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- The article highlights India’s progress in eradicating multidimensional poverty
- Multidimensional poverty goes beyond the economic/income-based approach and takes into account different depreciations experienced by a poor person- such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standard, disempowerment, poor quality of work and threat from violence.
Multidimensional poverty index (MPI)
- Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) was developed in 2010 by the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- The MPI has three dimensions: health, education, and standard of living. These are measured using 10 indicators
Multidimensional Poverty in India
- According to MPI 2018, India has lifted 271 million people out of multi-dimensional poverty in the 10 years between 2005-06 and 2015-16.
- Poverty rate fell from 55% to around 28% over the 10-year period.
- Multidimensional poverty is particularly acute and significant in the four states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh
- Delhi, Kerala and Goa have the lowest incidence of multidimensional poverty.
Note: The MPI used data from the third and fourth rounds of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) to measure multidimensional poverty across 640 districts.
Significance of MPI:
- The MPI creates a vivid picture of people living in poverty within and across countries, regions and at a global level.
- MPI is not limited to an income-based measure of poverty but complements income measures of poverty and captures the multiple, overlapping disadvantages of poor people.
This is important because overlapping deprivations undermine people’s capacity to develop human capital and entraps them into the vicious cycle of poverty.
- MPI can be used to direct public resources to critical areas more efficiently. It can be used as a powerful tool to combat poverty and achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs)
- According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Zika virus behind the ongoing outbreak in Rajasthan is closely related to the virus that caused the Brazilian outbreak
- Zika is a flavivirus spread mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is also responsible for dengue and chikungunya.
- Additionally, infected people can transmit Zika through transfer of body fluids including sexual intercourse.
Symptoms and impact of Zika
- Symptoms include fever, rash, muscle and joint pain
- Also causes Congenital Zika Syndrome, in which babies of Zika-infected mothers are born with impairments such as microcephaly – an abnormally small head. Microcephaly at birth has no cure.
- In rare cases, patients also developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, which causes potentially fatal muscle weakness.
Zika in India:
- The first confirmed Indian case of Zika occurred in 2016 in Gujarat. The Zika strain was found to be close to a Malaysian Zika strain, isolated in 1966
- In 2018, there has been a Zika outbreak in Rajasthan and the virus is related to the one that caused Brazilian outbreak in 2015
Characteristics of the Rajasthan outbreak:
- Rajasthan outbreak is the largest in India, having affected 72 people.
- Unlike Gujrat and Tamil Nadu cases, the virus has been spreading efficiently from persons to persons via mosquitoes
- Despite screening of mosquitoes since 2016, the virus could only be detected in mosquitoes post the outbreak in Rajasthan
Steps to be taken:
- Since the outbreak is linked to uncontrolled mosquito breeding, vector control is utmost necessary to prevent future outbreaks
- There should be campaigns to educate and aware people living in the outbreak area to avoid sex, particularly with the intent of conceiving, till the outbreak is under control.
Union ministry of law and justice has ratified a proposal of women and child development ministry to remove the time limit and age limit for reporting cases of sexual abuse among children
|POCSO (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) Act 2012:|
- Need for amendment:
- Discrepancy in laws: Under Section 468 of CrPC, for any offence, including child abuse, the stipulated time limit for reporting an offence that is punishable by a fine is six months. But no time period forreporting of offences is mentioned in Section 19 of POCSO Act, 2012. Hence the ruling brings clarity on the issue
- Under-reporting: As per NCRB data, average reporting of rape is 6.3 per 100000 people, while a survey in 2007 revealed that 53% children had been sexually exploited
- Lack of understanding at tender age:The victim may not have had the mental capability to fully understand until later that what they were going through was a violation of their bodies
- Remembering the event later: Memories can sometimes remain suppressed until various triggers lead them to resurface
- Addressing life-long trauma: Often, children dont report such crimes as the perpetrator is a closely known person, thus carrying the trauma of sexual abuse till very late in life. Now, reporting can be done later saving victims from mental agony.
- Listing the perpetrators:The perpetrators can be added to the public sex offenders list even later in life, which could prevent re-occurrence of similar act
- This move should be complemented with measures to help survivors deal with repercussions of reliving the trauma; combat mental health effects; ensure psycho-social rehabilitation in assisting victims to lead a normal life and a similar change must be done for adult women too
- In the backdrop the recent failure of a Russian rocket launch, the article assesses India’s preparation to launch its human space mission, Gaganyaan
Failure of Russian rocket launch:
- On October 11 2018, the launch of Russian rocket Soyuz FG failed leading to the abortion of Expedition 57 to the International Space Station. Emergency operation was carried out and the astronauts landed on Earth 400km away from the launch site at the Russian Baikonur cosmodrome.
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to launch India’s first human space mission-Gaganyaan by 2022
- If successful, India would become the fourth country to do so after Russia, the US and China
- GSLV Mk III is expected to make 10 flights, including two in the form of an unmanned human space launch vehicle, before it finally launches humans in 2022.
Significance of human-space flight:
- It will enable ISRO to achieve higher levels of reliability in launch and satellite technology.
- It will further enhance the capability of observing galactic phenomena and the earth.
Safety guidelines for human-space flight:
- NASA’s manual on human ratings of space systems underlines the prerequisites for the development of systems for human space flights.
- A human-rated system should accommodate human needs, effectively utilize human capabilities, control hazards and manage safety risk associated with human spaceflight.
- It should provide the maximum extent practical, the capability to safely recover the crew from hazardous situations.
- Further, the amount of heat generated, vibration caused or metallic changes in the payload capsule should be brought to human tolerance level. These factors are not needed to be considered in case of launching a mechanical payload
Steps to be taken:
- GSLV Mk III will need a human ratings certification before it can launch a human into space.
- The GSLV Mk III is an intelligent system with built-in redundancies, but for a final human rating the redundancies needed are of a higher order.
- In the backdrop of the recent Rafael controversy, the article discusses the issues with the offset guidelines of India’s defence procurement policy.
Defence Procurement Procedure, 2016, (DPP):
- It aims to develop world-class domestic defence and aerospace industry by promoting indigenous design, development and manufacturing of defence equipment, platforms, systems and subsystems. However, the offset guidelines in DPP have been hindrance to achieve this aim.
- These are a portion of a contracted price with a foreign supplier that must be re-invested in the Indian defence sector, or against which the government can purchase technology.
- Indian Offset Partner (IOPs) are defined as Indian enterprises engaged in making eligible products and/or services.
DPP Provisions empowering government:
- The government is given extensive control over selection of the offset partner.
- The government is empowered to evaluate offset proposals received in response to procurement tenders and conclude offset contracts.
- The DPP also provides that all offset proposals will be approved by the Union minister of defence, regardless of their value
- During the period of the contract, any change in the Indian offset partner will require the government’s approval.
Issues with offset investments/ procurements:
- Offset investments/ procurements are not subjected to public procurement safeguards.
- DPP gives complete discretion on choice of the Indian offset partner (IOP)
- Further, the definition of IOP is flawed. Focuses more on ownership and not on investments. It is argued that Indian ownership does not necessarily ensure growth of a sector
- Procurement policy recognizes the need for domestic private partnership, it does not mandate a fair and diverse procurement process for offsets. Therefore, foreign suppliers tend to partner with just one or two large industrial groups to discharge their offset obligations.
- Defence procurement should be subject to transparent processes to ensure all Indian companies, irrespective of their size are able to compete
- The focus should be on investments rather than ownership to ensure that companies of all sizes, including foreign companies who wish to manufacture in India, can grow and flourish
- Offset investments/procurement must be subject to public procurement safeguards
- The Union Ministry of Labour has urged States to issue orders permitting fixed-term employment (FTE) across industries.
- Fixed-term employment is a contract in which a company or an enterprise hires an employee for a specific period of time.
- Under fixed-term employment, workers are entitled to statutory benefits available to a permanent worker in the same factory, including work hours, wages, and allowances.
- In March 2018, the Centre notified FTE under which workers will be entitled to benefits available to permanent workers.
- The notification does not permit conversion of permanent posts into FTE ones but is aimed at turning contract workers into FTE ones.
- FTEs are expected to improve working conditions in industries, boost employment and execute specific projects efficiently in sectors like infrastructure.
- The present FTE rules are not clearly defined. They do not mention minimum or maximum term of an FTE and the maximum permissible number of consecutive FTEs.
- According to informal reports, industries are reluctant to provide FTEs due to rising costs and obligations
- States are not bound to accept the notification as FTE has been notified by an executive order, without the Parliament ratifying it. This is because labour is a Concurrent List subject, as per which the States are bound only by a central law.
- In order to promote employment through FTEs, the FTE norms should be laid down in a transparent and consensual manner
- Labour reforms should be accompanied with better social safety net- it is important to ensure better state-funded health and educational opportunities
- The FTE norms should be made ratified by the parliament for universal adoption across industries and states.