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  1. Critically analyze the important provisions under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. Why does domestic violence against women continue despite stringent laws? Examine.(GS 1)

Indian Express | Link

Important provisions of domestic violence act :-

  • In India, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005defines and covers the domestic violence against women.
  • Apart from the victim herself, the complaint regarding an act or act of domestic violence can also be lodged by ‘any person who has a reason to believe that’ such an act was committed or is being committed. 
    • The provisions of the Domestic Violence Act make sure that ‘no criminal, civil or any other liability’ lies on the informer, if the complaint is lodged in good faith.
  • The magistrate has been given powers to permit the aggrieved women to stay in her place of adobe and she can not be evicted by her male relatives in the retaliation.The aggrieved woman can even be allotted a part of the house for personal use.
  • Magistrate can bar the respondent to communicate with aggrieved person by “personal, oral, written, electronic or telephonic contact.”
  • The magistrate can impose monthly payments of maintenance. It can also cover loss of earnings, medical expenses, loss or damage to property.
    • Under Sec 22 magistrate can make the respondent pay compensation and damages for injuries including mental torture and emotional distress caused by act(s) of domestic violence.
  • Penalty up to one-year and/or a fine up to Rs. 20,000/- can be imposed under under the act.
  • The act ensures speedy justice as the court has to start proceedings and have the first hearing within 3 days of the complaint being filed in the court and every case must be disposed off within a period of sixty days of the first hearing.
  • The act makes provisions for state to provide for protection officers and status of ‘service providers’ and ‘medical facility’.
  • Magistrate can hold proceedings in camera if either party to the proceedings so desires.
  • Supreme Court in its landmark judgement recently has widened the scope of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 by making it gender-neutral.

Problems:-

  • It is seen as an additional weapon in the bad woman’s legal artillery.
  • It has been alleged to be pro-women and anti-men as it assumes every man as a virtual torturer and considers only women as victims
  • Further, it does now allow prosecution of a woman against woman for example – mother-in-law tortured by daughter-in-law or vice versa.
  • The law is highly vague and speaks of verbal/economical; emotional abuse, which are impossible to quantify
  • Many husbands and their family members, falsely implicated in these cases have committed suicide after being jailed, unable to bear the social trauma.
  • Civil in nature. It should have included proceedings of criminal nature if officer’s orders are not being adhered to.
  • Functioning of Welfare Committee as quasi judicial and policing body is controversial-they also delay the whole process of justice to the victim
  • Provision of Marital Rape as crime has been hotly debated about given the closed and patriarchal Indian society.

What can be done?

  • Family can see daughters and sons as equal, give them equal education,care and protection as also mandated by other laws
  • Mediators such as mahila adalat, support from civil society, establishment of women helpline, Voluntary action cell of Department of women need to strengthen more.
  • The attitude of women needs to change

Why women face abuse still ?

  • Socio-cultural:
    • Patriarchal mindset is still very strong in Indian families and society and girls are brought up in a different way than boys which brings behavioural and attitudinal change making women feel they are less equal.
    • Social stigma prevents them to lead a separate life after divorce
  • Legal:
    • Reluctance of women to approach officers due to fear of stigmatization and nature of Indian society.
    • Lack of empathy in officers dealing with such cases.
    • Conviction rates are low causing minimum deterrence
    • 40% women were dead by the time complaining get lodged
  • Economic:
    • Economic dis empowerment through lopsided gender roles

2. Mention the important features of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Discuss the challenges in its implementation.(GS 2)

The Hindu | Link

Introduction:-

  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is the new version of Housing For All by 2022vision under which five crore pucca houses will be built for the poor in rural area by 2022.

The main ideas of this scheme are:

  • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource
  • Promotion of affordable housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy
  • Affordable housing in partnership with Public and Private sectors and
  • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction or enhancement.

Important features of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana:-

  • The beneficiaries of the scheme would be poor and people living under low income group categories.
  • The beneficiaries of the scheme include Women, Economically Weaker Section of society (EWS), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Scheduled Casts(SC).
  • The government will provide subsidy ranging between 1 lakh to 2.30 lakhto people from above categories in order to make them secure.
  • The government would provide an interest subsidy of 6.5%on housing loans availed by the beneficiaries for a period of 15 years from the start of loan.
  • The houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana would be allotted to preferably the female member of the family. Along with this, preference would be given to the female applicants. This scheme is mostly a pro-women scheme.
  • While allotting ground floors in any housing scheme under the PMAY, preference would be given to differently-abled and older people.
  • The construction of houses under PMAY would be carried out through technology that is eco-friendly.
  • In addition to the above, an Rs 1.5 lakh would be provided to all eligible urban poor who want to construct their own house in urban areas or wish to make necessary renovations in their existing houses
  • Hence the Mission would not only aim to provide housing for all but would also trigger far reaching reforms in India’s urban governance.
  • Integration of Adhar Number and Jandhan Yojana bank account numbers of intended beneficiaries
    • would facilitate adoption of modern, innovative, disaster resistance and green technologies/ building materials for construction of houses.
    • would lead to transparent identification of beneficiaries, better tracking of physical and financial progress and cut down the delays in crediting the beneficiary bank accounts.
  • present scheme, provides flexibility to States for choosing the best among the four options of the scheme to meet the demand for housing in their respective States.
  • The scheme also strengthens the theme of cooperative federalism by devolving to the States the power to formulate and approve various housing projects in accordance with the guidelines.

Challenges in implementation:-

  • Experts criiticise that the vision of the government on the ground of the scheme being “unrealistic”.
    • The criticism hinges on the fact that the mission would have to ensure construction of 2 crore urban houses and 2.95 crore rural houses within a 7 year period.
  • This task, it has been argued is daunting because presently there is no guarantee of land availability, the problems in land acquisition would
  • easy credit to private sector for housing remains a problem with high interest rates and thin profit margins being the norm in the housing sector at present.
  • Scheme is facing a challenge regarding the speed of execution.
    • As of April 2017,the Government has approved only 1.88 million urban houses and roughly 103,000 have been built
  • Any housing project goes through multiple approvals requiring coordination with different government authorities.
    • The delay in approvals at any stage has a chain effect on subsequent approvals thereby delaying the project completion time-frame and adding up the significant costs for the developer and the buyers.
  • This essentially means that the policy does not resolve the land supply constraint due to lower floor area ration(FAR)in any way. Hence, the policy will have a low impact in reducing the property prices in any significant manner.
  • Land Use Policies:
    • The policy is silent on the blanket approach by the government/local bodies in deciding the land use policies
  • Problem with property documents:
    • An important aspect of PMAY is the interest subsidy on a home loan and the direct subsidy for individual house construction or enhancement.
    • However, a requirement to avail either subsidy are title documents to the property but land and property records are in poor condition.
    • Many people continue to live in ancestral homes, whose title deeds may be in the name of deceased grandparents.
    • Slum dwellers  arguably the target beneficiaries under PMAY  are unlikely to have title documents.
  • No proper coordination:
    • To complicate things further, land records are governed by the State’s revenue department, while housing is a separate agency.
  • Distorted rental market in India where property owners fear they may lose their property to tenants, leading to under-utilisation of assets

What can be done?

  • The State Governments will also have to play a major role by formulating and customizing their State specific housing policies in-tune with the Central Government’s Mission.
  • States need to simplify the process of updating property records. This will allow all citizens to obtain legal documents to their land and property in order to fully embrace the subsidy features of PMAY and access credit, which will enable them to upgrade their housing.
  • Enable individual households who don’t have legal titles to in-situ upgrade their housing by providing them with security of tenure even a “no eviction guarantee” for instance Ahmedabad’s success with the Slum Networking Program .
  • States need to push through the much-needed rental reforms that balance the interests of tenants with the protection of property owners’ rights, and don’t distort rental markets by artificially controlling rents.

Indian cities are increasingly being characterized by urban decay, squalor, slums, bad or non-existent sewerage and drainage system. In such a context, the announcement of the Mission as well as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, with its ambitious targets has triggered a process of intense State involvement in the process of urban housing, planning and infrastructure.


3. Given are two quotations of moral thinkers/philosophers. For each of these, bring out what it means to you in the present context: (GS 4)

1.“No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.”

The statement means that an individual who do right things in life and cause no harms to others, will always reap sweet fruits in life and even after death.

Evil is defined as morally bad or wrong wicked .These are choices that people make on a daily basis. A simple illustration of the concept of good and evil would be if you saw someone drop a 50 bill on the ground, a person of good moral stature would pick it up, stop the person, and return it to him. The evil person would very likely pick the money up and put it in his own pocket.

If an administrator does good work for the community ,he/she is remembered for a long time.A good person is never forgotten.people tell stories about them even when they are dead. Even after the death of Mother Teresa,Nelson Mandela,Kalam and many others ,world still remembers them.

Bad things happen to good people as well but it is the way they handle and rise over adversities show that evil cannot affect them per se.

2. “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”

Inequality is essentially a neutral word. What makes it sound negative or positive depends on with what it is attached. Not all things, situations and person can be of same view.

For example Inequality in income or opportunity is bad for a nation. whereas inequality in ideas, thoughts and deliberation lies at the soul of democracy.

Uniformity is desirable at the level of sharing common principles, ideals. But uniformity of action, thought process is not desirable as it will kill individual initiative.

Forcing equality, will not do much good as every individual has their own nature and own views towards approaching a problem or situation. This will on the other hand will discourage deliberation, exchange of ideas and free flow of thoughts.

In present context, society is heterogenous with various sections like women, disabled, LGBTQ, children etc who are unequals and hence should be treated unequally.

Even Indian constitution believes that one who is at disadvantaged position should be given a due consideration before equating it with the one who is at advantaged position.

Even government schemes and other initiatives focus on equity rather than equality to provide benefit to the socially disadvantaged sections in the society.For instance the provision in RTE to fill some of the seats in schools from socially disadvantaged sections

This concept of equity also has an element of emotional intelligence .As an administrator one has to think from this perspective and not try to make unequal things equal..

However there are some where unequal things need to be treated equal like when u respect others,treat them alike it is not the status of class or caste which needs to matter but the element of humanity where everyone is born equally.


 

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