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Q.1) A recent report from the NITI Aayog highlighted that sex ratio at birth (SRB) nationwide had dropped .In this context discuss the factors responsible for declining sex ratio. What are the wider implications of skewed sex ratio in India?  Suggest some measures to tackle this menace.(GS 1)

A recent report from the NITI Aayog highlighted sex ratio at birth (SRB) nationwide had dropped from 906 in 2012-2014 to 900 in 2013-2015.  In all, 17 of 21 large Indian States saw a drop in the SRB, with Gujarat performing the worst, declining 53 points. Also, newer data from India’s Sample Registration System show the SRB fell even further in 2014-2016, from 900 to 898.

Factors responsible  for Declining Sex Ratio:

There are multiple trends in declining the sex ratio. Some of the factors are given below:

  • Pre Natal Sex Determination is the main reason of low sex ratio in India
  • Patriarchal societies in many parts of India have translated their prejudice and bigotry into a compulsive preference for boys and discriminations against the girl child.
  • Women work is always socially devalued with limited autonomy in decision making.
  • Dowry is the main cause of low sex ratio.

Implications of skewed sex ratio in India

  • Low Sex ratio at birth has led to large numbers of “surplus men” in countries like India and China.
  • Skewed sex ratio lead to more violence against men and women, as well as human trafficking.
  • In India, some villages in Haryana and Punjab have such poor ratios that men “import” brides from other states. This is often accompanied by the exploitation of these brides.

Suggestive measures:

  • Strict implementation of laws banning female foeticide and dowry
  • providing old age pension for parents who had no son
  • free and compulsory education for girls
  • Job reservation for women in specific occupations and giving them an equal share in the property, in the true sense of the word.
  • Efforts should be made to implement these laws effectively.
  • Strict punishment should be given to the defaulters.
  • The vulnerable minds of the children should be so influenced that they grow up as adults who consider practicing dowry and female foeticide as immoral.
  • Women should also be socialized from early childhood to consider themselves as equal to men. This would be a positive influence on the coming generations as today’s girl child would be tomorrow’s mother as well as mother in-law.

Q.2) No nation, society or community can hold its head high and claim to be the part of civilized world if it condones the practice of discrimination against women. In the light of this statement discuss the reasons for prevalence of gender inequality in India. Why there is need for gender equality? (GS 1)

No nation, society or community can hold its head high and claim to be the part of civilized world if it condones the practice of discrimination against women. The reason why there is need for gender equality is discussed below.

Reasons for gender inequality in India:

Cultural institutions:

  • Cultural institutions in India, particularly those of patrilineality (inheritance through male descendants) and patrilocality (married couples living with or near the husband’s parents), play a crucial role in perpetuating gender inequality.

Preference for sons:

  • A culturally ingrained parental preference for sons – emanating from their importance as caregivers for parents in old age – is linked to poorer consequences for daughters.

Dowry system:

  • The dowry system, involving a cash or in-kind payment from the bride’s family to the groom’s at the time of marriage, is another institution that disempowers women.
  • The incidence of dowry has been steadily rising over time across all region and socioeconomic classes.

Patriarchal mindset:

  • Patriarchy is a social system of privilege in which men are the primary authority figures, occupying roles of political leadership, moral authority, control of prosperity and authority over women and children.

Poverty and lack of education:

  • Extreme poverty and lack of education are also some of the reasons for women’s low status in society.
  • Poverty and lack of education derives countless women to work in low paying domestic service, organized prostitution or as migrant laborers.

Need for gender equality:

  • Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.
  • Empowering women as economic, political, and social actors can change policy choices and make institutions more representative of a range of voices.
  • In India, giving power to women at the local level led to increases in the provision of public goods, such as water and sanitation, which mattered more to women.

Conclusion:

Indians across the country, bridging class and caste divides, are deliberately ensuring that girls are simply not born. This artificial alteration of our demographic landscape has implications for not only gender justice and equality but also social violence, human development and democracy.

Q.3) According to conservation group WWF India, climate change has resulted in substantial decrease in India’s coral cover and growth n the last two decades. In this context discuss the factors lead to decrease in coral cover in India.  What should be done for the protection of coral reefs?(GS 3)

According to conservation group WWF India, climate change has resulted in substantial decrease in India’s coral cover and growth n the last two decades. Coral diversity and formation of reefs are centred around the following four major regions:

    • The Gulf of Kutch
    • The Lakshadweep atolls
    • The Gulf of Mannar
    • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Besides these hotspots, patchy reefs are present in other coastal regions, from the coast of Goa and parts of the Malvan marine national park to the Kanyakumari district in southern Tamil Nadu.

Factors lead to decrease in coral cover in India:

  • Climate change is the primary factor, with multiple bleaching events occurring in the last two decades, resulting in substantial reductions to coral cover and growth.
  • Increase atmospheric carbon dioxide have decreased the pH of oceans and resulting in ocean acidification, which seriously hinder the reef building capacity of corals
  • Other factors include:
    • Overfishing
    • Unregulated coastal development
    • Nutrient, Heavy metal and chemical pollution

What should be done for the protection of coral reefs?

  • WWF India has stressed the need for formulating a “holistic” approach for their protection.
  • It has said the connectivity of India’s freshwater, coastal, offshore and marine systems must be taken into account when conserving such (corals) habitats and the management regimes must reflect this.
  • One management technique is to create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that directly limit human activities such as fishing.

 

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