Hyperandrogenism and Women Runners
Why in News?
- The World athletics body has introduced regulations that restrict the participation of female athletes with high testosterone levels in certain international track and field events.
- In 2014, the Indian athlete Dutee Chand had challenged the guidelines on hyperandrogenism. The guidelines were thus suspended.
- Hyperandrogenism is the condition in which the male hormones in the females are at a higher level than normal.
- The Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) has asked The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to finalise regulations that would clearly specify events in which women with high but naturally occurring levels of testosterone could participate.
What are the normal testosterone levels in men and women?
- Testosterone levels in females usually range between 0.12 to 1.79 nmol/L while the male range is much higher — 7.7 to 29.4 nmol/L.
- The IAAF has concluded that it is only possible for a woman to have a testosterone level of 5 nmol/L or greater in the case of a tumour or if the athlete falls in the intersex category.
- An intersex person is one who has both male and female sex organs or other variations including chromosomes and does not fall exclusively into the defined male or female physical characteristics.
- The guidelines will come in to effect from November 1, 2018.
What were the earlier guidelines?
- Earlier, women with testosterone levels of 10 nanomoles per litre or more were ineligible to participate in track and field events.
- Dutee Chand challeged the rule, contending that she had naturally occurring high levels of testosterone. CAS ruled in favour of the Indian sprinter.
- This opened the doors for several other athletes with hyperandrogenism.
What are the new guidelines?
- Now, IAAF has said that female athletes with 5 or more nanomoles per litre testosterone cannot participate in 400m, 800m and 1500m races.
An athlete is free to compete in two events — the 100 metres and the 200 metres — because these do not fall under the ‘restricted events’ category.
Historical Background Of Indo-China Relations
Why in news?
- PM Narendra Modi was in the Chinese region of Wuhan on April 27 and 28, 2018 to hold an Informal Summit with President of People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, where he exchanged views on a range of issues of bilateral and global importance.
- The two leaders had “wide-ranging” talks without any fixed agenda.
Historical visits of Indian PMs to China:
- PM Nehru- Panchsheel Agreement, 1954:
- PM JL Nehru visited China in 1954 when Zhao En-lai had announced the Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence, which would be derailed by the 1962 war.
- PM Rajiv Gandhi- Thaw period:
- After 34 years, the then PM Rajiv Gandhi visited China in 1988.
- The exchange between Rajiv and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1988 was a landmark.
- India and China decided to develop bilateral relations in all spheres as well as work towards resolving the boundary dispute, with a commitment not to use violence and change the status quo along the boundary.
- The Indian side also affirmed that India considered Tibet an integral part of China and no anti-China activities were permitted on Indian soil
- PM Narsimha Rao- LAC appeared for the first time in official documents:
- The next leap came with P V Narasimha Rao’s visit in September 1993, when China and India signed an agreement on maintaining peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control.
- The term “line of actual control (LAC)” appeared for the first time in an official document signed between the two countries.
- PM Vajpayee’s visit:
- While status quo was maintained on the border, a decade later Vajpayee went on a visit in June 2003.
- The two sides signed a declaration, the first official document in which India recognised the legitimacy of Tibet as Chinese territory.
- And, then Vajpayee made a surprise offer to the premier Wen Jiabao to appoint special representatives for border talks and named National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra as the Indian interlocutor — he had once shaken hands with a smiling Mao in 1970; the only positive overture made by Mao after the war — and a deal was struck on border talks.
- PM Manmohan Singh’s visit:
- Manmohan Singh carried forward the relationship, with two visits in 2008 and 2013.
- The first visit gave the relationship an intellectual heft and a wider context as the two sides signed a “Shared vision for the 21st century”.
- Singh maintained through his term that there is “enough space in the world for both India and China to compete and cooperate”.
- Although China agreed on a Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver to India after the US leveraged its relationship and George W Bush made a phone call to Hu Jintao, the relationship was not without strains — the Depsang incident in April 2013 was a case in point.
- That led to the Border Defence Cooperation pact between the two sides.
- Modi’s informal meeting with X-Jinping, 2018:
- Economic project in Afghanistan: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that the two countries will work together on an economic project in Afghanistan. This, they said, will show that India and China can cooperate and not just compete in the neighbourhood.
- Peace tranquility at the border area: Modi and Xi have also agreed to issue strategic guidance to their forces and strengthen existing mechanisms to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border areas.
- STRENGTH: Modi laid emphasis on the importance of people-to-people contact through STRENGTH: S-Spirituality; T-Tradition, Trade and Technology; R-Relationship; E-Entertainment (Movies, Art, etc.); N-Nature conservation; G-Games; T-Tourism and H-Health and Healing.
- Xi for a multipolar world: Xi said the two countries should stand for a multi-polar world order and globalisation-an implicit reference to China’s ongoing tensions with the US.
- Peace and stability in the world: In his address, Xi said, “China and India are both important engines for global growth and we are central pillars for promoting a multi-polar and globalised world. A good Sino-India relationship is an important and positive factor for maintaining peace and stability in the world.”
- CULTURAL RELATIONS: Modi also spoke about Indian and Chinese cultures, saying both were based on development along river banks. “Culture of both India and China is based along the river banks, if we talk about Mohenjo Daro and Harappa civilizations in India, all the development happened along river banks.”
- Modi invited Xi for a similar ‘informal summit’ in India in 2019, as the two leaders held wide-ranging talks in Wuhan, China.
- Modi also raised hopes that such informal summits become a tradition between the two countries.
- During the talks, Xi said he hopes that the Wuhan summit “opens a new chapter” in Sino-India relations. He added that he hopes to have “many more such summits” with PM Modi.
Anti-Evergreening Provisions Of Indian Patents Act
Why in news?
- In the last few years the Indian Patent Office (IPO) has been granting patents expeditiously and reducing the backlog of pending applications.
- In this haste, the stringent provisions of the Indian Patents Act, to deal with the evergreening of the patents are not being applied diligently.
- The applicants are thus getting the patents by merely tweaking the existing product, without any element of innovation.
- In a study, it has been found that 7 out of every 10 patents have been granted with error by the IPO.
- India had incorporated certain anti-evergreening provisions such as Sections 3(d), 3(e) and 3(i) into the Patents Act to restrict patentability of a host of secondary patents.
- Secondary Patents are essentially alternative forms of already existing patented drugs aimed at further extending their term of protection.
- These provisions together with the decision of the Supreme Court in the Novartis case have shown us a way forward to have access to affordable medicines.
- What are the conditions for granting a patent?
- There are essentially three conditions: Novelty, Industrial use and non-obviousness.
What was the Novartis patent case?
- In 2014, in a landmark judgment, India’s Supreme Court had rejected a patent plea by Swiss drug maker Novartis AG for cancer drug Glivec, boosting the case for cheaper drugs for life-threatening diseases.
- Glivec was not granted the patent because it did not pass the ‘novelty’ test.
- It was ruled by the court that the drug was produced merely by tweaking the existing molecule which had already been patented.
Section 3 of the Indian Patents Act:
First of all, let’s understand the provisions of section 3 of the Indian Patents Act, along with its sub-sections:
- Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 (as amended in 2005) does not allow patent to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differs significantly in properties with regard to efficacy. Thus, the Indian Patent Act does not allow evergreening of patents.
- Section 3(d), covers “combinations and other derivatives of known substance”. In this case, the applicant has to submit “efficacy” data to get the patent.
- Section 3(e), covers “substance obtained by a mere admixture resulting only in the aggregation of the properties of the components or a process for producing such substance”. In this case, the applicant has to submit data for “synergism”. Synergism means that the combined effect of two or more medicines will be greater than their individual effects.
- Section 3(i) of the Act categorically excludes methods of treatments from the purview of patent protection.
How are pharmaceutical companies misusing these provisions?
- Companies file patents for medicines as formulations, combinations and compositions.
- These combinations should demonstrate their efficacy under section section 3(d), which is difficult to prove.
- Rather that proving and submitting efficacy data, companies take shelter under section 3(e), in which only synergistic data is to be submitted. This is relatively easy.
- Another way of fooling the system is filing patents for “methods of treatment” or “mode of drug administration”. This is barred under section 3(i).
- However, the IPO is granting patents for “methods of treatment”. This is because of the clever drafting language of the patent application.
- Given the IPO’s unacceptable error rate, there should be a standardised mechanism for examination of patent applications.
- As the grant of patents create property-like rights in intangibles, the IPO should steer its focus towards grant of quality patents than on the quantity.
Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’
- ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme is for development, maintenance and operation of Tourism amenities in monuments: Tourism Ministry
- Project envisages limited ‘access’ to non-core areas and ‘no handing over of monuments’ are involved
Focus of the scheme:
- The aim is enhancement of tourist experience and promotion of the incredible heritage sites to bring them on tourism map.
- The project primarily focusses on providing basic amenities that includes cleanliness, public conveniences, drinking water, ease of access for differently abled and senior citizens, standardized signage, illumination and advanced amenities such as surveillance system, night viewing facilities, tourism facilitation center and an enhanced tourism experience that will result in more tourist footfalls, both domestic and foreign.
Partners in the scheme:
- “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan”, is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and State/UTs Governments.
- The Project aims to develop synergy among all partners to effectively promote “responsible tourism”.
- It aims to involve public sector companies, private sector companies and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities at ASI/ State heritage sites and other important tourist sites in India.
- They would become ‘Monument Mitras’ through the innovative concept of “Vision Bidding”, where the agency with best vision for the heritage site will be given an opportunity to associate pride with their CSR activities.
- They would also get limited visibility in the premises and the Incredible India website.
The priority areas of Programme:
- Developing basic tourism infrastructure;
- Promoting cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions;
- Enhancing the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing world-class infrastructure at the heritage monument sites;
- Creating employment through active involvement of local communities;
- Harnessing tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development;
- Developing sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensuring proper Operations and Maintenance therein.
- It is essentially a non-revenue generating project. It is part of responsible tourism where the ‘Monument Mitra’ essentially spends his CSR funds for upkeep and maintenance etc., and gets limited visibility.
- The agency was selected on the basis of unique concept of vision bid and no financial bid is involved.