The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 5 March 2024

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The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 5 March 2024

1. The World Trade Organisation is still working to promote fair and unrestricted trade.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Important International institutions, agencies and fora
UPSC Relevance: The article explains issues at the WTO’s MC13, which is essential knowledge for comprehending the complicated nature of diplomacy and the dynamics of global trade.

– The article talks about the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization’s limited progress, stressing the importance of the WTO’s continued relevance, member country differences, and obstacles to global trade.

WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13): Lack of Progress

  • Difficulties Despite Extension: Despite extending discussions by one day, the recent World Trade Organization’s (WTO) MC13 meeting ended with little progress made on important global trade issues.
  • Low Expectations: Despite the challenging global trade environment, the conference marked a critical moment for the WTO to fulfil its mandate. Initially, expectations were low for significant outcomes.

Global Trade Challenges: Shocks and Shifts

  • Global Shocks: The world’s trading architecture has been impacted by recent global shocks, which include conflicts, interruptions in vital shipping routes, and supply chain recalibrations.
  • Self-Referential Policies: The primary goal of the WTO, which is to promote open trade for mutual benefit, has been strayed from by a growing trend of countries implementing trade policies that are inward-looking and heavily tariffed.

MC13 Declaration and Challenges Ahead

  • Abu Dhabi Declaration: While acknowledging issues like the need for robust supply chains, the declaration makes only verbal promises and offers no concrete solutions.
  • Persistent Divergences: The 164 member countries of the World Trade Organisation continue to differ on matters that were brought up in Geneva, especially as they relate to India. One such issue is the need for an ongoing solution for public stock holding in agriculture.

Key Developments and Concerns

  • Agricultural Progress: After more than 20 years of discussions, some progress has been made in the field of agriculture, with a text now ready for future talks.
  • Online shopping Customs Duties: India opposes the exemption from customs duties for e-commerce, but it is conditionally flexible and will last for at least two more years.
  • Dispute Resolution: Despite the pledge to resurrect the WTO’s dispute resolution body by 2024, the organisation has lain dormant for the past four years. The prospects for this seem dire.
  • India’s Victory: India worked with South Africa to effectively block an attempt by China to insert an investment facilitation agreement into the WTO framework.

Challenges Ahead and WTO’s Relevance

  • Policy Leaps for Touchy Industries: India needs to work harder to safeguard policy space for vulnerable industries, like agriculture.
  • WTO’s Relevance: An increasingly divided world presents challenges for the WTO, whose member nations frequently spin failed meetings as successes, a sign of the organization’s waning effectiveness.


  • Finally, the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation highlights how urgent it is to address global trade issues in the face of conflicting national interests.
  • The slow progress underscores the need for comprehensive reforms to increase the WTO’s efficacy and guarantee its continued significance in determining the dynamics of global trade.

Challenges faced by WTO and Need for Reforms
Challenges faced by WTO in recent times:
– Erosion of Multilateralism: The WTO’s multilateral approach has been compromised by the growth of protectionist policies and bilateral trade agreements, which has reduced the organization’s ability to promote international economic cooperation.
– Deadlock in Dispute Resolution: Due to difficulties with the WTO’s dispute settlement process, trade disputes are unable to be resolved.
– Outdated Rules: The WTO’s regulations, especially those pertaining to digital trade, intellectual property, and state-led economic models, have not kept up with the changes in the global economy.
– Concerns about Inequality and Development: Developing nations contend that the existing regulations unfairly favour developed countries, impeding the economic growth of less wealthy members and sustaining global economic inequalities.
– Environmental and Social Standards: As a result of the need for a more sustainable and socially conscious international trading system, there is a growing call for environmental and social standards to be included in trade regulations.

Need for Reforms:
– Revitalising Dispute Settlement: In order to enable the WTO to handle trade disputes in an efficient manner again, it will be necessary to reform the dispute resolution process. This may involve settling the Appellate Body issue or coming up with alternate arrangements.
– Revising Regulations for the Digital Economy: In order to tackle the problems brought about by the digital economy, such as those pertaining to data flows, e-commerce, and intellectual property in the digital age, the WTO must update its regulations.
– Improving Inclusivity: In order to ensure that the advantages of international trade are shared more fairly, reforms should focus on making the WTO more inclusive and sensitive to the needs of developing nations.
– Environmental and Social Considerations: The increasing call for a more sustainable and accountable strategy for international trade can be met by including provisions for environmental and social standards within the WTO framework.
– Strengthening Multilateralism: The WTO should work to promote a cooperative approach to global economic governance by highlighting the value of multilateralism and discouraging unilateral actions.

PYQ: What major reforms are necessary for the WTO to survive in the current “Trade War” environment, particularly with regard to India’s interests? (15 minutes, 250 words) (UPSC GS-2 2018 CSE (M))
Practice Question: Talk about the need for reforms within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in light of the current issues it faces. Draw attention to the most important areas and suggest ways to improve the WTO’s ability to handle changing global trade dynamics. (15 m/250 words)

2. A vaccine that prevents six cancers

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Health, GS3 –  Science and Technology
Important healthcare issues, immunisation methods, and physician advocacy initiatives are highlighted in this article in relation to UPSC’s health-related queries.

– The article highlights the need of HPV vaccination and screening as a means of preventing cervical cancer in India, and how organisations like FOGSI and IAP are enlisting doctors to promote prevention.


  • March 4 is International HPV Awareness Day, and January is recognised as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
  • With over 300,000 deaths per year, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide.
  • It is the second most common cancer in India, and 500 million women over the age of 15 are at risk given the country’s current population size.

Alarming Statistics:

  • One cervical cancer-related death occurs worldwide every two minutes, with lower- and middle-income nations accounting for 90% of these deaths.
  • India is expected to have a 54% increase in cervical cancer cases by 2040, which emphasises how important preventive care is.

Strategies for Prevention:

  • The discovery made in 1983 by German scientist Harald zur Hausen connected certain papillomaviruses (HPV) to cervical cancer.
  • The HPV vaccination and precancerous lesion screening have emerged as two important preventive measures.
  • The goal of the 90-70-90 triple pillar intervention from the World Health Organisation is to eradicate it by 2030.

WHO’s Triple Pillar Intervention:

  • 90% of girls should be fully immunised by the age of 15 by 2030, 70% of women should be screened by the ages of 35 and 45, and 90% of cases that are found should be treated.
  • An equitable and high-quality healthcare system is essential to the intervention’s success.

India’s Commitment and Challenges:

  • In 2008, India became the G20 president and pledged to provide equal access to vaccines, including the HPV vaccine.
  • The vaccine is still awaiting a nationwide launch despite successful roll-outs, due to financial and accessibility obstacles.

Physician Hesitation and Public Perception:

  • Studies reveal that access to the HPV vaccine is restricted in India, mainly because of the high out-of-pocket expenses associated with the private sector.
  • Doctors may undervalue the prevalence and dangers of cervical cancer in addition to the efficacy and safety of HPV vaccinations.
  • Concerns regarding personal transmission and dispelling myths and misinformation passed down by parents may be the cause of hesitation.

FOGSI and IAP Initiative:

  • The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) collaborate.
  • Their combined membership of over 80,000 people aims to educate doctors and close the communication gap with parents.

Physician Leadership and Advocacy:

  • Doctors appear as reputable authorities and reliable providers of health-related information.
  • By the middle of 2024, FOGSI and IAP hope to have 20,000 HPV physician champions who will promote HPV vaccination.

Facts and Best Practices:

  • Six HPV-related cancers, five of which affect women, can be prevented with a safe and effective HPV vaccination.
  • The importance of finishing the immunisation schedule is emphasised by the IAP, which suggests starting HPV vaccination at age 9.


  • In India, doctors are essential to the fight against cervical cancer.
  • The goal of the FOGSI and IAP initiative is to guarantee that every woman receives routine screening and every girl receives protection from HPV through vaccination.
  • Physician advocates should help India achieve its goal of eliminating cervical cancer by raising public awareness and acceptance of HPV vaccination.

PYQ: In the context of vaccines manufactured to prevent COVID-19 pandemic, consider the following statements: (2022) 
1. The Serum Institute of India produced COVID-19 vaccine named Covishield using mRNA platform.
2. Sputnik V vaccine is manufactured using vector based platform.
3. COVAXIN is an inactivated pathogen based vaccine.

Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3 

Ans: (b)
Practice Question: Analyse the significance of WHO intervention goals, the role of physician leadership in India, and national and international efforts to eliminate cervical cancer. (10 m / 150 words)

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