DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 28 APR 2021 | RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

28 APRIL 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

A patently wrong regime

The Hindu

2

No Country For Women

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

India third highest military spender in 2020, states data published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Syllabus– GS 3: Internal Security

Analysis: –

  • India was the third largest military spender in the world in 2020, behind only the US and China.
  • According to the latest military expenditure database published on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks military expenditure and arms trade globally, the US accounted for 39 per cent of the money spent on military globally, China accounted for 13 per cent, and India accounted for 3.7 per cent of the globe’s share.
  • The US spent a total of $778 billion in 2020, China spent $252 billion and India’s military expenditure was $72.9 billion.
  • All three countries saw their military spending go up compared to 2019, even during a pandemic year.
  • While India’s spending since 2019 grew by 2.1 per cent, the increase for China was more moderate, at 1.9 per cent. The US saw a 4.4 per cent growth over its 2019 expenditure.

Marking the beginning of a green era

  • Syllabus– GS 3: Environment
  • One of the lessons learned from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the need for collective action among members of the international community to effectively address global challenges such as pandemics and climate change.
  • The pandemic has created an unprecedented crisis that demands an exceptional global response.
  • Even as countries rightly continue to focus on tackling the immediate health emergency, the need is to have a long-term vision to build a climate-resilient global economy for the future.
  • In fact, one of the main pillars of the Saudi G20 presidency was to “safeguard the planet”.
  • The Saudi leadership of the summit highlighted how climate change had negatively impacted the planet, people’s lives and their well-being.
  • The G20 introduced initiatives like establishing a Global Coral Reef Research and Development Accelerator Platform to accelerate scientific knowledge and technology development in support of coral reef survival, conservation, resilience, adaptation and restoration. G20 leaders also acknowledged the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) Platform as a tool towards affordable, reliable, and secure energy and economic growth.

Mains Analysis

A patently wrong regime

Why in News?

Over the last few decades, intellectual property rules have served as a lethal barrier to the right to access healthcare.

Syllabus– GS 2: Government Policies & Interventions

  • In responding to the pandemic, the global scientific community has shown a remarkable willingness to share knowledge of potential treatments, coordinate clinical trials, develop new models transparently, and publish findings immediately.
  • In this new climate of cooperation, it is easy to forget that commercial pharmaceutical companies have for decades been privatising and locking up the knowledge commons by extending control over life-saving drugs through unwarranted, frivolous, or secondary patents, and by lobbying against the approval and production of generics.
  • Even an unprecedented pandemic can do little, it appears, to upset the existing global regime governing monopoly rights over the production and distribution of life-saving drugs.
  • Intellectual property rules that have served as a lethal barrier to the right to access healthcare over the last few decades.
  • The neo-liberal order, under which these laws exist, is so intractable today that a matter as seemingly simple as a request for a waiver on patent protections is seen as a claim unworthy of exception.

Request for waiver

  • On October 2 last year, India and South Africa submitted a joint petition to the World Trade Organization (WTO), requesting a temporary suspension of rules under the 1995 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • A waiver was sought to the extent that the protections offered by TRIPS impinged on the containment and treatment of COVID-19.
  • The request for waiver has, since, found support from more than 100 nations.
  • But a small group of states — the U.S., the European Union, the U.K. and Canada among them — continues to block the move.
  • Their reluctance comes despite these countries having already secured the majority of available vaccines, with the stocks that they hold far exceeding the amounts necessary to inoculate the whole of their populations.
  • Reports suggest that for most poor countries it would take until at least 2024 before widespread vaccination is achieved.
  • A patent is a conferral by the state of an exclusive right to make, use and sell an inventive product or process.
  • Patent laws are usually justified on three distinct grounds:
  • On the idea that people have something of a natural and moral right to claim control over their inventions;
  • On the utilitarian premise that exclusive licenses promote invention and therefore benefit society as a whole; and
  • On the belief that individuals must be allowed to benefit from the fruits of their labour and merit, that when a person toils to produce an object, the toil and the object become inseparable.
  • Each of these justifications has long been a matter of contest, especially in the application of claims of monopoly over pharmaceutical drugs and technologies.

New Challenges: –

  • In India, the question of marrying the idea of promoting invention and offering exclusive rights over medicines on the one hand with the state’s obligation of ensuring that every person has equal access to basic healthcare on the other has been a source of constant tension.
  • The colonial-era laws that the country inherited expressly allowed for pharmaceutical patents.
  • But in 1959, a committee chaired by Justice N. RajagopalaAyyangar objected to this on ethical grounds.
  • The committee found that foreign corporations used patents, and injunctions secured from courts, to suppress competition from Indian entities, and thus, medicines were priced at exorbitant rates.
  • To counter this trend, the committee suggested, and Parliament put this into law through the Patents Act, 1970, that monopolies over pharmaceutical drugs be altogether removed, with protections offered only over claims to processes.
  • This change in rule allowed generic manufacturers in India to grow.

  • As a result, life-saving drugs were made available to people at more affordable prices.
  • The ink had barely dried on the new law, though, when negotiations had begun to create a WTO that would write into its constitution a binding set of rules governing intellectual property.
  • It was believed that a threat of sanctions, to be enforced through a dispute resolution mechanism, would dissuade states from reneging on their promises and with the advent in 1995 of the TRIPS agreement this belief proved true.
  • It was only when Indian companies began to manufacture generic versions of these medicines, which was made possible because obligations under TRIPS hadn’t yet kicked in against India, that the prices came down.

Challenges and Refuting objections

  • Instead, two common arguments are made in response to objections against the prevailing patent regime.
  • One, that unless corporations are rewarded for their inventions, they would be unable to recoup amounts invested by them in research and development.
  • Two, that without the right to monopolise production there will be no incentive to innovate.
  • Both of these claims have been refuted time and again.
  • Most recently, it has been reported that the technology involved in producing the Moderna vaccine in the U.S. emanated out of basic research conducted by the National Institutes of Health, a federal government agency, and other publicly funded universities and organisations.
  • Similarly, public money accounted for more than 97% of the funding towards the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • It’s also been clear for some time now that its research is usually driven towards diseases that afflict people in the developed world.
  • Therefore, the claim that a removal of patents would somehow invade on a company’s ability to recoup costs is simply untrue.
  • The second objection — the idea that patents are the only means available to promote innovation — has become something of a dogma.
  • The economist Joseph Stiglitz is one of many who has proposed a prize fund for medical research in place of patents.
  • A system that replaces patents with prizes will be “more efficient and more equitable”, in that incentives for research will flow from public funds while ensuring that the biases associated with monopolies are removed.

Way Forward: –

  • The unequal vaccine policy put in place by the Indian state is indefensible.
  • But at the same time, we cannot overlook the need for global collective action.
  • If nation states are to act as a force of good, they must each attend to the demands of global justice.
  • The pandemic has demonstrated to us just how iniquitous the existing world order is.
  • We cannot continue to persist with rules granting monopolies which place the right to access basic healthcare in a position of constant peril.

Questions: –

The current controversy around intellectual property rights has focused on the role of intellectual property in the current COVID-19 vaccine shortage. Discuss.

No Country For Women

Why in News?

In the recent WEF Global Gender Gap report, India has been placed in 17th position from the bottom.

Syllabus– GS1: Issues related to Women Empowerment.

  • The Global Gender Gap Report is published by in the World Economic Forum.
  • The report is a measure of gender gap on four parameters: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
  • The index has benchmarked 156 nations across the globe in 2021.

Key Findings: India

  1. India has slipped 28 places to rank 140th among 156 countries in 2021 Report.
  2. The country had ranked 112th among 153 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020.
  3. India is the third-worst performer in South Asia.
  4. India, home to 0.65 billion women, has widened its gender gap from almost 66.8% one year ago to 62.5% this year.
  5. According to the report, India has closed 62.5% of its gender gap till date.
  6. India’s gender gap on this dimension widened by 3% this year, leading to a 32.6% gap closed till date.
  7. The estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of men’s, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator,
  8. Discrimination against women is also reflected in the health and survival subindex statistics. With 93.7% of this gap closed to date, India ranks among the bottom five countries in this subindex.

Reasons of Decline: –

  • Decline took place on the economic participation and opportunity subindex.
  • Decline in political empowerment subindex, where India regressed 13.5 percentage points, with a significant decline in the number of women ministers (from 23.1% in 2019 to 9.1% in 2021).
  • Decline is a decrease in women’s labour force participation rate, which fell from 24.8% to 22.3%.
  • The share of women in professional and technical roles declined further to 29.2%.
  • The share of women in senior and managerial positions also remains low: only 14.6% of these positions are held by women and there are only 8.9% firms with female top managers.

In Comparison with Other Nations:

  • Within South Asia, post-conflict 83% of Nepali women work outside the home.
  • Also reports good women representation in from local govt to parliament.
  • Bangladesh is the only country with women serving longer than men as head of the state.
  • Rwanda is one of the few developing countries that has surprisingly closed the gender gaps on several fronts.
  • Where women now dominate 2/3rd of parliamentary seats.

Key Findings: Global:-

  1. Among India’s neighbours, Bangladesh ranked 65, Nepal 106, Pakistan 153, Afghanistan 156, Bhutan 130 and Sri Lanka 116.
  2. Among regions, South Asia is the second-lowest performer on the index, with 62.3% of its overall gender gap closed.
  3. In South Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan ranked below India.
  4. For the 12th time, Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world.
  5. The top 10 most gender-equal countries include Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Rwanda, Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland.

Challenges in front of Indian women: –

  • Indian women’s discrimination starts in the embryo stage with the misuse of technology for sex-selective abortion.
  • As per UNFPA data, each year India reports more than 46 million “missing women”.
  • The patriarchal mindset of the society creates obstacles for women’s empowerment & growth at every stage of life.
  • As per NSSO 2019 time-use survey, Indian women’s daily work is almost 10 times more than men on unpaid chores.
  • According to National Family Health Survey 2019-20, even before the pandemic child marriages have marginally increased since the previous survey.
  • Though education is inclusive with 3/4th of women literates, only 37% complete 10th class.
  • Lack of employment opportunities for women.
  • Compounded with the lack of independence, more than 1/4th of married women reported spousal violence.
  • According to NCRB, In 2019 alone nearly 88 rapes daily are reported with Dalit women (mainly in Rajasthan & UP) the most vulnerable.

WayForward: –

  • India when a new generation of dynamic women taking up leadership & fighting against all forms of discriminations.
  • Taking a cue from the East Asian growth miracle associated with large increases in working women, it is high time for govt & Indian society at large that has been sleeping in the patriarchal hangover to take up the responsibility & reform every institution for building a equal society.

Value-addition: –

Constitutional Provisions For Gender Equality– Articles such as Article 14, Article 15 (3), Article 39A, and Article 42 make special provisions for rights of women to ensure gender equality.

Legislative Provisions For Women–

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Act (PCPNDT), 1994; Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013; Equal Remuneration Act, 1976; Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amended in 2017) aimed at mandating women’s rights.

What is Shadow Pandemic?

  • As country after country announced lockdowns in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, the instances of domestic violence increases.
  • This alarming increase in domestic violence has even earned a moniker, “the shadow pandemic.”
  • The term is given by the UN Women to describe the growing rates of violence against women and girls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The UN Women, the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and women empowerment, has urged the member states to include prevention of violence against women in their strategy to counter the pandemic.
  • Globally, nearly 243 million women and girls between 15 and 49 years were subjected to sexual and/or physical intimate partner violence in the last year (UN Women, 2020).
  • A survey of 122 community organisation shows that 85% of them reported a rapid increase in violence against women and girls (VAW/G) between March – September 2020 (UN Trust Fund to End VAW, 2020).
  • According to UN Women, globally 243 million women and girls aged 15-49 have been subjected to sexual and/or physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months.

Question: –

Taking a cue from the East Asian growth miracle associated with large increases in working women, it is high time for govt & Indian society at large that has been sleeping in the patriarchal hangover to take up the responsibility & reform every institution for building a equal society. Critically evaluate.

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