News Analysis 16 Sept, 2022

16 Sep, 2022


1. The Future of Old Times in India
2. The Eastern Economic Forum and India’s balancing act
3.  Connecting the dots to boost the patent ecosystem

1. The Future of Old Times in India.


Theme :  Schemes for vulnerable sections of society and performance and issues associated with these schemes etc


GS -1

GS - 2


                           TABLE OF CONTENT 

  1. Context

  2. Background

  3. Issues associated with Old Age

  4. Government Initiatives

  5. Legal Backing

  6. Noteworthy Points

  7. Epilogue


Context :
The share of the elderly (persons aged 60 years and above) in India’s population, close to 9% in 2011, is growing fast and may reach 18% by 2036 according to the National Commission on Population.


Background : Life expectancy has more than doubled since Independence from around 32 years in the late 1940s to 70 years.Fertility Rate has crashed from about six children per woman to just two.According to the Population Census 2011, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons in India.


Issues associated with Old Age :

  • Social

    • Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical & technological change, education and globalization.

    • Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.

    • Industrialization has replaced the simple family production units by the mass production and the factory.

    • Negligence by kids towards their old parents.

    • Disillusionment due to retirement.

    • Feeling of powerlessness, loneliness, uselessness and isolation in elderly.

    • Generational gap.

  • Financial

    • Retirement and dependence of elderly on their child for basic necessity.

    • Sudden increase in out of pocket expenses on treatment.

    • Migration of young working-age persons from rural areas has negative impacts on the elderly, living alone or with only the spouse, usually poverty and distress.

    • Insufficient housing facility.

  • Health

    • Multiple disabilities among the elders in old age.

    • Health issues like blindness,locomotor disabilities and deafness are most prevalent.

    • Mental illness arising from senility and neurosis.

    • Absence of geriatric care facilities at hospitals in rural areas.


Government Initiatives :

  • Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP):

    • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is a nodal agency for the welfare of elderly people. The main objective of the scheme is to improve the quality of life of older persons by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities, etc.

  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY) :

    • This scheme is run by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. This is a central sector scheme funded from the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund. The fund was notified in the year 2016. All unclaimed amounts from small savings accounts, PPF and EPF are to be transferred to this fund.

    • Under the RVY scheme, aids and assistive living devices are provided to senior citizens belonging to BPL category who suffer from age-related disabilities such as low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth and locomotor disabilities. The aids and assistive devices, viz walking sticks, elbow crutches, walkers/crutches, tripods/quad pods, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures and spectacles are provided to eligible beneficiaries.

    • The scheme is being implemented by Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), which is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

  • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS):

    • The Ministry of Rural Development runs the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) that extends social assistance for poor households for the aged, widows, disabled, and in cases of death where the breadwinner has passed away.

  • Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) :

    • This scheme is run by the Ministry of Finance. The Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) was first launched in 2003 and then relaunched in 2014. Both are social security schemes for senior citizens intended to give an assured minimum pension on a guaranteed minimum return on the subscription amount.

  • The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana :

    • The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PNVVY) was launched in May 2017 to provide social security during old age. This is a simplified version of the VPBY and will be implemented by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.

    • Under the scheme, on payment of an initial lump sum amount ranging from Rs 1,50,000 for a minimum pension of Rs 1000 per month to a maximum of Rs 7,50,000/- for a maximum pension of Rs 5,000 per month, subscribers will get an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum payable monthly/quarterly/half-yearly/annually.

  • Vayoshreshtha Samman :

    • Conferred as a National award, and given to eminent senior citizens & institutions under various categories for their contributions on International day of older persons on 1st october.


Legal Backing :

  • Article 41 and Article 46 are the constitutional provisions for elderly persons. Although directive principles are not enforceable under the law, it creates a positive obligation towards the state while making any law.

  • Section 20 of Hindu marriage and adoption act, 1956 makes it obligatory provisions to maintain an aged parents.

  • Under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code, the elder parents can claim maintenance from their children.

  • The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, seeks to make it legal for the children or heirs to maintain their parents or senior citizens of the family.

  • Convention on the Rights of Older Persons is proposed in the United nation.

  • In 1982, the Report of the World Assembly on Aging (also known as "the International Plan on Aging") was published, which represented the first international debate on the rights of older persons and presented a plan for their implementation.

  • The UNPF was tasked with implementing the Plan of the Second World Assembly which adopted the “Madrid International Plan” on aging in 2002.



Noteworthy Points :

  • Among persons aged 60 & above, 30% to 50% had symptoms that make them likely to be depressed.

  • Depression symptoms are higher in women than men & rise sharply with age.

  • In most cases, depression remains undiagnosed & untreated.

  • Depression is strongly correlated with poverty, poor health & loneliness.

  • Among the elderly living alone, 74% had symptoms that would classify them as mildly depressed on Geriatric Depression Scale.

  • The hardships of old age are not related to poverty alone, but cash helps.

  • Cash can help to cope with many health issues and sometimes to avoid loneliness.

  • The 1st step towards a dignified life for the elderly is to protect them from destitution and deprivations.

  • This is the reason, old-age pensions are a vital part of social security systems around the world.

  • Under the National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP), administered by the Rural Ministry, India has important pension schemes for the elderly, widowed women, disabled persons etc.

  • The eligibility for NSAP is restricted to (BPL) families.

  • Many states have enhanced the coverage & amount of social security pensions beyond NSAP norms using their funds.

  • Tamil Nadu has been a pioneer in the field of social security.


Epilogue :

  • The NSAP budget this year is just ?9,652 crore (more or less the same) as 10 years ago in money terms, much lower in real terms. This is not even 0.05% of India's GDP.

  • Social security pensions are just the first step towards a dignified life for the elderly.

  • They also need other support & facilities like healthcare, disability aids, assistance with daily tasks, recreation opportunities & good social life.


2.  The Eastern Economic Forum and India’s balancing act .


Theme : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India


GS - 2


                      TABLE OF CONTENT


  1. Context

  2. Eastern Economic Forum (EEF)

      (c) Aim of EEF

     (d)  Major Players in EEF

     (e)  Russia’s Far East

     (f)   India and Russia’s Far East

     (g)  Balance between the EEF and the IPEF


Context : 
The four-day forum is a platform for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses into Russia’s Far East (RFE).Seventh EEF hosted by Russia at Vladivostok.


Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) :

  • The EEF was established in 2015 aiming to encourage foreign investments in the RFE to display:

  1. Economic potential

  2. Suitable business conditions and

  3. Investment opportunities in the region

  • Focus areas: The agreements focus on infrastructure, transportation projects, mineral excavations, construction, industry and agriculture.

  • With EEF, Russia is trying to attract the Asian economies in investing and developing the Far East.This year, the Forum aimed at connecting the Far East with the Asia-Pacific.



Aim of EEF :

  • FDI inflows: The primary objective of the EEF is to increase the Foreign Direct Investments in the RFE.

  • Natural resource exploitation: The region encompasses one-third of Russia’s territory and is rich with natural resources such as fish, oil, natural gas, wood, diamonds and other minerals.

  • Demographic revamp: The sparse population living in the region is another factor for encouraging people to move and work in the Far East.

  • Unleashing economic potential: The region’s riches and resources contribute to five percent of Russia’s GDP.


Major Players in EEF : 

  • South Korea has invested in shipbuilding projects, manufacturing of electrical equipment, gas-liquefying plants, agricultural production and fisheries.

  • China is the biggest investor in the region as it sees potential in promoting the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and the Polar Sea Route in the RFE.

  • China’s investments in the region account for 90% of the total investments.

  • Japan is another key trading partner. In 2017, its investments through 21 projects amounted to $16 billion.


Russia’s Far East :

  • Russian Far East (RFE) is a region in Northeast Asia. It is the easternmost part of Russia and the Asian continent; and is administered as part of the Far Eastern Federal District, which is located between Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.

  • RFE borders two oceans, the Pacific and the Arctic, and five countries (China, Japan, Mongolia, the United States and the DPRK).

  • The Far Eastern Federal District covers more than a third of the country’s territory.

  • It is rich in natural resources like diamonds, stannary, borax materials, 50 gold, tungsten, and fish and seafood. About 1/3 of all coal reserves and hydro-engineering resources of the country are here.

  • Forests of the region comprise about 30% of the total forest area of Russia.


India and Russia’s Far East : 

  • India seeks to expand its influence in the RFE.

  • In 2019, India also offered a $1 billion line of credit to develop infrastructure in the region.

  • During the forum, PM Modi expressed the country’s readiness in expanding trade, connectivity and investments in Russia.

  • India is keen to deepen its cooperation in energy, pharmaceuticals, maritime connectivity, healthcare, tourism, the diamond industry and the Arctic.


Balance between the EEF and the IPEF :

  • The U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and the EEF are incomparable based on its geographic coverage and the partnership with the host-countries. India has vested interests in both the forums and has worked towards balancing its involvement. India has not shied away from investing in the Russia-initiated EEF despite the current international conditions.

  • At the same time, India has given its confirmation and acceptance to three of the four pillars in the IPEF. IPEF also presents an ideal opportunity for India to act in the region, without being part of the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) or other regional grouping like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

  • The IPEF will also play a key role in building resilient supply chains. India’s participation in the forum will help in disengaging from supply chains that are dependent on China and will also make it a part of the global supply chain network. Additionally, the IPEF partners will act as new sources of raw material and other essential products, further reducing India’s reliance on China for raw materials.

  • India, Japan and Australia last year also launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI), a trilateral initiative of countries in the Indo-Pacific (IP) region to create a virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience with a view to eventually attaining strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in the region.


3. Connecting the dots to boost the patent ecosystem.


Theme : Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)


GS - 3


                             TABLE OF CONTENT 


  1. Context

  2. Highlights of the Report

  3. Indian Patent Laws

  4. Challenges for Indian Patent Ecosystem

  5. Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC or EAC-PM)

  6. Other Key Issues

  7. Road Ahead


Context :
A report of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC- PM), “Why India Needs to Urgently Invest in its Patent Ecosystem?”, highlights the signi?cance of a robust patent system for a knowledge economy and for the promotion of technological innovations.



Highlights of the Report :

  • The rising share of residents in the total number of patent applications filed in India, which has more than doubled during the last decade. And, for the first time, the number of patent applications by residents has surpassed that of foreign applications during the last quarter of the financial year 2021-22.

  • The Economic Survey 2022-23, for instance, highlighted the rising share of Indian residents in patent applications.

  • A major concern expressed in the EAC-PM report is the long pendency of processing patent applications in India. Therefore, it has recommended several measures to reduce this. Increasing the efficiency of processing patent applications will certainly improve the patent ecosystem in the country.

  • At the same time, we need to investigate the patent ecosystem more closely to connect the dots so that appropriate measures are adopted to improve the patent ecosystem, keeping in view the national innovation ecosystem.


Indian Patent Laws :

Indian patents are governed by the Indian Patent Act of 1970.

Under the act, patents are granted if the invention fulfills the following criteria:

  1. It should be novel

  2. It should have inventive step/s or it must be non-obvious

  3. It should be capable of Industrial application

  4. It should not attract the provisions of sections 3 and 4 of the Patents Act 1970.


India has gradually aligned itself with international regimes pertaining to intellectual property rights:

  • It became a party to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement following its membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.

  • It amended its internal patent laws to comply with TRIPS, most notably in 2005, when it introduced pharmaceutical product patents into the legislation.

  • The original Indian Patents Act did not grant patent protection to pharmaceutical products to ensure that medicines were available to the masses at a low price.


India is also a signatory to several IPR related conventions including:

  1. The Berne Convention which governs copyright,

  2. The Budapest Treaty,

  3. The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property

  4. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) all of which govern various patent-related matters.


Challenges :

  • Long pendency of processing patent applications discourages applicants from following up on their applications.

  • Increase in number of abandoned patent applications on account of not meeting the requirements under Sections 9(1) and 21(1) of the Patents Act

  • Perverse incentives which encourage the ?ling of patent applications even when the innovator knows that their claims will not pass scrutiny.

  • India’s declining score for industry-academia collaboration indicator in The Global Innovation Index (GII) from 47.8 in 2015 to 42.7 in 2021, consequently, India’s ranking in this indicator in the GII declined from 48 to 65

  • Industry-Academia Collaboration has been limited to niche research areas that have low commercial signi?cance.

  • Innovations from India have been scarce – a phenomenon prevalent across most sectors in India.


Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC or EAC-PM) :

It is a non-constitutional, non-permanent and independent body constituted to give economic advice to the Government of India, specifically the Prime Minister on economic issues like inflation, microfinance, and industrial output.


Other Key Issues : 

  • The latest annual report (2019-20) of the office of the controller general of patents,Designs, Trademarks and Geographical Indications (CGPDTM) shows that the number of abandoned patent applications, on the account of not meeting the requirements under section 9(1) and 21(1) of the patents act, grew around 350%.

  • Low score for the indicator, industry-academia collaboration in global innovation index (GII).

  • The draft of the National Auto policy 2018 points out that collaboration between industry and academia in India has been limited to niche research areas that have low commercial significance.


Road Ahead :

  • As the patent system is a critical aspect of the national innovation ecosystem, investing in the patent ecosystem will help in strengthening the innovation capabilities of India.

  • The right intervention should be made for the promotion of the quality of patent applications and collaboration between academia and industry.