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Editorial Notes

Editorial Notes 7th October 2016

Delhi University Photocopying Case; Indian Copyright Act; HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014; NAM; Alzheimer's Disease; Dementia.
By By IT's Editorial Notes Team
October 07, 2016


Polity & Governance

  • Stamping down on prejudice
  • Living with Alzheimer’s

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Farewell to NAM

Science & Technology

  • Copy-wrongs and the invisible subsidy


Polity & Governance

GS (M) Paper-2: “Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.”
GS (M) Paper-2: “Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.”

Stamping down on prejudice


Revival of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, and the Union Cabinet’s approval for provisions that make discrimination against HIV affected punishable, are positive steps.

This law stops the spread of the disease and help infected get antiretroviral therapy with equal opportunity.


Key facts:

  • In August, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare put the number of people getting free treatment at 9,65,000, of which 53,400 are children.
  • 1 million people live with HIV in India, of whom 7,90,000 are women.
  • As per National AIDS Control Organisation data for 2015, There is overall decline in HIV, but rise in nine States.

No Discrimination with Discrimination:

  • In the proposed Bill the insurance industry is allowed to use actuarial calculations to limit access to products to people with HIV, which is against the motive of any kind of discrimination.

Suggestions and conclusion:

  • A law should ensure active monitoring by HIV/AIDS support groups, access to education, employment, housing and healthcare without any discrimination.
  • To dilute discrimination, regional variations in access to diagnosis and treatment must be addressed.
  • High degree of commitment from Government is needed to provide effective drugs.
  • The success of the anti-discrimination aspects hinges on the readiness of governments to accept the inquiry findings of ombudsmen, to be appointed under the law, and provide relief.
  • The legislation should provide some relief to thousands of families that face discrimination in admitting children to school, an infected individual getting a job, or treatment in hospital.
[Ref: The Hindu]


GS (M) Paper-2: “Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.”

Living with Alzheimer’s

Facts about dementia:

  • The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.
  • Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia but not all dementia is due to Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms of dementia:


A person with dementia will have cognitive symptoms (problems with thinking or memory). They will often have problems with some of the following:

  • Day-to-day memory loss
  • Difficulties making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks (eg cooking a meal)
  • Difficulties following a conversation or finding the right word for something.
  • Visuospatial skills – problems judging distances (eg on stairs) and seeing objects in three dimensions
  • Orientation – losing track of the day or date, or becoming confused about where they are.
  • Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms gradually get worse over time.
  • Home-based care is the best but the burnout of caregivers is an important issue.

Reports and Findings:

01) Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), A global voice on dementia: Report

  • Only half have received a diagnosis in high-income countries, and less than one in ten in low and middle income countries.
  • Projected to increase to more than 131 million by 2050.
  • 47 million people live with dementia worldwide, more than the population of Spain.

02) Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015, published in The Lancet

  • Individuals with Alzheimer’s increased from 21.7 million worldwide in 1990 to 46 million in 2015.

DALYs (Disability adjusted life years): A new measure


  • DALYs — a gap measure to represent the sum of years of life lost due to premature mortality and years lived with disability
  • For people 60 years and older, several causes, including ischaemic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hearing loss and Alzheimer’s ranked among leading causes DALYs in 2015.
  • Alzheimer’s jumped the ranks to occupy the 29th leading cause of years of living with disability in the world. It ranked 49th in 1990 and 37th in 2005.

Dementia Statistics: India

  • India has about 4.1 million persons affected. (3.7 million persons as per Dementia India Report, 2010)
  • India is second to China, with over 12 million persons likely to be affected in the future.
  • Kerala has played a leading role in recognising dementia as an issue that needs a specific health strategy.


Keeping in view that growing list of countries developing national dementia plans. Hopes about adoption of a Global Plan on Dementia by the World Health Organization in 2017.

India too should develop some National level plan as India’s young too are ageing and like never before, we need to solemnly pledge to remember those who cannot remember.

[Ref: Indian Express]


Bilateral & International Relations

GS (M) Paper-2: “Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests”

Farewell to NAM


The 17th summit of the NAM has recently been concluded at Margarita Island, Venezuela.

India’s PM Narendra Modi’s absence at the summit has questioned the relevance of NAM.

The absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a political message.

Instead of PM, Vice President Hamid Ansari attended the meeting. Explanation given by the head of the Indian delegation, Vice President Hamid Ansari, that the summit was not a conference of Prime Ministers and, therefore, Indian participation was adequate did not carry conviction.


Arguments and Counter-arguments:

Argument: Not any binding principles and just a marriage of convenience among disparate countries.

Counter: Narrow, literary interpretation of non-alignment.

Argument: ‘Non-alignment’ conveyed the wrong notion of not aligning with the power blocs and that the be-all and end-all of non-alignment was to remain unaligned.

Counter: Quintessence of non-alignment was freedom of judgment and action and it remained valid, whether there was one bloc or two.

Argument: Military alliances can also be within the ambit of non-alignment, which was subsequently characterised as ‘strategic autonomy’.

Counter: Not have to denounce non-alignment to follow its present foreign policy.

Argument: None NAM members help on any of the critical occasions when India needed solidarity, Chinese aggression in 1962 or the Bangladesh war in 1971.

Counter: Even in the latest struggle against terror, NAM has not come to assist India. But the philosophy of NAM that it remains united on larger global issues, even if does not side with a member on a specific issue. India itself has followed this approach.

Argument: NAM has no ideal or ideology.

Counter: Though the criteria for NAM membership are general, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and anti-racism were essential attributes of NAM countries.

There was a consensus on nuclear disarmament also till India broke ranks by keeping out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

Diversity reflected in both Singapore and Cuba being NAM members has been its strength.

Therefore, Egypt signing the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1978 or India signing the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union in 1971 did not result in any disruption of membership.

India and NAM: A heritage:

  • The golden age in India’s foreign policy was in the first 15 years after Independence, when NAM provided a constituency for India, Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision and statesmanship inspired many nations that time.
  • We never resolve our problems through NAM, but actively assisted others.
  • India led the NAM effort to resolve the Iran-Iraq dispute.
  • Through NAM that we operated to counter the efforts to expand the UN Security Council by including just Germany and Japan as permanent members.

Significance of NAM in Indian Diplomacy:

  • No NAM country may agree to isolate Pakistan, but the NAM forum will be an effective instrument to project our anti-terrorist sentiments.
  • NAM is particularly important in any elections at the UN ex. Security council.

Way ahead and conclusion:

  • The question we need to ask is whether our continued involvement with NAM would stand in the way of our 21st century ambitions.
  • NAM is like the Commonwealth has always been, a heritage we need not discard.
  • Farewell to NAM may be due to new transactional nature of the foreign policy we are developing.
  • NAM was a part of our larger vision for the world, but today it is seen as inconsequential to our present preoccupations. This transformation will not be lost on the world community.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Science & Technology

GS (M) Paper-3 Topic: “Issues relating to intellectual property rights”

Copy-wrongs and the invisible subsidy


Delhi High Court recently delivered a landmark judgement dismissing a suit jointly filed by three global academic publishing corporations and their Indian subsidiaries: Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Taylor and Francis.

The suit charged a photocopy shop at the Delhi School of Economics, and its legal “employer”, the University of Delhi, with infringement of copyright

As the shop was selling “course packs”, or spiral-bound compilations of photocopied extracts from books and journals as prescribed material by university.

This case asks us to reconsider the ownership of books and ideas produced in the intellectual commons.


Judgement- Key points:

  • Since copyright is a statutory right, rather than a pre-existent natural or common-law, exceptions to this right carry the same legal weight as the right itself.
  • ‘Infringements of copyright’, As per Indian Copyright Act there is exception for the educational use of copyrighted materials, including their reproduction “in the course of instruction.”
  • Finding that “course packs” within this exception, the court dismissed the case.

Four facts suggest a reconsideration:

01) Commercial academic publishing is not a commercial in real sense.

  • Academic publishers pay almost nothing for their inputs (manuscripts), or key services (refereeing and editorial oversight), but claim “full” ownership rights over the products they acquire from the intellectual commons (Academic Authors).
  • Academic authors are paid salaries by their parent institutions (mostly public universities and research centres) give away their manuscripts for lifetime royalties that are usually less than a single month’s salary.
  • Other teachers and researchers act as referees and editors, for little or no payment.
  • Other academics — and their students — provide a captive market with publicity and promotion.
  • Commercial publishers can and have added value through editing, copy editing, distribution, keeping a book in print, providing differentially priced editions, but it is precisely in these areas that standards have fallen.

02) Quality higher education is not compatible with an overzealous copyright law.

  • University students required to read widely, their reading lists change frequently.
  • There market is large and constantly changing different from school textbooks markets.
  • Buying the readings material for even a single course at market prices will impact them with huge economic burden.
  • Alternatives — like licensing systems that accumulate tiny commissions from thousands of retail outlets — have proved hard to implement in advanced economies and will face obstacles in India.

03) The technological transformation of publishing

  • Today, digitisation and internet-based distribution threaten to make publishers redundant.
  • Their Monopolistic pricing and predatory copyrighting
  • Open Access Resources a Solution?
  • Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) has a growing membership like Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Columbia
  • Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) with more than 800 members on four continents.
  • Major research funding organisations like the National Institutes of Health in the US now require their grantees to publish only in open access journals.
  • Similar initiatives are underway in India and will gather momentum.

4) Academic publications are peripheral to the Indian Copyright Act

  • Act mainly concerned with mass-market, high-value intellectual property like software, films or popular music.
  • The 2012 parliamentary debate on the amendment to the Act invoked tragic cases of Bismillah Khan and film music composer Ravi, who died in poor despite their works earning millions for others.


  • Publishers may not gain much even if they overturn the current judgement.
  • Academic publishing been a low volume market but having Institutional business model.
  • Academic publishers challenged the right of Indian students to photocopied texts. Their suit tells how much they themselves benefitted from the intellectual commons.
[Ref: Indian Express]


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