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31 July, 2019

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-I Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage),Bill 2019
GS-II Fortifying the Africa outreach International Relations
What is a Whip?
Biosimilar Medicines
GS-III Report on illegal global tiger trade counts highest in India
GS-I :
Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage),Bill 2019

GS-I : Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage),Bill 2019

Context

Parliament has passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 criminalising triple talaq  and will replace the 1986 Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act.

Background

The Supreme Court’s judgment in the Shayara Bano case held that the practice of talaq-e-biddat (or triple talaq) unconstitutional. After the judgement, government passed Muslim protection Bill also known as, Triple Talaq Bill in Lok Sabha but there have been criticism about the legal and procedural aspects of the bill.

 

Key provisions of the bill

  1. The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.
  2. Definition: It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.  Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.
  3. Offence and penalty: The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine.
  4. The offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by:(i) the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or (ii) any person related to her by blood or marriage.
  5. The Bill provides that the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused. The bail may be granted only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
  6. The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared). Compounding refers to the procedure where the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings, and settle the dispute.  The terms and conditions of the compounding of the offence will be determined by the Magistrate.
  7. Allowance: A Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children. The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.
  8. Custody: A Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children. The manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

Issues with the bill:

  • The bill introduced in Parliament proposes a 3 year jail term for a man divorcing his wife through triple talaq. Although most Muslim women feel it is time to end the practice, they are wary of the slipshod manner in which the government has passed the bill in the Lok Sabha.
  • If the aim of the law is to protect the rights of women, how is that possible with their husbands in prison? If they have children under the age of 18, who will take care of their education, health, financial and other needs? The woman will not be protected but instead be vulnerable to more abuse.
  • The Bill does not provide the victimised woman any additional benefits in terms of her rights in marriage and divorce.
  • Since the Bill says that triple talaq is cognizable and non-bailable, married Muslim man become vulnerable target as policemen can arrest and investigate the accused with or without the complaint from wife or any other person.

 Conclusion

The legislation brings India at par with other Muslim majority states including Pakistan and Bangladesh. This was long overdue for a country that has taken pride in its adherence to the principles of secularism, democracy, and equality. Personal laws of other religious communities, Hindus and Christians, have gone through renditions to address some concerns relating to gender equality in matters of inheritance and polygamy. Despite the gains, gender equality does not permeate all aspects of civil law. This legislation presents an opportunity to put in place a civil code that steeped in equality across faiths and gender.

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GS-II : International Relations
Fortifying the Africa outreach

GS-II: Fortifying the Africa outreach

Context

President Ram Nath Kovind commenced his seven-day state visit to Benin, Gambia and Guinea-Conakry and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in on a three-day visit to Mozambique

Economic Links

  • During the past five years, Indian leaders have paid 29 visits to African countries. Forty-one African leaders participated in the last India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015, where India agreed to provide concessional credit worth $10 billion during the next five years. By 2017, India had cumulatively extended 152 Lines of Credit worth $8 billion to 44 African countries.
  • India has also unilaterally provided free access to its market for the exports of 33 least developed African countries.
  • India escalated its commitments to Africa in an era of low-commodity prices when most other partners, including China, have scaled back theirs.

Challenges

  • The numbers are well below the potential for India-African economic synergy and are often dwarfed by the corresponding Chinese data.
  • There seems to be a conspicuous disconnect between Indian developmental assistance to and India’s economic engagement with Africa.
  • India’s aid being unconditional, the recipients often take it as an entitlement.

Conclusion

  • Integrate the development assistance and economic engagement for a more comprehensive and sustainable engagement. It would also facilitate aided pilot projects being scaled up seamlessly into commercially viable joint ventures.
  • India’s aid to Africa should be reciprocated by acknowledgement and quid pro quo in terms of and institutional preference. India cannot simply be a cash cow for Africa, particularly when its own economy is slowing down.
  • We need to ask ourselves these: for all the development billions spent, how many mega-projects did Indian companies get and how many natural resources does India have access to in Africa?
  • We need to take direct control of our development programme instead of handing our funds to intermediaries such as the African Union, the African Development Bank Group and the Techno-Economic Approach for Africa-India Movement (TEAM 9), whose priorities are often different from India’s.
  • Our aid should be disbursed bilaterally and aligned with national priorities of the recipient state, which should be a substantial stakeholder and co-investor in schemes and projects from initiation to operation.

 

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GS-II :
What is a Whip?

GS-II: What is a Whip?

Context

A whip in parliamentary parlance is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way.

How it is Used ?

In India all parties can issue a whip to their members. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips .This member is called a Chief Whip and he/she is assisted by additional Whips.

Types Of Whip:

  1. A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
  2. A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote.
  3. A three-line whip is the strongest, employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.

Defiance of Whip:

In India, rebelling against a three-line whip can put a lawmaker’s membership of the House at risk. The anti-defection law allows the Speaker/Chairperson to disqualify such a member; the only exception is when more than a third of legislators vote against a directive, effectively splitting the party.

Importance of whips in our political system:

In the parliamentary form of Government, Whips of various political parties are the vital links of the internal organization of parties, inside the legislatures. The efficient and smooth functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures depends, to a considerable extent, upon the office of the Whip. The Whips can be rightly said to be the managers of the parties within the legislatures.

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GS-II :
Biosimilar Medicines

GS-II: Biosimilar Medicines

NEWS

A renowned pharma company has launched in India Versavo (bevacizumab), a biosimilar of Roche’s Avastin is indicated for the treatment of several types of cancers.

What is Biosimilarity?

  • Biosimilarity means that the biological product is highly similar to the reference product notwithstanding minor differences in clinically-inactive components.
  • There are no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of the safety, purity, and potency of the product.

Biosimilars

  • A biosimilar is a biological medicine highly similar to another already approved biological medicine .
  • Biosimilars are approved according to the same standards of pharmaceutical quality, safety and efficacy that apply to all biological medicines.
  • Biological medicines contain active substances from a biological source, such as living cells or organisms (human, animals and microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast) and are often produced by cutting-edge technology.

Biosimilars vs generics

  • Biosimilar drugs are often confused with generic drugs. Both are marketed as cheaper versions of costly name-brand drugs.
  • Both are available when drug companies’ exclusive patents on expensive new drugs expire. And both are designed to have the same clinical effect as their pricier counterparts.
  • But biosimilar drugs and generic drugs are very different, mainly because while generic drugs are identical to the original in chemical composition, biosimilar drugs are “highly similar,” but close enough in duplication to accomplish the same therapeutic and clinical result.
  • Another key difference is that generics are copies of synthetic drugs, while biosimilars are modeled after drugs that use living organisms as important ingredients.
  • But many experts hope the two will share a critical commonality and that, like generics, biosimilars will dramatically lower the cost of biologic drugs.
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GS-III :
Report on illegal global tiger trade counts highest in India

GS-III: Report on illegal global tiger trade counts highest in India

NEWS

A new report has quantified the illegal global trade in tigers and tiger parts over a 19-year period between 2000 and 2018.

About the report

The new report has been compiled by TRAFFIC, a NGO working in conservation and currently in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Findings of the report

  • Overall, conservative estimates of 2,359 tigers were seized from 2000 to 2018 across 32 countries and territories globally. These occurred from a total of 1,142 seizure incidents.
  • Apart from live tigers and whole carcasses, tiger parts were seized in various forms such as skin, bones or claws.
  • The report explains how the number of tigers was estimated from these diverse sets of seizures.
  • On average, 60 seizures were recorded annually, accounting for almost 124 tigers seized each year.
  • The top three countries with the highest number of seizure incidents were India (463 or 40.5% of total seizures) and China (126 or 11.0%), closely followed by Indonesia (119 or 10.5%).

Indian findings

  • While the latest census has put India’s tiger population at 2,967, the Traffic report uses the 2016 WWF estimate of 2,226, with India home to more than 56% of the global wild tiger population.
  • India is the country with the highest number of seizure incidents (463, or 40% of all seizures) as well as tigers seized (625).
  • In terms of various body parts seized, India had the highest share among countries for tiger skins (38%), bones (28%) and claws and teeth (42%).
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