1. The Forest Rights Act (FRA) stands as a powerful instrument to protect the rights of tribal communities. Comment. What changes can be introduced to make it more effective? Analyse.
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is a result of the protracted struggle by the marginal and tribal communities of our country to assert their rights over the forestland over which they were traditionally dependent.
It stands as a powerful tool to protect rights of tribal communities:
Recognizes: It recognizes the rights of tribal communities and gives legal protection.
Community rights: Identifies communities other than individual rights.
Community resources: prevents alienation of forestland and right to preserve their culture, traditions etc.
Traditional knowledge: Right to protect and preserve their knowledge and also preventing them from exploitation.
Displacement: It recognizes rights of displaced communities and rehabilitating them.
Gram Sabha: Is made powerful body with whose permission the licenses for mining are to be given and other development projects are to be taken up.
Rehabilitation: Before displacing or granting rights over mining, full facilities should be arranged and approved.
Mining: minimum 2/3rd of community approval should be needed.
Royalties: From traditional knowledge exploitation, should be transferred to gram sabha account. They are best people to decide how to use it.
Minor forest produce: Without gram sabha consent and approval no product to be removed from list.
The Act should be given more teeth and Gram Sabha should also play active role in preventing exploitation. Also tribal are the most important players in bio-diversity conservation and improvement, so every step should be taken for there welfare which will directly help in climate change, global warming etc.
2. What is Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan. Examine its need, significance and features.
Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan, is a campaign by Ministry of social justice and empowerment, to achieve universal accessibility to persons with disabilities. It is to empower them to lead an independent life with dignity and honor.
Disability: India has 2.2% population with some form of disability.
Fundamental right: To live with dignity and honor.
Independent living: It helps them to live life without being dependent on others for accessibility.
To provide for:
Ramps in public buildings
Provision of toilets for wheelchair users
symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts
Ramps in hospitals, primary health centers and other rehabilitation centers.
Inclusiveness and Universal accessibility: It provides for inclusiveness and accessibility.
Infrastructure: Helps in changing infrastructure facilities at public places. Like Railways, Public transports, public office spaces etc.
Development: It will help in all around development of people suffering from disability like Economic, Political, social etc.
Equality: As guaranteed by constitution, it provides space for equality away from discriminations and alienation.
Dignity: Right to live with dignity and honor for people with special needs.
Prime Ministers dream of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” would never have been complete without including Divlang people. Accessibility with barrier free enviroenment is the first step towards there right to live with dignity.
3. The increase in the number of elderly people in the country calls for responsible policies and programmes for their protection and care.
The population of elderly persons, above 60 years, have increased substantially from 7.66 crore (5.6 per cent) in 2001 to 10.38 crore (8.6 per cent of the population) elderly persons in 2011.
Increase in elderly population means large incidence of degenerative diseases, accompanied with serious gaps in the geriatric medical ecosystem, a changing joint family structure, the lack of ‘grey-friendliness’ in public spaces, transport, housing etc.
The rapid increase in the number of elderly warrants priority attention for economic and social policies to become senior citizen-friendly
Steps taken by the government:
The government has formulated the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension, under which it provides a paltry amount of Rs.200 to the elderly belonging to poor families.
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 makes it obligatory for children or relatives to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents. It also provides for the setting up of old age homes by State governments.
The Centre supports a number of old age homes under the Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP) has seen a decline from 269 homes in 2012-13 to a dismal 137 in 2014-15
Further steps required:
It is important to strengthen the health-care system. If 18 per cent of the population is going to be over 60 years of age by 2050, then it becomes almost crucial to encourage research in geriatric diseases, and push for building capacity in the geriatric departments across the primary and tertiary health-care systems.
The growing informal industry of home care providers needs regulation and mandated guidelines so that a large pool of certified and affordable trained home care givers can be created.
There needs to be a network of old age homes, both in the private and public sector.
At the community level there is a need to increase the avenues for older people to participate in local issues, in resident associations etc. so as to tackle the issue of loneliness, low dignity and depression among the elderly.
Apart from ensuring appropriate medical help, there is need to be create awareness about common degenerative diseases like dementia so that society at large get sensitised to elderly problems..
Thus, India despite being one of the youngest country needs to devise strategies and long-term planning if the rapidly growing elderly population in the country is to lead a dignified life.
4. Transgender is a crucial gender identity issue which needs not only requires action by the government and civil society but requires their integration in the mainstream society. Comment.
The transgender community is one of the most marginalized in the country because they don’t fit into existing gender categories. Consequently, they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, and lack of medical facilities.
AS A GENDER IDENTITY ISSUE:
Gender identity is someone’s personal identification as man, woman, or a gender outside of societal norms. That a person recognized as ‘transgender’ would have the right to ‘self perceived’ gender identity. The judiciary and the Government should provide steps to enforce it as a right. Crucial to this is the right of self determination and acceptance by the society rather than treating it as a mental disorder.
INTEGRATION INTO MAINSTREAM SOCIETY:
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 attempts to solve the issues of transgender and give them a life of dignity.
There is a need for society end discrimination against a transgender person in areas such as education, employment, and healthcare. Civil society needs to direct the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes in these areas.
The government should take steps to provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centers, sex reassignment surgeries, etc
The government should take measures to ensure the full inclusion and participation of transgender in mainstream society via rehabilitation, vocational training, employment schemes etc.
There is a need to create awareness among the people and sensitize them to be compassionate for the cause of the community and look at them with respect.
Need to ensure them equal access to social and economic opportunities, resources and services, right to equal treatment under the law, right to live life without violence and equitable right in all decision making bodies like the Kerala act which treats them as a minority group and gives them reservation and also integrate them in schemes such as Kudumbashree like Manaswini and also Jobs in Kochi Metro.
Even West Bengal has gone on e step forward and ensured a transgender idol of Goddess Durga(ardha-narishwar) in the puja festivals and also have a transgender welfare board which needs to be adopted across the country.
Integration and change in societal mindset can ensure Transgenders can transform their lives from that of exclusion to that of equality and dignity
5. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 perpetuates gender role stereotypes. Do you agree? Critically examine.
The maternity benefit act is a step to regulate the employment of women during the period of child birth and provides maternity benefits. The Act applies to factories, mines, plantation sites, shops and other establishments. The bill defines the future prospects of the country economically, socially and culturally.
The major changes addressed by the act are
1) Extension of maternity benefit from 12 to 26 weeks.
2) Option for women employees to work from home after the maternity leave on mutually agreeable terms.
3) The facility of creche nearby to the workplace or along with the establishment.
However the positive steps undertaken by the government do not address certain issues and will lead to Perpetuating Stereotyping by assigning the role of child care to women only (as No Provision for Paternal leaves for child care) giving a unitary character to the birth of a child neglecting the role of fathers in the upbringing of the child
Since work from home is mandated only for working mothers and not fathers, it might be a disadvantage to women employees in their careers as they might be pushed into lower level jobs
The concept of equal pay for equal work may not be fully implemented here since women might be on leaves for quite some time and this might affect their careers and their future promotion prospects.
Women may be given low cadre jobs which do not affect the productivity and even hiring woman workers might affect the economies of scale as compared to the men work force.
Women working in the unorganized sector are certainly at a loss
No doubt the bill is a welcome step to address the challenges faced by the women in upbringing of children and it will certainly lessen the burden of work from their shoulders during this critical period, but a few issues need to be addressed to make the bill more comprehensive for greater women empowerment.