News & Editorial Analysis 19 May 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Model Prisons Act 2023:
Topic à Government Policies and Interventions
The Indian government has prepared a new Model Prisons Act to replace the current 130-year-old ‘Prisons Act, 1894’, with a focus on rehabilitation and reform of prisoners instead of retributive deterrence.
What is Criminal Justice System in India?
The Criminal Justice System (CJS) in India is a set of legal and institutional frameworks that govern the detection, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of criminal offences.
The CJS in India is mainly guided by three major legal documents:
The Indian Penal Code.
The Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Indian Evidence Act.
CJS has four subsystems:
Corrections (Prisons, Community Facilities).
Need for new Prison Act:
The Indian Prison Act was enacted in 1894 and amended several times, but it fails to address modern-day prison challenges.
Human rights violations:
E.g., custodial deaths, torture, and overcrowding are widespread in Indian prisons.
Focus on rehabilitation:
The current prison system focuses more on punishment than rehabilitation, which leads to high recidivism rates (committing offence again).
A new act should emphasize the need for rehabilitation programs and better integration of prisoners into society upon release.
Many Indian prisons lack adequate healthcare facilities, leading to higher mortality rates.
The current prison system is largely manual and paper-based, leading to delays and inefficiencies.
According to the latest data available from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the occupancy rate of Indian prisons is over 117%, indicating severe overcrowding.
Many Indian prison staff lack adequate training, leading to incidents of human rights abuses, corruption, and mismanagement.
E.g., In 2020 it was reported that the Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai, Tamil Nadu had only one guard for every 100 prisoners.
Key features of Model Prisons Act 2023 are:
To incentivise good conduct:
Ensure legal aid to prisoners, provision of parole, furlough and premature release.
For women and transgender inmates:
Ensure the physical and mental well-being of these vulnerable inmates and provide separate accommodations.
Move away from the retributive deterrence approach and transform prisoners into law-abiding citizens.
Ensure the safety of both prisoners and prison staff by segregation of prisoners.
Provide a mechanism for prisoners to raise concerns and receive appropriate responses.
Prison development board:
Establish a board to oversee and advise on prison development and management.
Use of technology:
Bring transparency and efficiency to prison operations.
Use of prohibited items:
Discourage prisoners and prison staff from using prohibited items, such as mobile phones, in prisons.
Ensure the proper management and security of high-risk prisoners by the establishment of high-security jails.
Open and semi-open jails:
Provide different types of facilities to accommodate different types of prisoners.
Prisons in India and ‘persons detained therein’ are a State subject and MPA 2023 will serve as a “guiding document” for States. Therefore it is not binding on the states.
Previous other recommendations:
SC appointed Justice Amitava Roy (retd.) The committee recommended several measures to address the issue including:
Increasing the number of lawyers for prisoners.
Setting up special fast-track courts for petty offences.
Promoting the concept of plea bargaining.
Initiative for prison reforms in India:
The Modernisation of Prisons Project (2021-26) aims to enhance security and facilitate prisoner rehabilitation in India through the use of modern security equipment; E-Prisons Project, Model Prison Manual 2016, and National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
The Model Prison Act 2023 is aimed at improving prison administration and conditions, protecting the rights of prisoners, and promoting their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. It is expected to bring much-needed reforms to the Indian prison system and align it with international standards.
Source à The Hindu
2 – Global Report on Internal Displacements 2023:
Topic à Social Issues
The Global Report on Internal Displacement 2023 (GRID-2023) stated that in 2022, over 32 million people were displaced by disasters, 98% of which were triggered by weather-related events such as floods and storms.
Key Highlights of the Report:
Total Number of IDPs:
Over 71million IDPs across 110 countries and territories at the end of 2022, a 20% increase in a year.
Total IDPs in India:
Over 6 lakh were from conflict and violence while 32 thousand were due to disasters.
98% of disaster displacements in 2022 were triggered by weather-related events; floods and storms caused 6 out of 10 disaster displacements.
Pakistan and India:
Pakistan had the highest number of disaster displacements in 2022, followed by China and Afghanistan, while India ranked fourth.
La Niña’s Influence:
The prolonged three-year La Niña phenomenon contributed to the rise in weather-related disasters, especially floods, leading to widespread disasters across the globe.
Regional Displacement Patterns:
Sub-Saharan Africa experienced the highest-ever displacement due to disasters in 2022. South Asia witnessed double the annual average of disaster displacements.
Unconditional cash assistance for supporting the immediate needs of IDPs; Developing IDPs’ livelihoods and skills, Importance of building resilience and preparedness at an individual, community, and national levels, addressing the impacts of climate change and investing in adaptation measures are crucial to mitigate future displacements.
About Internal Displacement:
Internal displacement refers to the situation where people are forced to leave their homes but remain within their country’s borders.
About the Report:
The Global Report on Internal Displacement 2023 (GRID-2023), published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), is the world’s leading source of data and analysis on Internal Displacement (ID). The 2023 edition sheds light on the significant increase in the number of people displaced by disasters in 2022 and the complex relationships between disasters, conflict and violence, food security and ID.
IDMC (formed 1998; HQ: Geneva) is an International non-governmental organization established in 1998 by the Norwegian Refugee Council in Geneva. It is focused on monitoring and providing information and analysis on the world’s internally displaced persons.
There is a need for India to formulate policies and strategies that are focused on migration, promote inclusive growth and development, and reduce distress-induced migration.
1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol assert the principle of non-refoulment (a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom).
Source à The Hindu
3 – Agra Smart City:
Topic à Infrastructure related issues
The Agra Smart City had adopted an AI-enabled system capable of detecting various issues such as stray cattle, clogged manholes, traffic rule violations, and even instances of sexual harassment. The Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) monitors the city 24×7 and provides live updates on various aspects, including waste collection, parking violations, adaptive street lighting, environment pollution and overflowing manholes.
Agra is one of the 22 cities that have successfully completed all projects under the Smart City Mission.
Usage: The example can be used in governance/Science and Technology questions to show the use of technology for city administration.
Source à The Hindu
4 – CEIR System:
Topic à Government Policies and Interventions
The Indian government has launched the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) tracking system to combat mobile phone theft.
About the CEIR system:
Central Equipment Identity Register is a tracking system to combat mobile phone theft and facilitate the blocking and tracking of lost or stolen mobile phones across the country. CEIR serves as a central depository or database of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers, models, versions, and other details of mobile devices.
Centre for Department of Telematics (CDoT).
Ready for pan-India launch on May 17, 2023.
In-built mechanism to detect cloned mobile phones; Access to International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number and associated mobile number; Prevent revenue loss to the government; Mandate disclosure of IMEI number prior to mobile device sale; Block unauthorized mobile phones on telecom networks.
Karnataka Police used the CEIR system to recover and return over 2,500 lost mobile phones.
Apple has a tracking system through Apple ID for its devices, but Android phones face challenges in this regard.
Use of stolen mobile phones will become futile.
Database maintenance authority; Cloning or reprogramming of stolen mobile phones; Potential blocking of authentic IMEI numbers when blocking cloned ones.
About IMEI numbers:
International Mobile Equipment Identity is a unique 15-digit code that precisely identifies the device. Mobile phone manufacturers assign IMEI numbers to each device based on ranges allotted to them by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association. Dual SIM phones will have two IMEI numbers.
Source à The Hindu
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
EDITORIAL ANALYSIS à 19 MAY 2023 à THE HINDU:
RIGHT TO FREEDOM:
The government of India rejected the recommendations of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) 2023 report, calling it biased and motivated.
Right to Freedom of Religion:
The Constitution of India guarantees the right to freedom of religion to not only individuals but also religious groups in India. This is enshrined in Articles 25 to 28.
Article 25: It guarantees the freedom of conscience, the freedom to profess, practice, and propagate religion to all citizens.
Article 26: This Article provides that every religious denomination has the following rights, subject to morality, health, and public order.
Article 27 : According to Article 27 of the Constitution, there can be no taxes, the proceeds of which are directly used for the promotion and/or maintenance of any particular religion/religious denomination.
Article 28: This article permits educational institutions that are maintained by religious groups to disseminate religious instruction.
USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
It is an advisory body to the US Congress.
It is Headquartered in Washington DC.
Established by the US government after the inaction of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), 1998 the recommendations of USCIRF are non-binding on the state department.
Traditionally, India does not recognize the view of USCIRF.
Concerns Raised About India:
Concerns About Certain Laws and Policies: The report highlights concern regarding certain laws and policies in the country that have been criticized for their potential to discriminate on the basis of religion.
These include laws related to conversion, interfaith relationships, hijab, and cow slaughter, as well as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) All of these, it alleges, have not impacted minorities in a favorable way.
Measures Affecting Freedom of Expression: It raises concerns about alleged measures that may have impacted critical voices, particularly those belonging to religious minorities.
These include surveillance, harassment, property demolition, and detention under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967. Some Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) have also been subject to scrutiny under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.
India as a CPC: It has criticized the US State Department for not having designated India as a Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) and has called for sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials.
Impact on India:
Since the recommendations of USCIRF are not completely binding on the State Department of the USA, it does not directly affect India. But it certainly maligns India’s image at international level regarding the religious freedom to its citizens.
So far, the State Department of the USA has remained silent on such recommendations. India may face increased pressure as a result of its disagreement with the US on Russia’s Ukraine Invasion and refusal to support US-backed UN resolutions against Russia.
All the convergent opinions of the world run through Indian society – Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Secular, Stalinist, Liberal, Moist, Democratic, Socialist and Gandhian. India’s massive population is diverse as well as devout.
Not only do most of the world’s Hindus, Jains and Sikhs live in India, but it also is home to one of the world’s largest Muslim populations and to millions of Christians and Buddhists.
The role of the courts in India in determining the ambit of the right to freedom of religion is more active as compared to that in the United States.
The multiplicity of religions in India warrants the need for an exhaustive enumeration of restrictions to the right to religion as compared to the United States where the society is comparatively less diverse.
The government must find more comprehensive ways to repudiate any unfounded and incorrect challenges to India’s reputation, and remediate in the areas it is found wanting.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
EDITORIAL ANALYSIS à 19 MAY 2023 à THE INDIAN EXPRESS
INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY:
Recently, Global Pharma Healthcare, a Tamil Nadu based firm, was forced to recall an entire batch of eye drops exported to the US after it was linked to vision loss.
Status and Potential of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry:
India is rightfully known as the “pharmacy of the world” due to the low cost and high quality of its medicines.
According to the Economic Survey 2021, the domestic market is expected to triple in the next decade.
India’s domestic pharmaceutical market stood at US$ 42 billion in 2021 and is likely to reach US$ 65 billion by 2024 and further expand to reach US$ 120-130 billion by 2030.
However, this is a miniscule portion of the USD 1.27-trillion global pharmaceutical market.
In terms of overall revenue, the Indian pharmaceutical market increased by 13.9% in January 2022.
India is the largest producer of vaccines worldwide, accounting for ~60% of the total vaccines, as of 2021.
Indian pharmaceutical sector supplies over 50% of the global vaccine demand, 40% of the generic demand for US and 25% of all medicines for UK.
India is a leading supplier of DPT, BCG, and Measles vaccines.
70% of WHO’s vaccines (as per the essential Immunization schedule) are sourced from India.
India has more than 30% share in the global generic market but less than 1% share in the new molecular entity (A novel compound that not previously used in humans) space.
Globally, India ranks 3rd in terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and 14th by value.
More than 80% global Anti Retro-viral drugs come from India.
Medical Device industry is expected to reach US$ 50 billion by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 15%.
India is home to more than 3,000 pharma companies with a strong network of over 10,500 manufacturing facilities as well as a highly-skilled resource pool.
Issues and Challenges in Indian Pharma sector:
Quality concerns: Recently 48 drugs failed to meet quality standards.
3 percent of all drugs of routine use for hypertension, allergies and bacterial infections were found to be substandard.
Similar incidents include death of 12 children in Jammu and 2 children in Himachal Pradesh in 2020 after consumption of contaminated medicine and Cofset cough syrup respectively.
In 2021, Nycup syrup was found to have lower active ingredient.
In 2022, Indian cough syrups were linked to death of children in Gambia and Uzbekistan.
Excessive regulation: India has 36 drug regulators. This reduces efficiency, raises costs, increases delays and ups compliance burden apart from issues of corruption.
Complex and protracted approval processes (nod for development of new drugs in India takes 33-63 months versus 11-18 months in developed countries).
Price Capping Issue: The Indian pharmaceutical Industry is facing pressure from both the government and the civil society to make generic medicines and keep the prices low, reducing their profit margins and scope of investment in R&D.
Low R&D investment: India only invests 0.7% of its GDP for research and development. This is inadequate as compared to the demand in the sector.
International Challenges: Global Pharma companies accuse Indian pharma companies as an abuser of Patent laws and often criticize India’s
Compulsory Licensing Policies.
Dependence on Imports: India nearly 90% depend on China for its Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API).
Steps taken by the Government:
100% FDI in Greenfield pharmaceutical projects and 74% FDI in brownfield pharmaceutical projects allowed.
Pharma Vision 2020 aims at transforming India into a global leader in low-cost generics and end-to-end drug discovery and development.
Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021
It reduced the fee for patent filing and prosecution for educational institutions by 80% to promote innovation and development of new technologies.
Extension of Expedited Examination System for faster granting of patents.
Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a set of initiatives for providing accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing information between some patent offices.
Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 were notified with an aim to promote clinical research in the country.
Reduced the time for approving applications to 30 days.
Ethics committee will monitor the trials.
Drug Controller General of India will decide the compensation.
Removed regulations on tests conducted on animals.
The government, in 2019, released draft rules for regulating the e-pharmaceutical companies.
Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme: The PLI scheme aims to promote domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSMs)/Drug Intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in the country.
Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana to supply low-cost pharma drugs to the economically weaker sections.
Establishment of mega ‘Bulk Drug Parks’ and Medical Device Parks in association with state governments.
The Bulk Drug parks or Pharma parks will have a designated contiguous area of land with common facilities like solvent recovery, effluent treatment, distillation, etc.
Mashelkar Committee 2003 on drug regulations called for:
Setting up of a National Drug Authority.
Strengthening State Drug Control Organisations.
Digital Database for patients, drug usage and risk associated with the intake of drug.
Industry-Academia Linkages on the lines of US whose Bayh-Dole Act encourages academics to set up independent companies.
Revise the ethical code for Pharma companies to discontinue freebies and gifts
Robust Regulation to achieve a 60% reduction in the approval time to be competitive.
Increasing the R&D spending to promote innovation.
Rework with the IPR policies to make Indian Pharma companies for encouraging more patents.
Need for a National Plan on self-reliance in APIs and avoid over dependence on China.
Need to frame policy to utilise the traditional Knowledge in drug manufacturing.
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