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Here are the topics covered for 22nd November 2023:
GS-1: Adultery and Related Intricacies
GS-2: National Pharmacy Commission Bill 2023
GS-3: India\’s Patent Grants Reflect Growing Innovation, OECD Climate Finance Report
Facts for prelims:International Film Festival of India (IFFI), E- Prime Layer
Adultery and Related Intricacies
- Adultery, the voluntary sexual act between a married person and someone other than their spouse, has long been a contentious issue in India.
- The recent proposal by the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs to reinstitute adultery as a crime in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), 2023, has reignited the debate.
Legal Position on Adultery in India
- Adultery, defined as voluntary engagement in sexual relations by a married individual with someone other than their spouse, has been a subject of legal scrutiny in India.
- Before 2018, Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code criminalized adultery but with a gender bias—only men could be prosecuted.
- The Supreme Court, in the landmark case of Joseph Shine vs Union of India (2018), struck down Section 497, citing constitutional violations and discrimination.
- The recent proposition to re-criminalize adultery in the BNS, 2023, introduces the critical element of gender neutrality.
Legal Standing V/s Legislative Action:
- The parliamentary proposal to re-institute adultery as a crime, though seemingly in contradiction to the Supreme Court\’s 2018 decision, aligns with the constitutional principle that Parliament can pass legislation addressing the basis of a court judgment.
- The Madras Bar Association vs. Union of India (2021) case clarified the need for a validating law to effectively rectify identified flaws. In this context, the proposal aims to rectify the discriminatory aspect of Section 497 by making adultery laws applicable to both genders.
Arguments For Criminalizing Adultery:
- Proponents of criminalizing adultery argue that it preserves marital sanctity, acts as a deterrent, provides legal recourse, and aligns with moral standards. Safeguarding the institution of marriage and discouraging extramarital affairs are seen as crucial for maintaining societal values.
Arguments Against Criminalizing Adultery:
- Opponents assert that criminalizing adultery infringes upon individual autonomy and privacy within marital relationships, violating constitutional principles.
- They advocate for treating adultery as a civil matter, focusing on divorce rather than criminal punishment.
- Critics argue that criminalization may exacerbate relationship strains, and the subjective nature of adultery could burden the legal system.
- Navigating the complexities of adultery poses several challenges.
- Balancing legal reforms with societal awareness is essential.
- The proposed legislation must address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court in 2018 while considering the potential impact on relationships and the legal system\’s capacity to handle subjective cases.
- A nuanced approach is crucial in crafting a fair and harmonious path forward.
- The legislation should be crafted to address the constitutional concerns raised by the Supreme Court, ensuring gender neutrality and respecting individual autonomy.
- Societal awareness programs can be initiated to promote healthier relationships and emphasize the importance of communication and trust.
- The re-institution of adultery as a criminal offence in the proposed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, raises important legal, ethical, and societal questions.
- Balancing the preservation of marital sanctity with individual autonomy requires careful consideration.
- Crafting legislation that respects constitutional principles, addresses the flaws identified by the Supreme Court, and promotes societal awareness is essential for navigating the intricate landscape of adultery laws in India.
National Pharmacy Commission Bill 2023
- The Union Health Ministry has opened public commentary on the proposed National Pharmacy Commission Bill 2023, a significant development following the recent passage of the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill 2023 and the National Dental Commission Bill 2023 during the August Parliament session.
About the Proposed Bill
- The National Pharmacy Commission Bill 2023 aims to supersede the Pharmacy Act of 1948 and the existing Pharmacy Council of India (PCI). The 1948 Act, focused on regulating the pharmacy profession, necessitates a comprehensive update to better regulate and practice pharmacy.
- The Bill aspires to enhance access to affordable, high-quality pharmacy education, ensure the nationwide availability of pharmacy professionals, and promote equitable healthcare by making pharmacy services accessible to all citizens.
Salient Provisions of the Bill
Establishment of the National Pharmacy Commission
- The proposed bill suggests the creation of a National Pharmacy Commission headquartered in New Delhi. Comprising a Chairperson, 13 ex-officio members, and 14 part-time members, this commission is poised to play a pivotal role in the reformation of the pharmacy sector.
Three Functional Boards
- Under the commission, three boards – the Pharmacy Education Board, the Pharmacy Assessment and Rating Board, and the Pharmacy Ethics and Registration Board – will be instituted by the Central Government, each serving specific functions.
Regulation of New Institutions
- The bill introduces strict regulations against the establishment of new pharmacy institutions or courses without prior authorization from the Pharmacy Assessment and Rating Board. Non-compliance may result in penalties, warnings, reduced intake, admissions suspension, or withdrawal of recognition.
Transparency through the National Pharmacy Register
- A National Pharmacy Register, maintained by the Pharmacy Ethics and Registration Board, will hold details of pharmacy professionals, ensuring transparency within the sector.
- Every state government is mandated to establish a state pharmacy chapter within one year of the Act\’s commencement, if not existing, empowering them to exercise specified powers and duties.
Periodic and Transparent Assessment
- The bill advocates for periodic and transparent assessments of pharmacy institutions, promoting accountability and quality within the sector.
Professional Integration and Ethical Standards
- Encouraging professionals to integrate the latest research, contribute to research, and uphold high ethical standards, the bill envisions a proactive and responsible pharmacy profession.
Adaptability and Grievance Redressal
- The draft bill emphasizes flexibility to adapt to changing needs and proposes an effective grievance redressal mechanism, ensuring dynamic responsiveness and issue resolution.
Functions of the National Pharmacy Commission
- The commission is tasked with setting education standards, facilities, assessments, training, research, and tuition fees, ensuring the highest quality of pharmacy education.
- The commission will establish standards for pharmacy faculty and clinical facilities, implement a uniform admission mechanism, and regulate pharmacy education and training policies. Additionally, it will oversee and regulate pharmacy institutions, research activities, professionals, and associates.
- The commission will make regulations to ensure the competency of pharmacy professionals, evaluating them through final-year undergraduate exams or alternative means.
- To drive innovation and research in pharmacy, the commission is mandated to collaborate with industry and other institutions, utilizing cutting-edge technology and hybrid education.
- In fostering the global mobility of professionals, the council will provide training in soft skills and offer elective courses at educational institutions.
- The National Pharmacy Commission Bill 2023 emerges as a pivotal step in modernizing and fortifying the pharmacy sector in India. With a comprehensive set of provisions, it aims not only to regulate the profession effectively but also to elevate the standards of education, ethics, and research within the pharmacy domain. The emphasis on adaptability, transparency, and global collaboration positions this bill as a transformative force in ensuring a robust and responsive pharmacy ecosystem in the country. Public input on this proposed legislation will be instrumental in shaping the future of pharmacy regulation and practice in India.
India\’s Record-Breaking Patent Grants Reflect Growing Innovation
- In a significant milestone, the Indian Patent Office (IPO) has achieved a record by granting 41,010 patents until November 2023.
- This surge in patent grants underscores India\’s strides in innovation, technology, and competitiveness, as reported by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
- This development is indicative of the impact on various sectors, the economy, and the overall nurturing of talent and opportunities.
- India\’s remarkable increase in patent grants, from 4,227 in the fiscal year 2013-14 to the current high of 41,010, reflects a robust and evolving innovation landscape. According to a WIPO report, Indian patent applications witnessed a remarkable 31.6% growth in 2022, extending an 11-year growth streak unparalleled among the top 10 global filers.
Government Policies and Interventions:
- The surge in patent grants is not a standalone achievement but a result of comprehensive government policies and interventions.
- The IPO, governed by the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, plays a pivotal role in administering and regulating patents in India.
- The Patents Act, of 1970, and subsequent amendments, such as the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021, provide the legal framework for the patent system.
Term and Criteria of Patentability:
- The term of a patent in India is 20 years from the filing date, and for applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), it is from the international filing date.
- To be patentable, an invention must be novel, involve inventive steps, be industrially applicable, and not attract specific provisions of the Patents Act.
Global and National Commitments:
- India is an active participant in global intellectual property frameworks, being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and adhering to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
- Additionally, the country is part of key WIPO-administered treaties, including the Budapest Treaty, the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy 2016:
- The National IPR Policy 2016 serves as a guiding document, emphasizing \”Creative India; Innovative India.\” It outlines an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring, and review, aiming to align Indian practices with global standards and incorporate best practices.
- While the surge in patent grants is commendable, challenges persist.
- The innovation ecosystem requires increased investments in research and development.
- Patent procedures need simplification, and the capacity of the Indian Patent Office must be enhanced to cope with the growing demand.
- Striking a balance between encouraging innovation and preventing abuse of the patent system is a challenge that needs careful consideration.
- To bolster the innovation ecosystem, there is a need for increased investment in research and development.
- Establishing and supporting innovation hubs and incubation centres can further stimulate innovation.
- Simplifying patent procedures and enhancing the capacity of the Indian Patent Office are equally pivotal to encourage innovators to seek protection for their groundbreaking ideas.
- Empowering innovators, especially the youth, through education on IPR and conducting training programs can demystify the patent filing process, fostering a culture of innovation and protection.
- The record number of patents granted by India signifies a positive shift in the nation\’s innovation landscape.
- Government policies, global commitments, and the National IPR Policy have collectively contributed to this achievement.
- Addressing challenges and implementing suggestions will be crucial for sustaining and furthering this momentum.
- As India continues its journey toward becoming an innovation-driven economy, the harmonious integration of policy, practice, and education will play a pivotal role in shaping the nation\’s intellectual property landscape.
OECD Climate Finance Report
- The recent Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report revealed that economically developed countries did not meet their commitment to mobilize $100 billion annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in 2021. The shortfall raises concerns about the capacity of developing countries to address climate challenges.
Significance of the OECD Report
- The OECD, comprising affluent nations like the U.S., U.K., Germany, and others, provides a glimpse into their climate finance approach.
- The report\’s release before the COP28 climate talks in the UAE is crucial, as climate finance is expected to be a major point of contention.
- The report follows the COP26 talks in 2020, where developed nations pledged to double adaptation finance. The failure to achieve the $100 billion goal in 2020 diminishes trust among poorer nations, questioning the developed world\’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis.
Examining Climate Finance Composition
- The OECD report discloses that of the $73.1 billion mobilized in 2021 by the public sector, $49.6 billion was provided as loans. This dominance of loans, as highlighted by the report, raises concerns about the potential exacerbation of debt stress in developing countries.
- Critics argue that the report\’s consideration of loans at face value, without assessing the grant equivalent, fails to account for the actual financial burden on poorer countries. This results in loans being counted as climate finance, even though they may impose significant repayment and interest obligations.
Understanding Additionality in Climate Finance
- The UNFCCC mandates that developed countries provide \”new and additional\” financial resources to cover the full costs incurred by developing countries in meeting their climate obligations. This stipulation prevents the diversion of funds from other essential areas, such as healthcare, to fulfil climate finance commitments.
- Developed countries, however, have been accused of double-counting, categorizing funding for projects that contribute to both emission reduction and overall development as both ODA and climate finance. This practice undermines the \”new and additional\” criterion set by the UN Convention.
Ambiguity in Defining Climate Finance
Lack of Common Definition
- The absence of a universally agreed-upon definition for \’climate finance\’ has allowed developed countries to keep the concept vague. Efforts to define it have faced resistance, with the U.S., Switzerland, and Sweden blocking discussions on a common definition.
- The lack of clarity in defining climate finance has led to questionable categorizations, such as funding for chocolate and gelato stores or a coastal hotel expansion, as climate finance. This ambiguity benefits richer countries by enabling arbitrary classification and evading scrutiny.
Unmet Financial Requirements
- While the OECD report suggests that the $100 billion goal may have been met in 2022, scepticism is warranted as the data is yet to be finalized and published. Moreover, the $100 billion figure was arbitrarily set at COP15 talks without a comprehensive assessment of developing countries\’ actual climate investment needs.
Escalating Financial Requirements
- The report projects that by 2025, developing countries will require approximately $1 trillion annually in climate investments, escalating to around $2.4 trillion each year between 2026 and 2030. The $100 billion goal appears insufficient to address these substantial financial needs.
Role of the Private Sector in Climate Finance
- Contrary to expectations, the OECD report reveals a decade-long stagnation in private financing for climate action. While public funding from multilateral channels has increased, private funding, particularly for climate adaptation, has not shown significant growth.
Need for Government Intervention
- The report suggests de-risking with government intervention to stimulate private sector involvement. It emphasizes that while the private sector can support climate action, active government and international institutional involvement is necessary to create conducive conditions for investment in developing countries.
- In navigating the complexities of climate finance, it is evident that public funding from developed countries and multilateral development banks continues to play a crucial role. The report\’s emphasis on the need for transparency, clarity in definitions, and a comprehensive assessment of developing countries\’ actual needs underscores the imperative for collective and accountable action to effectively address the challenges posed by climate change.
Fact for Prelims:
International Film Festival of India (IFFI)
- The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) recently commenced in Panaji, Goa.
- It was founded in 1952 under the patronage of the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
- It is a competitive annual event and its first edition was held in Mumbai but was moved to Goa permanently in 2004.
- The Government of Goa and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting jointly conduct this festival.
- It is the only film festival in South Asia that is accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers and Associations (FIAPF).
- The festival aims to provide a common platform for understanding and appreciation of the film cultures of different countries in the context of their social and cultural ethos.
- It also inspires and encourages Indian cinema to stand on par with international ones and showcase its potential.
E- Prime Layer
- Recently, a study by an international team of researchers revealed the formation of a new enigmatic layer – E prime layer at the outermost part of Earth\’s core.
- This research suggests that tectonic plates carrying surface water have transported it deep into the Earth over billions of years.
- Upon reaching the core-mantle boundary, this water initiates significant chemical changes under high pressure, influencing the core\’s structure.
- This reaction leads to the formation of a hydrogen-rich, silicon-depleted layer at the outer core resembling a film-like structure.
- Silica crystals generated by this process ascend and blend into the mantle impacting the overall composition.
- These modifications can result in reduced density and altered seismic characteristics of the core of the earth.