The commonest hip implants are metal on polythene, and ceramic on polythene.
What is the issue with the current system?
- The hip replacement that was being used are metal on metal, with cobalt, chromium and molybdenum as major constituents. Called ASR (Articular Surface Replacement) XL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System, these were being manufactured and sold for several years by Deputy International Limited (DePuy), UK, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Metal was being used as it reported a lower rate of wear and a wide range of motion.
- When the prosthetic ball and socket rub against each other, it causes wear. If the implant is metal on metal, this can sometimes releases metallic debris into the bloodstream. This can lead to complications, sometimes requiring revision surgery.
To what extent has it happened in India?
- The company got the licence to import the device in 2006 to India
- By the time it was recalled worldwide, an estimated 4,700 ASR implants had been done in the country.
- Amid concerns worldwide, the Health Ministry set up an expert committee in 2017 to examine issues arising out of faulty ASR implants in India. The committee reviewed action taken by the company to replace faulty ASR implants, and reviewed compensation provided to those who had suffered.
Findings of the Committee:
- More than 3,600 of the 4,700 patients could not be traced. The committee sent letters to 101, of whom 22 responded.
- The committee concluded that not only did patients undergo revision after first surgery, but in some cases, more than one revision surgeries have been performed.
- Some of the patients had reported that they had to undergo excoriating pain during all these and more particularly after the implant.
- Many patients reported general fatigue or local issues such pseudo tumour, pain walking, metallosis (increase in Cobalt and Chromium levels, Asthenozoospermia (reduced sperm motility), cyst in kidney, claudication pain.
- Some of them informed that they are still having difficulty in carrying out their routine activities and are confined to bed.
- The cost of revision surgery was reimbursed either by the company or the insurance firms.
Recommendations of the Committee:
- The company should be made liable to pay at least Rs 20 lakh to each patient with such complications, and the reimbursement programme be extended until August 2025.
- A central expert committee and a regional expert committee should be constituted by the Ministry for evaluation of patients’ claims in respect of disability and suffering caused due to use of faulty ASR.
- The regional committee will determine whether there is permanent disability, and whether such disability has affected or will affect the patient’s earning capacity, and then submit its report to the central expert committee.
- The central expert committee will determine the quantum of compensation. The patient should be given compensation on the basis of suffering on “account of monetary loss due to wages and other loss” and percentage of disability.
- It has recommended that the maximum amount be at par with the maximum granted for clinical trial-related death and permanent disability as per rules and guidelines of the Drug Controller General of India.
- Provisions for compensation should be included in Medical Device Rules if any serious adverse event or death is caused due to the sole use of a medical device.
- Health assessment of patients should be reported once a year till 2025 and compliance report periodically.
- An independent registry should be established for tracking usage of high-risk medical devices.
C. GS3 Related
‘Transforming India’s Mobility: A Perspective’ prepared by the NITI Aayog and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) was presented to the Prime Minister of India at the Global Mobility Summit in New Delhi.
Global Mobility Summit:
- Global Mobility Summit called MOVE, is a two-day summit , first of its kind organised by the government think-tank Niti Aayog to promote cleaner, accessible modes of transport.
- The summit deliberated on steps to promote electric vehicles and shared mobility.
- It aimed at driving India’s goals for vehicle electrification, renewable energy integration and job growth, thus, speeding up India’s transition to a clean energy economy and featured global political leaders from mobility space.
- It aimed at bringing together and engaging with key stakeholders within rapidly transforming global mobility landscape and evolve public interest framework for shared, connected, zero emission agenda for the future.
- It also envisaged mobility as key driver for generating employment, providing innovative solutions to improve efficiency and efficacy of transport sector and accelerate economic growth.
- Five themes including comprehensive electrification and alternative fuels, reinventing public transport, goods transport and logistics and data analytics and mobility were deliberated on, in the summit.
- All the cities face familiar concerns such as motorised personal vehicles requiring more roads, parking, and traffic.
- While mobility is critical to preserving our planet, road transport accounts for one-fifth of global CO2 emissions. This threatens to choke cities and raise global temperatures.
- The number of motor vehicles in India has grown 40-fold in 44 years, from 1981 to 2015, the NITI Aayog-BCG report says.
- The reason for increase in vehicles on road is attributed to the absence of a public transport system, leading to a rapid rise in private vehicle ownership.
- The four big metros in the country lose “over $22 billion annually,” on congestion
What should the future of mobility be, for India?
- As per the ‘Transforming India’s Mobility: A Perspective’ submitted to the Prime Minister, “Safe, Adequate, Holistic Infrastructure or SAHI.” Is the future of mobility for India.
- ‘Transforming India’s Mobility: A Perspective’ is the report prepared by the NITI Aayog and Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
- The report calls for efficient and convenient public transport to answer the twin problems of pollution and congestion.
- The report attracted attention amid daily increases in fuel prices.
- The Prime Minister, in the summit said, “Public transport must be the cornerstone of our mobility initiatives”. He elaborated on his ‘7Cs’ for the future of mobility: it stands for common, connected, convenient, congestion-free, charged, clean and cutting-edge.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
- The India-U.S. defence relationship has been given a significant boost with the three agreements signed recently after the inaugural 2+2 Dialogue in Delhi: the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), “hotlines” between the Defence and Foreign Ministers of both countries, and the first tri-services military exercises between the two countries.
What is COMCASA?
- COMCASA is meant to provide a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the U.S. to India.
- This would facilitate “interoperability” between their forces and potentially with other militaries that use U.S. origin systems for secured data links.
- COMCASA is the third of four “foundational”, or enabling, agreements signed by India after more than a decade of negotiations, and is perceived as an inevitable consequence of the large amount of U.S. defence hardware it has been purchasing.
Which factors may have contributed to the emerging strategic convergence between India and US?
- First, the end of the Cold War provided an opportunity to both countries to review their relationship in the light of changing global and regional realities
- Second, with the opening of the Indian economy, the American private sector began to look at India with greater interest.
- The third factor is the political coming of age of the three-million-strong Indian diaspora. Its influence can be seen in the bipartisan composition of the India in the U.S. Congress and the Senate Friends of India group.
- The 2+2 discussions, held after two previous cancellations this year, brought much-needed focus on the India-U.S. relationship after months of drift and occasional discord.
- However, while trade was addressed, India did not receive a clear-cut assurance of its GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) status being restored, or of waivers on steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by Washington.
- Instead, U.S. officials said clearly that they expect India to increase imports of American oil and gas as well as aircraft in order to wipe out the trade surplus India enjoys.
- It is unclear whether the Centre has acquiesced to this blatantly anti-free market demand, but its silence on the matter is disturbing.
- The U.S.’s other demand, to “zero out” oil imports from Iran by November, is simply unreasonable.
- It would hurt India dearly not only because of costs at a time when the dollar is strengthening and fuel prices are going up, but also in terms of its substantial engagement with Iran.
- No public statement was made on what the U.S. will do on India’s investment in the Chabahar port once its full sanctions kick in on November 4. American officials also gave no firm commitment in their statements that India will receive a waiver to purchase Russian hardware, beginning with the S-400 missile system.
- While signing agreements the U.S. has pursued for years, India appears to have taken a leap of faith on its own concerns, expecting that the Trump administration will come through on waiving sanctions and being more flexible on trade issues.
- In order to realise the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region (2015), both countries will have to nurture the habit of talking and working together to diminish some of the prickliness in the partnership.
- Delhi must work with Washington in the next few months to ensure that the benefits from the 2+2 dialogue don’t add up only on the other side.
- Amidst some fanfare, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), a financial service provider that will operate under the country’s age-old postal department.
Basics of IPPB
- The India Post Payments Bank seeks to leverage the expansive network of the postal department to ensure financial inclusion for the masses. It will have a network of 155,000 post offices and 30,000 postmen who have already undergone training to perform banking services.
- Leverage the strengths of India Post: The payments bank, where the Indian government holds 100 per cent equity, will leverage the vast network of the Department of Posts (DoP), which has more than 300,000 postmen and Grameen Dak Sewaks.
- Third licensee: This is the third entity to receive payments bank permit after Bharti Airtel and Paytm.
- Opening a bank account: You can open an IPPB account only through an Aadhaar e-Know Your Customer process. The account is ready almost instantly. The account holder is given a plastic card with a QR code with account details, so they do not need to remember their account numbers.
- Interest offered: It will offer a 4 per cent interest rate on savings accounts.
- Balance requirement: The account can be opened with a zero balance and payments banks can accept deposits of up to Rs 100,000 per account from individuals and small businesses.
- Products offered: The payments bank will offer a range of products such as savings and current accounts, money transfer, direct benefit transfers, bill and utility payments, and enterprise and merchant payments.
- Services like doorstep banking: Customers can avail of mobile banking, digital banking and doorstep banking
- The primary rationale behind the public payments bank idea is to help in the government’s goal of achieving financial inclusion by providing savings, remittance, and payments services to the rural and unorganised sectors of the economy.
- The payments bank will also have a digital platform that is expected to make financial services more accessible even from remote locations.
- A big challenge facing the new public payments bank is whether it can manage to earn the profits required to survive as a standalone business entity.
- Given the severe restrictions imposed by the Reserve Bank of India on how payments banks in general can employ their funds, the odds seem to be stacked against the IPPB at the moment.
- The first wave of new payments banks that commenced business last year — Airtel and Paytm — have not exactly set the market on fire. The payments bank model, it should be noted, is still untested even though prominent private companies such as Airtel and Paytm have shown interest in the space.
- Banks have traditionally stayed away from the business of pure deposit banking, unless customers have been willing to pay for these services, for a good reason.
- The IPPB promises to pay an interest rate of 4% to its savings account customers. To generate revenues, it plans to charge fees on money transfers and other financial services while investing idle customer deposits in safe government securities in order to earn interest. Whether this will be sufficient to cover interest and operational costs remains to be seen.
- Meanwhile, the IPPB is also likely to face stiff competition from private companies, which are generally more nimble in adapting to business realities and far more customer-friendly compared to the government-owned behemoths.
- With increasing competition, the IPPB’s revenues and margins are also likely to come under pressure. Yet, if it succeeds, the new payments bank could usher in a new era of rapid financial inclusion across rural India.
Nothing here for today!
G. Prelims Fact
Question 2. Which of these foundational defence pacts has India NOT signed, with the US to obtain high-tech military hardware?
- LEMOA – Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement
- COMCASA – Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement
- GSOMIA – General Security Of Military Information Agreement
- BECA – Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
- Indian Medical Association is a statutory body.
- It is a national voluntary organization of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine
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:
- PASSEX : India- Pakistan
- SLINEX : India- Sri Lanka
- CORPAT : India- Thailand
- VARUNA-18: India – France
Which of the options is not correctly matched?
I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam
- Indo – US ties have entered a “new era of growth” – critically analyse this statement in the context of the recent India-USA defense deal. (150 words/10 marks)
- Will the New India Post Payment Bank hasten financial inclusion? Justify your stand. (150 words/10 marks)
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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