India-Japan Relations

India-Japan Relations

This article deals with ‘India-Japan Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

History

Till Independence

  • Buddhism in Japan dates back to 538 AD
  • Rabindranath Tagore met Okakura Kakuza
  • SC Bose sought Japan’s help in his fight against Britishers
  • The sole dissenting voice of Judge Radha Binod Pal at the War Crimes Tribunal struck a deep chord among the Japanese public that continues to reverberate to this day

During Cold War

  • After 1952 , US & Japan signed security agreement where US took responsibility of Japanese security &  Japan was not allowed to have military too
  • Indo – Japanese relations started with upbeat like Japanese PM visit to India in 1957 & Nehru’s return visit + Japanese crown Prince Akihito’s visit to India taking relations to highest level
  • But later, Cold war started to impact relations and nothing substantive came out till fall of USSR barring Suzuki’s investment 

1990 – 1998

  • Two events had marked impact & these  were 
    • Fall of USSR leading to end of cold war
    • Process of Liberalisation started in India
  • Japanese Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) started  to flow which helped to plug the gaps in economic development
  • 1991: Japan was among the few countries that bailed India out of the BoP crisis
  • 1993: Narsimha Rao’s Look East policy started &  played important role in shaping ties with Japan
  • Till 1998, bonhomie was seen in bilateral relations between India & Japan

Pokharan II Nuclear Explosion & Japanese Reaction

  • Nuclear tests were conducted during  Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime  in 1998
  • Japan is very sensitive towards nuclear test & weapons because of her past experience
  • Japan completely froze ties with India . All the aid & loans that  Japan was giving were cancelled 
  • Lowest point in bilateral relations & pressurised India to roll back its program

Beginning of New Era

  • PM Yoshiro Mori  visited India in 2000 & signed a Landmark treaty ‘ Global Partnership in 21st Centuary ‘.  Subsequently sanctions were lifted in 2001
  • India is the only country with which Japan has  Annual Summit Meetings alternating between  Delhi & Tokyo 
  • 2011: conclusion of CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement)
  • 2017 Visit Ahmadabad : Shinkansen / Bullet Train funded by Japanese Funds inaugurated by Shinzo Abe

Different Aspects in Indo-Japan Relations

Export -Import

  • CEPA signed in 2011 => bilateral trade increased due to this
  • Trade – $20 billion

Japanese FDI

  • Japan is the 4th largest investor in India
  • 1800 Japanese companies are operating in India
  • Modi  has setup “Japan+  Team” in PMO, to help Japanese investors

Largest Donor

  • Japan is the largest development assistance donor & 30% of the total ODA from Japan comes to India
  • Some projects funded by Japan
    • New Delhi metro network. 
    • Mumbai -Ahmadabad High Speed Rail
    •  Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC),
  • Outside India- Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGR)  will be taken jointly.

Currency Swap

  • (2019) – $75 billion currency swap that Japan Offered to India => in time of emergency, India can get $ 75 billion in dollars or yen in return for rupees.

Nuclear Agreement Signed

  • Japan and India reached broad agreement in Dec 2015 on Civil Nuclear Cooperation

Indian diaspora

  • Merchants settling since 1870 . Number increased during WW I when Japanese goods were sought to fill the void of European goods.
  • In recent years, there has been a change in the composition of the Indian community with the arrival of a large number of professionals:
    • IT professionals & engineers working for Indian & Japanese firms
    • professionals in management, finance, education, and S&T research
  • Nishikasai area in Tokyo is emerging as “mini-India”.

Rare Earth Metals

  • India will supply rare earth metals to  Japan– for making defence and high tech electronics.
  • At present, China is the biggest producer of rare earth 

Security Issues

Ensuring freedom of navigation in Indo-Pacific region.

Chinese Treat

  • Assertive China threat to both
    • China vs Japan : Scars of old rivalry + Conflict over Senkaku island  
    • China vs India : Aksai Chin + Arunachal Pradesh + String of Pearls in Indian ocean

Malabar Exercise

  • Annual India, US & Japan naval exercise to ensure freedom of navigaion

Japanese help in Strategic Infrastructure Building

  • Japan  helping India to build roads & other critical  infrastructure in NE 
  • Investing  in Andaman & Nicobar 

US-2 Amphibious Aircraft

  • India is planning to buy US-2 Ambhibious Aircraft from Japan
  • Amphibian aircraft meaning it can land both on land as well as water.
  • This will be the first time since WW2, that Japan will make an overseas military sale

India & Japan complement each other

  • Japan has ageing population & India has young population (team from Japan came to attract youth from IITs to work in Japan)
  • They have surplus capital & we need capital
  • India has resources , they have technology
  • India’s prowess in services and Japan’s excellence in manufacturing

Indian Diaspora and Issues

Indian Diaspora and Issues

This article deals with ‘Indian Diaspora and Issues – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is meant by Diaspora?

  • Indian Diaspora is a generic term to describe the people who
    • migrated from territories that are currently within the borders of the Republic of India.
    • It also refers to their descendants. 
  • Diaspora is currently estimated to number over 26 million, composed of “NRIs” (Indian citizens not residing in India) and “PIOs” (Persons of Indian Origin who have acquired the citizenship of some other country).

Distribution

  • India has the second largest (first being China) Diaspora in the world.
  • The overseas Indian community estimated at over 26 million is spread across every major region in the world. The major concentration of Indian diaspora is in Middle East (11 Million) , U.S.A, U.K, Canada, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa respectively.
Indian Diaspora and Issues

Trends of Indian Diaspora

  • Overseas Indian community is the result of different waves of migration over hundreds of years driven by a variety of reasons-mercantilism, colonialism and globalization. 

Changing nature

  • British times => Indentured Labour to Fiji, Kenya, West Indies, Mauritius etc
  • In the last three decades of the 20th century the character of migration began to change and a ‘new Diaspora’ led by
    • High skilled professionals moving to the western world
    • Semi-skilled contract workers moving to the Gulf, West and South East Asia emerged.

View of Various leaders towards Diaspora

JL Nehru Although we want to maintain close relationship with Indian Diaspora but Diaspora should re-affirm their commitment to Country they are settled in and integrate themselves in that country
Present Since 2002 (since formation of Singhavi Committee) , Indian government has started to view Diaspora as their important asset which can help in foreign policy and safeguarding Indian interests abroad.

Earlier Government viewed Diaspora as burdensome & refused to help them in various crisis

  • 1964 Myanmar crisis when 3 lakh India businessmen expelled & their businesses nationalised
  • 1972 : When 70,000 Indians faced  persecution in Uganda by Idi Amin regime

Role of Indian Diaspora in development of country they are settled in

  • They have also contributed to the growth and development of the country of their residence. For example, Silicon Valley represents the success of Indians. 4 out of 10 startups in the region are Indian.
  • Becoming important part of Government and political establishments and helping in nation building  .
    • Canadian Government has 4 Ministers (including Defence Minister of Indian Origin)
    • More than dozen MPs in UK are of Indian origin
    • US representative to UN (Nikki Halley (Randhawa)) is of Indian Origin
    • Portugual PM Dr Coasta is of Indian (Goa) origin (he was Chief Guest at 2017 Pravasi Bhartiya Divas held in Bangaluru)
    • Leo Varadkar – Former Ireland PM

How they help India

They help Home Country ie India in various ways. Instances are 

  • It is the source of large inflows of remittances, which has been helping balance the current account. According to the World Bank Indian diaspora sends highest amount of remittances back home (followed by China)
  • During Indo-US Nuclear Deal, US Indians played part in lobbying for India
  • Many Indians invest in philanthropic activities back in India especially in their AlmaMater
  • Mauritian President is generally of Indian Origin and always act as important ally in Indian Ocean. China has not been able to make deep inroads in Mauritius .
  • They are investing in Indian . States to which they belong try to woo them . Eg : Punjab organises Progressive Punjab Summit and Punjabi NRIs are given special invitation for doing investments
  • Help to re-develop after disasters . Eg :
    • Kerala Diaspora helped Kerala during 2018 floods
    • UAE government proposed to give ₹700 crore to Kerala recognising the contribution of Keralites in building UAE & their importance in country and economy

Remittances send by Indians 

Remittances : World Bank Ranking

India 72 (billion $)
China 64
Philippines 30
Mexico 22
Nigeria 21

Major Issues

  • Dual Citizenship: Majority of Indian diaspora want to retain their Indian citizenship along with the citizenship of the country of their residence.
  • Customs and Immigration Official Issues : The commonest grievance of the Diaspora is the ill treatment, harassment and the demands for illegal gratification it encounters at the hands of our customs and immigration officials at the points of entry.
  • Threat to their employment (Nitaqat Law): It is aims to replacing a large section of overseas workers with locals in Saudi Arabia. Because of this, overseas workers from Kerala, TN etc. affected.
  • Threat to their security by IS: In view of the recent cases of violence in the Middle East, there has emerged a new threat the very security of oversees workers in the region. For example, the recent kidnapping of Indian workers by IS group.
  • Evacuation from War Zones : Explained Below

Side Topic : Evacuation of Indians

  • Various Evacuations done by Government till now
2016 Sankat Mochan From South Sudan (Civil War going on in South Sudan)
2015 Raahat Yemen (Civil War between Government and Houthi Rebels )
2011 Op Safe Home Coming Libya (Civil War after Arab Spring)
2006 Sukoon Lebanon
1990 ——- From Kuwait (Airlift movie made on this)

Do we need Evacuation Policy / Doctrine

  • India has conducted more than 30 evacuation operations across Africa, Asia, and Europe, including its largest-ever civilian airlift of 110,000 people from the Persian Gulf in 1990. However , India does not have a comprehensive evacuation policy to evacuate Indian stranded in conflict zone.

Why We need Evacuation Policy

  • US, UK, and the NATO have institutionalised Non-Combatant Evacuation operations (NEO) doctrine. Among the developing countries, Brazil too has institutionalised a standard operating procedure (SOP).
  • India has more than 25 million strong Diaspora and in that  11 million Indians are in West Asia which is becoming unstable with growth of ISIS   
  • Fast Reaction : Whenever such situation arives, Government and Officials can take steps at earliest to save Life of Indians.
  • Will establish clear chain of command and in case of failure , responsibility can be properly expressed

How to make and what it can include

  • Take lessons from  India’s  previous Evacuation Operations  and best practices  along with Evacuation Plans of US, UK, NATO etc
  • India’s diplomatic cadre must be given specific training to operate in hostile environments. 
  • Assign a greater role to its armed forces, in particular by strengthening the Navy and Air Force’s capacity to operate in tandem with civilian authorities. 
  • Government must establish a permanent civil reserve air fleet that pools aircraft from all Indian airlines based on pre-established requisition and reimbursement process.
  • Invest in new technologies to better monitor the diaspora’s profile and mobility

Steps Taken

  • India setup Dr LM Singhavi Committee (High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora)  in 2002 which gave various recommendations. (Almost all steps taken by the Government are based on this report like starting Pravasi Bhartiya Divas , giving more importance to Diaspora etc

  • For giving special focus to the issues pertaining to the Indian diaspora, the government set up a dedicated Ministry of oversees Indian affairs in 2004. It provides all round services to the diaspora. (Again merged with External Ministry. Retrograde step)
  • Government has started, since 2003, the organization of Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas, to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India. 
  • The government has launched various social security schemes for Indian diaspora living abroad, like
    • Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana, 2006
  • Skilling for Foreign Jobs
    • Swarnapravas Yojana : focuses on skill development of Indians  who want to go abroad  in select sectors that face skill shortages in the international labor market, and increase their employability  
    • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana : PKVY has exclusive program to train Indians seeking jobs abroad which train them in suitable skill sets 
  • Various online platforms for Diaspora
    • MADAD App : To help NRIs in distress relating to work permit, visa , employer issue
    • E-Migrate Portal : Recruiting Agents have to register here
  • Schemes to know about India  and their roots
    • Know India Programme was launched as a three-week Orientation programme for diaspora youth (aged 18 to 30) conducted with a view to promote awareness on different facets of life in India and the progress made by the country in various fields (latest such program conducted in Dec 2017) .
    • Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is running a scheme known as “Tracing the Roots” to facilitate PIOs in tracing their roots in India.
  • Oversees Citizenship of India Scheme (OCI): The Scheme provides for benefits comparable to citizens in certain fields, like in economic and education fields etc. PIO Card was merged with OCI Scheme as well
  • State level initiatives : States like Punjab with huge diaspora have started NRI police stations and NRI Sabha to deal with cases and issues of NRIs.

What more can be done

  • To ensure that Diaspora members feel welcomed on their arrival in India and also recall warmly their visits, a friendlier reception at their point of entry; easier procedures for immigration and customs clearances that are marked by courteous service are essential
  • To address the problems of our overseas blue-collar workers, following should be implemented at the earliest possible.
    • Establishing a welfare fund for repatriated overseas workers in distress;
    • Monitoring and supervision of both the employment contracts, and conditions of our overseas workers by our Missions;
    • Launching compulsory insurance schemes covering the risks faced by our overseas workers;
  • Diaspora can make a significant contribution to the growth of tourism in India. PIOs make frequent visits to their home state or  their relatives. There should be greater focus on promoting tourism among 2nd generation PIOs.
  • Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Indian Diaspora could be constituted.This Committee could also act as a focal point for interaction with Parliamentarians of Indian Origin in other countries. Such exchanges are essential in order to bring about greater understanding and amity between them. 
  • Giving Voting Rights to Indians living abroad . Procedure through which it can be done like e-ballot or on Indian Consular office etc can be debated

BT Cotton

BT Cotton

This article deals with ‘BT Cotton  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is BT (Bacillus Thuringeinsis) ?

  • BT is gram positive soil dwelling bacterium
  • Commonly used as natural pesticide
  • Bt refers to Bacillus Thuringienesis Soil Bacterium from which the genes are introduced in to the native cotton and brinjal varieties. BT gene  produce a protein in the cotton crop that is toxic to the boll worms and stem borers (pests) 
  • This can be introduced in any crop like Cotton (Bt Cotton) , Brinjal (Bt Brinjal) etc.

 Bt Cotton

Positive Effects

  • Government gave approval to grow Bt Cotton in 2002 & as a result India witnessed an astounding revolution in the cotton sector, not seen for another crop.
    • Cotton production saw 178% increase
    • India emerged as largest global players in cotton. India is presently largest producer of cotton (surpassing China)

Issues

  • Issue is,  increasing farmer suicides in Karnataka, MP and Vidharbha region.  Farmers are using expensive GM seeds in drought prone region
  • There are other problems too –
    • High input cost of seeds,
    • Genetic erosion of local varieties,
    • farmer’s dependence on private seed companies whose sole aim is profit maximisation.
  • Recently, Cotton plantations in various parts of the country have been hit due to infestation of Pink Bollworm (PBW).  Reason :
    • Absence of crop rotation
    • Not growing 20-30% normal cotton along with BT Cotton

DMH 11

 

DMH 11

This article deals with ‘DMH 11  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

 

 Mustard DMH-11

Why in news?

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee  has  cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in farmers’ fields. However, the approval is contingent on a final nod from Environment Minister .

 

Specific case of Mustard

  • DMH-11 is a Genetically Modified (GM) mustard hybrid. Hybrids are normally obtained by crossing two genetically diverse plants from the same species . But  natural hybridisation isnt possible in mustard because its flowers contain both female (pistil) and male (stamen) reproductive organs. Hence GM is only way to make HYV in this case

 

  • India is importing 15 million tonnes of edible oils . Hence ,  there is need to raise domestic crop yields

 

Other justifications in allowing DMH-11

  • GM technology has already been commercialised in India through Bt cotton.  Since  Bt hybrids were first planted in 2002, there isn’t  any evidence to show that  Bt cotton is causing any adverse health effects.

 

  • Cotton seed oil from Bt Cotton is used and is perfectly safe.  Cotton-seed oil is the second largest produced edible oil in the country (1.4 million tonnes) after mustard (2 million tonnes).

 

  • Already importing GM Oil : Also India annually imports 3 million tonnes of soyabean oil which is predominantly GM.

 

  • The developer is a government-funded institution (Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at Delhi University), as opposed to Bt cotton intellectual property of multinational, namely Monsanto.

 

Against Points

  • DMH-11 employs a gene that will compel farmers to use specific herbicides & pesticide and be dependent on one or two companies (Bayer)  having monopoly over pesticide

 

DNA Fingerprinting

DNA Fingerprinting

This article deals with ‘DNA Fingerprinting  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is DNA Fingerprinting ?

  • Also called DNA typing, DNA profiling, genetic fingerprinting, genotyping, or identity testing
  • DNA profiling, or DNA fingerprinting, is a forensic method used to identify a person using unique signature found in her DNA.
  • In this, DNA samples are matched to prove the identity of person. The most commonly used technique is Short Tandem Repeat Technique but we needn’t go into detail of how it is done . Just knowing the name of technique is more than enough for us.

Uses

  • Identify criminals &  convicts in cases of murder and rape
  • Powerful tool for settling paternity disputes and identifying dead persons
  • Used for detecting genetic disorder , pedigree analysis and identifying genetic stock

In India

  • Pioneering work was done by Lalji Singh  at Centre for Cell and Molecular Biology (CCMB) , Hyderabad
  • Other centres are :
    • Centre for DNA Fingerprinting  & Diagnostics (CDFD) Hyderabad
    • Central Forensic Science Laboratory , Kolkata

DNA Based Technologies(Use & Regulation) Act, 2018

Introduction

There are large number of

  • Missing persons
  • Unclaimed dead bodies

DNA fingerprinting can help & government is trying to come up with Bill

There are other uses too

  • Maternity & paternity issues to know about real parents
  • Rape case convict can be found using DNA
  • Evidence of presence of person on scene of crime
  • DNA is accepted as evidence under Evidence Act. Hence, can help in  increasing conviction rate

Issues with DNA fingerprinting

  • Lack of regulation
  • Privacy issue
  • Lack of DNA Labs and Experts
  • Unscientific forensic data collection technique by police

Working

  • Use of DNA Data:  DNA testing is allowed only in respect of matters listed in the schedule to the Bill (such as,  paternity suits).
  • Permission for use of DNA Data:  While preparing a DNA profile,
        • Authorities are required to obtain consent for collection  if offence carries a punishment of up to 7 years.
        • If the offence carries more than seven years of imprisonment or death, consent is not required.
  • Two new bodies will be created (PB & DB)
DNA Regulatory Board
  • To supervise  DNA Data Banks and DNA Laboratories.
DNA Data Bank

(National & State)

  • Data Banks will store DNA profiles received from DNA laboratories
  • Protection of information: 
        • Board is required to ensure that all information relating to DNA profiles with the Data Banks, laboratories and other persons are kept confidential
        • DNA data can only be used for identification of the person (and not for extracting any other information (like Health Vulnerabilities to be used by Insurance companies))
  • Option for deletion of data – There is also provision for defined instances for deletion of profiles and destruction of DNA profiles (like if chargesheeted person whose DNA samples have been stored in DNA Data Bank has been aquitted by Court)
  • Penalties: Any violation would attract imprisonment up to three years and a fine up to 1 lakhs.
Issues
Privacy Issues 

  • In absence of any Data Protection Act, DNA information stored in Data Bank can be vulnerable

Technology

  • Critics say that DNA Matching tech is not entirely foolproof . There are chances ,even if very low of erronous results
  • Problems of cross-contaminating samples, mislabelling samples, misrepresenting test results and intentionally planting DNA

Unscientific investigation

  • In India, instead of forensic investigators and scientists, an untrained constable goes to crime scene first, who does not know how to scientifically collect evidences and in the process destroys vital DNA evidence

Lack of DNA examiners

  • according to international practice one DNA examiner can take 100 cases per year . As of now there are 40,000 unclaimed dead bodies each year & 400 examiners required but. India has total of 35-40 examiners .

No improvement in conviction rates

  • Over  last 25 years; most countries have adopted a DNA fingerprinting law and have developed databases for use primarily in criminal investigation, disaster identification and forensic science. However, DNA tests have not led to an improvement in conviction rates in countries where it is already being followed.

Pros

Is already happening , Better to do it in regulated way

  • Experts say that apprehensions of data misuse & privacy are more in case of absence of regulation

Privacy

  • Very limited information is proposed to be stored (just 13 sets of numbers out of billions ) . This can tell nothing about individual except to act as unique identifier
  • Moreover , DNA will be collected from very limited persons those in conflict with law

Utility

  • We need to move from eyewitness evidences to forensic evidence of which DNA is integral part

Designer Baby

Designer Baby

This article deals with ‘Designer Baby  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

 

2019 :  Chinese scientist claimed that he helped make the world’s first “genetically-edited” babies in whom a gene linked to HIV was remove using CRISPR technique.

Designer Babies

  • Refers to a baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected by genetic engineering  to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes or characteristics.
  • What traits could be changed in a designer baby
    • Gender
    • Appearance
    • Intelligence
    • Disease resistance
    • Personality
 

 

Pros

  • Reduces risk of genetic diseases . Prevent next generation of family from getting characteristic diseases
  • Increases human life span up to 30 years.
  • Better chance the child will succeed in life
  • Better understanding of genetics

 

Cons

  • Could create a gap in society. “Designer” babies would most likely be better looking, smarter, etc.
  • Furthermore, the technology used is not 100% safe yet.
  • Possibility of damage to the gene pool
  • Only the rich can afford it

 

Side Topic : Euthenics

  • Euthenics is defined as  science of improving the  well-being of the human by improving the external factor of their environment

 

(Eugenics = Capitalist Ideology | Euthenics = Socialist Ideology => Genes nu badlan to changa vadia environment dedo taki lok develop ho jaan)

 

Gene Therapy

Gene Therapy

This article deals with ‘Gene Therapy – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is Gene Therapy?

Using gene manipulating techniques to treat genetic diseases by replacing defective gene with healthy gene  or bolstering the immunity of body.

Types of Gene Therapy

It can be of two types

Somatic Cell Gene Therapy – Gene Therapy in normal cells
– Person will be treated for particular disease
Germ Cell Gene Therapy – Gene Therapy in Germline Cells
– For next generation ie Next generation will not be affected by genetic disorder

Techniques

Same techniques which we used in Gene Editing like CRISPR Cas 9 etc (it is one of the application of Gene Editing only)

Gene Therapy

Some real examples

Yescarta – To treat blood cancer (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia)
– Yescarta is Gene Therapy to treat it.
– Developed by Novartis  

Side Note : It is given designation of Orphan Drug . Orphan Drug is  medicine that is intended to treat diseases so rare that sponsors are reluctant to develop them under usual marketing conditions.

Problems

  • Same as Gene Editing
    • Efficacy Issues
    • Side effects of virus delivery tools
    • Inclusivity issues since they are expensive
    • Playing with god (science vs conservatives)
    • Issues in case of Multi gene disorders and effect of the environment
  • Short lived nature of gene therapy : Patients will have to undergo multiple rounds of gene therapy. 
  • Immune response : Anytime a foreign object is introduced into human tissues, the immune system has evolved to attack the invader.
  • Grey areas in treatment : The treatment of human diseases through gene therapy for solely medical purpose is argued to be correct, however enhancement of human reproductive cells or altering/improving a normal person by gene manipulation are controversial areas as it may turn mankind into commodity.
  • Equal Access to treatment – The gene therapy at present has high cost

Gene Editing

Gene Editing

This article deals with ‘Gene Editing  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Definition

Genome editing is an approach in which the genome sequence is directly changed by adding, replacing, or removing DNA bases  .

Method

  • Genome is relatively resistant to change. To deter any changes from being inadvertently made to DNA, cells have inherent mechanisms to proofread and repair their genetic code. Remarkably, researchers have been able to take advantage of the cell’s DNA repair mechanisms to achieve genome editing.
  • To accomplish this, scientists can use
    • Artificially engineered enzymes called nucleases act as molecular scissors and are used to crack open DNA strands.  
    • Once break is introduced in DNA, cell will detect the problem  & quickly activate repair machinery.
    • DNA sequence designed to be inserted is also send along with a nuclease, such that when a cut is made in the DNA, the cell’s own repair mechanism can use the DNA sequence supplied to replace an existing DNA sequence .
  • This method allows scientists to directly change genetic makeup of cells 

Uses in Humans

Gene Therapy Somatic Cell Gene Therapy
– Gene Therapy in normal cells Person will be treated for particular disease

Germ Cell Gene Therapy
– Gene Therapy in Germline Cells For next generation
– Next generation will not be affected by genetic disorder  
Enhancement genetic engineering Insertion of a gene to try to ‘enhance’ a known characteristic; for example, the placing of an additional growth hormone gene into a normal child  
Eugenic genetic engineering attempt to alter or ‘improve’ complex human traits, each of which is coded by a large number of genes; for example, personality, intelligence, character, formation of body organs, and so on.

Note : Similarly, Gene Editing can be done in Plants and Animals to alter their genetic makeup and giving them desired characteristics and make Genetically Modified Crops and Animals

Concerns

Gene delivery tools Genes are inserted into body using vectors which are usually viruses

Viruses can produce other problems like
– Toxicity
– Immune response
– Inflammatory response
– Gene control and  targeting issues  
High costs Whole process is quite expensive and hence not inclusive  
Playing with god    
Informed consent It is impossible to obtain informed consent for germline therapy because the patients affected by the edits are the embryo and future generations.  
Limited knowledge of the functions of the genes Scientists know functions of limited genes  and worst is in some cases scientists don’t know whether particular gene is performing more than one function  
Might lead to designer babies & commodification of children  

There are currently four families of engineered nucleases (Molecular Scissor) being used:

  • Mega nucleases
  • Zinc finger nucleases
  • Transcription Activator like  Effector based Nucleases (TALENs)
  • CRISPR- Cas System    (Most advanced & important)
Gene Editing

CRISPR/Cas9 system of Germline Editing

  • CRISPR Cas 9 is the revolutionary technique for Gene Editing with very high efficacy
    • CRISPR : It is mechanism which Bacteria uses to protect itself from viruses . In this system, DNA is plucked out of Virus and inserted in little bits into chromosome of bacterium. In this way, Bacteria records over time the viruses it has been exposed to so that cells are protected from those viruses in future .
    • Cas 9 is cutting enzyme
Stage 1 Guide RNA is shepherded with Cas 9 System RNA to guide Cas 9 to Targetted position Cas 9 to make a cut  
Stage 2 Cas 9 locks onto DNA & unzips it (both strands are divided)  
Stage 3 Cas 9 snips the DNA creating break in both strands   
Stage 4 Cell repairs the break using piece of single stranded DNA injected into the cell  
CRISPR Gene Editing

Why CRISPR technology is revolutionary

  • It is cheaper (than already existing technology)  
  • Efficacy is very high
  • Made production of designer baby a reality
  • Treatment of diseases which are caused by faulty gene sequences like CFTR 
  • Livestock improvement
  • Bioremediation

Uses and Problems now

  • Its applications are immense and it has made designer baby a reality . Since it will have wide range of ethical and social implications, inventors Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier have called for Moratorium on it till proper consensus on its use is made .
  • Scientists are calling for bringing extinct species back to life using this technology like Oxford Universities project on reviving Mammoth .

Lord Ripon

Lord Ripon (1880-1884)

This article deals with ‘ Lord Ripon – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Modern History’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

 

He was a liberal to the core & earlier acted as Secretary of State  during 1866-68. In 1880, when liberal party came to power in England under the leadership of Gladstone (who was the chief devotee of liberalism in Europe), he handpicked Ripon for job as Governor General of India. Ripon’s whole political outlook was very anti-thesis of his predecessor.

 

When he reached India, India was in political, social & economic fermentation. Lytton’s policies had driven discontent among masses & India was bordering on revolution. Ripon tried to heal those wounds by taking good steps beneficial for Indians.

 

Repeal of Vernacular Press Act

  • Act was repealed & Vernacular newspapers were allowed equal freedom with rest of Indian press. This wise action of Ripon tried to undo wrongs done by Lytton .

 

 

First Factory Act,1881

  • To improve the condition of factory labourers
  • Sought to regulate & improve the condition of labour in Indian factories . The Act was applicable in case of factories employing 100 or more labourers.
  • Prohibited employment of children below age of 7 + limited working hours for children below age of 12
  • Although limited in scope , opened new phase of industrial history in India .

 

Indian nationalists opposed this because it was aimed to nullify the advantage of Indian industrialists and British plantations were out of its ambit .

 

Financial decentralisation

Continued the policy of financial devolution inaugurated under Lord Mayo. Source of revenue were divided into three classes viz Imperial, Provincial & Divided

Imperial Heads Revenue from Customs, Posts & Telegraphs , Railways, Opium, Salt, Mint, Military Receipt , Land Revenue etc
Provincial
  • Revenue from Jails, Medical Services, Printing, Roads , general Administration etc
  • These were insufficient for provincial requirements , hence grant of fixed percentage of land revenue which otherwise was an imperial subject was given to Provinces
Divided
  • Income from Excise, Stamps , Forests , Registration etc was divided in equal proportion among the Central & Provincial Governments

 

 

 

Resolution on Local Self Government

Most noble work was Government’s resolution on Local Self Government which had following provisions

  • Local Boards were to be developed throughout the country .
    • In Rural Areas,  Governor General desired the smallest  Administrative Unit  to be- sub division , taluka or Tehsil .
    • In Towns , the Municipal Committees & City bodies were to form local board .
  • Local Bodies were to be charged with definite duties & entrusted with suitable sources of Revenue. Ripon desired the Provincial Government should apply in case of local bodies the same principle of Financial Decentralisation which Lord Mayo has directed towards them
  • Chairman of these local board shouldn’t be Officials but elected by Local Bodies themselves

In pursuance of above resolution, Local Self Government Acts were passed in various provinces during 1883-85 which included Madras, Punjab & Bengal .

 

 

But why were they giving such responsibilities to Indians?

Answer is financial pressures & search for more Indian collaborators. ‘Systems of nomination, representation and election were all means of enlisting Indians to work for imperial ends’. The financial and political aspects were neatly combined in the development of local self-government. The process really began under the Conservative Mayo and not the Liberal Ripon. The major motive was to tackle financial difficulties by shifting charges for local requirements on to new local taxes.

 

 

Resolution on Land Policy

  • He disfavoured proposal to establish Permanent Settlement Model of Bengal throughout India
  • He sought to modify the Permanent settlement of Bengal by giving farmers assurance of permanence & security and committing governments  not to enhance taxes except in case of price rise. He couldn’t succeed because Zamindars of Bengal opposed the measure & peasants of Bengal didn’t support it for they feared that Anglo-Indian bureaucracy would be worst than zamindars.

 

Educational Reforms

Refer Hunter Commission (Constituted under his Governor Generalship )

  • All the recommendations of Hunter Commission were applied by him

 

Ilbert Bill Controversy

  • CP Ilbert – Law member of Council introduced Ilbert bill in 1883
  • It proposed to give Indian Magistrates & Session Judges the power to try European offenders in mofussil(small towns) as it was already happening in Presidency Towns
  • White Mutiny followed . Bill was bitterly opposed by not just non official Europeans but British press too.  Ripon ultimately have to succumb to the pressure & withdraw the bill.

 

  • Amended Bill was passed in 1884 , which provided the European British subjects, when brought to trial before District Magistrate or Sessions Judge , whether European or Indian were to have a right to claim trial by a jury of 12 at least 7 of whom must be European or Americans. If in the mofussil district , no jury could be formed , magistrate was to transfer the case  to such other court such as High Court directly.

 

  • Ilbert bill was the last straw that politically conscious educated Indians could take , as it made them painfully aware of their subordinate position in imperial power structure

 

Note – The Ilbert Bill storm was the most extreme but by no means isolated expression of white racism. In 1878, for instance, the appointment of Muthusamy Iyer as High Court judge in Madras was opposed by the Madras Mail (organ of white businessmen) on the ground that ‘native officials should not draw the same rate of pay as Europeans in similar circumstances’.  The uproar led directly to the foundation of the famous nationalist journal Hindu.

 

Rendition of Mysore

  • Lord Bentinck annexed state of Mysore in 1831 on charge of misgovernance. Later it came to knowledge that reports of misgovernance were grossly exaggerated.
  • Ripon decided to correct the injustice done & restored the administration of the state to adopted son of the deposed Raja who died in 1866. 

He resigned in summer of 1884 because Gladstone willingly sanctioned the occupation of Egypt . A contingent of Indian troops was sent to Egypt & the burden of the imperial war fell on Indian Exchequer . Ripon launched a strong protest against this gross injustice & felt that his mission to India had failed. He resigned before term of his Viceroyalty was over.

 

 

Lord Lytton

Lord Lytton(1876-80)

This article deals with ‘ Lord Lytton – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Modern History’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

 

 

He was the nominee of  Conservative Government of Benjamin Disraeli & was appointed with special eye to Central Asian developments. Lytton was a diplomat by profession & had served the British Foreign Office  in many capacities. He was a reputed poet ,novelist & an essayist known in the literary world as Owen Meredith. Till 1876, Lytton had no experience of administration nor any acquaintance with Indian affairs.

 

Lytton & Free Trade

  • Free trade had become passion with ruling circles in England till this time because it suited the interests of industrially advanced nation.
  • Lancashire Cotton manufacturers were jealous of new cotton mills coming up in Bombay and wanted to destroy them . They attacked the levies on export of goods to India. They termed this as protective measure against the Laissez Fairre .
  • British Government passed the Act & notified Indian Government to repeal duties when financial conditions permit. Notwithstanding the poor financial condition of India caused by Famine , Lytton abolished import duties on 29 items including sugar , sheetings etc (even against the wishes of his council)

 

Financial Reforms

  • Policy of financial devolution begun under Lord Mayo continued.
  • Provincial governments were given the control of the expenditure upon all ordinary provincial services including land revenue, excise , stamps, law & justice , general administration etc. For discharge of newly transferred services the provincial governments were not given any increase in their fixed grants but handed over some specified sources of revenue from respective provinces.

 

Famine (1876-78)

  • Severe Famine hit Bombay, Madras,Mysore, Hyderabad & some parts of Central India and Punjab. Population of 5.8 Crore was affected & according to Romesh Dutt ,50 Lakh perished in single year
  • Government made half hearted efforts to help the famine stricken. The Government famine machinery was inadequate
  • In 1878, Famine Commission was established under Richard Strachey which disfavoured grant of gratuitous help & wanted able bodied persons to be provided employment on wages sufficient to maintain health . He recommended construction of Railway & Irrigation works for this. ( this laid foundation of famine policy as well)

 

Royal Titles Act, 1876 & Grand Darbar of 1877

  • British Parliament passed Royal Titles Act investing Queen Victoria with title of Kaiser-i-Hind or Queen Empress of India . Grand Darbar was held in Delhi on 1Jan 1877 to announce people & Princes of India the assumption of the Title.
  • Unfortunately, Darbar held at a time when several parts of the country were in grip of Famine. Lytton spent millions on pomp but neglected people to die in hunger. This drove a current of national humiliation among people of India.
  • Calcutta Journal adversely commented , ”  Nero was fiddling when Rome was burning”
  • But Darbar proved to be blessing in disguise
  • Although it reduced the Princes from position of allies to that of feudatories
        • But subconsciously & against the intentions of the author of Bill raised status of Indian subjects of the Queen to that of Citizen of the British Empire encouraging persons like SN Banerjee to organise an association of Indians to raise their grievances.

 

(Side Note – Second Durbar was held by Edward VII in 1903 & Third Durbar at time of George V in 1911. Every time , Ruler changed, this Durbar was held)

 

Vernacular Press Act, 1878

  • Unpopular Policies of Lytton filled people with discontent & native vernacular press was ridiculing him.
  • He came up with Vernacular Press Act to cut short the wings of Vernacular Press 
  • By this act
        • Magistrates of the Districts were empowered , without prior permission of the government, to call upon a printer and publisher of any kind to enter into a bond , undertaking not to publish anything which might arouse the feelings of the disaffection against the government
        • Magistrate was also authorised to deposit a security , which could be confiscated if printer violated the bond
        • If printer violated again , his press could be seized
  • Worst feature of this Act was it discriminated between Native  Vernacular Press & loyal Anglo-Indian press & was nicknamed as Gagging Act
  • It was specially targeted at Amrita Bazaar Patrika which turned English overnight to remain out of the ambit of the act.

 

Arms Act, 1878

  • This made it a Criminal Offence to keep or traffic in arms without licence. Penalty was fine or imprisonment of 3 years or both .
  • But worst feature was it kept Anglo-Indians , Europeans & some categories of govt officials out of its ambit . Hence it was a racial Act

 

Statutory Civil Service

  • Charter Act of 1853 had declared all offices in India were open to merit irrespective of nationality & colour and Charter Act of 1853 provided for holding of a competitive examination in London for recruitment to higher services . Act was passed in 1870 saying that 1/5th recruits to Covenant Service should be Indians even without competitive examination but it took for government  10 years to frame rules
  • Indians couldn’t enter ICS because difficulties facing aspirants were great. From 1862 to 75 only 40 Indians appeared for ICS & only 10 were successful.
  • Lytton proposed the straightforward course of closing Covenanted Civil Service to Indians & instead create ‘a close native service’ to meet the provisions of the Act of 1870 . Home Authorities didn’t favour this because of its discriminatory nature .
  • Lytton then proposed plan for Statutory Civil Services (SCS) in 1878-79 (according to Act of 1870)  . According to rules of 1879 , the Govt of India could employ some Indians of good family & social standing in  SCS on recommendation of Provincial Government subject to confirmation & number of such appointments not to exceed 1/6th of total appointments . (However , SCS didn’t become popular with Indians & discarded later)
  • Since Secretary of State  didn’t accept proposal to discard Covenant Civil Services to Indians altogether, hence he made calculated move to discourage Indians from competing by reducing max age from 21 years to 19 years .

 

Throughout India this was seen as a coloured legislation & it was difficult for Indians to digest this humiliation

 

2nd Afghan War

  • Provoked senseless war against Afghans with view to establish a scientific frontier towards North West
  • Adventure proved to be failure

 

 

Estimate of Lord Lytton

  • Lytton was no doubt a man of ideas but he must be judged as a failure as a ruler of India. Experts point out the name of Lytton & Curzon as two viceroys who did more harm than good to India & to England’s position in India than any other men that can be named.
  • Lytton’s unpopular & repressive policy drove discontent among the masses . The unrest became widespread & was becoming dangerous. His policies prepared the soil for creation of nationalism in India .