April 26th 2017, Editorial

GS III: Challenges to internal security

1. Murder At Noon

The deadliest attack in 7 years is a reminder of the Maoist’s strength.

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  • 74th battalion in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district where 25 CRPF personnel were killed by an army of 300 insurgents while out on duty to provide protection for road construction on the Dornapal-Jagargunda belt.
  • raises questions about the Standard Operating Procedures and precautions adopted by the CRPF.
  • The site of the attack too carried a message. The road under construction will
    provide easy access to the backward region, where Maoists have for long held sway.
  • It has been a long-held strategy of the Maoists to blow up infrastructure that
    enables connectivity, such as roads and bridges, or establishes the presence of the state, such as schools.
  • Issues: The recent spate of attacks and ambushes indicates:
    • a breakdown in intelligence-gathering.
    • lack of effective coordination between the State police and Paramilitary forces.
    • post of the Director General of the CRPF continues to be vacant.
    • The State police forces in Maoist-afected areas have more or less abandoned their duties of law and order, leaving the job almost entirely
      to the paramilitary forces.
  • Response to Crisis:
    • double down to extend the presence of the administration in Bastar, to break the isolation and reach social services to the people.
    • boost the morale of the security and police forces.
    • The Centre needs to urgently put in place, in mission mode, measures to strengthen, expand and arm the State police, most of all in Chhattisgarh.
    • State governments need to show far more political will to persuade local communities than they currently do.
    • Political and civil establishments need to address people’s security and welfare needs and their concerns about extractive state policies (Chhattisgarh is a hotspot for minerals and coal extraction which largely affects forests, wildlife and villagers. The destroying of the Elephant Corridor is a case in point.)

Update Your Vocabulary:

  1. Hold Sway: Have great power or influence over a particular person, place, or domain.Eg: ‘they had held sway in France for a quarter of a century.’‘such arguments would not hold sway in a university.’
  2. Double Down: to become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking. Eg: the administration needs to double down on the call for political reform.
  3. Extractive: (In this context)  tending toward or resulting in withdrawal of natural resources by extraction with no provision for replenishment.

Image Source: Business Week

Source: The Hindu, oxforddictionaries.com, merriam-webster.com

GS II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

2. Hedging bets as Trump scouts for deals

With the U.S. President’s messaging still far from reassuring, India will have to firm up other alliances.

  • Major steps taken by Trump affecting India:
    • Has withdrawn from Trans-Pacific Partnership. (which India is not a part of)
    • Is planning to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change agreement. (which India is a part of)
    • Has set the H1 – B Visa curbs. (which India is a part of)
  • Indian interlocutors who met with U.S. officials in the last three months say there is a “positive view of India”.
  • Lisa Curtis, senior director for South and Central Asia at the NSC (U.S. National Security Council) , would be a key White House point person for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has been highly critical of Pakistan’s support for terrorism.
  • Among other signals relevant for India, Mr. Trump mentioned India, without naming it, in his first address to Congress as one country that imposes 100% duty on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
  • a White House official named some Indian IT companies for allegedly gaming the lottery system that selects 85,000 H-1B visa recipients every year.
  • U.S. has filed many intellectual property related complaints against India.
  • India has refused to budge on the issue with US reps on the crackdown of the Christian charity organisation Compassion International (CI) which has since stopped its operation.
  • Absence of Strategic Altruism:
    • Days of strategic altruism maybe over (Deals that U.S. has struck favouring India eg: Military exercises, LEMOA agreement, Nuclear agreements without India having to sign the Non -Proliferation Treaty etc.)
    • The U.S. may question India’s lack of role in
      • Afghanistan
      • Fighting the I.S.
      • Solving problems in Syria and East Asia
  • The U.S. President appears to be embracing the U.S.-China relations leaving even its allies like Japan and South Korea tensed.

At this stage, it would bode well for India to start focusing on enhancing its relationship with its existing allies and forge new bonds with potential ones.

  • It needs to dive completely into its Act East Policy. Focus on building bigger trade portfolios with ASEAN.
  • Boost trade with countries out of its ambit.
  • Foster regional cooperation in terms of trade & economy among South Asian countries for which groupings such as BIMSTEC and SAARC would serve the purpose
  • It needs to build support from the small island nations.

Update Your Vocabulary:

  • Altruism:  unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.
    • Eg: he understood that what his aunt was doing for him was the purest act of altruism.

Source: The Hindu, merriam-webster.com

GS III: Issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights

3. The expanding universe of IP

Granting data exclusivity for clinical trials would undermine access to medicines.

  • April 26 is World Intellectual Property (IP) day.
  • Background:
    • What are generic drugs?
      • Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. In other words, their pharmacological effects are exactly the same as those of their brand-name counterparts.
    • The Indian pharmaceutical industry is the largest supplier of cost effective generic medicines to the developed world.
    • The major export markets for the country’s pharmaceutical products are Americas, Europe, China, Japan, Africa, and others.
    • The U.S. is single largest export destination. It accounts for nearly 28 per cent of Indian pharmaceutical exports, followed by the European Union (18 per cent) and Africa (17 per cent).
  • Why are generic drugs popular?
    • When it comes to price, there is a big difference between generic and brand name drugs. On average, the cost of a generic drug is 80 to 85 percent lower than the brand name product.
    • This does not mean that the drugs are cheaper in quality. The price is low because generic drug manufacturers save on conducting expensive clinical trials, do not pay for advertising and promotions.
    • The drug regulators assure that there is not a vast difference between the effectiveness of a generic drug in comparison to a brand name drug.
    • Thus a critically ill patient gets almost the same effect from a generic drug at a significantly lower price.
  • What is Data Exclusivity?
    • Data exclusivity refers to a practice whereby, for a fixed period of time (usually 5 years), drug regulatory authorities (In this case, USFDA) do not allow the data that the originator company files to get marketing approval, to be used to register a generic version of the same medicine.
    • It means that if an MNC gets marketing approval for a drug based on data of clinical trials, the same data cannot be used to register a drug by an Indian company.
    • The latter, in spite of the fact that it is wishing to register the same drug, will be forced to conduct fresh clinical trials before its version of the drug can be registeredthereby incurring the same costs as the branded company as a result of which the purpose of a generic company to produce cheap drugs will be lost.
    • Under the guise of Data Exclusivity, what is really being sought is that drug regulatory authorities should act on behalf of pharmaceutical companies to safeguard their monopoly right.

Why is Data Exclusivity wrong?

  • Promotes Unfair competition
    • Pharmaceutical companies have been pushing for data exclusivity to prolong already existing monopoly and delay competition from generics even after the expiry of the 20-year patent term or to gain exclusivity on non-patented drugs.
  • Is out of the ambit of Indian Laws 
    • In India, such a system may negate the impact of Section 3(d) of the Patents Act, which disallows evergreening patents. With data exclusivity, a company could nevertheless gain exclusive rights over such drugs even though they are not patented. (Note that the difference between patent and data exclusivity is that Patent is a private right exercised by the individual who may approach the authorities if it is infringed by someone else while data exclusivity is granted by regulatory authorities.)
  • The victims are the poor.  
    • Thus, Least Developed Countries which are in dire requirement of cheap medicines will suffer since generic drug companies do not have access to data by the regulatory authorities to create the generic drug.
  • Moral Sense of Obligation
    • Unlike automotive companies which use crash test dummies, pharmaceutical companies that test their drugs on human subjects have a greater obligation to make the data public and IP-free.
  • There are no institutional checks in place to reject or accept Data Exclusivity. The exclusivity is irrevocable.
  • Imposing Data exclusivity solely on the basis of money spent on regulatory safety will set a bad precedent in other industries to claim an IP when there is none.
  • Data Exclusivity Not a part of TRIPS:
    • The WTO TRIPS agreement (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) mentions the need to provide for what it calls Data Protection (And NOT Data Exclusivity) under Article 39(3) of the agreement where it says:
    • “Members, when requiring, as a condition of approving the marketing of pharmaceutical or of agricultural chemical products that utilise new chemical entities, the submission of undisclosed test or other data, the origination of which involves a considerable effort, shall protect such data against unfair commercial use. In addition, Members shall protect such data against disclosure, except where necessary to protect the public, or unless steps are taken to ensure that the data are protected against unfair commercial use.”

Source: The Hindu, delhiscienceforum.net, http://www.fda.gov

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