4th November 2020

What the largest study on dementia hopes to achieve?.

Dementia is quite widespread, with over five million people suffering in India alone, a figure set to cross 10 million by 2040. Dementia mainly affects older people, but it is not a normal part of ageing.

  • Dementia is a general term to describe a group of symptoms which occurs due to the damage and death of brain cells.
  • According to the World Health Organisation, dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities.
  • Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year — implying one new case every 3.2 seconds. It is estimated that 5.3 million people above the age of 60 have dementia in India in 2020. This equals to one in 27 people, according to the Dementia in India 2020 report.
  • Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common type of dementia.
  • Dementia robs the person not only his memories and personality but often his dignity as well. Stigmatisation, lack of adequate services, barriers to access available services all worsen the physical, psychological and financial hardships of the families, according to Dementia in India report 2020.

Can it be cured?

  • Like diabetes has no cure but can be controlled, there are interventions that can control dementia. A multi-country study on Cognitive Simulation Therapy (CST) for Dementia is underway in India- Brazil-Tanzania.
  • CST is a brief group-based pyscho-social intervention for people living with mild to moderate dementia. There is consistent evidence for the effectiveness of CST but less is known about its implementation to routine clinical care.


First phase of Malabar exercise starts – All you need to know

Phase 1 of the Malabar Naval Exercise was held recently with participation of Australian navy for the first time since 2007.

  • It is a multilateral naval exercise that includes simulated war games and combat manoeuvres. It started in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the Indian and US navies. Japan joined in 2015.
  • This year the exercise will be held in two phases, the first will be held off the coast near Visakhapatnam, and the second in the Arabian Sea in mid-November. Last year it was held in early September off the coast of Japan.
  • This year’s Malabar Exercise has been planned on a “non-contact-at sea” format keeping Covid-19 protocols in mind.

How is it different this year?

  • For the first time in over a decade, the exercise will see the participation of all four Quad countries.
  • This will be the second time Australia will participate. In 2007, there were two Malabar Exercises. The first was held off Okinawa island of Japan in the Western Pacific — the first time the exercise was held away from Indian shores — and the second in September 2007, off Visakhapatnam, with the Indian, Japanese, US, Australian and Singapore navies.
  • The following year, Australia stopped participating. Japan became a regular participant only in 2015, making it a trilateral annual exercise since then.


Maharani Jindan Kaur: ‘One of the most remarkable characters of 19th century history’

Maharani Jindan Kaur, the last wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, is in news for the auction of some of her jewellery at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale in London recently.

Who was Rani Jindan?

She was the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh empire, whose boundaries stretched from Kabul to Kashmir and the borders of Delhi. She was also the mother of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the empire, who was raised by the British.

When did she become the regent?

Duleep Singh was five years old when he was placed on the throne in 1843 after the death of two heirs to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Since he was just a child, Maharani Jindan was made the regent. Not a rubber stamp, she took an active interest in running the kingdom, introducing changes in the revenue system.

When did the British imprison and exile her?

  • The British declared war on the Sikh empire in December 1845. After their victory in the first Anglo-Sikh war, they retained Duleep Singh as the ruler but imprisoned Jind Kaur. The British tried hard to vilify Jindan as she tried to rally forces against them, but “unlike many others, she did not give in.”
  • The British campaign against her was vicious, describing her as a prostitute, seductress and the ‘Messalina of the Punjab’, a reference to the promiscuous third wife of Roman Emperor Claudius.
  • Jindan believed that if united, Indian rulers could oust the British. She was in touch with Bhai Maharaj Singh, who tried to rebel against the British after the annexation of the Sikh empire.

Did she ever reunite with Duleep Singh?

  • Maharani Jindan met Duleep Singh at Calcutta in April 1861. The British, ever suspicious of the maharani’s machinations, ordered then that she leave for London in May.
  • It was due to her influence that Duleep Singh, who had converted to Christianity, returned to Sikhism.
  • The long exile took a heavy toll on Maharani Jindan’s health. She passed away in her sleep on August 1, 1863, two years after she walked into the Kensington Gardens in 1861.


Four phases of Indian multilateralism

C Raja Mohan has written an article emphasising the four phases of multilateralism in Indian foreign policy in the wake of recent meeting of QUAD.

  • First phase – Changing the world was indeed a major theme of newly independent India’s aspiration in the middle of the 20th century. But the gap between Delhi’s ambition and impact was large. If idealism was the hallmark of India’s internationalism in the 1950s, the harsh politics of the Cold War quickly dampened it.
  • Second phase – In the 1970s, India embraced the radical agenda of a New International Economic Order, as the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77. The results were meagre.
  • Third phase – The third phase began with the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the emergence of the unipolar moment and the Washington Consensus in favour of globalisation. And as India’s own economic model collapsed, Delhi had no option but to temper its political ambitions, put its political head down, focus on economic reform and prevent the world from intruding too much into its internal affairs. While the imperative of growth demanded a greater engagement with the West, the fear of the US activism on Kashmir and nuclear issues saw Delhi turn to Russia and China in search of a “multipolar world” that could constrain American power. The BRICS forum with Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa became emblematic of this strategy.
  • Fourth phase – Delhi soon found that differences with the US on Kashmir and nuclear issues were easing thanks to George W Bush’s policies. But Kashmir and nuclear question became part of India’s deepening territorial and political disputes with China. Delhi also figured out that it was not possible for BRICS to constrain Beijing, since China was so much bigger than the other four members put together. As India’s focus inevitably shifted to the construction of a “multipolar Asia”, the Quad and its central role in constructing a stable balance of power in Asia became apparent. That brings us into the fourth phase in India’s multilateralism that is marked by three features — the relative rise in Delhi’s international standing, the breakdown of the great power consensus on economic globalisation, and the breakout of the US-China rivalry.


Vijay Mallya extradition: Supreme Court gives government six weeks to file status report

The Supreme Court has refused a plea made by the lawyer of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to discharge him from the case and gave the Union government six weeks to file a status report on the progress made in extraditing him from the United Kingdom.

Extradition is the legal process by which a person is transferred from one country to another without the person’s consent. Here, a governmental authority formally and legally turns over an alleged criminal to another government for the person to face prosecution for a crime. It is a judicial process, unlike deportation.

Extradition Act 1962

In India, the extradition of a fugitive criminal is governed under the Indian Extradition Act, 1962. This is for both extraditing of persons to India and from India to foreign countries. The basis of the extradition could be a treaty between India and another country. India has extradition treaties with 39 countries currently.

Fugitive Economic Offender Act, 2018 –

  • The Act allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if: (i) an arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and (ii) he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.
  • To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts. The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice. Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears.
  • The Act allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court.
  • Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property).  Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.
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