05th May 2017, Editorial – The Hindu

GS II: Development Processes and the development industry – the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

The scale of progress so far

Is the process of a voluntary national review of Agenda 2030 helpful?

What is Agenda 2030?

  • Also called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Adopted by Member States on September 2015. Came into force on Jan 2016.
  • Successor of the Millennium Development Goals (2000 – 2015).
  • Not legally binding on countries.

(Millennium Development Goals 2000 – 2015)


Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030)


  • Progress on the SDGs are reviewed through Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs)  in July of every year at the UN HQ in New York.
  • This year 44 nations including India have volunteered. The themes of review this year are Goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14 and 17 of Agenda 2030, respectively. (See pic above).
  • In India, the process is led by NITI Aayog, Research and Information System for Developing Countries, a think tank attached to Ministry of External Afairs, and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Government has also sought inputs from civil society, especially to the VNR process.
  • But it is unsure whether these inputs will be a part of the report submitted at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at UN.
  • The government for most part is going to highlight its achievements in existing schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Financial Inclusion schemes etc.
  • A closer look at last year’s VNR by nations gives a clear impression that governments presented only a rosy picture of their performance.
  • There was no reflection about problems, challenges or what policies should be changed to achieve the SDG.


There is a need to present transparent data that is prepared keeping in mind all the stakeholders of the country. In this respect, Civil Society Organisations play a crucial role in keeping track of governance and the effectiveness of the delivery mechanisms. As an instrument of democracy, the government should accept their inputs and rectify any serious deviations that may have come to light.

Source: The Hindu, un.org

GS IV: Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude

Laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance.

A Push for Advanced Care Directives

The petition on Article 21 and a patient’s medical care

What is the Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill?

The Bill would legalise Passive Euthanasia which refers to withdrawal of medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten a terminally ill-patient’s death.

A terminally ill patient above the age of 16 years can decide on whether to continue further treatment or allow nature to take its own course.

The Key Provisions of the Bill are:

  1. Rights of a competent patient: Every competent patient (including minors above the age of 16 years) will have the right to decide and request the medical practitioner to
    • withhold,
    • withdraw,
    • or continue medical treatment in case of a terminal illness.
    • The practitioner will act on the request if he is satisfied that the patient is competent to take an informed decision. In case of minors above 16 years, the consent of the parent and the major spouse will also be required.
  2. In such a case, the medial practitioner would have to inform the patient’s immediate family such as spouse, parent etc.
  3. Without regard to provisions in any other laws, a patient seeking to withdraw treatment and a practitioner doing so will not be liable for offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  4. In case of an incompetent patient (persons of unsound mind, etc.), a near relative, medical practitioner etc., can apply to the High Court for granting permission to withdraw or withhold medical treatment. The Court having considered the report of panel of experts (providing expert medical opinion) and the wishes of the spouse, parents, etc. will grant or refuse permission (or grant permission with certain conditions).

Euthanasia Passive

Issues with the Bill

  1. Draft law only addresses the issue of euthanasia and not the right of a person to refuse treatment under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
    • All “rights” of the patient are subject to satisfaction of the practitioner.
    • Nobody should insist upon the patient taking invasive treatment in preference to alternative medication.
    • The patient should have a choice in rejecting one treatment and adopting another.
    • A patient has the right to terminate at any point of time treatment which he considers unacceptable for any reason.
  2. The law leaves for ambiguity when it only discards liabilities under the Indian Penal Code.
    • The patient or the practitioner maybe charged under various other laws not mentioned in the bill.
    • As a result the practitioner would be hesitant to consider or forward any such requests of the patient and the latter would be discouraged fearing unwarranted penalties and imprisonment.


Passive Euthanasia involves the fundamental Right to Life. It is inevitable to achieve utmost clarity while framing the Bill and leave no cause for ambiguity in its discharge once it is resolved into an Act. The Bill should extend all protections to the patient and the practitioner, accommodate their relevant cause for fears and be sympathetic to all the participants under the Act.

Image Source: The NY Times

Source: The Hindu, prsindia.org





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