Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Gyanvapi Case
- Revised Adoption Rules
- Translocation of Cheetahs
- 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Gyanvapi Case
Context: A Varanasi district court dismissed an application filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee challenging the maintainability of the suit filed by five Hindu women seeking the right to worship Hindu deities within the Gyanvapi mosque premises all-year round.
Key highlights of the verdict
- District judge ruled that neither the Places of Worship Act, 1991, nor the Waqf Act, 1995, nor the U.P. Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 bar the suit and that the “plaintiffs will have right to prove their averments by cogent evidence”.
- The suit claimed that Hindus had been worshipping Maa Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesha and other visible and invisible deities daily at the said property till as recently as 1993, after which the Uttar Pradesh government restricted the worship to one day a year.
- Based on this averment of the plaintiffs in their suit, the court rejected the arguments that the Places of Worship Act, 1991 barred the suit.
- It ruled that to decide the challenge to the maintainability of the suit under Order VII, Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, it only needed to consider the averments made by the plaintiffs and not the defence of those averments.
- The 1991 Act seals the religious character of all places of worship as it stood on August 15, 1947, and mandates that any case seeking the conversion of such a place into that of another religion should be abated.
What did the Court say on Civil rights
- The court noted that the suit filed by the Hindu women “is limited and confined to the right of worship as a civil right and fundamental right as well as customary and religious right”.
- The court emphasised that the suit neither sought a declaration or injunction over the property in question, nor did it seek the conversion of the mosque into a temple.
- The determination of religious character is a matter of evidence which can be laid by either of the parties.
- Further, citing the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya judgment, the court asserted, “Even where the idol is destroyed or the presence of the idol is intermittent or entirely absent, the legal personality created by the endowment continues to subsist,” and that it does not result in the termination of the pious purpose and the subsequent endowment.
Court’s verdict on acquisition of Mosque
- For the acquisition of a mosque by the state, the court held that irrespective of the immunity mosques have from state acquisition in Islamic countries, its status and immunity from acquisition in the “secular ethos of India under the Constitution is the same and equal to that of places of worship of other religions”.
- The acquisition of any religious place is to be made only in unusual and extraordinary situations for a larger national purpose, keeping in view that such acquisition should not result in the extinction of the right to tice the religion, if the significance of that place be such.
- Subject to this condition, the power of acquisition is available for a mosque like any other place of worship of any religion.
- The right to worship is not at any and every place, so long as it can be practised effectively, unless the right to worship at a particular place is itself an integral part of that right.
- The order added, “A mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open.
- Accordingly, its acquisition is not prohibited by the provisions in the Constitution of India.
- The court also held that Section 85 of the Waqf Act does not operate in this case because “the plaintiffs are non-Muslims and strangers to the alleged waqf created at the disputed property”.
The historical claims surrounding the mosque
- The Gyanvapi Masjid is located near the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi.
- Some believe that the Kashi Vishwanath temple has gone through multiple reconstructions, with an older version of the temple where the Gyanvapi Mosque stands today.
- Some historians believe that Mughal ruler Aurangzeb built the Gyanvapi mosque in the 17th century by demolishing the temple.
- Author-historian Audrey Truschke in her book Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth, wrote: “My uderstanding is that the Gyanvapi masjid was indeed built during Aurangzeb’s reign. The masjid incorporates the old Viswanath temple structure—destroyed on Aurangzeb’s orders—as its qibla wall (a significant wall facing the Maccah). While the mosque dates back to Aurangzeb’s period, we do not know who built it.”
- On the other hand, architectural historian Madhuri Desai wrote that the Vishwanath temple was only built in 1776-77 and no temple building could be dated earlier than the sixteenth century. She wrote that the Vishwanath temple was built long after the Gyanvapi mosque and stands adjacent to the latter.
When did the legal dispute begin?
- The Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath dispute first reached the courts in 1991, when a petition sought the removal of the mosque from the site and the transfer of possession of the land to the Hindu community.
- The petitioners, which included the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Trust, claimed that Maharaja Vikramaditya had built the temple more than 2,000 years ago and that the mosque was only constructed in 1664 after Mughal ruler Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the temple.
- The petitioners alleged that the Gyanvapi mosque was built on a portion of the land using the ruins of the temple, saying that remains of the old temple could still be seen adjacent to the mosque.
- The legal suit coincided with the peak of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue in Ayodhya.
- In 1998, the managing committee of the mosque filed an application before the court, demanding the dismissal of the Trust’s petition. Citing provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, the committee contended that a dispute involving religious sites could not be adjudicated as it was barred by the law. The lower court dismissed the application, following which the committee approached the High Court.
- The committee also expressed to the Court that the temple and mosque had co-existed for a long time and that both the communities had been offering prayers in their respective shrines without any hindrance.
- The Court stayed the proceedings and the legal battle remained dormant for more than 20 years before it was revived in 2019.
The current case
- A group of five women linked to right-wing group Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh filed a petition in April this year, demanding daily access to Maa Shringar Gauri sthal (holy site) in the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath complex.
- Submitting to the court that an image of goddess Shringar Gauri is present at the back of the western wall of the Gyanvapi Masjid, the petitioners sought permission to perform daily prayers and observe other rituals of “visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex”.
2 . Revised Adoption Rules
Context: From September 1, District Magistrates (DM) have been empowered to give adoption orders instead of courts. All cases pending before courts must be now transferred. Hundreds of adoptive parents in the country are now concerned that the transfer process will further delay what is already a long and tedious process.
What do the amended rules say? How did they come about?
- The Parliament passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 last year in order to amend the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act), 2015.
- Key changes:
- Authorizing District Magistrates and Additional District Magistrates to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act by striking out the word “court”.
- This was done to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.
- The District Magistrates have also been empowered under the Act to inspect childcare institutions as well as evaluate the functioning of district child protection units, child welfare committees, juvenile justice boards, specialised juvenile police units, childcare institutions etc.
- Authorizing District Magistrates and Additional District Magistrates to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act by striking out the word “court”.
Why is there concern over the revised rules?
- Cases already before courts for the past several months will have to be transferred and the process will have to start afresh.
- A petition for adoption orders is filed after a parent register for adoption, who is then assessed through a home study report, referred to a child and subsequently allowed to take a child in pre-adoption foster care pending an adoption order.
- A delay in such an order can often mean that a child can’t get admission into a school because parents don’t yet have a birth certificate, or like in one case, parents are unable to claim health insurance if a child is admitted to a hospital.
- The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) says there are nearly 1,000 adoption cases pending before various courts in the country.
- Neither judges nor DMs are aware about the change in the JJ Act leading to confusion in the system and delays.
What is the adoption procedure in India?
- Adoptions in India are governed by two laws — the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA) and the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. Both laws have their separate eligibility criteria for adoptive parents.
- Those applying under the JJ Act have to register on CARA’s portal after which a specialised adoption agency carries out a home study report.
- After it finds the candidate eligible for adoption, a child declared legally free for adoption is referred to the applicant.
- Under HAMA, a “dattaka hom” ceremony or an adoption deed or a court order is sufficient to obtain irrevocable adoption rights.
- But there are no rules for monitoring adoptions and verifying sourcing of children and determining whether parents are fit to adopt.
Problems with adoption system
- There are very few children in its registry.
- According to the latest figures there are only 2,188 children in the adoption pool, while there are more than 31,000 parents waiting to adopt a child which forces many to wait for up to three years to be able to give a family to a child.
- This allows traffickers to take advantage of loopholes in HAMA.
- A Parliamentary panel recommended a district-level survey of orphaned and abandoned children.
- In 2015, the entire adoption system was centralized by empowering CARA to maintain various specialised adoption agencies, a registry of children, and prospective adoptive parents as well as match them before adoption.
- This was aimed at checking rampant corruption and trafficking as childcare institutions and NGOs could directly give children for adoption after obtaining a no-objection certificate from CARA.
- But the new system has failed in ensuring that more children in need of families are brought into its safety net.
- In the new system human contact, bonding and psychological preparedness have been taken away.
- One other dangerous repercussion of this is that in the past few years, there has been an increasing number of disruptions and dissolutions, where children are returned after an adoption is formalised.
3 . Translocation of Cheetah’s
Context: Eight cheetahs will be flown from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park for the reintroduction of the species in India after it was declared extinct in the country seven decades back in 1952.
- Cheetahs have been vaccinated, fitted with satellite collars, and are currently in isolation at Namibia’s Cheetah Conservation Foundation (CCF) Centre in Otjiwarongo.
- The Union Minister directed all zoo authorities to install specially designed display boards providing information about the cheetah and its reintroduction, at the gates of every zoo of the country.
- Earlier this year, India and Namibia signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring Cheetahs back into the Indian subcontinent.
- The Asian Cheetahs were native to India before they were declared extinct in 1952. This was largely due to habitat loss and hunting for their distinct spotted pelts. It is widely believed that the last three recorded Cheetahs were killed by Maharaja Ramanuj Partap Singh Deo.
- India has been making efforts to reintroduce the animals since 2020, when the Supreme Court had announced that the African Cheetahs should be introduced into carefully chosen locations.
- Cheetahs are very adaptable and had a wide distribution until 100 years ago including being found in some areas of India.
- They will be able to survive most of the climate conditions in India. Cheetahs can adapt to seasonal shifts. They also contend with extreme rain and wet seasons in Africa, much like in India.
- For hunting, cheetahs do well in open savannahs and grassland environments and can also occur in areas with moderate woody vegetation cover.
- Cheetahs also benefit from high grass or bush areas that enable them to remain undetected while stalking prey.
- The cheetah is believed to have originated in South Africa and spread across the world through land connectivity. In the Kalahari, the cheetah was once critically endangered due to poaching and hunting. But now, with healthy female cheetahs producing five to six cubs each, South Africa is rapidly running out of space for its cheetah population.
- According to a study, fewer than 7,100 cheetahs remain in the world.
- IUCN status: The cheetah is listed as Vulnerable by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
- Two subspecies, the Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and the Northwest African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki) are listed as critically endangered.
- The cheetah’s historical distribution in Africa covered a substantial portion of the continent, but because of range contraction in the last century, the cheetah is found in only 9% of its historic range, of which 77 % is outside of protected areas.
- The species is nearly extinct in its entire Asian range, except for a remnant population in Iran, about 20 individuals or less.
- Southern/eastern African cheetah range includes the eight countries of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. This is the largest population of wild cheetahs in the world.
- Smaller, fragmented populations of the Horn of Africa cheetah, also called the Somali cheetah, are found in some parts of Ethiopia and some of the Horn of Africa countries, although their numbers have never been officially recorded.
How did cheetahs go extinct in India?
- The cheetah has an ancient history in the country, with a Neolithic cave painting of a ‘slender spotted feline being hunted’ having been found at Chaturbunj Nala in Mandasur, Madhya Pradesh. The name ‘cheetah’ is believed to have originated from Sanskrit word chitrak, which means ‘the spotted one’.
- In India, the cheetah population used to be fairly widespread. The animal was found from Jaipur and Lucknow in the north to Mysore in the south, and from Kathiawar in the west to Deogarh in the east.
- The cheetah is believed to have disappeared from the Indian landscape in 1947 when Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya princely state hunted down and shot the last three recorded Asiatic cheetahs in India. The cheetah was officially declared extinct by the Indian government in 1952.
- While over-hunting was a major contributing factor for the cheetah’s extinction, the decimation of its relatively narrow prey base species and the loss of its grassland-forest habitat also played a role. During the decades preceding independence, as well as those after, India’s emphasis on agriculture – which included acquiring and parcelling off grassland – led to a decline in the cheetah’s habitat.
- Since the 1940s, the cheetah has gone extinct in 14 other countries – Jordan, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Syria, Oman, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Ghana, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Why is the cheetah being brought back?
- The aim behind the translocation is not only to restore India’s ‘historic evolutionary balance’, but also to develop a cheetah ‘metapopulation’ that will help in the global conservation of the animal.
- As it is a flagship species, the conservation of the cheetah will revive grassland-forests and its biome and habitat, much like Project Tiger has done for forests and all the species found in these forests. Project Tiger has also resulted in the conservation of 250 water bodies found in India’s 52 Tiger Reserves. The Cheetah Project is likely to have a similar impact.
- The translocation project has also helped conservation efforts in Africa, in particular South Africa. The South African cheetah population had dwindled two decades ago, before the conservation programme ensured that the numbers increased – of the global cheetah population of 7,000, 4,500 belong to South Africa.
Reasons for Translocation from Africa
- With a genetically healthy population, the numbers are growing even within these comparatively small private reserves. If this continues, the cheetahs will decimate the prey in these areas. We may need to start using contraceptives on cheetahs to control the population. This will be very unfortunate as once contraception is used, there is no guarantee that the female cheetah will regain fertility once the effect of the contraceptive wears off. We need to look at cheetahs as a global population, a metapopulation, instead of breaking them into fragments of small species, which I think is a terrible idea.
- Especially in the case of cheetahs where the genetic difference between the African and Indian cheetahs is so small, and the ecological functions are practically the same
Have there been earlier attempts to bring back the cheetah?
- While attempts to relocate cheetahs to India began in 2009, it was only in 2020 that the Supreme Court of India finally gave the green signal for such efforts.
- India’s first attempt to bring back the cheetah was in the early 1970s. Dr Ranjitsinh was tasked with carrying out negotiations with Iran on behalf of the Indira Gandhi government.
- “Indira Gandhi was very keen on bringing back the cheetah. The negotiations went well and Iran had promised us the cheetah. But our potential release sites needed to be upgraded with an increase in prey base and greater protection. Moreover, during the process, Emergency was declared in the country and soon after, the regime of the Shah of Iran fell,’’ said Dr Ranjitsinh.
- While the Persian Cheetah was preferred for relocation, as it was Asiatic, this is no longer possible as the cheetah population in Iran has dwindled to under 50.
How was Kuno National Park chosen for the translocation?
- Six sites, which had been previously assessed in 2010 for the translocation of the Asiatic Lion, were re-assessed by WII in 2020 – Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve and Shergarh Wildlife Sanctuary, both in Rajasthan, and Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kuno National Park, Madhav National Park and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, which are in Madhya Pradesh.
- Of these six sites, Kuno, which had been monitored since 2006, was found to be ready to receive the cheetah immediately, as it had already been prepared for the Asiatic Lion. Both animals share the same habitat – semi-arid grasslands and forests that stretch across Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
- In Kuno National Park, because of the lion relocation project, the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department had already relocated 24 of the 25 villages and declared it a national park, which led to “remarkable recovery in its habitat, prey abundance and reduction of human impact”, according to the assessment carried out by WII in 2020.
Kuno National Park
- In Sheopur district, where Kuno is located, rainfall levels, temperatures, altitude, and conditions are similar to conditions in both South Africa and Namibia.
- The park spans an area of 740 square km and is a part of the Kuno Wildlife Division, which has an area of 1235 square km, and has a healthy population of chital, sambar, nilgai, wild pig, chinkara and cattle. The leopard and striped hyena are currently the only larger carnivores within the national park, the single lone tiger having returned to Ranthambore in 2019-20.
- The south-eastern portion of this area is patchily connected to the Panna-Tiger Reserve through the Madhav National Park-Shivpuri Forest Division. The Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan across the Chambal river is connected on the north-western side.
Why are there concerns about the gene flow of cheetahs?
- Critics of the project have pointed out that the gene flow in such a small group of cheetahs is a matter of concern. Gene flow between populations can help maintain genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding, which is especially important for small and fragmented habitats.
- Most of the cheetahs are found in small privately-owned reserves which are not close to each other and therefore not connected. But under Cheetah Metapopulation programme, we are constantly moving the cheetahs around to ensure healthy gene flow. We have been doing this for the past 10 years, between the 50 reserves that are a part of the programme,’’said Prof Tordiffe.
- South Africa also carries out a similar programme with Malawi and Mozambique. “For example, the cheetah had gone extinct in Malawi, so it was a completely new re-introduction. We are moving cheetahs from South Africa to Malawi, and then back to South Africa. These are then exchanged with new blood from the South African side… we have been monitoring the genetic variations which take place,’’ said Prof Tordiffe.
- He added, “This population size (of the cheetah) will not be limited to this first batch. Over the next five to 10 years, 5-10 cheetahs will be relocated to India annually. We anticipate that from time to time, we will be bringing back some of these cheetahs from India, and taking some others there.”
- Ministry officials, meanwhile, pointed out that even if this movement does not take place, gene flow is unlikely to be a problem in India because of the country’s animal corridors that allow animals to move around.
What are the future plans to increase cheetah population in India?
- Over the coming 15 years, the Indian government will acquire two to four cheetahs from Africa, with the process undertaken at an interval of one to four years, to establish a breeding cheetah metapopulation of 35-40 in the country.
- Once the population in Kuno National Park has adapted and is flourishing, the Indian government will expand the efforts to reserves in other parts of the country as well.
- Cheetah can also live in a wide range of habitats, which includes the most prominent semi-arid grassland, but also coastal scrubs, wooded savannah, Montane habitat, snow deserts and rugged semi-arid areas.
Role of CCF
- Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild.
- CCF is assisting the committee of conservation experts appointed by the Supreme Court of India in introducing the African cheetah to the landscape of India by participating in site visits, conducting assessments, training field officers, and identifying suitable cheetahs for the project.
- It is also assisting the Namibian government in preparing the Namibian cheetahs that will make the transcontinental journey.
- Members of CCF’s introduction team will accompany the cheetahs to India, from the CCF Centre in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, to Kuno National Park.
4 . 103rd Amendment to the Constitution
Context: Reservation cannot be implemented as a “poverty alleviation programme” for the socially and educationally forward classes, which is what the quota for the economically weaker sections does, petitioners opened their challenge before a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI).
- Petitioners argued that reservation addresses structural inequality and is not a means to become financially well-off.
- The purpose of reservation is to provide representation or empowerment to classes of people who were historically denied access to education and employment.
- Benefits of reservation cannot be given solely based on economic criterion.
- Poverty in the forward classes can also be due to “poor personal wealth management”. Reservation based on economic criterion creates a “moral hazard”.
- A jurist said the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which introduced the 10% EWS quota, was a “fraud on the Constitution”.
- Parliament knew that it has no power to provide reservations for socially and educationally forward classes.
- It has no power to provide reservation to any class except backward classes as held in the Indra Sawhney judgment.
- Yet, because of political considerations, it did so deliberately and falsely projecting the Amendment as economic reservation for the benefit of economically weaker sections.
- Petitioners and intervenors found chinks in the criteria set to identify EWS in society.
- To judge anyone as poor based on self-declaration and only on the basis of one previous year’s income makes the implementation of the whole scheme full of loopholes.
- To make such an unreal, arbitrary and impractical scheme a part of the Constitution is disrespectful to the Constitution makers and shows lack of thinking on the part of the Union of
- Submissions drafted pointed out how the amendment clearly excluded citizens belonging to OBC/SC/ST who were economically weaker.
- Earlier, the court had fixed three issues for adjudication arising from the plea challenging the Centre’s decision to grant 10% reservation to EWS in admissions and jobs through the amendment to the Constitution.
About 103rd Constitutional Amendment
- Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of race, religion, caste, sex, or place of birth. However, the government may make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, or for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- Article 15 was amended to additionally permit the government to provide for the advancement of “economically weaker sections”.
- Further, up to 10% of seats may be reserved for such sections for admission in educational institutions. Such reservation will not apply to minority educational institutions.
- Article 16 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination in employment in any government office. However, the government can allow reservation for any “backward class of citizens”, if they are not adequately represented in the services under the state. It was amended to permit the government to reserve up to 10% of all posts for the “economically weaker sections” of citizens.
- The reservation of up to 10% for “economically weaker sections” in educational institutions and public employment are in addition to the existing reservation.
- The central government notifies the “economically weaker sections” of citizens on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage.
About EWS Quota
- Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) is being implemented in respect of recruitment for Civil posts and services in government and admission in educational institutions.
- The 10% EWS quota was introduced under the 103rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019 by amending Articles 15 and 16. It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6).
- It enables both Centre and the states to provide reservation to the EWS of society.
- The EWS quota breaches the limit of 50% put up by the nine judge constitutional bench in Indira Sawhney case 1992, without even putting this issue into consideration.
Quantum of reservation
- The persons belonging to EWSs who, are not covered under the scheme of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs shall get 10% reservation in direct recruitment in civil posts and services in the Government and admission in educational institutions.
Exemption from reservation
“Scientific and Technical” posts which satisfy all the following conditions can be exempted from the purview of the reservation orders by the Ministries/ Departments:
- The posts should be in grades above the lowest grade in Group A of the service concerned.
- They should be classified as “scientific or technical” in terms of Cabinet Secretariat [OM No. 85/11/CF-61(1) dated 28.12.1961], according to which scientific and technical posts for which qualifications in the natural sciences or exact sciences or applied sciences or in technology are prescribed and, the incumbents of which have to use that knowledge in the discharge of their duties.
- The posts should be ‘for conducting research’ or ‘for organizing, guiding and directing research’.
- Persons who are not covered under the scheme of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs and whose family has gross annual income below Rs 8 (Rupees eight lakh only) are to be identified as EWSs for benefit of reservation. ( Currently disputed in Supreme Court)
- Income shall also include income from all sources i.e. salary, agriculture, business, profession, etc. for the financial year prior to the year of application.
- Also persons whose family owns or possesses any of the following assets shall be excluded from being identified as EWS, irrespective of the family income:
- 5 acres of agricultural land and above;
- Residential area of 1000 sq ft. and above;
- Residential plot of 100 sq. yards and above in notified municipalities;
- Residential, plot of 200 sq. yards and above in areas other than the notified municipalities.
- The property held by a “Family” in different locations or different places/cities would be clubbed while applying the land. or property holding test to determine EWS status.
- The term “Family” for this purpose will include the person who seeks benefit of reservation, his/her parents and siblings below the age of 18 years as also his/her spouse and children below the age of 18 years.
5 . Facts for Prelims
Essential medicines list
- Twenty-six drugs, including the common gastrointestinal medicines ranitidine and sucralfate, have been excluded from the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2022, released by Union Health Minister.
- A total of 384 drugs find place on the list with the addition of 34 drugs. Twenty-six from the previous list have been dropped.
- The medicines have been categorised into 27 therapeutic categories.
- The first NLEM was compiled in 1996 and was revised thrice in 2003, 2011, and 2015.
- Drugs deleted from the NLEM include medicines banned in India and those having reports of concerns on the safety profile.
- Drugs also go off the list if medicines with better efficacy or favourable safety profile and better cost-effectiveness become available.
- If the disease burden for which a medicine is indicated is no longer a national health concern, it is deleted from the NLEM.
- In case of antimicrobials, if the resistance pattern has rendered them ineffective, the drugs are taken off the list.
- The new list includes four drugs that are still under patent — bedaquiline and delamind used in the treatment of multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis, dolutegravir used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and daclatasvir used in treating viral infections such as Hepatitis C.
- No drugs used specifically for the treatment of COVID-19 have been made part of the list as the clinical trials to check the efficacy of the drugs are not yet conclusive.
- Several antibiotics, vaccines and anti-cancer drugs are set to become more affordable with their addition to the list.
- Ivermectin, mupirocin and nicotine replacement therapy have been added.
- Endocrine medicines and contraceptives fludrocortisone, ormeloxifene, insulin glargine and teneligliptin have been added to the list.
- Montelukast, which acts on the respiratory tract, and ophthalmological drug latanoprost figure in the list.
- The drugs in the NLEM are included in the schedule category and their price is regulated by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
- The primary purpose of the NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects — cost, safety and efficacy.
- It also helps in optimum utilization of healthcare resources and budget; drug procurement policies; health insurance; improving prescribing habits; medical education and drafting pharmaceutical policies.
G-20 meeting in India
- India will hold over 200 G-20-related meetings across the country during its presidency of the grouping that will begin on December 1, 2022 and continue till November 30, 2023.
- The G-20 Leaders’ Summit will be held in New Delhi in September in 2023, and Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the UAE will be the “guest countries” at the event.
- India is currently part of the G-20 Troika [current, previous and incoming G20 presidencies] comprising Indonesia, Italy and India.
- This would be the first time when the troika would consist of three developing countries and emerging economies, providing them a greater voice.
- The discussion among all the member countries will include issues related to “women’s empowerment, digital public infrastructure, health, agriculture, education, culture, tourism, climate financing, circular economy, global food security, energy security, green hydrogen, disaster risk reduction and resilience, fight against economic crime and multilateral reforms”.
- A major challenge of the G-20 session in India will involve the ongoing crisis in Ukraine which has vitiated relation between Russia and the industrialized nations of the West most of which are members of the G-20 which represents 85% of global GDP and 75% of international trade.
- G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union (EU).
- The only dedicated helpline for children, Childline 1098, running successfully for the past 26 years as a partnership between civil society and the government, will be integrated with the national emergency number 112.
- Union Women and Child Development Ministry has asked States and UTs to identify a State-level nodal officer and second-level officers to support C-DAC and provide a building or space for setting up a control room for takers of calls on the child and women helplines.
- The guidelines on Mission Vatsalaya mentioned integration of the two helplines.
- Civil society is up in arms because Childline 1098 has been a very effective and successful project, and is meant exclusively for children, unlike 112, which deals with emergencies related to police matters, health and women’s safety.
- They fear that with the police becoming first responders to calls from children, there may be a drop in the reporting of offences.
- Childline is run as a private trust called Childline India Foundation which is funded by MWCD.
- Set up in 1996 as a project at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the child helpline now receives 80 lakh calls a year and has a presence in nearly 700 districts in the country through over 1,000 intervention units, which include help desks at railways stations and bus stands.
- These units also typically have phone operators, who are sometimes children rescued from the streets, social workers or counsellors.
- Childline officials have also written to the Ministry to understand the nature of integration but have so far been kept out of any dialogue.