Q 1) What do you mean by surrogacy? What are the major concerns associated with commercial surrogacy in India? Critically discuss the Surrogacy (Regulation) bill, 2016 (GS-2)
Surrogacy refers to a contract in which a woman carries a pregnancy “for” another couple.
Major concerns wrt commercial surrogacy:
- Deaths of surrogate mothers due to neglect of health.
- Baby Manji Yamada case – Japanese couple who availed of surrogacy in India, divorced while the surrogate mother was pregnant. They then refused to take ownership of child.
- Uncertainties of pregnancy – when twins/triplets are born in place of a single child.
- preventing exploitation of women especially those from rural and tribal belts.
- India is used as a tourist spot for foreign couples exploiting loopholes of the law.
Surrogacy(Regulation) Bill, 2016:
- Permits surrogacy only for the Indian couples who cannot have children by natural methods or the technologies present in this field.
- Couples married for 5 years between the age group 23-50 years for women and 26-55 years for men who do not have a surviving child are eligible for surrogacy.
- The surrogate mother should be a close relative of the intending couple in the age group of 25-35 years and shall act as surrogate only once in her lifetime.
- The child born through surrogacy will have the rights of a biological child.
- OCIs, NRIs, foreigners, unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexual couples are barred from commissioning the services of surrogate mothers.
Q 2) Discuss the major causes behind Declining Female Labour Participation rates in India. What are the steps taken by Indian Government to encourage women participation in workforce? (GS-3)
In 2012, only 27% of adult Indian women had a job, or were actively looking for one, compared to 79% of men.
Participation in workforce has declined because:
- On supply side, increased incomes of men allow women to withdraw from workforce.
- On demand side, there is a lower demand for women due to:
a) Farm mechanization
b) Insufficient availability of type of jobs that women prefer
c) Security concerns & social norms
- Poorly equipped with skills and persisting low literacy rates
- Unemployment challenge in transition to a service led economy
Steps taken by Indian government:
- India ratified the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993.
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
- The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
- In Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan SC formulated guidelines for the protection against sexual harassment of working women at their place of work.
- Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme – empowerment of rural women.
- National Creche Scheme – day care facilities to children of age group of 6 months to 6 years of working women.
- Rashtriya Mahila Kosh – micro credit to poor women for various livelihood supports.
- Working women hostels – safe accommodation for women working away from their place of residence.
Q 3) Analyze Ethical aspect of Indian Government stand for non-acceptance of financial assistance from international states to provide rehabilitation and resettlement facilities for Kerala flood victims?
Reasons behind the stand:
- It may be used as a bargaining point for the donor country to flex India’s stance in some issue of importance.
- India has a long-standing policy of refusing foreign aid with disasters.
- India’s National Disaster Management Plan, which was published in 2016, states that the government “does not issue any appeal for foreign assistance in the wake of a disaster.”
- Although the Indian government is not accepting help from foreign nations, it’s still welcoming contributions from non-resident Indians, people of Indian origin and non-government organizations
Ethical issues in Indian government’s responses:
- It puts national pride before welfare of citizens.
- It negates the idea that nation exists to serve its citizens better.
- It may jeopardise the bilateral relations with the donor nation and also the Indian immigrants there.
- The issue of disaster rescue and rehabilitation should not be politicised between two nations’ bilateral struggles.
Q 4) Rising Communal tension in India questions the Secular nature of Indian Society aspired by the Constitution of India. Analyze the factors responsible for growing in-tolerance in Indian Society? (GS 1)
Secularism in India means equal treatment of all religions by the state. With the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976, the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation.
Reasons for growing intolerance in society:
- Generally religious intolerance arises in the society and divides the nation.
- Divisive and vicious media propaganda and failure of media to play a neutral role.
- Communal politics of some fringe groups and support from mainstream political parties.
- Failure of law and order mechanism to prevent events like the mob lynchings by Gau Rakshak groups, Ghar Wapsi and communally hatred propaganda on social media websites.
- Suppressing dissenting opinions as witnessed in the deaths of journalists life Gauri Lankesh.