Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 15

1.How can India strengthen its intellectual property rights infrastructure without being influenced by US? Examine. (GS 3)

भारत कैसे अमेरिका से प्रभावित हुए बिना अपने बौद्धिक संपदा अधिकारों के बुनियादी ढांचे को मजबूत कर सकता है? जांच करें।

Suggested Answer:

A robust IPR regime provides protection to industrial patents, trademarks, and industrial innovations. It promotes competition this way. A bad IPR regime will mean violation of trade rights and misuse of patents which will discourage innovation in the long run.

Indian IPR regime is influenced by US by various ways:

– United States Trade Representative (USTR) special 301 report has put India into “Priority watch list” citing its bad IPR regime. This creates a bad global image for India.

– US has criticized section 3(d) and Section 84 of Indian Patents Act 1970. This section prevents “evergreening” of patents. SC upheld the patent cancellation of cancer drug Glivec manufactured by Novartis citing this section. This has been criticized by US corporate bodies.

– US also discredits Indian argument of developing indigenous capabilities for solar panel manufacturing in the Domestic Content Requirements dispute. This dispute was taken to WTO which decided in favour of USA.

– US and other developed countries exert hegemony in bodies such as WTO (for trade related IPR) and WIPO (for non-trade related IPR). Thus US has been influencing our IP regime in many ways.

India needs to do the following to strengthen its IPR infrastructure without US influence:

  1. Under Make in India, it needs to create an Indian brand value which will improve India’s global image: a solution to subjective USTR reports.
  2. India needs global support to finance innovation and RnD in renewables, especially in solar energy. Hence provision like DCR can get global recognition through platform like International solar alliance, Global climate funding etc.
  3. India needs to tap frugal innovation in rural areas and the TKDL, in order to increase its global share of patents, and create awareness regarding Indian innovation. Atal Innovation Mission under Niti Aayog as well as several IP awareness programmes being run by Commerce ministry are a good step in this regard.
  4. Training professionals like patent examiners in order to bring down the time to grant patents to 1 month, as envisaged in the National IPR policy 2016.
  5. Coming out with clear cut policy guidelines on the use of Sec 3(d) and Section 84 of the Patents Act, to provide stability to pharma MNCs against arbitrary misuse by government. The guidelines need to be backed by SC judgements in Glivec and Natco pharma case.
  6. Modernize its patent offices and leverage technology under Digital India to understand and apply global best practices of IPR management.
  7. Resist attempts by the US to alter the existing TRIPS mechanisms to the detriment of India and other developing countries.
    8. Ensure efficient working of IPAB, preferably by filling vacancies, opening more branches, digitizing records, and ensuring faster clearance of cases.

The best way forward, in order to counter US influence, is improving Indian brand image, creating awareness and providing a transparent and fair IP regime. For this, more needs to be done in addition to implementation of the National IPR policy 2016. Government and the civil society have to work in tandem to ensure that India gains and maintains an advantage in global knowledge economy.

2.“Speedy trials require coordination between government and the judiciary.” Critically evaluate. (GS 2)

“स्पीडी ट्रायल के लिए सरकार और न्यायपालिका के बीच समन्वय की आवश्यकता है।” समीक्षकों का मूल्यांकन करें।

Suggested Answer:

A recent NCRB report shows that nearly 67% of all inmates in Indian prisons are undertrials. Judiciary is faced with mounting pendency of cases, and the Executive and Judiciary are at loggerheads over the issue of judicial appointments.

In this context, coordination between Executive and Judiciary will help speed up the trials in the following manner:

  1. Coordination in matters of judicial appointments will lead to filling up of vacancies and faster disposal of cases. Logjam is being cleared with options such as the Memorandum of Procedure and the search-cum-evaluation committee, which have to ensure independence of judiciary while also ensuring transparency.
  2. Coordination in matters of funding the Judiciary will increase the latter’s efficiency and help speed up trials. Currently, less than 1% of the budget is spent on judiciary. Funding needs to be directed towards upgrading physical infrastructure, digitization of records, and giving an impetus to e-courts.
  3. Government is the biggest litigator. Thus, it needs to curb frivolous litigation in order to reduce the burden on judiciary. National Litigation Policy is being implemented to this effect. This will reduce pendency and speed up the trials.
  4. Proper funding as well as legislative framework for Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms will lead to speeding up of trials as small and petty cases as well as large scale commercial disputes will be solved by these means. International Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ICADR) is a good step.
  5. Reforms in the police framework and strengthening of BPRD will lead to a responsive and efficient police force, which will ensure that the undertrials are treated according to law. For example, under Sec. 167 of CrPC, a judge can extend detainee’s custody for 15 days at a time. However, prisoners are held in custody for far longer, and not produced before a judge after the time frame.
  6. Coordination between Rajya Sabha, government and the judiciary in order to introduce an Indian Judicial Service can lead to merit-based appointments of judges, which will increase the efficiency of the judiciary while providing an impetus to legal education in the country.

However, it is not only coordination which is necessary to speed up trials.
There needs to be a sense of respect for the constitution and all the branches of the State – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, need to work within the spheres allocated to them. Judicial activism and overreach are problems these days, but they have arisen only because of policy paralysis and the other two organs not stepping up to solve problems of their respective domains.

Simultaneously, the citizens need to become aware about the laws, so as to maintain deterrence. A disproportionate number of undertrials belong to minorities and dalits, which are also the most disadvantaged sections in terms of literacy and livelihood.
Increasing literacy, transparency, and awareness about the laws are therefore essential to prevent crime in the first place.

Successive governments have undertaken several reforms for judiciary. National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, which includes research on reforms, e-Courts Phase II, Strengthening Acces to Justice in India (SAJI – supported by UNDP) is one of these. There needs to be coordination and trust amongst the government and the judiciary in order to ensure timely justice to the citizens, as envisaged in Article 21 of the constitution.

3.“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.” Discuss. (GS 4)

“राय ज्ञान और अज्ञान के बीच का माध्यम है।” चर्चा करें।

Suggested Answer:

Humans are thinking beings, and thinking leads us to develop a worldview which is unique to each individual. This worldview is nothing but a set of opinions regarding the things, relationships and issues that surround us.

Opinion must be well-grounded in facts. Only then it can withstand critical analysis. But this seldom happens. Such an opinion is one of ignorance.

For example, I may hold an opinion that all fats and oils are bad for health. This opinion of mine may have been shaped by media, friends or relatives.
However, it is not based in facts and is therefore an opinion of ignorance. Offering this opinion during the course of a discussion will lead to a knowledgeable person enlightening me about the actual facts – that there are good fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids and fish oils, which are essential for body functions.
This conversation has made me gain knowledge of facts regarding oils, and thus my opinion has served as a medium between knowledge and ignorance.

The Socratic or dialectic method is frequently used to arrive at truth. It involves two people voicing their opinions and arguments. What emerges out of those arguments is not only the truth, but also enlightenment of the people who were arguing. They are now knowledgeable about the facts they were ignorant of. Thus, opinion serves as a medium between ignorance and knowledge.

In another example, people often hold the opinion that using cellphones causes cancer. However, it is only by voicing their opinion would they be able to learn about SAR limits, emissions and their effect on human body etc. Thus, an opinion, borne out of ignorance, has acted as a bridge to knowledge.

They say that ignorance is bliss. But knowledge is liberation, and it is only by knowledge that a man’s mind can truly be set free from the shackles of superstition and ignorance.