The Hindu Editorial Analysis In English | Free PDF Download – 7th Sept’18

Ending TB

• Tuberculosis (TB) is one of India’s severest health crises.
• It kills two Indians every three minutes and more than 1,000 people every day.
• India has the highest TB burden in the world.
• TB is, by and large, easily diagnosable and curable.
• India not only accounts for a fifth of the world’s TB burden, it also has the largest number of people living with multidrug-resistant TB.

• After decades spent battling the scourge of tuberculosis (TB) in developing countries, 2018 might be the year that it is finally accorded the gravitas it deserves.
• On September 26, the UN General Assembly will, for the first time, address TB in a High-Level Meeting and likely release a Political Declaration, endorsed by all member nations, to galvanise investment and action to meet the global target of eliminating TB worldwide by 2035.
• Elimination, which means reducing the number to one case per million people per year.
• It will be impossible without universal, equitable access to affordable, quality TB diagnostics and treatment for anyone who needs it.
• A critical omission is that countries may avail of the various flexibilities under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights; another is that countries may invoke the Doha Declaration to compulsorily license drugs for use in public health emergencies.
• Yet another is the option to de-link the pricing of new TB drugs from the costs incurred in their research and development.
• In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India would eliminate TB by 2025, ahead of the global targets.
• These targets cannot be achieved without access to affordable, quality diagnostics/ drugs.

• India has fought to retain its status as a maker and distributor of generic medicines, thereby protecting the right to health of people in developing countries.
• Indian patent law contains important provisions that help protect and promote public health goals.
• Unless India assumes a leadership role to restore every possible option to protect universal access to TB drugs in the Political Declaration, 2018 may end up being just another brick in the wall.

The right to love

• Social morality cannot trump constitutional morality
• The 2013 decision meant that the LGBTQ community’s belatedly recognised right to equal protection of the law was withdrawn on specious grounds
• The court has overruled Koushal and upheld homosexuals’ right to have intimate relations with people of their choice, their inherent right to privacy and dignity and the freedom to live without fear.
• Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra’s opinion lays emphasis on transformative constitutionalism, that is, treating the Constitution as a dynamic document that progressively realises various rights.
• CJI: doctrine of non-retrogression which means that once a right is recognised, it cannot be reversed.

Sexual equality affirmed

• The Kinsey Report on sexuality, though based on a narrow cultural base, had estimated that about 10% of a population is not exclusively heterosexual.
• Accordingly, the lives of over 100 million Indians may have been freed by the Supreme Court.
• India’s political parties had distanced themselves from their cause, no doubt fearing majoritarian backlash, revealing that they have no convictions of their own.
• Nor has there been much support from India’s liberal intelligentsia, the right and left wings of which have not been able to slough off a deep conservatism when it comes to matters of sex.
Is Punjab’s proposed blasphemy law retrograde?
• The IPC already has a Section 295A, which says that “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” will be  unishable with imprisonment extending up to three years.
• The Bills seek to insert a new Section 295AA that stipulates that whoever causes “injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwat Gita, Holy Quran and Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people” would be liable to be awarded life imprisonment, if convicted.
• The proposed Penal Code Bill seeks to replace the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016 which specifically referred only to acts of sacrilege against the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

• On legal grounds, the drafting of the Bill has received criticism for the imprecise manner in which sacrilege has been defined; it should have been clearly mentioned as physical desecration/sacrilege. Otherwise, even for writing a book or an article, or making a speech, or sketching a cartoon, or drawing a painting, a person can be erroneously accused of blasphemy notwithstanding the rights guaranteed by Articles 19 and 25 of the Constitution.

• In 1947, a man who was devoutly religious became the Father of a secular, democratic nation. And another man who spurned everything religious emerged as the Quaid-e-Azam of an Islamic country.
• Punjab is a land where secularism is not an ideology but inter-faith bonhomie. Punjab, a Sikh-majority area, has been the cradle of Hinduism. And then there is the Sikh faith, the only religion in the world which has its sanctum sanctorum founded by a saint (Mian Mir) from a faith perceived as hostile, Islam. And the holy scripture of the Sikhs contains Banis (verses) of holy men from all the dominant faiths prevalent then, including Hinduism and Islam.

Pieces of land
• The question of land remains among the most sensitive and divisive in the country.
• Apartheid was, at its core, a system of separate and discriminatory development, with black South Africans either dispossessed or denied access to land, infrastructure and resources, while their white counterparts were given preferential treatment and access to the economy.
• The legacies of apartheid persist to this day, with social and economic inequality preserved and perpetuated due to the lack of economic transformation.
• Following the end of apartheid in 1994, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said it would redistribute 30 percent of white-owned commercial farmland to black farmers.
• It is estimated that white South Africans, who make up around nine  percent of the population, own around 73 percent of the commercial agricultural land.
• “Our estimate is that [today] 9.7 percent of white commercial farmland has been transferred to black people since 1994,” Ruth Hall, from the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas), based in Cape Town, says.
• Since 1994, the government has followed a “willing seller, willing buyer” model in which it has bought white-owned farms for redistribution. But this process has been slow, with the ANC accusing landowners of inflating farm prices and therefore hindering redistribution.
• Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe embarked on a series of land grabs in the early 2000s that led to the collapse of the country’s economy.
• The annual growth rate is poor, and unemployment hovers around 25%.
• The data on inequality and economic drift have led to a sense of despair that the mission of Nelson Mandela has dissipated under successive governments.
• The World Bank has rated unequal distribution and access to land as South Africa’s second greatest obstacle to reducing poverty, after skill deficits.
• Amendments to the Constitution that are under consideration aim to make land expropriation provisions more explicit

Important News ‘Industry must lift PSLV output’
• “Industry is one of our pillars. But we are not satisfied with the current
level of industry participation,” Dr. Sivan told participants at the biennial
Space Expo, BSX-2018, here on Thursday.
• “Our missions are growing at a fast pace, to 59 satellites in three years.
It means that instead of doing six or seven launches a year we must do
almost two launches a month.”