India Discrimination Report 2022: Oxfam India

In News

  • Recently, Oxfam India Report stated that discrimination in India causes 100 percent of employment inequality faced by women in rural areas in the labour market and 98 percent in urban areas. 
    • Report’s findings are based on Government’s data on employment and labour from 2004-05 to 2019-20.

Key Highlights 

  • Declining Women Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR):
    • It is the proportion of the working-age population that engages actively in the labour market, either by working or looking for work.
    • For women in India, it declined from 42.7% in 2004-05 to 25.1% in 2021, showing withdrawal of women from the workforce despite rapid economic growth during the same period.
  • Male-Female Pay Gap: 
    • In 2019-20, 60% of all males aged 15 and above had regular salaried or self-employed jobs; the rate for females was 19%.
  • Discrimination in Labour:
    • Female casual workers earn about Rs 3,000 less than their male counterparts.
  • Increased discrimination for SC/ST:
    • Self-employed SC/STs earn Rs 5,000 less than non-SC/STs and discrimination accounts for 41% of this gap
  • Gender Discrimination in rural and urban areas:
    • Gender discrimination in India is structural which results in great disparities between earnings of men and women under ‘normal circumstances’. 
    • This can be inferred from the data for 2004-05, 2018-19 and 2019- 20. The earning gaps are large, both in rural and urban areas for casual workers ranging between 50 percent and 70 percent. 

Image Courtesy: Quint 

Reasons for Discrimination

  • Societal and Employers prejudices are responsible for women’s lower wages.
  • Poor access to the education system and work experience.
  • A large segment of the well qualified women want to join the workforce because of household responsibilities or social status.
  • A massive drop in casual employment for women in urban areas during the first quarter of the pandemic.

Recommendations/ Way Ahead

  • Actively enforce legislation for the protection of the right to equal wages and work.
  • Work to actively incentivise the participation of women in the workforce, including enhancements in pay, upskilling, job reservations, easy return-to-work options, particularly after maternity leave, and the option to work from home, wherever possible.
  • Need to ensure a more equitable distribution of household work and childcare duties between women and men.
  • Implementing “living wages” as opposed to minimum wages, particularly for all informal workers, and formalise contractual, temporary, and casual labour as much as possible.
OXFAMOxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global povertyIt was founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. Oxfam has been in India since 1951. It first came to India to respond to the Bihar famine. In 2008, Oxfam India became an independent affiliate and an Indian NGO. It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations.HQ: Nairobi, Kenya.Vision: A world where people and the planet are at the centre of our economy. Where women and girls live free from violence and discrimination. Where the climate crisis is contained. And where governance systems are inclusive and allow for those in power to be held to account.

Karnataka’s Anti-Conversion Bill

In News

  • The Karnataka Legislative Council recently passed the contentious Anti-conversion Bill.

More about the news

  • The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill had been cleared by the Assembly in December 2021 but was not introduced in the Upper House.
    • In May 2022, an ordinance was issued to facilitate the introduction of the anti-conversion law

Highlights of the Bill

  • Conversion steps: 
    • Before conversion:
      • The Bill insists that any person intending to convert to another religion will have to inform the district magistrate at least thirty days in advance. 
      • The person executing the conversion must also give a notice one month in advance, following which an inquiry will be conducted by the district magistrate through the police to establish the real intent of conversion.’
        • Not informing the district magistrate will lead to the conversion being declared null and void.
    • Post conversion:
      • After getting converted, the person has to again inform the district magistrate within 30 days after conversion and must appear before the district magistrate to confirm his/her identity.
      • Post conversion, the district magistrate has to inform revenue authorities, the social welfare, minority, backward classes and other departments of the conversion, who will, in turn, take steps with respect to the entitlements of the person in terms of reservations and other benefits.
  • Exemptions:
    • Bill makes an exemption for someone who “reconverts to his immediate previous religion” as “the same shall not be deemed conversion under this Act”.
  • Declaration of Marriage Null and Void: 
    • The bill says that Any marriage which has happened for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion or vice-versa by the man of one religion with the woman of another religion, either by converting himself before or after marriage or by converting the woman before or after marriage, shall be declared as null and void by the family court or where the family court is not established, the court having jurisdiction to try such case, on a petition presented by either party thereto against the other party of the marriage.
  • Filing complaint:
    • Complaints of conversions can be filed by family members of a person who is getting converted, or any other person who is related to the person who is getting converted, or any person associated with the person getting converted.
  • Punishments: 
    • The Bill proposes a maximum punishment of 10 years of imprisonment for forcible conversion of persons from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe communities, minors and women to another religion. 
    • The offence of conversion is cognisable and non-bailable and will attract 
      • jail term of three to five years and a fine of 25,000 for people found violating the law and 
      • A jail term of three to ten years, and a fine of 50,000 for people converting minors, women and persons from the SC and ST communities. 
  • In case of forced conversions:
    • The Bill also envisages a compensation of 5 lakh to victims of forced conversions.
Right to Freedom of religion in IndiaThe Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these. In keeping with this idea of religious freedom for all, India also adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the StateConstitutional Provisions:Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religionArticle 26:  Freedom to manage religious affairsArticle 27: Freedom to pay taxes for promotion of any particular religionArticle 28: Freedom to attend religious instruction or worship in certain educational institutions


  • Adhering to previous Supreme Court verdict:
    • The SC has said that freedom of religion does not allow for forced conversions. 
    • There is no intention to take away anybody’s right or violate Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • No to coercive conversions:
    • There is freedom to convert but it should not be under coercion and allurements.
    • Many in the Dalit community convert and still claim benefits and we do not want anybody to be robbed of benefits in this manner.
  • Conversion as per law:
    • If there has to be conversions then let it be as per a law and that is the intention behind the Bill. 


  • Burden of proof:
    • Members of the state’s Legislative Council raised objection to the punishment prescribed and the burden of proof on the witness.
  • Hate crimes against Christians in Karnataka:
    • According to a report published by the Karnataka chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), 39 incidents of hate crimes against Christians have occurred in Karnataka between January and November 2021. 
      • The report states: In most cases, Christians have been forced to shut down their places of worship and stop assembling for their Sunday prayers.
  • Population mismatch:
    • The population of Christians in Karnataka declined marginally between 2001 and 2011 from 1.9 per cent to 1.87 per cent [according to Census of India figures]. 
    • If there are forced conversions taking place as cliamed by theruling party, the Christian population should be increasing.
  • Unrests:
    • It has also been criticised that the bill is against the Constitution as there is an attempt to disturb peace in the state and divert public attention for political reasons.
Other states have similar Legislations:Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have laws restricting religious conversion. Odisha was the first State to enact anti-conversion legislation, the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967. Madhya Pradesh enacted the same the following year.Penalties for breaching the laws can range from monetary fines to imprisonment, with punishments ranging from one to three years of imprisonment and fines from 5,000 to Rs 50,000. Some of the laws provide for stiffer penalties if women, children, or members of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) are being converted

India, France to set up Indo-Pacific Trilateral Framework

In News

  • Recently, India and France agreed to expand cooperation in the Indo-Pacific body.

More about the news

  • Indo-Pacific trilateral framework:  
    • India and France recently agreed to set up an Indo-Pacific trilateral framework to roll out development projects.
      • India and France also decided to expand cooperation in the Indo-Pacific under separate trilaterals with Australia and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Overall Indo-Pacific cooperation:
    • France and India share a comprehensive strategy for the Indo-Pacific that seeks to provide tangible solutions for maritime security, regional cooperation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity protection, and healthcare.
  • Ukraine war & food crisis:
    • Both nations decided to expand strategic cooperation and vowed to work closely to deal with pressing global challenges such as the food crisis triggered by the Ukraine war.
    • France is determined to work with India addressing the “terrible consequences” of the war.
  • International platforms/groupings:
    • Significance of upcoming G20 summit: 
      • In dealing with the global food crisis, an initiative could be proposed at the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia to ensure that the most vulnerable countries “don’t remain too exposed to these food security issues.
      • France extended full support to India’s upcoming G20 presidency
    • India’s permanent seat at UNSC:
      • France committed to continue to push for a permanent seat for India at UNSC.
  • Other:
    • India – country of honour:
      • India will be the first “country of honour” at the Sea Tech Week in Brest, France, a major international event bringing together blue economy stakeholders.
    • UPI in France:
      • both the ministers welcomed the launch of India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) in France.

India and France Relations

  • Strategic partnership: 
    • In 1998, the two countries entered into Strategic Partnership which is emblematic of their convergence of views on a range of International issues apart from a close and growing bilateral relationship.
    • France has stood by India through thick and thin, beginning with 1998 when India conducted nuclear tests and the entire world was against us.
  • Support: 
    • France has continued to support India’s claim for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and the reforms of the United  Nations
    • France’s support was vital in India’s accession to the Missile Technology  Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and Australia Group (AG).  
    • France continues to support India’s bid for accession to the Nuclear Suppliers  Group (NSG).
  • Indo-Pacific:
    • France is a preferred partner in the Indo-Pacific and there is now a blueprint for cooperation in this field in the form of a Joint Strategic Vision for cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region concluded by both countries in 2018.
  • Economic Cooperation:
    • Both India and France have important bilateral investments and trade and  commercial cooperation, particularly in sectors involving IT corridors,smart-cities, railways, capital and trade exchanges,skill development etc.  
  • Defence:
    • Cooperation in defence is the cornerstone of the India France strategic  partnership. 
    • The two countries have a Ministerial level Defence dialogue, which  has been held annually since 2018
    • The three services also have regular defence exercises; viz. 
      • Exercise Shakti (Army; the last one took place in November 2019 in India), 
      • Exercise Varuna (Navy; is scheduled to be held in the gulf of Oman from 25 to 27 April 2021), 
      • Exercise Garuda (Air Force; July 2019 in France). 
    • Purchase of Rafale aircraft: 
      • The Inter-governmental agreement for purchase of  36 Rafale fighter aircrafts (30 fighter aircrafts and 6 trainers) by India in flyaway condition was signed in New Delhi on 23 September 2016. 
    • P-75 Scorpene Project: 
      • The contract for six Scorpene submarines from DCNS  (Naval Group) was signed in October 2006. 
  • Space: 
    • Space has always been central to the strategic partnership of our two countries. 
    • India and France have a rich history of cooperation in the field of space for  over 50 years with ISRO and the French Space Agency (CNES) carrying on various  joint research programmes and launch of satellites. 
  • Environment and Renewable Energy:
    • France is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), announced by PM Modi in 2015 at UN Climate Change CoP21. 
  • Cooperation in the fields of S&T and Education:
    • In the field of S&T, the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advance  Research (CEFIPRA) based in New Delhi, established in 1987, plays a major role  by identifying and funding joint proposals for research projects. 
  • Counter-terrorism:
    • India and France have consistently condemned terrorism and have resolved to work together for adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International  Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN. 
  • New areas of cooperation:
    • India and France are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation like  security in the Indian Ocean region, climate change including the International  Solar Alliance, and sustainable growth and development among others.
  • Maritime Security:
    • India and France already have a high level dialogue on maritime security, and this enables the two to raise strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific.
    • Blue economy:
      • Both nations have inked a roadmap to enhance their bilateral exchanges on the blue economy and forge a common vision of ocean governance based on the rule of law and cooperate on sustainable and resilient coastal and waterways infrastructure. 
  • Culture: 
    • Indian culture enjoys a wide following amongst the people of France. 
    • The  International Day of Yoga has been organised by the Embassy of India in Paris and  other cities of France since 2016 and has received wide acclaim and press  coverage. 
    • Year long celebrations have also been organised to commemorate 150th  Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, 550th Birth Anniversary of Shri Gurunanak Devji

Medical Devices: Regulations and Control

In News

  • A recent Parliamentary panel Report stated that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) was falling short in effectively regulating the medical devices industry.


  • 138th Report: This was the 138th Report on the subject “Medical Devices: Regulations and Control” submitted to Rajya Sabha.
  • Reason for ineffectiveness of CDSCO: The organisation in its existing structure and expertise is more pharma centric.

Major Issues with Medical Devices

  • Few Medical Device Testing Laboratories: The country has only 18 certified Medical Device Testing Laboratories that have been approved by CDSCO and that is grossly insufficient keeping in view the size of the country. 
  • Underuse of Labs: The institutes which have high-tech labs are not being used and are not allowed to be used to test medical devices for their electronic, electromagnetic, biochemical-run aspects.
  • Absence of Research Ecosystem: Indian Medical Devices Industry presently lacks research ecosystem and infrastructure for manufacturing of high tech, advanced medical devices (Class C&D)
  • Low Standards: The Indian Medical Devices Industry doesn’t have facilities to produce such medical devices comparable to global standards. 
  • Over-Regulations: The multiplicity of regulations are creating chaos.

Significance of Better Laboratories

  • Encourages Local Manufacturers: Having adequate common infrastructure including accredited laboratories in various regions of the country for standard testing would significantly encourage local manufacturers to get their products tested for standards.
  • Lower Cost of Production: The measures undertaken would also help in reducing the cost of production which ultimately will improve the availability and affordability of medical devices in the domestic market.

Recommendations of Committee

  • Feedback Based Surveillance System: There is a dire need for developing a robust IT enabled feedback driven post market surveillance system for Medical Devices to evaluate the efficiency of specific Medical Devices.
  • Medical Device Registry: A medical device registry, particularly for implants, should also be made to ensure traceability of patients who have received the implant in order to assess the performance of the implant and to seek feedback on the functional capacity of medical devices. 
  • Imparting Skills: The Ministry should work in synergy with State governments and impart the necessary skills to the local medical device officers and also devise a mechanism to regularly designate State Medical personnel as Medical Device/Medical Device Testing Officers so that the mandate of the legislation can be implemented effectively. 
  • Easing Medical Device Regulations: The government should not afford regulation of medical devices by pharma experts and it’s time that at ground level the medical device regulations are dispensed with by qualified and well-trained Medical Device Officers to give a fillip to the Medical Device industry in the country.
  • New Network for Testing: The Ministry should allow the new regulator to involve institutions such as IISC, CSIR, DRDO and network of IITs to test medical devices for safety and efficacy. These institutes have high-tech labs and thus can be used to test medical devices for their electronic, electromagnetic, biochemical-run aspects. 
  • Single Window Clearing/Approval System: A single window clearance for all the Department/Ministries would significantly boost investment in R&D in the field of medical devices and would also reduce the time required for obtaining approvals from different Departments/Ministries. 
  • More Investments: Additional investments should be made to raise the standards of these labs as per the requirements.
  • Research Linked Incentive (RLI) Scheme: The Department should start a Research Linked Incentive (RLI) Scheme in Line with the PLI scheme. The Department should facilitate academia-industry partnership for undertaking research projects on industry challenges and incentivise successful outcomes.
  • Inculcating Culture of R&D: It advocated for invigorating a culture of research and development in medical devices in institutions such as IITs, NITs and other academic institutions.
Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO)It is headed by the Drugs Controller General of India, under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. It is the Central Drug Authority for discharging functions assigned to the Central Government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.CDSCO along with state regulators, is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera.Major functions of CDSCO:Regulatory control over the import of drugs, Approval of new drugs and clinical trials, Meetings of Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) and Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), Approval of certain licenses as Central License Approving Authority is exercised by the CDSCO headquarters.

Pact with Armed Tribal Groups

In News

  • Recently, the Central government has signed a pact with eight armed tribal groups in Assam.

Key Highlights

  • Tripartite Agreement: 
    • The Centre, Assam Government signed an agreement with eight armed tribal groups in Assam.
    • The groups that signed the agreement are Birsa Commando Force (BCF), Adivasi People’s Army (APA), All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA), Adivasi Cobra Military of Assam (ACMA) and Santhali Tiger Force (STF).
    • The remaining three outfits are splinter groups of BCF, AANLA, and ACMA. 
  • Aim: 
    • Take the responsibility of fulfilling political, educational and economic aspirations of the tribal people in Assam. 
    • This agreement is intended to not just protect but strengthen the social, cultural, linguistic and community-based identity.
  • Main Features of Pact: 
    • A special package of Rs. 1,000 crore (Rs. 500 crores by the Centre and Rs. 500 crores by Assam government) in five years was announced in the agreement.
    • Establishment of a Tribal Welfare and Development Council with a view to ensure speedy and focused development of tea gardens. 
    • The agreement also provides for rehabilitation and resettlement of armed cadres and measures for their welfare.
  • Centre’s stand: 
    • Assam and the northeast should be drug-free, terrorism-free, dispute-free and fully developed.
    • Because of the improvement in the security situation, the disturbed areas under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) had been reduced from a large part of the northeast.
  • Northeast and AFSPA:
    • About 60% of Assam is now free from the AFSPA. 
    • In Manipur, 15 police stations in six districts were taken out of the periphery of the disturbed area. 
    • In Arunachal Pradesh, the AFSPA remains in only three districts and two police stations in one district. 
    • In Nagaland, the disturbed area notification was removed from 15 police stations in seven districts.
    • In Tripura and Meghalaya, the AFSPA was withdrawn completely.

Importance of NE Region

  • National Security: 
    • Region shares an international border with the neighbouring countries.
    • NE is a landlocked region, the Siliguri Corridor connects the NE Region with mainland India. 
  • Act East Policy: 
    • The North Eastern Region is geographically contiguous to Myanmar, which is a part of South-East Asia. 
    • Therefore, it has the potential to act as the Indian ‘Gateway to SouthEast Asia’.
  • Energy Resources: 
    • Due to the presence of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries, the North-Eastern region has immense potential as far as hydroelectric energy is concerned.
    • Similarly, it has been a source of crude oil and natural gas in the form of Digboi oil fields. 
    • Potential oil and natural gas reserves have been found at the Arakan Basin.
  • Agricultural Resources: 
    • The North Eastern region is blessed with natural resources which are important for the economic growth of the country. 
    • For e.g. the tea plantations of Assam, Bamboo etc.
  • Eco Tourism: 
    • The North Eastern region can be a hub for tourist activity due to its lush green landscape, unique tribal culture, fresh air, comfortable climate and distinct topography. 
    • It can be harnessed as a source of eco-tourism and rural tourism
    • The North Eastern Region is ideal for both passive and adventure forms of Ecotourism with wildlife sanctuary/parks, good scenic beauty, waterfalls, forests etc. 
  • Carbon Sink: 
    • India has vowed to create an additional 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon sink per year under its Nationally Determined Contributions as a part of the Paris Summit. 
    • North-Eastern India with its dense forest cover can play a huge role in such endeavour. Mizoram is the best state in India in terms of forest cover. 

Causes for Armed Insurgency

  • Unique tribal & ethnic divisions: Ethno- communal conflicts, local vs migrants, dominant tribal groups (Nagas raising, NSCN (IM) & (K), ULFA etc). 
  • Historical reasons: Historical connections among tribes are large of Tibeto-Burman/Mongoloid (Ethnically, linguistically & culturally very distinct.)
  • Physiographic constraints: Mountain terrains make it difficult for security forces to track borders.
  • Governance issues: Lack of Politico-administrative arrangement, corruption, nexus b/w political & insurgent groups & Lack of Law & order
  • Porous borders & arms availability: Result in arms & drugs trafficking (Golden Triangle), illegal immigration.
  • Development Issues: Like poverty, unemployment, lack of connectivity, feeling of neglect etc, limited FDI inflow etc.

Government Efforts to Tackle Insurgencies

  • Political & Administrative: 
    • Schedule 6 of Constitution, Establishment of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Nagaland Peace Accord, Bodo Peace Accord, Bru Settlement & North Eastern Council & Digital North East Vision 2022.
  • Security: 
    • Declaration of Protected Area/Restricted Areas (no foreigner can visit without prior permission), AFSPA
  • Developmental: 
    • NE Road Sector Development Scheme, National Bamboo Mission, Mahabahu-Brahmaputra inland waterway project, Dhubri Phulbari bridge.
  • International:
    • Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Project, Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor, Strengthening Act East Policy (Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link
  • Cultural: 
    • North Eastern Cultural and Information Centre, Tribal Festivals.

Way Ahead

  • The Assam Rifles and the Indian Army since independence have been working towards creating a peaceful environment for the civil government to function.
  • Protracted efforts by the Security Forces, involvement of interlocutors, participation of social groups and reconciliation by various insurgent groups are needed.
Seven Sisters of Northeast IndiaThe ‘seven sisters’ of Northeast India comprise Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.Sikkim is also a part of the Northeast but is not included in the Seven Sisters because while the other seven states are contiguous, Sikkim is sort of a neighbour, divided by the Siliguri Corridor.Sikkim is also referred to as the ‘Brother’ of the Seven Sisters. Siliguri CorridorIndia’s North East is geographically isolated from the rest of India and is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land called the Siliguri Corridor also known as Chicken’s Neck.It is about 200 km long and 60 km wide. At its narrowest, it is just 17 km wide. The corridor extends from the Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Terai areas of West Bengal towards the North East. The region is important for trade, commerce and tourism for West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. All land trade between the North East and the rest of the country happens through this corridor.

Assisted Suicide

In News

  • Recently, a renowned French filmmaker, Jean-Luc Godard died by assisted suicide.

More about the news

  • Assisted suicide is allowed by Swiss law under certain conditions. 
    • Physicians and organisations are allowed to provide assistance to suicide within the framework of the law and under the medical codes of ethics, as long as there are no ‘selfish motives.

About Assisted suicide or euthanasia

  • Medically assisted suicide or euthanasia, under which a person intentionally ends their life with active assistance from others
    • This has long been contentious topics of debate as they involve a complex set of moral, ethical and in some cases, religious questions. 
    • Several European nations, some states in Australia and Colombia in South America allow assisted suicide and euthanasia under certain circumstances.
  • Euthanasia can further be divided into active and passive. 
    • Active Euthanasia: 
      • It is also known as ‘Positive Euthanasia’ or ‘Aggressive Euthanasia’. It refers to causing intentional death of a human being by direct intervention. It is a direct action performed to end useless life and a meaningless existence.
      • For example, by giving lethal doses of a drug or by giving a lethal injection. Active euthanasia is usually a quicker means of causing death and all forms of active euthanasia are illegal.
    • Passive Euthanasia: 
      • It is also known as ‘Negative Euthanasia’ or ‘Non-Aggressive Euthanasia’. It is intentionally causing death by not providing essential, necessary and ordinary care or food and water.
      • It implies discontinuing, withdrawing or removing artificial life support systems.
      • Passive euthanasia is usually slower and more uncomfortable than active. Most forms of voluntary, passive and some instances of non-voluntary, passive euthanasia are legal.
Does India allow assisted suicide or euthanasia?Living will:In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India legalised passive euthanasia in 2018, stating that it was a matter of ‘living will’. According to the judgment, an adult in his conscious mind is permitted to refuse medical treatment or voluntarily decide not to take medical treatment to embrace death in a natural way, under certain conditions. In the judgment, the court laid down a set of guidelines for ‘living will’ and defined passive euthanasia and euthanasia as well.Guidelines for ‘living will’:Guidelines for ‘living will’ were made by terminally ill patients who beforehand know about their chances of slipping into a permanent vegetative state. The court specifically stated that the rights of a patient, in such cases, would not fall out of the purview of Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Indian Constitution.Aruna Shanbaug case:While ruling on a petition on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, the court had allowed passive euthanasia for the nurse who had spent decades in a vegetative state. Shanbaug had spent in a room at KEM Hospital in Mumbai, after a brutal rape left her in a permanent vegetative state.Shanbaug had become central to debates on the legality of right to die and euthanasia in India.Distinguishing euthanasia from suicide:Justice Lodha in Naresh Maratra Sakhee vs Union of India, observed that, “suicide by its nature is an act of self-killing or self-destruction, an act of terminating one’s own act and without the aid or assistance of any other human agency. 


  • End of Pain: 
    • Euthanasia provides a way to relieve the intolerably extreme pain and suffering of an individual. It relieves the terminally ill people from a lingering death.
  • Respecting Person’s Choice: 
    • The essence of human life is to live a dignified life and to force the person to live in an undignified way is against the person’s choice. Thus, it expresses the choice of a person which is a fundamental principle.
  • Treatment for others: 
    • In many developing and underdeveloped countries like India, there is a lack of funds. There is a shortage of hospital space. So, the energy of doctors and hospital beds can be used for those people whose life can be saved instead of continuing the life of those who want to die. 
  • Dignified Death: 
    • Article 21 of the Indian Constitution clearly provides for living with dignity. A person has a right to live a life with at least minimum dignity and if that standard is falling below that minimum level then a person should be given a right to end his life. 
  • Addressing Mental Agony: 
    • The motive behind this is to help rather than harm. It not only relieves the unbearable pain of a patient but also relieves the relatives of a patient from the mental agony.


  • Medical Ethics: 
    • Medical ethics call for nursing, caregiving and healing and not ending the life of the patient. In the present time, medical science is advancing at a great pace making even the most incurable diseases curable today. Thus, instead of encouraging a patient to end his life, the medical practitioners have to encourage the patients to lead their painful life with strength. 
  • Moral Wrong: 
    • Taking a life is morally and ethically wrong. The value of life can never be undermined.
  • Vulnerable will become more prone to it: 
    • Groups that represent disabled people are against the legalisation of euthanasia on the ground that such groups of vulnerable people would feel obliged to opt for euthanasia as they may see themselves as a burden to society.
  • Suicide v/s Euthanasia:  
    • When suicide is not allowed then euthanasia should also not be allowed. A person commits suicide when he goes into a state of depression and has no hope from the life. Similar is the situation when a person asks for euthanasia. But such a tendency can be lessened by proper care of such patients and showing hope in them. 
  • X-Factor: 
    • Miracles do happen in our society especially when it is a matter of life and death, there are examples of patients coming out of coma after years and we should not forget human life is all about hope.

Way Ahead

  • There is no doubt that matters of life and death are sensitive ones.
  • It is pertinent to note that legalising euthanasia may have its own repercussions as there is always a scope of misuse and corruption. 
  • However, the only solution for this is to bring proper and informed laws.
  • Thus, the law on legalising euthanasia is a developing one and needs a thorough discussion in order to respect the rights of citizens and balance the interests of the state and society with them. 

Qutb Shahi Tombs

In News

  • The restored Qutb Shahi tombs complex in Hyderabad would be open to tourists and it will help make a strong case for Unesco World Heritage City. 

About Qutb Shahi Tombs

  • Built by the Qutub Shahis, these tombs are considered to be among the oldest historical monuments of Hyderabad.
  • Located in the Ibrahim Bagh (garden precinct), close to the famous Golconda Fort. They are located one kilometer north of Golconda Fort’s called Banjara Darwaza. 
  • They contain the tombs and mosques built by the various kings of the Qutub Shahi dynasty.

Qutub Shahi Dynasty

  • Qutub Shahi Dynasty, (1518–1687), rulers of the kingdom of Golconda in the southeastern Deccan of India, one of the five successor states of the BahmanI kingdom.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin)

In News

  • The Union Ministry of Rural Development has come up with a set of penalties that the State governments will have to bear for any further delay.


  • West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Odisha and Assam are the leading four laggard States who are far behind their targets.
  • This is the first time, since the scheme started in April 2016 with a target of constructing 2.95 crore houses, that the Union Government has introduced a penalty clause.
  • If the sanction of the house is delayed for more than one month from the date of issue of the target, the State government will be penalized ?10 per house for the first month of delay and ?20 per house for each subsequent month of delay.
  • If the first instalment to the beneficiary is delayed for more than seven days from the date of sanction the state governments will have to pay ?10 per house per week of delay.
  • No penalty if the central funds are not available with the State.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin)

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Aim: Provide a pucca house, with basic amenities, to all houseless householders and those households living in kutcha and dilapidated houses, by 2024.
    • It targets the construction of 95 crore houses with all basic amenities by the year 2024.
  • It is a social welfare program through which the Government provides financial assistance to houseless beneficiaries identified using SECC 2011 data to help them construct a house of respectable quality for their personal living. 
  • Under PMAY, the cost of unit assistance is to be shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for North Eastern and hilly states.

Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)

In News 

  • The 26th Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was chaired by the Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister

Major Outcomes 

  • The Council, inter alia, deliberated on the Early Warning Indicators for the economy and our preparedness to deal with them, 
  • Improving the efficiency of the existing Financial/Credit Information Systems, issues of governance and management in Systemically Important Financial Institutions including Financial Market Infrastructures

The Financial Stability and Development Council FSDC 

  • It has been constituted vide GOI notification dated 30th December, 2010. 
  • It is chaired by the Union Finance Minister 
  • It has been set up by the government in consultation with financial market regulators, to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhance inter-regulatory coordination and promote financial sector development.
  • The FSDC Sub-committee has also been set up under the chairmanship of Governor, RBI.
  • Functions :It monitors macro-prudential supervision of the economy, including functioning of large financial conglomerates, and addresses inter-regulatory coordination and financial sector development issues.
    •  It also focuses on financial literacy and financial inclusion.

F16 Package to Pakistan

In News 

  • Recently, India conveyed its concern over the recent U.S. approval of a $450-million sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fighter fleet

About the deal

  • Pakistan first received the F-16 aircraft package from the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s despite heavy objection from the Government of India which cautioned that the aircraft would be used against Indian targets.
    • Indian objection was based on the findings that Pakistan would arm the F-16s with nuclear weapons that it had procured in a clandestine manner. 
  • The supply of F-16 multi role aircraft continued throughout the post-9/11 era till the Biden administration and the latest package shows the consistent nature of partnership between US and Pakistan. 
    • The US assistance will improve the precision-ability of the F-16 aircraft and allow Pakistan to access the latest air attack software from the United States. 
F-16 F-16 offers advanced interoperable capabilities that enhance partnerships with allies.Its affordable lifecycle cost allows the F-16 to remain the best value among 4th generation jets.New production F-16s leverage structural and capability upgrades that ensure the international F-16 fleet can operate to 2060 and beyond.New-production F-16s include advanced capabilities, such as the APG-83 AESA Radar, modernised cockpit with new safety features, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, an improved performance engine, and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours. 

GEF Small Grants Programme

In News 

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in collaboration with UNDP is implementing the GEF Seventh Operational Phase of the Small Grants Programme in India (SGP-OP7).
    • The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has been appointed the National Host Institution for executing this Project.

About GEF Small Grants Programme 

  • The Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme provides financial and technical support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing the lives of local communities.
  • Launched in 1992, SGP works closely with and complements other GEF projects and programs, supporting 136 countries since its inception.
  • Evaluations led by the Independent Evaluation Offices of the GEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have proven that civil society-led initiatives can generate environmental benefits, while supporting sustainable livelihoods, gender equality and civil society empowerment.
  • The programme provides grants of up to $50,000 directly to local communities including indigenous people, community-based organisations and other non-governmental groups for projects in Biodiversity, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Land Degradation and Sustainable Forest Management, International Waters and Chemicals.


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