The Hindu Newspaper Analysis for UPSC
- Saudi Arabia and Iran reached an agreement earlier this month, in secret talks hosted by China, to normalise relations. Put it in context: the U.S. remained a spectator when its global rival (China) brought together one of its allies (Saudi Arabia) and a sworn enemy (Iran) to reach a potential game-changing pact in a region (Gulf) which it considered as an exclusive sphere of influence.
- From a geopolitical point of view, the Iraq invasion took down a buffer that the Sunni Arab Gulf monarchies had between themselves and a Shia theocratic Iran, and offered post-Saddam Iraq on a platter to Shia parties that had had historical ties with Tehran.
- The UAE not only agreed to normalise ties with Israel through the Abraham Accords but also amended ties with Iran and warmed up to Syria and Turkey.
- The median age of the Indian population is approaching 30 years, and the population composition in many States will become older over the next two to three decades. Public provision of education and health care is indispensable to harness the demographic dividend. However, these two sectors require more human resources. The recruitment with OPS poses expenditure challenges for providing public goods, depriving a large population of basic necessities.
- Hence, the OPS compels governments to compress an already low social sector expenditure, thus pushing the marginalised into a downward spiral of indigence.
- A democratically elected government in a developing country with highly unequal income distribution should focus on the redistribution of resources at its command to improve the living conditions of the impoverished.
- What Is Old Pension Scheme (OPS)?
- Old Pension Scheme or OPS is a post-retirement benefit for government sector employees that assured a definite amount to be paid to the employee after his superannuation. It was replaced by a New Pension Scheme, which came into effect on 1st April, 2004.
- Popularly known as ‘Defined Benefit Scheme’, OPS secured the future of government employees with an amount which is 50% of their basic salary.
- So, if the basic salary is Rs 10,000, the person would receive a fixed amount of Rs 5,000 per month as pension from the government.
- The entire amount of the Old Pension was paid by the government.
- The NPS was for prospective employees; it was made mandatory for all new recruits joining government service from January 1, 2004.
- The defined contribution comprised 10 percent of the basic salary and dearness allowance by the employee and a matching contribution by the government this was Tier 1, with contributions being mandatory.
- In 2019, the government increased its contribution to 14 percent of the basic salary and dearness allowance.
- Forty years after holding that the mode of executing prisoners by hanging cannot be termed too cruel or barbaric, the Supreme Court of India has now ventured to find out if there is a more dignified and less painful method to carry out death sentences.
- There are two leading judgments on the issue — Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980), which upheld the death penalty, but limited it to the ‘rarest of rare cases’, and Deena Dayal vs Union of India And Others (1983), which upheld the method by ruling that hanging is “as painless as possible” and “causes no greater pain than any other known method”.
- The 35th Report of the Law Commission (1967) had noted that while electrocution, use of a gas chamber and lethal injection were considered by some to be less painful, it was not in a position to come to a conclusion. It refrained from recommending any change.
- The report stresses the need for finance to flow from developed countries to developing countries and the need to compensate countries that are poised to lose the most from climate change, to help them build resilience. In a summary for policymakers, the latest synthesis report says that the planet’s best chance to keep temperatures below 1.5°C is to ensure greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to 48% of 2019 levels by 2030 and 99% by 2050.
- Currently, the policies declared by countries collectively, if implemented entirely, are poised to see temperatures rise 2.5°C to 3.2°C by 2100.
- The world got a wake-up call in 1993 about tuberculosis (TB) when the World Health Organization declared it a global health emergency. The 1993 World Development Report labelled TB treatment for adults as the best buy among all developmental interventions.
- The current goal is to end TB by 2030, but clarity on definitions of ‘end’ and the means of verification are not fully in place.
- World TB Day (March 24)
- The first area — and the one likely to take the longest to mature despite exciting developments — is in the development and wide use of an adult TB vaccine. The current one, delivered at birth and useful particularly for children, is 100 years old.
- The second area — one that can move much faster than the vaccine — is that of getting newer therapeutic agents for TB.
- The third and most immediate area of action is within the space of diagnostics. There are exciting developments for use of AI-assisted handheld radiology with 90-second reporting and 95% plus accuracy for diagnosing TB.
Number of cases:
- India detects 20-25 lakh TB cases every year, and nearly 4 lakhs die of it. At present, 13.5 lakh are undergoing TB treatment, of whom 9.26 lakh have already consented to being adopted under the initiative.
- It is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (bacteria) and it most often affects the lungs.
Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan
- It has been envisioned to bring together all community stakeholders to support those on TB treatment and accelerate the country’s progress towards TB elimination.
- This is aimed at working towards TB elimination from the country by 2025.
- Components of the scheme:
- The Ni-kshay Mitra initiative which forms a vital component of the `Abhiyaan’ is also launched along with the Abhiyaan.
- This portal provides a platform for donors to provide various forms of support to those undergoing TB treatment.
- It is one of the largest annual Royal Air Force exercises (United Kingdom) and aims to train both pilots and other air specialists in planning and executing complex airborne missions.
- The other countries include U.K., Finland, Sweden, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., and Singapore. Finland, India and Saudi Arabia joined for the first time.
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC):
- Section 375 of the IPC defines the acts that constitute rape by a man.
- The provision, however, lays down two exceptions as well.
- Apart from decriminalising marital rape, it mentions that medical procedures or interventions shall not constitute rape.
- Exception 2 of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code states that “sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, and if the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape”.
- In October 2017, the Supreme Court of India increased the age to 18 years.
“A man is a man; an act is an act; rape is a rape, be it performed by a man the ‘husband’ on the woman ‘wife’,” the Karnataka High Court had observed in its decision, saying an accused should face trial regardless of the immunity in the penal code.