The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 17 February 2024

Nakul Dhawan Avatar
The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 17 February 2024

1. The Court’s unambiguous ruling against electoral bonds.

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary 
The article is important reading for UPSC candidates because it discusses a significant Supreme Court decision that affects democratic values and electoral transparency.

– The article highlights the importance of transparency, addresses funding constraints, and defends democratic fundamental rights in light of the historic Supreme Court ruling on February 15, 2024, which invalidated India’s electoral bonds program.

The Supreme Court’s Decision on Election Bonds: A Significant Development for Democracy Transparency and Democracy:

  • On February 15, 2024, the Supreme Court of India rendered a landmark decision, invalidating the electoral bonds program and highlighting the importance of openness in democracy.
  • Concerns regarding the influence of corporate houses on politics were raised by the electoral bonds scheme, which was criticized for being opaque and hiding information about political party funding.

Removal of Funding Limits:

  • The ruling emphasized the lifting of corporate houses’ funding caps and the worldwide custom of capping such contributions to avoid undue influence on the government.
  • The electoral bonds program removed previous limitations on the percentage of profits that a business could donate to political parties, raising the possibility of abuse, particularly by shell corporations.

Curtailing Crony Capitalism:

  • The Supreme Court’s ruling is viewed as a countermeasure to crony capitalism, in which large donations to political parties may result in decisions and policies that are advantageous to funders.

Questionable Amendments and Opaque Processes:

  • The ruling tackled legal issues by highlighting dubious modifications made to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act by a Finance Act, which permits scheduled banks to issue electoral bonds. This amendment was ruled unconstitutional by the court.
  • The emphasis was placed on the opaque nature of the legal system and the introduction of the electoral bonds scheme without appropriate parliamentary debate or public consultation.

Fundamental Rights Upheld:

  • According to the ruling, all modifications made to the Companies Act of 2013, the Finance Act of 2017, and the Representation of the People Act of 2013 violated the Constitution’s Articles 19 (right to information) and 14 (right to equality).
  • The court demonstrated its commitment to maintaining the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution by emphasizing the significance of protecting fundamental rights and avoiding arbitrariness in the legal system.

Directive to State Bank of India (SBI):

  • The State Bank of India (SBI), the only bank managing electoral bonds, was ordered by the Supreme Court to stop issuing them.
  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) must receive detailed information about every electoral bond issued from the SBI by March 6, 2024.
  • To ensure transparency in political funding, the ECI is required to post this information on its website within a fortnight.

Citizen Vigilance and Judicial Review:

  • In highlighting the importance of the Constitution and those who drafted it, the ruling praised the power of judicial review and emphasized the role that citizens have in upholding vigilance over democratic processes.
  • The ruling serves as a reminder of the problems with money in politics that still exist and the need for constant watchfulness to protect democracy.


  • To sum up, the ruling rendered by the Supreme Court regarding electoral bonds holds significant importance in terms of reinstating openness, reducing undue influence, and protecting basic rights.
  • An important step has been taken in preserving India’s democratic processes and ideals with this decision.

Practice Question: Talk about how the recent ruling on electoral bonds by the Supreme Court may affect the democratic values and openness of Indian election financing. (10 m / 150 words)

2. India needs to spend money on basic research to produce safe medications.

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Health,  GS2 – International Relations 
Aspirants to the UPSC should understand the importance of the India-EFTA free trade agreement, paying particular attention to the dynamics of the pharmaceutical industry, intellectual property rights, and the implications for international trade.

– The article discusses the possible India-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) deal and how ongoing disagreements over intellectual property rights—more especially, data exclusivity—affect India’s pharmaceutical sector and the accessibility of affordable drugs worldwide.

Intellectual property rights concerns in relation to the India-EFTA Free Trade Agreement (FTA): Background and expectations:

  • There is a lot of expectation that India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will sign a free trade agreement.
  • Since 2008, intellectual property rights have become a recurring point of contention in negotiations.

Dynamics of the Pharmaceutical Industry:

  • Important EFTA members Switzerland and Norway are home to numerous international biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
  • In the pharmaceutical industry, tensions between innovators and generic-drug companies arise from high discovery costs and low generic production costs.

Patenting and Compulsory Licensing:

  • Historically, industry stability has been preserved by patenting, which guarantees exclusive monopolies for drug originators, balanced by governments’ authority to impose “compulsory licensing” in order to protect the public health.
  • Free trade negotiations are complicated by new legal notions such as data exclusivity, which limits access to clinical trial data for a period of six years.

Data Exclusivity in Focus:

  • Data exclusivity, which is a feature of several trade agreements and European nations, hinders the production of generic drugs, which affects both the world’s largest drug market and the affordability of drugs overall.
  • Data exclusivity is included in the FTA negotiations, according to leaked drafts, despite India’s official rejection.

India’s Drug Industry Evolution:

  • An ecosystem for moral drug trials and novel molecule development must be invested in, given India’s growing role in the drug manufacturing industry.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic provided evidence of India’s capacity, which points to a possible shift in the belief that drug development is exclusive to the West.

Future Imperatives for India:

  • To promote the expansion of the domestic drug industry and manage changing international trade dynamics, India needs to increase its investment in basic research.
  • India must strike a balance between affordability, innovation, and global competitiveness if it hopes to maintain its position as the pharmaceutical industry leader.

Why India Needs to Invest in Fundamental Drug Research:
– Enhanced independence: India is currently highly dependent on imports for a number of necessary medications, which leaves it open to price swings and interruptions in the supply chain. Putting money into basic research can help build up homegrown talent and lessen reliance on outside resources.
– Taking care of particular healthcare needs: Malnutrition and infectious diseases are two distinct public health issues that India faces. The development of medications suited to these particular requirements may result from fundamental research, enhancing patient outcomes.
Encouraging innovation and economic growth: The pharmaceutical industry attracts investment and cultivates an innovative culture when it has a solid foundation in fundamental research. This can boost economic growth overall, produce income, and add to the creation of new jobs.
– Developing scientific expertise: Research funding enhances India’s scientific capacity and produces highly qualified labor. This knowledge can be used for other scientific advances in addition to drug development.
– Global competitiveness: India can effectively compete in the global pharmaceutical market thanks to a strong domestic research ecosystem. Increased exports and global acknowledgment of India’s scientific contributions may result from this.

Practice Question: Talk about the effects of data exclusivity and other intellectual property rights on the pharmaceutical industry as they relate to the India-EU Free Trade Association (EFTA) negotiations. (10 m / 150 words)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *