Mains Q & A 9 February 2023
Q1. Although the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill (ART) allows for the provision of ethical and safe ART treatments, it is discriminatory. India presently dominates the global infertility business. critically evaluate (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Government Policies and Interventions
The Lok Sabha just adopted the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2021. The ART Regulation Bill aims to regulate and supervise assisted reproductive technology (ART) banks and clinics, prevent technology abuse, and enhance the ethical use of the services.
The primary features of the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill are:
The Bill defines assisted reproductive technology (ART) as any treatment that involves handling sperm, oocytes, or embryos and transferring them into the female reproductive system in an effort to conceive a child outside of the human body.
Creation of ART Banks: The Bill defines an ART bank as a business that is created to supply sperm, semen, oocytes, or donors of oocytes to ART clinics or their patients.
One of the sections of the bill that will govern ART clinics is the National Registry of Clinics and Banks, which will act as a single database for data on all the clinics and banks in the country.
ART clinics will be registered with the Registry, with registrations valid for five years and renewable for an additional five.
The registration of an entity may be cancelled or suspended if it violates the requirements of the Bill.
National and State Surrogacy Boards: To regulate the delivery of ART services, the Bill also calls for the establishment of National and State Surrogacy Boards.
The National Board will provide recommendations to the Central Government regarding issues of policy pertaining to assisted reproductive technologies.
Before any ART procedures are carried out, both the gamete donor and the individual in need of the services must sign a written informed consent form.
Rights of a Child Born Through ART: According to the Bill, a child born through assisted reproductive technology shall be regarded as the biological child of the commissioning couple and shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges accorded to a Natural Child of the Commissioning Couple Only Under Any Law Currently in Effect from the Commissioning Couple.
The Bill mandates pre-implant testing to look for known, present, heritable, or genetic problems in the embryo.
The National Board will impose limitations on pre-implantation testing.
Offenses: According to the proposed legislation, clinics that offer sex selection, abandoning or mistreating children born through ART, buying, selling, or importing human embryos, as well as mistreating the couple or donors in any way, are all felonies.
The recommended sentences for offences range from five to twelve years in prison and fines between five lakh and twenty five lakh rupees.
Deficiencies in the bill:
Accessibility discrimination: According to the Bill, only married heterosexual couples and women who are at least old enough to get married are allowed to use ARTs; single men, heterosexual couples who live together in a heterosexual relationship, and LGBTQ+ individuals and couples are not allowed access to ARTs.
The measure excludes men who are unmarried and lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) people from exercising their right to ART.
Costly: Due to the high cost of ART operations, the measure does not include any provisions for supplying ART technologies to the underprivileged and disadvantaged groups.
The bill therefore violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which states that everyone has the same legal protection.
Both the ART and Surrogacy Bills aim to create various organisations, which could result in duplication of efforts or a lack of regulation.
A surrogacy clinic, for example, is not required to notify the National Registry that it has completed a surrogacy.
Clinics must have ethics committees, and any necessary counselling services must be separate from them.
The Bill and the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill’s definitions of the phrases “commissioning couple,” “infertility,” “ART clinics,” and “banks” must be synchronised, and the regulation of embryonic research must be reintroduced.
All ART entities should be required to abide by the rules set forth by the federal and state governments regarding matters of the national interest, friendly relations with foreign nations, public order, morality, and decency.
All the constitutional, medical-legal, ethical, and regulatory questions raised by the Bill must be thoroughly examined before it has an impact on millions of people.
Q2. Because there is no law governing the protection of personal data, it is impossible to determine which rights are exclusively ours, rendering the fundamental right to privacy worthless. Examine. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Government Policies and Interventions
Data protection, which encompasses the interplay of technology with data collection and distribution, is the process of securing data. By enabling the use of data for a variety of purposes while aiming to strike a balance between people’s rights to privacy. The sheer volume of personal information available online combined with the advancement of technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data mining increase the risk of data abuse.
Indian laws governing data protection:
Several countries have laws particularly addressing data protection, such as Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information. The European Union also approved the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation.
In India, there is no formal legislative framework for data protection. Data protection is currently typically covered by a few laws.
Sec. 43A of the Information Technology Act of 2000 safeguards user data from unauthorised use, although it only applies to corporate entities, not to governmental organisations. Additionally, only sensitive personal data—like biometric information and medical histories—is covered by the legislation.
A number of additional legislation, including the Copyrights Act of 1957 and the Consumer Protection Act of 2015, also work to protect personal information.
In 2017, it became clear that more rigorous data protection regulations were required as a result of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) v. Union of India, which recognised the right to privacy as a fundamental right.
A draught of the bill was produced in 2018 by a committee under the direction of retired justice B N Srikrishna. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was just introduced into Lok Sabha by the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology.
Why India must secure its data:
About 25 billion people utilise social media, and 40 billion people frequently access the internet in India. A data breach now costs an average of Rs. 11.9 crore in India, up 7.9% from 2017. Additionally, in the KS Puttaswamy case, the Supreme Court decided that Data Privacy is a Fundamental Right under Article 21. As a result, ensuring data protection becomes even more crucial.
The causes are as follows:
Data Export: Most companies that keep data have their main offices abroad. especially e-commerce companies that have exabytes of data on Indian customers. They also export data to other jurisdictions, which makes it difficult to put Indian laws into practise.
Data localization: Many companies and the governments in their own countries are against mandating data localization. Hundreds of private entities are involved in data dynamics, which makes it difficult to develop a standardised data protection solution.
User Permission: The programme typically employs pre-ticked consent boxes when asking a user to accept the terms and conditions.
Privacy Invasion: Finding the person who breached the data’s privacy is frequently difficult.
laws governing privacy The Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2011, which are currently governed by the IT Act of 2000, regulate how personal data about individuals is used and transferred. Government entities are excluded; this solely applies to private organisations.
Individuals are the genuine data owners, according to TRAI principles, whereas data collectors and processors are just their custodians and as such are governed by the law.
Given that data privacy is a fundamental right of a citizen and that potential data breaches could cause economic downturns, the government needs to reassess the aforementioned open concerns. There is an urgent need for a strong personal data protection law. Prioritization must be given to public education, better implementation and regulation, and efficient grievance redressal.
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