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9 PM for Main examination
- Domestic Violence has become a Shadow pandemic
- Non- Participation of Private healthcare system in Pandemic battle
- AarogyaSetu App a necessary evil?
- Role of central bank during the pandemic
9 PM for Preliminary examination
1.Domestic Violence has become a Shadow pandemic
Syllabus: GS 2- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and the States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Context: Domestic violence cases have increased exponentially across the globe, in countries like China, the United Kingdom, United States, France and Argentina.
In India also, domestic violence cases have increased at an alarming rate, according to National Commission of Women (NCW). As per the mid-April data by NCW, there has been an almost 100% increase in domestic violence during the lockdown.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a form of violence against women and girls (VAWG). It includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by any member of the household. It also includes child or elder abuse.
What are the steps taken by Indian government to prevent domestic violence?
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:
- It is a civil law that provides protection from domestic violence to women and children in a shared household. It recognizes domestic violence as a human rights violation.
- Domestic violence case can be filed against both male and female relatives of the husband or the male partner.
- Under the provisions of the Act, women can seek protection against domestic violence, financial compensation, the right to live in their shared household, and they can get maintenance from their abuser in case they are living apart.
- Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code: It is a criminal law, which applies to husbands or relatives of husbands who are cruel to women.
- Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: It is a criminal law aimed at prohibiting the practice of giving or receiving dowry.
- One Stop Centres: These are centres established by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) to support women affected by violence of any sort. They provide range of services including medical, legal, psychological and counselling support to the victims.
- Universalisation of Women Helpline Scheme (181): It provides 24 hours immediate and emergency response to women affected by the violence, both in private and public spaces.
- Emergency Response Support System (ERSS – Dial 112): It us a project under the Nirbhaya Fund. It aims to prevent crime especially against women and children.
Why has domestic violence increased during the pandemic lockdown?
The issue of domestic violence is rooted in the very nature of the patriarchal society. Often referred to as “intimate terrorism”, domestic violence is an expression the very desire to gain and maintain power and control over women.
The lockdown has led to a shadow pandemic with increasing cases of violence against women in their home itself. The major reasons for increase in domestic violence are fourfold:
- Tension and strain created by security, health, and financial worries
- Confinement and lack of access to alcohol leading to interpersonal violence and abuse.
- Domestic labour becomes taxing during a lockdown if not distributed equally. The woman is expected to bear the load and violence increase if she fails to do so.
- Lack of institutional support, inability to complain during lockdown aggravates the problem.
What steps have been taken to address rising domestic violence during lockdown?
- NCW launched a WhatsApp number – 7217735372 to report domestic violence during lockdown
- ‘Suppress Corona, not your voice’: It is an initiative launched by Uttar Pradesh government. Under the initiative, a female police officer visits house to register the complaint and warn the perpetrator.
- Kerala government announced a WhatsApp number – 9400080292 to report domestic violence during the lockdown.
- “Red dot” initiative by non-profit WEFT (Women’s Entrepreneurs for Transformation): Under this, domestic violence victims are asked to draw a red dot on their palm to seek help and alert their neighbours and authorities.
National Commission for Women
- It was set up as statutory body in under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990.
- It seeks to protect and promote the interests of women in India
Way forward –The following steps should be taken to prevent and urgently address the plight of domestic violence victims:
- One stop centres, shelters and helplines for women should be considered essential services and their function should be restored.
- Psychosocial support and online counselling should be boosted using technology-based solutions.
- Provide emergency transportation to women seeking refuge from domestic violence
- Ensure access to police assistance, and justice services.
- Initiate campaigns to raise awareness and enhance support system
- Media outreach to alert to the facts and the dangers of domestic violence and encouraging positive steps like sharing care responsibilities at home
2.Non- Participation of Private healthcare system in Pandemic battle
Source – Indian Express
Syllabus – GS Paper 3 – Mobilization of resources
Context – In fight against COVID 19, Private healthcare sector not performing public duty and rather going in self-isolation
Reasons for their non-participation
- Employee reluctance – This is due to pay cuts, the fear of sealing, the future consequences to brand value of hospitals identified with the pandemic, the lack of established protocols and protective gear.
- Bureaucratic hurdles – Example in Telangana, administration instructed private sector hospitals to refer viral patients to government facilities
- Cost of treatment – The high cost of treatment (includes testing kits, hospitalisation and quarantine care) reduces demand of private healthcare. This also affects their business viability.
- Nationwide lockdown– This has lead to falling revenues and footfalls, accompanied by new expenses and risk.
Implication of their non-participation
- Burden on public healthcare system – Private enterprise owns almost three out of every four hospital beds in India, and almost eight out of 10 ventilators, but they are handling less that 10 per cent of those critically ill with virus, thus all burden falls on public health institutions. To ease the burden on fellow doctors and paramedics, they need to join the battle.
- Failure to perform public duty – Since 1991, LPG reforms government has helped private sector to grow in India. However, in the times like coronavirus pandemic they need to adopt policy of compassionate capitalism to fight along the same government.
Way Forward – Malcolm X (Civil Rights Movement activist) has said “When I is Replaced by We, Illness Becomes Wellness!” , unprecedented times of pandemic presents the opportunity to private healthcare to turn I into we.
3. Aarogya Setu App a necessary evil?
Source – Indian Express
Syllabus – GS Paper 2 – Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
Context – Importance of AarogyaSetu App to combat COVID 19 and the associated issues with its usage
- What isAarogyaSetu?
An application designed by National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for contact tracing and risk assessment.
It uses both, Bluetooth and GPS, to establish whether a person has come close to one affected with virus.
- What information it collects?
Aarogya Setu seeks nine sets of permissions— including for network-based location, GPS location, receiving data from the Internet, running at device start-up, and preventing the device from ‘sleeping’.
- How does it work?
On registering name, age, sex, and country visited in last 30 days the data is stored and an unique ID is generated.
When two registered users come within Bluetooth range of each other, typically less than 10 metres, the apps on their respective devices will automatically exchange the digital IDs and record the time and GPS location at which the contact took place.
- Why it is needed?
- Harnessing digital technologies to track the spread – With its widespread use it will become easy for government agencies to limit the spread.
- To flatten the curve – South Korea and Singapore (Trace Together app) successfully flattened their disease curve by end of March by use of contract tracing apps.
- Issues associated with app–
- Use of app for surveillance by government agencies – This violates the citizen’s Right to privacy which is exacerbated with absence of data protection law in country.
- Apple and Google have banned use of GPS in contact tracing apps to prevent surveillance.
- Lack transparency – According to Internet Freedom foundation, the app’s source code as well as necessary information like who can access the data, is not available to citizens.
- App is people dependent – For contact tracing to work effectively, truthful reporting on app by people is required which is difficult to ensure.
- Mandatory use by Government for employees – However in European Union nations, use of such apps is done by consent of individual and is voluntary.
- No data sunset clause – EU’s General Data Protection Regulations makes it mandatory to have sunset clause to prevent data abuse and promotes its deletion after mandate is met.
Way Forward – AarogyaSetu app, if backed with law to pursue legitimate state aim, can become technological miracle to battle the disease spread.
4.Role of central bank during the pandemic
Source: Insider Spirit
Syllabus: GS 3- Issues related to Indian economy
Context: RBI’s job is to supervise and control the economic system and balancing the issues like the growth of economy and stability of economic system. With COVID crisis, these balancing acts have become difficult.
What should RBI do?
1.Balancing the next quarter and quarter century
- It must not act like a commercial bank and its aim is to attain a stable economic system without worrying about profits and losses.
- Developed vs developing country: India doesn’t have the economic might of US ($ 2.3 trillion stimulus) or Japan’s public debt levels (240% of GDP).2. Providing flexibility to handle this economic disturbance
- Continuous efforts are required to accomplish RBI’s dual mandate of growth and stability.
- There is a need of reversible, proportional and accountable economic model.
- While keeping policy rates unchanged, RBI is undertaking liquidity management, so as to improve monetary transmission.
- Other steps undertaken includes repayment moratoriums (with 10% provisions), providing flexibility with respect to provisioning norms
3. Ensuring institutional legitimacy and independence
- The RBI’s independence needs to be balanced with the role of government. Past experiences have shown central banks run by unelected officials increase institutional vulnerability.
- The RBI must balance the issues between the depositor vs borrowers, company vs banks and stability vs growth.
Role of Central bank to handle Covid19 Crisis:
- Global experience: Central banks have taken measures like buying corporate bonds, issuing corporate loans, cutting interest rates, conducting open market operations etc
- RBI has directed/persuaded banks: to grant loan moratoriums, hold less capital, restructure loans, pay lower deposit insurance premiums and delay bad loan recognition.
- The emergency powers: As the last resort, the RBI can invoke section 18 of the RBI Act to force the banks response to provide financial stimulus.
Pre-existing challenges for RBI
- Bad loans: It peaked at Rs 14 lakh crore and turns liquidity into insolvency.
- Inadequate competition between scheduled commercial bank: Since 1947, their numbers have hovered between 90 and 100.
- Private bank governance: In its report in December 2019, the RBI has flagged off the state of corporate governance in private banks. Ex- corporate governance lapses in Yes Bank, PMC Bank and ICICI Bank.
- Public sector bank governance: Absence of governance as the majority shareholder(Govt) is more powerful than boards and CEOs.
- RBI’s working: There are issues regarding the process, technology and human capital in regulation and supervision of RBI.
Way Forward: To create a prosperous India, an independent, accountable and defined central bank is required.
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