Social Issues

The Impact of 50 Years of Vaccination on Children Worldwide

The Indian Academy of Paediatrics has started a campaign to highlight routine immunisation as a child’s birthright during World immunisation Week, which runs from April 24 to 30.

About Measles Vaccination

  • This vaccination prevents three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. The CDC advises that children receive two doses of MMR vaccination, the first at 12–15 months of age and the second at 4–6 years of age.
  • Teens and adults should also have had their MMR vaccinations.

Global Immunisation Efforts and Current Observations:

World Immunisation Week Campaign by IAP

  • The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) sponsored a campaign during World immunisation Week (April 24-30) to promote regular immunisation as a fundamental right for all children.
  • Call for More Vaccines: The IAP asked the government to speed up the launch of the HPV vaccination and typhoid conjugate vaccine to alleviate severe public health costs.

Current Vaccination Statistics in India

  • DTP vaccination: The third dose of DTP vaccination was administered to 93% of the surviving babies.
  • Measles vaccination: 90% of infants received their second dose of the measles vaccination.
  • Challenges include inequitable vaccination distribution, failure to achieve 90% coverage, human resource constraints, and financial issues. 

Global Impact of Immunisation

  • Lives Saved: Immunisation efforts have saved an estimated 154 million lives worldwide over the last 50 years, or six lives every minute of the year.
  • Infant Mortality Reduction: 101 million lives were saved, including babies. Vaccination against 14 illnesses has lowered infant mortality by 40% worldwide, and by more than 50% in Africa.
  • Vaccines have helped reduce fatalities from illnesses such as diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type B, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, measles, meningitis A, pertussis, invasive pneumococcal disease, polio, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, TB, and yellow fever. 

Specific Disease Focus

  • The measles vaccination has had the greatest impact on lowering infant mortality, accounting for 60% of lives saved via immunisation since 1974.
  • Missed Doses: In 2022, 33 million children failed to receive a measles vaccination dosage, with 22 million missing the first and 11 million skipping the second.

Coverage Rates and Goals

  • To avoid outbreaks, 95% or better coverage is required with two doses of the measles vaccination.
  • Current Coverage: The global coverage rate for the measles vaccination is 83% for the first dose and 74% for the second, resulting in multiple outbreaks.


Immunisation saves lives, lowers infant mortality, and avoids outbreaks by protecting against infectious illnesses, promoting healthier communities, and assuring a better future for children all around the world.

Social Issues

NCW and RPF Collaboration to Prevent Women Trafficking

  • The National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to prevent human trafficking on the Indian railway network.

About the National Commission for Women (NCW)

  • The NCW is the statutory body in charge of advising the government on all policies affecting women.
  • It was founded on January 31, 1992, following the requirements of the Indian Constitution as outlined by the National Commission for Women Act of 1990.
  • Jayanti Patnaik was the commission’s first head.
  • The Indian Constitution contains no provisions that are explicitly designed to benefit women inherently.
  • Articles 15(3), 14, and 21 protect and safeguard women. They are more gender neutral. 


  • The NCW’s mission is to represent the rights of women in India and to offer a forum for their issues and concerns.
  • Dowry, politics, religion, equitable representation for women in jobs, and labour exploitation have all been addressed in their efforts.
  • They also discussed police mistreatment of women. 

Composition of the NCW

The Commission will consist of:

  • Chairperson: To be appointed by the central government.
  • Five members: To be nominated by the Central Government from among persons of ability, integrity, and standing who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry with potential for women, women’s voluntary organisations (including women activists), administration, economic development, health, education, or social welfare;
  • Special Representations: At least one member each from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Powers of NCW

  • Provide consultation on all significant policy issues affecting women.
  • Issuing summons to examine documents and witnesses.
  • Requesting a copy of any public record from a court or office.
  • Receiving evidence through affidavits
  • Discovery and production of documentation
  • Summoning and Enforcement 

Functions of NCW

  • Submission of Annual Reports: Table reports should be presented to the Central Government every year, as determined by the commission. These papers concentrate on the operation and effectiveness of the safeguards.
  • Investigation and Examination: The Constitution and other laws mandate proper investigation and examination, with the primary goal of preserving women’s rights.
  • Law Review and Scrutiny: All laws are constantly reviewed and scrutinised, with appropriate revisions and changes made to meet the needs of the modern world.
  • Prevention of Violations: Ensuring that women’s rights are not violated and taking appropriate action in such circumstances.
  • Handling Complaints and Suo Motu Matters: Handling complaints and suo motu matters involving the deprivation of women’s rights, with a focus on enacting legislation that benefit women.
  • Assessment of Development and Progress: Evaluating the development and progress of the women’s community at the national and state levels.
  • Identification and Mitigation of Systemic Limitations: Understanding the system’s constraints and developing strategic plans and procedures to address them effectively.

Issues encountered by NCW

  • Limited Enforcement Power: The NCW is only advisory and lacks the authority to enforce its decisions, frequently acting only after problems are brought to light.
  • The Commission lacks constitutional status, which means it has no legal authority to summon police personnel or witnesses.
  • Dependence on Grants: NCW’s functions are significantly reliant on grants provided by the central government, with insufficient financial help to meet its requirements.
  • Limited Autonomy in Member Selection: The Commission lacks the authority to select its own members, limiting its autonomy and effectiveness.
Social Issues

Examining the Maintenance Rights of Divorced Muslim Women

  • The Supreme Court’s examination of support entitlements for divorced Muslim women under Section 125 of the CrPC reignites the debate over the primacy of secular laws over personal laws.
  • The ongoing lawsuit highlights the importance of judicial clarity in addressing the nexus of religious freedom and gender equality.

Maintenance entitlements: Evolution  

  • Section 125 of the CrPC was drafted to provide maintenance for poor family members.
  • It includes divorced spouses of all religions, at the discretion of the Magistrate.

Exception for Muslim women

  • The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 Introduced to address perceived difficulties with religious law following the Shah Bano case, it provides sustenance during iddat and extends till remarriage.
  • Judicial pronouncements: Following Danial Latifi v. Union of India (2001), various interpretations evolved, with courts upholding both CrPC and 1986 Act remedies for divorced Muslim women.

Case Background: 

  • Dispute. Synopsis: Originating from a Muslim man’s challenge against a Telangana High Court order for interim maintenance to his divorced wife under CrPC Section 125.
  • Legal Argument: Husband claims the 1986 Act supersedes CrPC requirements, claiming jurisdictional overlap and earlier payment during iddat, whereas wife claims CrPC maintenance.

Court Proceedings and Observations

  • Interpretive Dilemma: The Supreme Court emphasises the non-obstante clause of the 1986 Act, which preserves alternative remedies under CrPC.
  • Constitutional imperatives: The justices emphasise constitutional rights of equality, rejecting the premise that the legislature intended to exclude Muslim women from CrPC redress.
  • Precedential insight: Recent High Court decisions uphold divorced Muslim women’s right to CrPC maintenance, regardless of iddat completion or khula pronouncement.

Judgements mentioned in the input

  • Danial Latifi v Union of India (2001): The 1986 Act, which extended support rights to divorced Muslim women until remarriage, was upheld as constitutionally lawful, albeit only during the iddat period.
  • Arshiya Rizvi v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Others (2022): The Allahabad High Court upheld divorced Muslim women’s right to CrPC maintenance after iddat, providing continuing financial support.
  • Razia v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2022): The Allahabad High Court reiterated the applicability of CrPC remedies beyond iddat completion.
  • Shakila Khatun v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2023): The High Court upheld the ability of divorced Muslim women to seek CrPC support, regardless of Islamic personal regulations.

Injustice Against Muslim Women

  • Limited maintenance: The 1986 statute provides limited maintenance solely during the iddat period and continues until remarriage.
  • Personal rules place a burden on Muslim women, but divorced women from other communities can seek maintenance without restriction under Section 125 of the CrPC.
  • Financial crisis: This leads to inconsistent and insufficient financial support for divorced Muslim women, jeopardising their economic security and maintaining gender disparities.
  • discriminatory treatment: The injustice stems from the law’s discriminatory treatment of Muslim women, depriving them of the same level of protection and support as women from other communities in divorce and maintenance proceedings.

Implications & Future 

  • The pending ruling on maintenance entitlements aims to balance religious autonomy and gender fairness.
  • Policy implications: Clarification is sought on legislative intent in relation to the CrPC and the 1986 Act, which is critical for uniform application and fair access to justice.
  • The outcome has a societal impact that extends beyond legal boundaries, indicating shifting society norms and rights consciousness among marginalised communities.

Way Forward

  • Communication and Engagement: Encourage open communication among religious leaders, legal experts, policymakers, and the Muslim community in order to better understand their issues and perspectives.
  • Legal Reforms: Consider revising current laws or adopting new legislation to strike a balance between religious liberty and gender justice, particularly in clauses relating to maintenance for divorced Muslim women.
  • Sensitivity Training: Train legal practitioners to handle matters involving Muslim women with cultural competence and a grasp of Islamic law while preserving equality principles.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: Encourage the fair and amicable resolution of family conflicts, including maintenance issues, through mediation and arbitration within Islamic law.
  • Consultation and Collaboration: Involve Muslim women in decision-making and policy formation through consultation to ensure their views are heard and opinions are considered.
  • Respect for difference: Recognise difference within the Muslim community, avoid generalisations, and apply pluralism and tolerance principles when tackling women’s rights concerns.
Social Issues

Why is child marriage so prevalent in West Bengal?

  • Recent Study Findings: A Lancet report highlighted the persistent problem of child marriage in India, which is particularly prevalent in places such as West Bengal.
  • Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra are known for having high incidence of underage marriages, particularly among girls.

The Lancet Study’s Major Findings

  • The survey found that one in every five females in India is married before reaching the legal marriage age, with significant differences between states.
  • West Bengal has had a huge surge in child weddings, with over 500,000 more girls married as youngsters.

Impact of Child Marriage

  • Human Rights Impact of Child Marriage: Child marriage is recognised as a kind of sexual and gender-based violence and a violation of human rights.
  • Health Consequences: The practice has a negative impact on maternal and child health, as proven by baby fatalities in Murshidabad.

West Bengal Policy Interventions

  • Kanyashree Prakalpa initiative: A conditional cash transfer initiative aimed at encouraging teenage girls’ education and avoiding child marriage.
  • Rupashree Prakalpa: A monetary incentive plan for girl marriage that sometimes contradicts Kanyashree’s goals.

The Difficulties of Combating Child Marriage

  • Educational Progress vs. Child Marriage: Increased female school attendance in West Bengal has not resulted in a decrease in child marriage rates.
  • Correlation Between Literacy and Child Marriage: High literacy rates in some regions have not resulted in a drop in child marriage, reflecting complicated underlying issues.
  • Migration patterns and social conventions both contribute to the continuance of child marriage, with families marrying off daughters before relocating for work.

Law and regulation implementation

  • Inadequate Law Enforcement: Despite existing legislation like as the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006, enforcement in West Bengal remains lax in comparison to other states.
  • Proposed Amendments: Efforts are underway to raise the legal marriage age for women to 21 years, with the bill referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Looking Ahead: Change Strategies

  • A Comprehensive Approach Is Required: Child marriage must be addressed through a multifaceted approach combining panchayats, schools, local communities, and political will.
  • District Action Plans: The West Bengal government’s call for district action plans is a step in the right direction, but effective execution and social campaigns are required.
  • Law Enforcement and Public Awareness: Raising public awareness and strengthening law enforcement are critical to reducing child marriage rates in West Bengal and across India.


  • Child marriage is a big issue in India, particularly in regions such as West Bengal, despite policy initiatives.
  • Balancing Incentives and Enforcement: While schemes such as Kanyashree and Rupashree try to solve the issue, it is critical to balance incentives with severe law enforcement.
  • Collaborative Change Efforts: To effectively oppose child marriage and protect the rights of young girls, a collaborative effort involving all stakeholders, as well as a strong political commitment, is required.
Social Issues

Ten Years of Sexual Harassment Legislation

  • The Indian Supreme Court has noted “serious lapses” and “uncertainty” in the execution of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 (PoSH Act).
  • It has directed the Union, States, and UTs to ensure that Internal Complaint Committees (ICCs) are formed in government entities and that the Act’s composition requirements are strictly followed.

What exactly is the POSH Act?

  • In 2013, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act became law.
  • It defined sexual harassment, outlined the procedures for filing a complaint and conducting an investigation, and specified the appropriate action.
  • It expanded on the already existing Vishakha Guidelines.

What exactly are Vishakha Guidelines?

  • The Supreme Court established the Vishakha guidelines in a 1997 decision. This was in a case brought by women’s rights organisations, one of which being Vishakha.
  • She had stopped the marriage of a one-year-old daughter in 1992, prompting the claimed gangrape as an act of retaliation.

The legislation and the guidelines

The legally enforceable Vishakha rules identified sexual harassment and set three key requirements on institutions:

  • Prohibition
  • Prevention
  • Redress

The Supreme Court ordered that a Complaints Committee be formed to investigate allegations of sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

These criteria were expanded by the POSH Act:

  • It required employers to form an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with ten or more employees.
  • It established protocols and defined several components of sexual harassment, such as the aggrieved victim, who might be a woman “of any age, employed or not,” who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment.”
  • This meant that the Act safeguarded the rights of all women working or visiting any workplace in any capacity.

Sexual Harassment Definition

Sexual harassment, according to the 2013 law, covers “any one or more” of the following “unwelcome acts or behaviour” perpetrated directly or indirectly:

  • Advancement and physical interaction
  • A solicitation or demand for sexual favours
  • Remarks of a sexual nature
  • Displaying pornography
  • Any other unwanted sexual physical, verbal, or nonverbal activity.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued a Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace, which contains more comprehensive examples of workplace sexual harassment activity. These are, in general:
  • Sexually suggestive or innuendoing remarks; serious or frequent offensive remarks; inappropriate queries or comments concerning a person’s sex life
  • Display of obscene or sexist images, posters, MMS, SMS, WhatsApp, or emails
  • Threats, intimidation, or blackmail in relation to sexual favours; likewise, threats, intimidation, or reprisal against an employee who speaks up about these Unwelcome social invitations with sexual connotations, typically interpreted as flirting Unwelcome sexual advances.

Unwanted behaviour

  • According to the Handbook, “unwelcome behaviour” occurs when the victim feels guilty or powerless; it generates anger/sadness or low self-esteem.
  • It goes on to define undesirable behaviour as “illegal, demeaning, invading, one-sided, and power-based.”

Circumstances totaling SHW

  • The Act specifies five situations that constitute indirect or outright sexual harassment:
  • Promise of favourable treatment at work
  • Threat of negative treatment
  • Threat regarding her current or future employment status
  • Interfering with her work or creating a hostile or insulting work environment
  • Embarrassing treatment that could endanger her health or safety
Social Issues

Recognising and Valuing Women’s Contributions Through Unpaid Care Work

Unpaid care work, primarily conducted by women, is critical to family well-being and contributes significantly to a country’s economy. However, it is frequently overlooked and devalued, resulting in gender inequity and economic consequences. On this Mother’s Day and beyond, we must reflect on and improve our attitudes regarding women’s vital roles in our society.

The Value of Unpaid Care Work

  • Daily chores are necessary for their well-being: Unpaid care work includes daily duties like cleaning, cooking, and caring to the needs of family members that are critical to their well-being.
  • It contributes significantly to a country’s GDP, ranging from 10 to 39 percent according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and 7.5 percent in India, according to a State Bank of India assessment.

The Consequences of Unpaid Care Work

  • Gender Inequality: Unpaid care work creates gender inequality by reinforcing traditional gender roles. Caregiving and family tasks are unequally distributed, limiting women’s possibilities for education, employment, and promotion, creating a cycle of economic and social disadvantage.
  • Unpaid care work is frequently concealed in economic systems and metrics, such as GDP calculations. This invisibility devalues carers’ contributions and ignores the economic relevance of care labour, resulting in an underestimating of women’s economic contributions.
  • Economic Loss and Income Reduction: The time and energy spent on unpaid care duties might limit women’s capacity to work or pursue economic prospects. This results in lower income potential and financial dependence, which contributes to income disparities between men and women.Unpaid care work consumes a large amount of time and effort, leaving women with little time for personal growth, education, skill training, and leisure activities. This limits their ability to achieve personal objectives and self-actualization.
  • Health and Well-Being: The physical and emotional health of women might suffer as a result of the strain of unpaid care duties. The constant juggling of caregiving tasks, domestic chores, and other commitments can lead to stress, exhaustion, and burnout, all of which can have a detrimental impact on well-being.
  • Education and job progression: The unequal allocation of care work might impede women’s educational options and their capacity to pursue further education or job progression. This fosters a cycle of female professional stagnation and diminished leadership opportunities.
  • Unpaid care work has an impact on women’s engagement in the formal labour sector. Time restrictions and caregiving duties make it difficult for women to work, contributing to the gender gap in labour participation and representation.
  • The gendered allocation of unpaid care work has the potential to reinforce existing gender stereotypes and perpetuate inequity across generations. Children who grow up in homes where women do the majority of the caring may internalise and mimic gendered roles in their own lives.
  • Policy and societal implications: The undervaluation and obscurity of unpaid care labour impedes the development of effective policies and social institutions to support carers. Gender inequality can be perpetuated and progress towards gender-responsive policies and systems hampered by a lack of awareness and support.

Reasons and Consequences of Gender-Based Labour Division

  • Norms of History and Culture: Gender roles in society are shaped by deeply ingrained historical and cultural traditions. Traditional gender conventions frequently dictate that women should be primarily responsible for caregiving and household tasks, while males are expected to work outside the home.
  • Gender Expectations and Stereotypes: Stereotypical ideas about men’s and women’s innate skills and preferences shape society expectations about work and family duties. Stereotypes of women as loving, emotional, and prone to caregiving, and men as strong, assertive, and suited to paid work, all contribute to the gendered division of labour.
  • Economic Factors and Structural Inequality: Labor-market structural inequalities, such as gender wage disparities and fewer chances for women’s advancement, generate economic impediments for women. Undervaluing traditionally female-dominated industries adds to the depreciation of women’s labour and promotes the gendered division of labour.
  • Socialisation and Education: From a young age, socialisation processes play an important part in defining gender roles and expectations. Children are frequently socialised into specific gender roles through a variety of avenues such as family, education, media, and peer pressures.
  • Family Dynamics and Household Responsibilities: Regardless of work level, women are usually assigned the majority of caring and domestic responsibilities within the family unit. Women’s time and energy are disproportionately allocated to unpaid work due to unequal distribution of domestic duties and caregiving responsibilities, restricting their possibilities for paid employment and professional growth.
  • Patriarchy and Power Dynamics: Patriarchy gives men more authority and control over resources, while women’s labour is frequently undervalued and neglected. These power relations reinforce established gender norms and limit women’s ability to question or negotiate their participation in various aspects of life, such as work and family.

Way ahead: Need for Redefining Societal Attitudes

  • Recognising the Importance of Unpaid Care Work: Unpaid care work is critical to the well-being and functioning of families and societies. It is critical to recognise and respect the contributions of carers, especially women, because their job has substantial economic, social, and emotional consequences.
  • Challenging Gender Stereotypes: Societal attitudes frequently promote traditional gender roles, with caregiving viewed as exclusively the responsibility of women. Redefining attitudes entails fighting prejudices and promoting the idea that caregiving should be shared by all family members, regardless of gender.
  • Promoting Gender Equality: It is critical to redefine social views towards care labour in order to promote gender equality. It entails acknowledging that caregiving is a shared responsibility shared by partners, families, and society as a whole.
  • Women can be empowered to pursue their educational, professional, and personal goals through altering society views. When the burden of unpaid care work is more evenly distributed, women have the chance to fully participate in the workforce, contribute to economic growth, and express their rights and choices.
  • Breaking the Gendered Division of Labour Cycle: Redefining societal views aids in breaking the gendered division of labour cycle, in which women are predominantly responsible for unpaid care tasks. It promotes men to take an active role in caregiving, promoting a more fair and equitable sharing of home tasks.
  • Creating friendly surroundings: Part of redefining cultural attitudes is to create friendly surroundings that facilitate and value carer tasks. This includes work-life balance policies in the workplace, access to inexpensive and high-quality childcare, and social institutions that recognise and assist carers.
  • Societal attitudes towards care employment reflect broader social norms and ideals. By altering these views, society can become more inclusive, progressive, and equitable, with the contributions of all persons acknowledged and respected, regardless of gender or caregiving duties.

@the end

It is critical to recognise and recognise the work done by women on Mother’s Day and beyond, transcending the singular function of mothers or carers. Collective efforts are required to challenge and modify societal attitudes that disregard women’s rights and promote gender inequality.

Culture of India Social Issues

Moving Beyond Tokenism in Women’s Political Representation in India

  • Women have shattered the patriarchal glass ceiling in a variety of fields, but they continue to confront considerable impediments to political engagement in India. Despite early suffrage, women still hold only 14% of Parliament seats 75 years after independence. It is past time to recognise women’s systematic exclusion from politics and demand action to create a more fair political scene.

Political participation of women

  • Role in India’s fight for independence: Women played a crucial role in India’s fight for independence, by organising demonstrations, leading rallies, and raising awareness.
  • Female representation in the Constituent Assembly: There were many female representatives in the Constituent Assembly.
  • Women Chief Ministers: A decade ago, three of India’s largest states, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh, were in the news for having female Chief Ministers.
  • Sonia Gandhi, for example, served as both President of the Congress Party and Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance while Sushma Swaraj led the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Around the same time, India elected its first female president, Pratibha Patil.

The debate on women’s reservations

  • It dates from before the American Revolution: The debate over women’s reservation in India dates back to the pre-independence era, when various women’s associations advocated for political representation for women.
  • 10% of the legislative seats: It all started in 1955, when a government-appointed committee proposed that 10% of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures be reserved for women.
  • National Perspective Plan for Women (1988): The National Perspective Plan for Women (1988) advocated that women be given 30% of seats in all elected bodies.
  • National Policy for Women’s Empowerment: This proposal was reaffirmed in the National Policy for Women’s Empowerment, which was enacted in 2001.
  • The Panchayati Raj Act was changed in 1993 to reserve 33% of all seats in local government bodies for women, which was a significant step towards women’s political empowerment.
  • Women’s Reservation Bill Introduced in Lok Sabha: The popularity of this quota prompted calls for similar reservations in other elected bodies; in 1996, the Lok Sabha passed the Women’s quota Bill. The Bill proposed that women be given one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures. However, due to strong opposition from some political parties, it lapsed but regained traction in the early 2000s. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010.

Why is there still a lack of female representation in Parliament and state legislatures?

  • Institutional inaccessibility: Election results demonstrate that, despite committing in their constitutions to guarantee adequate representation for women, most political parties distribute far too few party tickets to female candidates. According to one study, many of the women who do receive party tickets have family political connections or are ‘dynastic’ politicians. Because normal routes of accessibility are limited, such connections are frequently used as an entry point for women.
  • It is still widely accepted in political circles that women candidates are less likely to win elections than men, which leads to political parties granting them fewer tickets.
  • Difficult Structural Conditions: Election campaigns in India are exceedingly time-consuming and demanding. Women lawmakers who have family commitments and child care responsibilities sometimes find it difficult to fully participate.
  • Women politicians have been subjected to humiliation, improper comments, harassment, and threats of abuse on a regular basis, making participation and contesting elections extremely difficult.
  • Expensive election system: Financing is also a barrier because many women rely financially on their relatives. Fighting parliamentary elections may be exceedingly costly, and vast financial resources are required to mount a serious challenge. Women candidates are forced to arrange for their own campaign financing if their parties do not provide appropriate support; this is a significant hurdle that discourages their participation.
  • Internalised patriarchy: An example of ‘internalised patriarchy’ is when many women believe it is their duty to prioritise family and household over political ambitions.

Why is women’s participation in the legislative process so important?

  • Political empowerment: Legislative representation is essential for political empowerment since it allows for participation in the legislative process. Legislators are critical in sparking debates and conversations about many areas of governance, as well as demanding responsibility from the government.
  • Women’s representation in national parliaments is an important indicator of the amount of gender equality in legislative politics.
  • Women add a variety of skills to politics: According to Anne, a political scientist, “women bring different skills to politics and serve as role models for future generations; they advocate for gender equality.”
  • Facilitates representation of individual women’s interests in policy: Women’s engagement in politics facilitates representation of specific women’s interests in state policy and generates circumstances for a revitalised democracy that bridges the gap between representation and participation.
  • Highly effective and less likely to be criminal or corrupt: A study discovered that women legislators outperform their male counterparts in their constituencies on economic indicators. Women legislators are also less likely to be criminals or corrupt, more effective, and less subject to political opportunism.

How might women’s reservations in India help enhance political participation?

  • Ensure representation: Reserving seats in legislatures for women helps ensure that women are represented in decision-making bodies. This can assist address the issue of women’s underrepresentation in politics.
  • Encourage women to enter politics: Reservation can provide a chance for women to enter politics and engage in the political process. This can assist increase the number of women who run for office and participate in politics.
  • Building capacity: Reservation can assist women politicians grow capacity by giving them the opportunity to participate in legislative procedures and gain political experience. This can help them become effective leaders and advocate for women’s rights.
  • Changing attitudes: Reservation can aid in the transformation of societal views regarding women in politics. It might contribute to the notion that women can hold political office and make critical judgements. This can help to dispel prejudices and encourage more women to get involved in politics.
  • Women legislators can contribute to support gender-sensitive legislation that address issues such as violence against women, gender-based discrimination, and women’s health. Reservation can assist ensure that these issues are taken into account during the legislative process.

@the end

Women have waited far too long for the right to govern not only for themselves but also for the greater good. Women’s leadership qualities are not concealed from anyone, thus denying them political representation is a great injustice. As India strives to become a Vishwa Guru, we must not underestimate the critical role that women can play in nation building and development. Women’s reservation legislation cannot be delayed much longer. The legislation must be passed.

Social Issues

Tribes of Hakki- Pikki

Thirty-one tribals from Karnataka’s ‘Hakki-Pikki’ group have been stuck in Sudan due to violent skirmishes between a paramilitary outfit and the country’s armed services.

Who are the Hakki-Pikkis?

OriginMigrated to Karnataka from northern India.
Traditional OccupationHistorically known for bird hunting, which was eventually made illegal.
LanguageThey speak an Indo-Aryan language called ‘Vaagri’ and do commerce in Kannada.
LocationMostly found in the Karnataka districts of Shivamogga, Davanagere, and Mysuru.
LineageA matriarchal society in which women play a prominent role in decision-making.
Traditional  KnowledgeThey are well-known for selling indigenous medicines based on their understanding of plants and herbs.

Language and UNESCO Inscription

  • UNESCO has designated ‘Vaagri’ as an endangered language.
  • This shows that the language is on the verge of extinction, emphasising the need of maintaining and promoting it.
Social Issues

By mid-2023, India’s population will have surpassed China’s

According to United Nations data, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country by mid-2023.

Report on the State of the World Population

  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) publishes an annual report that provides a global overview of population trends and challenges.
  • The report addresses a wide range of population-related issues, including fertility, mortality, migration, family planning, and gender equality.
  • It also offers analyses and recommendations for policymakers and governments on how to handle demographic concerns and promote long-term development.
  • The paper is widely considered as a must-read for population and development academics, policymakers, and international organisations.

Key Highlights of the 2023 report

World Population (2022)8 billion
Most populous regionsEastern and Southeastern Asia, Central and Southern Asia
World Population Growth Rate (since 2020)Less than 1%
Fertility Rate (replacement level)2.1 children per woman
Population aged 65 years or above (2050)16%
Persons aged 65 years and above (2050)More than double that of 5-year-olds and same as 12-year-olds
Regions with fertility rate at or below 2.160%
Top countries accounting for global population increase by 2050DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Tanzania

Way ahead

  • To address changing demographics, the UNFPA report strongly advised governments to implement policies that prioritise gender equality and human rights. Among these suggestions are:
  • Parental leave policies: Introducing paid parental leave programmes for both mothers and fathers following the birth or adoption of a child. This can serve to promote gender equality in the workplace and help families raise children.
  • Child tax credits: Providing tax credits or financial assistance to families with children to assist them in meeting the costs of child rearing. This can help to alleviate child poverty and assist families in meeting their children’s fundamental needs.
  • Gender equality policies in the workplace: Implementing gender equality policies and practises, such as equal pay for equal work, flexible work arrangements, and anti-discrimination regulations.
  • Access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all: Providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, such as family planning and maternal health care, to all people. This can aid in the prevention of unplanned pregnancies, the reduction of maternal mortality, and the promotion of individual and family health and well-being. 
Social Issues

Legalising same-sex marriage would be a just step forward

Legalising same-sex marriage is a logical step towards recognising and integrating India’s LGBTQIA+ minority, which has been marginalised and persecuted for decades. While decriminalising homosexuality was a step in the right direction, extending civil rights such as marriage and adoption is critical in developing a more varied and inclusive society.

LGBTQIA+ community

  • The acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual/Ally. The plus symbol is frequently used to include various identities and orientations not specifically mentioned in the acronym.
  • Individuals who identify as any of these sexual orientations or gender identities are referred to by this word.
  • Individuals in the community may endure discrimination, marginalisation, and stigma as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The community aims to achieve societal and legal recognition and protection for equal rights and acceptance.

Problems faced by LGBTQIA+ community in India

  • Discrimination: Because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, members of the LGBTQIA+ community are frequently subjected to discrimination, harassment, and violence.
  • Homosexuality is still stigmatised in many sectors of Indian society, and LGBTQIA+ persons are frequently ostracised, ridiculed, and excluded from social activities.
  • Lack of legal protection: The Indian legal system does not provide complete legal protection against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and violence.
  • Due to the stress and persecution they confront, members of the LGBTQIA+ community frequently experience health difficulties such as HIV/AIDS, depression, anxiety, and substance addiction.
  • Limited access to healthcare: Many members of the LGBTQIA+ community suffer hurdles to receiving healthcare services, particularly mental health care and HIV/AIDS treatment, due to social stigma and discrimination.
  • Family rejection: Many LGBTQIA+ people endure rejection and disownment from their families, which can lead to mental health problems, homelessness, and financial insecurity.
  • Employment discrimination: Members of the LGBTQIA+ community are frequently subjected to workplace discrimination, including being denied jobs, promotions, and other opportunities based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Same-sex marriage is not legal in India, and LGBTQIA+ couples do not have the same legal rights and protections as heterosexual couples.

What is mean by homosexuality?

  • Homosexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person is primarily attracted to others of the same gender. It is neither a sickness or mental condition, but rather a natural diversity of human sexuality. The phrase refers to a person’s identification, behaviour, and attraction towards persons of the same gender.

What is the social stigma associated with homosexuality in India?

  • Religious and cultural beliefs: India is a varied cultural and religious country with deep-seated traditional beliefs. Many people believe that homosexuality is a sin that goes against these principles.
  • Inadequate awareness and education: In India, there is still a lack of understanding and education regarding homosexuality, which leads to many misconceptions and unfavourable stereotypes.
  • Discrimination and harassment: People who are open about their homosexuality are frequently discriminated against and harassed by society, including family, friends, and workplace.
  • Legal status: Homosexuality was illegal in India until recently, further stigmatising the group.
  • Masculinity norms: Masculinity is typically associated with traditional gender roles in Indian society, which can make it difficult for persons who do not conform to these norms.
  • The absence of portrayal of LGBTQ+ individuals in Indian media and popular culture can contribute to a lack of understanding and empathy for their experiences.

What exactly is meant by same-sex marriage?

  • The legal acknowledgment of a marriage between two people of the same sex is known as same-sex marriage.
  • It provides same-sex couples with the same legal and social recognition, rights, and privileges as marriage, such as property rights, inheritance rights, and the freedom to make medical decisions for each other.
  • Same-sex marriage is recognised differently around the world, with some countries legalising it while others do not.
  • The issue has sparked great debate and controversy, with arguments for and against same-sex marriage based on religious, cultural, social, and legal factors.

Arguments for same-gender marriage

  • Civil Rights: Legalising same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue that assures equal legal treatment for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation.
  • Equality: All citizens, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should have the freedom to marry the person they love.
  • Family: When it comes to adoption, inheritance, and other family-related issues, same-sex couples should have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples.
  • Mental Health: Same-sex couples who can marry get stronger mental health benefits as a result of improved social support, economic stability, and social acceptability.
  • Societal Stability: By expanding the number of legally recognised families and decreasing societal stigmas, legalising same-sex marriage can assist enhance social stability.

Arguments for and against same-gender marriage

  • Religious Beliefs: Many people oppose same-sex marriage because it is considered a sin by their religious beliefs.
  • Some people believe that same-sex marriage poses a danger to traditional family values.
  • Children: There are concerns that growing up in same-sex households would badly impact children.
  • Social implications: Some fear that legalising same-sex marriage will have negative social implications, such as family collapse and moral degeneration.
  • Slippery Slope: Some people feel that legalising same-sex marriage will lead to the legalization of other forms of non-traditional marriage.

Way ahead

  • Education and Awareness: To address the social stigma and prejudice towards LGBTQIA+ people, a prolonged education and awareness campaign might be started at multiple levels, including schools, universities, the media, and community organisations. This could also include sensitization training for various public and private sector employees in order to eliminate workplace discrimination and bias.
  • Advocacy: Pro-LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups could play a vital role in fighting for same-sex marriage legal recognition. This could include forming alliances with other civil society organisations, meeting with legislators, and utilising social media to raise awareness about the problem.
  • Legal Framework: To recognise same-sex weddings, a new legal framework might be formed, which would contain rights and safeguards for LGBTQIA+ people. This framework would need to address concerns such as inheritance rights, joint property ownership, and the legal recognition of children born through surrogacy or adoption to same-sex couples.
  • Consultation: To develop consensus on the topic, a broad consultation process might be launched with stakeholders from various communities, including religious leaders, civil society organisations, and LGBTQIA+ people.
  • Balancing Interests: The government may be hesitant in legalising same-sex marriage, taking into account the beneficial impacts such as social inclusion and individual rights, as well as the potential negative implications such as religious sensitivity and family values. This could entail striking a balance between individual rights and societal cohesion, while taking into account India’s distinct cultural and socioeconomic settings.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: The government could establish an independent organisation to monitor and evaluate the implementation of same-sex marriage legislation. This could aid in identifying areas of success as well as possible areas for improvement, ensuring that legalising same-sex marriages is a positive step forward for Indian society as a whole.

@the end

The ability to accept variety, include minorities, and integrate the marginalised is a hallmark of a progressive nation. Legalising same-sex marriage may open the path for future generations to reclaim India as the diverse, cosmopolitan, and inclusive civilisation that it has always been. The government should find a balance between individual rights and societal cohesion, while taking into account India’s distinct cultural and socioeconomic settings.

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