A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court agreed to significantly ease the procedure for passive euthanasia in the country by altering the existing guidelines for ‘living wills’, as laid down in its 2018 judgment in Common Cause vs. Union of India & Anr, which allowed passive euthanasia.
GS II: Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is euthanasia, and what is a living will?
- SC rule in 2018
- Changes to Living Will Guidelines in India
What is euthanasia, and what is a living will?
- Euthanasia refers to the practice of an individual deliberately ending their life, oftentimes to get relief from an incurable condition, or intolerable pain and suffering.
- Euthanasia, which can be administered only by a physician, can be either ‘active’ or ‘passive’.
- Active euthanasia involves an active intervention to end a person’s life with substances or external force, such as administering a lethal injection.
- Passive euthanasia refers to withdrawing life support or treatment that is essential to keep a terminally ill person alive.
- Passive euthanasia was legalised in India by the Supreme Court in 2018, contingent upon the person having a ‘living will’ or a written document that specifies what actions should be taken if the person is unable to make their own medical decisions in the future.
- In case a person does not have a living will, members of their family can make a plea before the High Court to seek permission for passive euthanasia.
SC rule in 2018
- The Supreme Court allowed passive euthanasia while recognising the living wills of terminally-ill patients who could go into a permanent vegetative state, and issued guidelines regulating this procedure.
- A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by then Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said that the guidelines would be in force until Parliament passed legislation on this.
- However, this has not happened, and the absence of a law on this subject has rendered the 2018 judgment the last conclusive set of directions on euthanasia.
- The guidelines pertained to questions such as who would execute the living will, and the process by which approval could be granted by the medical board.
- “We declare that an adult human being having mental capacity to take an informed decision has right to refuse medical treatment including withdrawal from life-saving devices,” the court said in the 2018 ruling.
Changes to Living Will Guidelines in India
The 2018 Guidelines
- A living will was required to be signed by an executor in the presence of two attesting witnesses, countersigned by a Judicial Magistrate of First Class
- The treating physician was required to constitute a board comprising three expert medical practitioners with at least 20 years of experience to decide whether to carry out the living will or not
- If the medical board granted permission, the will had to be forwarded to the District Collector for his approval
- The Collector was to then form another medical board of three expert doctors, including the Chief District Medical Officer
- Only if this second board agreed with the hospital board’s findings would the decision be forwarded to the JMFC, who would then visit the patient and examine whether to accord approval
Changes Made by the Supreme Court
- Instead of the hospital and Collector forming the two medical boards, both boards will now be formed by the hospital
- The requirement of 20 years of experience for the doctors has been relaxed to five years
- The requirement for the Magistrate’s approval has been replaced by an intimation to the Magistrate
- The medical board must communicate its decision within 48 hours
- The 2018 guidelines required two witnesses and a signature by the Magistrate; now a notary or gazetted officer can sign the living will in the presence of two witnesses instead of the Magistrate’s countersign
- In case the medical boards set up by the hospital refuses permission, it will now be open to the kin to approach the High Court which will form a fresh medical team.
Different countries, different laws
- NETHERLANDS, LUXEMBOURG, BELGIUM allow both euthanasia and assisted suicide for anyone who faces “unbearable suffering” that has no chance of improvement.
- SWITZERLAND bans euthanasia but allows assisted dying in the presence of a doctor or physician.
- CANADA had announced that euthanasia and assisted dying would be allowed for mentally ill patients by March 2023; however, the decision has been widely criticised, and the move may be delayed.
- UNITED STATES has different laws in different states. Euthanasia is allowed in some states like Washington, Oregon, and Montana.
- UNITED KINGDOM considers it illegal and equivalent to manslaughter.
-Source: Indian Express
Recently, an IIT Madras-incubated company has developed the BharOS.
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is BharOS?
- What Makes BharOS Unique?
What is BharOS?
- BharOS is a mobile operating system (OS) that is developed indigenously in India. It is designed to prioritize privacy and security for its users.
- BharOS is similar to other well-known OSs like Android and iOS, and serves as the core interface for smartphones.
- The development of BharOS is a part of the initiative for self-reliant India or “Atmanirbhar Bharat” and aims to provide a secure OS environment for Indian users.
- BharOS is currently catering to organizations with high security and privacy needs, where users handle sensitive information requiring confidential communications on restricted apps on mobiles and need access to private cloud services through private 5G networks.
- Native Over the Air (NOTA): BharOS offers automatic installation of security updates and bug fixes.
- No Default Apps (NDA): The users do not have to keep or use pre-installed apps in this mobile operating system. Users have more control over the apps on their mobile phones and can choose which apps to keep and use.
- Private App Store Services (PASS): BharOS uses a system that examines and curates apps that are safe for users to use.
- Reducing Dependence on Foreign OS: The BharOS project aims to decrease the reliance on foreign mobile operating systems in smartphones and increase the use of locally developed technology.
- Promoting Indigenization: It is a major step towards creating an indigenous ecosystem and a self-reliant future for India.
- Comparable to Developed Countries: The project aspires to put India on the same level as the few countries that currently possess similar capabilities.
What Makes BharOS Unique?
- BharOS is based on Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) and is somewhat similar to Google Android. However, it does not come preloaded with Google services like in regular Google Android phones. So BharOS users are free to download only those apps that they like or prefer rather than being forced.
- Android phone with stock OS usually have Chrome set up as default browser. BharOS makers are looking to partner with DuckDuck Go for its default browser.
- DuckDuck Go is a privacy-focused browser with several privacy-centric features like anonymous browsing mode and Privacy Grade.
-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express
T+1 settlement cycle
After China, India will become the second country in the world to start the ‘trade-plus-one’ (T+1) settlement cycle in top listed securities, bringing operational efficiency, faster fund remittances, share delivery, and ease for stock market participants.
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- What’s the T+1 settlement plan?
- What are the benefits of T+1?
- Will it also make markets safer?
- Why are foreign investors opposed?
What’s the T+1 settlement plan?
- The T+1 settlement cycle means that trade-related settlements must be done within a day, or 24 hours, of the completion of a transaction.
- For example, under T+1, if a customer bought shares on Wednesday, they would be credited to the customer’s demat account on Thursday. This is different from T+2, where they will be settled on Friday.
- As many as 256 large cap and top mid-cap stocks, including Nifty and Sensex stocks, will come under the T+1 settlement.
- Until 2001, stock markets had a weekly settlement system. The markets then moved to a rolling settlement system of T+3, and then to T+2 in 2003.
- T+1 is being implemented despite opposition from foreign investors. The United States, United Kingdom and Eurozone markets are yet to move to the T+1 system.
What are the benefits of T+1?
- In the T+1 format, if an investor sells a share, she will get the money within a day, and the buyer will get the shares in her demat account also within a day.
- This will also help investors in reducing the overall capital requirements with the margins getting released on T+1 day, and in getting the funds in the bank account within 24 hours of the sale of shares.
- The shift will boost operational efficiency as the rolling of funds and stocks will be faster.
Will it also make markets safer?
- According to a paper published by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), a T+1 settlement cycle not only reduces the timeframe but also reduces and frees up capital required to collateralise that risk.
- A shortened settlement cycle also reduces the number of outstanding unsettled trades at any point of time, and thus decreases the unsettled exposure to Clearing Corporation by 50 per cent.
- The narrower the settlement cycle, the narrower is the time window for a counterparty insolvency/ bankruptcy to impact the settlement of a trade.
- Further, the capital blocked in the system to cover the risk of trades will get proportionately reduced with the number of outstanding unsettled trades at any point of time.
- Systemic risk depends on the number of outstanding trades and concentration of risk at critical institutions such as CCPs, and becomes critical when this magnitude of outstanding transactions increases.
- Thus, in this era of increasing trade volumes, a shortened settlement cycle will help in reducing systemic risk.
Why are foreign investors opposed?
- Foreign investors were against SEBI’s T+1 proposal, and had written to the regulator and the Finance Ministry about the operational issues faced by them, as they operate from different geographies.
- Among the issues raised by them were time zone difference, information flow process, and foreign exchange problems.
- Foreign investors said they would also find it difficult to hedge their net India exposure in dollar terms at the end of the day under the T+1 system.
-Source: Indian Express
On January 25, the government announced one Padma Vibhushan and 25 Padma Shri awards.
Facts for Prelims
Dimensions of the Article:
- The Padma Awards
- About Bharat Ratna
The Padma Awards
- The Padma Awards are announced annually on the eve of Republic Day (26th January).
- There are 3 Padma Awards:
- Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service),
- Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher-order) and
- Padma Shri (distinguished service).
- The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
- The Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
- The total number of awards to be given in a year (excluding posthumous awards and to NRI/foreigners/OCIs) should not be more than 120.
Is it a title?
- The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardees’ name.
- Article 18 clause 1- Abolishes titles and makes four provisions in that regard: It prohibits the state from conferring any title (except a military or academic distinction) on anybody, whether a citizen or a foreigner.
About Bharat Ratna
- Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the country.
- Bharat Ratna is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.
- Recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President of India.
- Only 3 Bharat Ratna Awards can be given in a year.
- Bharat Ratna- 1st degree of honour
- Padma Vibhushan- 2nd degree of honour
- Padma Bhushan- 3rd degree of honour
- Padma Shri- 4th degree of honour
-Source: Indian Express
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will auction maiden sovereign green bonds (SGrBs) worth Rs 8,000 crore. This is part of the Rs 16,000 crore Sovereign Green Bond auction that the RBI will conduct in the current financial year.
GS III: Indian Economy
Dimensions of the Article:
- What are Green Bonds?
- How beneficial is it for investors?
- What Difference Between SGB and Other Bonds?
- Risks and Challenges
What are Green Bonds?
- Green bonds are bonds issued by any sovereign entity, inter-governmental groups or alliances and corporates with the aim that the proceeds of the bonds are utilised for projects classified as environmentally sustainable.
- The framework for the sovereign green bond was issued by the government on November 9, 2022.
Why are these bonds important?
- Green Bonds have emerged as an important financial instrument to deal with the threats of climate change and related challenges.
- According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group’s institution, climate change threatens communities and economies, and it poses risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies.
- A lot of financing is needed to address these challenges. It’s critical to connect environmental projects with capital markets and investors and channel capital towards sustainable development – and Green Bonds are a way to make that connection.
How beneficial is it for investors?
- Green Bonds offer investors a platform to engage in good practices, influencing the business strategy of bond issuers.
- They provide a means to hedge against climate change risks while achieving at least similar, if not better, returns on their investment.
- In this way, the growth in Green Bonds and green finance also indirectly works to disincentivise high carbon-emitting projects, as per the IFC.
What is the difference Between SGB and Other Bonds?
- Sovereign green bonds (SGrBs) are a type of government bond issued to finance climate and environmental projects.
- SGrBs are similar to other government bonds in that they have a maturity period and carry a coupon rate, but the proceeds from their sale are used specifically for green projects.
- SGrBs are part of the government’s overall borrowing and will add to the government’s debt.
- In India, the government has announced plans to borrow INR 16,000 crore through the issuance of SGrBs in H2 FY23 as part of a larger borrowing plan of INR 5.92 lakh crore through dated securities.
Risks and Challenges
- One of the main risks associated with sovereign green bonds is the possibility of default. While the risk of default is generally low for sovereign bonds, it is important for investors to carefully consider the creditworthiness of the issuing government.
- Another challenge is the lack of standardization and transparency in the market for sovereign green bonds. This can make it difficult for investors to compare the risks and returns of different bonds.
- There is also a risk that the funds raised through the sale of sovereign green bonds may not be used effectively or may not have the intended impact on the environment. It is important for governments to carefully plan and monitor the use of these funds to ensure that they are used effectively.