Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 29 July 2020

PREVIOUS MCQ  CLICK HERE

1. Consider the following statements about Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA).
1. He/She is the Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
2. India has had a Principal Scientific Adviser since independence.
3. The PSA is the chief advisor to the government on matters related to scientific policy and along with the Chief Secretary to Minister of Science & Technology.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 2 and 3
Answer-a
Explanation-
Principal Scientific Advisor
India has had a Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) since 1999.
• Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was the first PSA from 1999—2001
• Dr. R. Chidambaram succeeded Dr. Kalam and was the PSA from 2001-2018.
• Professor K. VijayRaghavan succeeded Dr. Chidambaram on April 3, 2018 and is the current PSA.
The vision is to help enable and empower all spheres of science and technology so that the execution of programmes is effective for society and the economy.
To translate this vision into strategy and action, the Prime Minister has constituted the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM’s STIAC).
The Principal Scientific Adviser is Chair of the PM’s STIAC.
The terms of reference are extensive and demanding. These are listed below:
• Synergizing S&T covering fundamental to applied research in collaboration with multiple stake holders both in central and state governments
• Enabling future preparedness in emerging domains of science and technology
• Formulating and coordinating major inter-ministerial S&T missions
• Providing an enabling ecosystem for technology led innovations and techno-entrepreneurship
• Driving innovation and technology delivery towards solving socio-economic challenges for sustainable growth
• Fostering effective public-private linkages for driving research and innovation
• Developing innovation clusters with multiple stakeholders including academia, industry and government
• Skilling in current and futuristic technologies.
The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) is an overarching Council that facilitates the PSA’s Office to assess the status in specific science and technology domains, comprehend challenges in hand, formulate specific interventions, develop a futuristic roadmap and advise the Prime Minister accordingly.
PSA’s Office also oversees the implementation of such interventions by concerned S&T Departments and Agencies and other government Ministries.
The Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) is the chief advisor to the government on matters related to scientific policy and not the Chief Secretary to Minister of Science & Technology.
http://psa.gov.in/introduction-psa

2. Consider the following statements regarding the Patents Act, 1970
1. Indian law permits the government to issue a compulsory licence in certain circumstances of a public health crisis under Section 92 of this.
2. The Compulsory licence would allow third parties to manufacture a patented drug without permission of the patent holder.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer-c
Explanation-
Patents Act, 1970
Indian law permits the government to issue a compulsory licence in certain circumstances of a public health crisis under Section 92 of the Patents
Act. This would allow third parties to manufacture a patented drug without permission of the patent holder.
Ministry – DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and industry.
The object of patent law is to encourage scientific research, new technology and industrial progress. The price of the grant of the monopoly is the disclosure of the invention at the Patent Office, which, after the expiry of the fixed period (20 years) of the monopoly, passes into the public domain. The fundamental principle of Patent law is that a patent is granted only for an invention which must have novelty and utility. It is essential for the validity of a patent that it must be the inventor’s own discovery as opposed to mere verification of what was, already known before the date of the patent. A patentable invention, apart from being a new manufacture, must also be useful.
Evergreening of patent is not allowed: In order to be patentable, an improvement on something known before or a combination of different matters already known, should be something more than a mere workshop improvement, and must independently satisfy the test of invention or an inventive step. It must produce a new result, or a new article or a better or cheaper article than before. The new subject matter must involve “invention” over what is old.
It allows Compulsory Licensing: This strikes balance between two objectives – Rewarding patentees for innovation and to make sure that patented products, particularly Pharmaceutical ones, are available to public in developing and underdeveloped countries at affordable prices.
In March 2012, India granted its first compulsory license ever. The license was granted to Indian generic drug manufacturer Natco Pharma Ltd for Sorafenib tosylate, a cancer drug patented by Bayer. Non-governmental groups reportedly welcomed the decision.
TRIPS also allows for compulsory licensing under certain circumstances. The principal requirement for the issue of a compulsory license is that attempts to obtain a license under reasonable commercial terms must have failed over a reasonable period of time. Specific situations in which compulsory licenses may be issued are set out in the legislation of each patent system and vary between systems. Some examples are – Unaffordable prices of particular drug for masses or inability of patentee to fulfill demand in markets. Further, TRIPs also provides that the requirements for a compulsory license may be waived in certain situations, in particular cases of national emergency or extreme urgency or in cases of public non-commercial use.
It allows both Product and Process patent: Prior to 2006 amendment, only process was allowed to be patented. It means that if same product is manufactured using some process different than that was patented, there shall be no infringement.
System of pre-grant and post-grant oppositions: Introduced in 2005, ensures that only deserving patents are granted. It is now possible to raise objection both before and after the patent has been granted.
Data exclusivity: Indian Patent Act doesn’t specifically provide for data exclusivity. Companies spend significant time, energy and money on research and clinical trials. During all this they gather large amount of useful data. While obtaining permission for launch of product in markets or while applying for patents, these companies have to provide data to authorities. By provision of data exclusivity, companies want authorities to not to share such data with any third party for certain period.
Article 39(3) of the TRIPS states that that “Members when requiring, as a condition of approving the marketing of pharmaceutical or of agricultural chemical products which utilize new chemical entities, the submission of undisclosed test or data, the origination of which involves a considerable effort, shall protect such data against unfair commercial use. In addition, Members shall protect such data against disclosure, except where necessary to protect the public, or unless steps are taken to ensure that data are protected against unfair commercial use“
But it should be remembered that Article 39(3) does not talk about “Data Exclusivity” but only about “unfair commercial use” and it is this phrase that is interpreted by Multi-national companies as containing “Data Exclusivity” provision and thus demanding data exclusivity law.
Data exclusivity however, is opposed on following grounds –
1. If generic drugs manufacturers are denied access to such data then they will have to do separate clinical trials which will increase costs.
2. Further, there are ethical issues with clinical trials as it involves experimentation on animals or humans.
3. TRIPS agreement not at all mentions ‘data exclusivity’. It is just creative interpretation of MNCs.
4. It can become an alternative to patentability and can be used for evergreening. Data exclusivity concept is different from patent. If a company manages to protect data, then it may continue to maintain its monopoly by incremental improvement in products and generation of new data.
There is no need of a “further protection” to pharmaceuticals in the form of “Data Exclusivity” as the protection under the Patents Act, 1970 is not only sufficient but also in conformity with the TRIPS Agreement. The protection in the form of “Data Exclusivity” is a “TRIPS plus” provision to which Indian does not owe any obligation.
The Health Ministry has said that India already has necessary legal provisions to protect data and hence there is no need for any further protection, while Satwant Reddy committee was of the view that there is no legal provision to protect test data. It is alleged by the Health and Human right activist that government is under pressure from Multi-National Companies and western countries to enact law on data exclusivity.
India has adopted a balanced approach towards patent law. It is committed to protect innovation while promoting the larger goal of welfare of its citizens. Courts and tribunals have upheld key provisions of India’s patent law by their authoritative pronouncements. The system of pre-grant and post-grant oppositions introduced in 2005 ensures that only deserving patents are granted.
It is expected that there would be a steady evolution of patent jurisprudence in India. Patent filings too have gone up by 10.56% from 2008-2009 to 2013-2014. Over 75% of patent filings are by foreign entities and so there is a need for concerted action to be taken to increase filings by Indians.
http://www.ipindia.nic.in/writereaddata/Portal/IPOAct/1_113_1_The_Patents_Act_1970_-_Updated_till_23_June_2017.pdf

3. Consider the following statements regarding the Solicitor General of India.
1. Unlike the post of Attorney General of India, which is a Constitutional post under Article 76 of the Constitution of India, the posts of the Solicitor General are merely statutory.
2. Solicitor General is subordinate to the Attorney General of India and works under him and is himself assisted by four Additional Solicitors General for India.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer-c
Explanation-
Solicitor General of India
The Solicitor General for India is the second law officer of the country. The Solicitor General assists the Attorney General, and is himself assisted by four Additional Solicitors General for India.
Unlike the Attorney General, Solicitor General does not give legal advice to the Government of India. His workload is confined to appearing in courts on behalf of the Union of India.
Unlike the post of Attorney General of India, which is a Constitutional post under Article 76 of the Constitution of India, the posts of the Solicitor General are merely statutory. Solicitor General is subordinate to the Attorney General of India and works under him.

4. Consider the following statements with respect to the Peace Forest Initiative (PFI).
1. This will support land and forest rehabilitation in post conflict areas to reduce security challenges stemming from natural resource degradation.
2. The UNCCD and the Government of the Republic of Korea has signed an agreement to establish the PFI.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer-c
Explanation-
Peace Forest Initiative (PFI)
The PFI aims to forge a broad partnership engaging diverse stakeholders, including governments, civil society organizations, local communities, donors, technical experts and international organizations.
The UNCCD secretariat will collaborate with partners including UN agencies, institutions and think tanks to deliver the objectives of the new initiative.
Bonn, 28 January 2020 – A unique global initiative to promote peace through land restoration was signed today by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Korea Forest Service (KFS).
Conflicts over natural resources are among key peace and security challenges of the twenty-first century.
With the right approach, cooperation in the management of natural resources can offer countries recovering from violent conflict an opportunity to achieve stability and trust while re-building livelihoods and economies.
To meet this need, the new Peace Forest Initiative (PFI) will promote cooperation between countries to rehabilitate degraded land and forest in fragile and post-conflict locations while promoting peace and confidence.
Bridging the goals of peace-building and land restoration, KFS and UNCCD have joined forces to realize the common sustainable development targets, including Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).
LDN is a universal goal to tackle land degradation in the context of the sustainable development at global, regional and national levels.
It is also an accelerator for the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals. Restoration, rehabilitation and sustainable management of forests play a vital role in the achievement of LDN and create a number economic gains, such as increased production of non-timber products, food security and health, reduced soil erosion, disaster risk reduction, improved watershed management and carbon sequestration.
The Peace Forest Initiative, welcomed by the last Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD, is an innovative way to link peace and security with Land Degradation Neutrality.
The Initiative will help address some of the most challenging situations of transboundary management of shared natural resources while promoting peace and cooperation.
The PFI will function as a practical platform to facilitate collaboration on sustainable land and forest management in diverse environments.
In addition to the needs assessment, the platform will provide guidance on sharing resource wealth and management; ensuring transparency of resource contracts, payments and the potential social and environmental impacts of the activities; management of land tenure and other resource rights; engaging stakeholders and civil society in decision-making and maintaining positive transboundary dynamics that draw on national and local capacity for resolving disputes and grievances.
https://www.unccd.int/news-events/unccd-ready-welcome-countries-new-peace-forest-initiative

5. Sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) is recently seen in news, is launched by which of the following country/organisation?
(a) Russia
(b) China
(c) European Space Agency
(d) United States of America
Answer-d
Explanation-
Sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6)
The AEHF constellation is built by Lockheed Martin and consists of six secure military communications satellites that will replace the military’s aging Milstar constellation.
Working in tandem, the satellites will provide coverage from geostationary Earth orbit, about 22,200 miles (35,700 kilometers) above the planet. This orbit allows spacecraft to drift along in sync with Earth’s rotation, providing constant coverage over the same part of the planet.
This launch marks the 83rd flight of an Atlas V and the 11th overall in the 551 configuration. The most powerful version of the Atlas V, the 551 comes with five solid rocket boosters, a 16.5-foot-wide (5 meters) payload fairing and a single engine Centaur upper stage.
The 13,600-lb. (6,168 kilograms) AEHF-6 is the first National Security Space payload to launch under the recently established U.S. Space Force, which was signed into existence by President Donald Trump in December 2019. Just like the Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy, the Space Force will operate under the Department of the Air Force.
The sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) satellite for the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center is encapsulated inside a 5-meter-diameter payload fairing in preparation for launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
The sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) satellite for the U.S military is encapsulated inside its protective fairing for a March 26, 2020 launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Rather than deploying soldiers in space, the new military branch will focus on national security and preserving the satellites and vehicles that are dedicated to international communications and observation, U.S. officials have said.
https://www.space.com/space-force-launches-military-satellite-aehf-6.html