List of Contents
World Bank Signs $500 Million Project to Develop Green, Resilient and Safe Highways in India
What is commission for air quality management
News: The Government of India and the World Bank has signed a $500 million Green National Highways Corridors Project.
- Objective: To demonstrate safe and green National Highway corridors in selected States and enhance the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in mainstreaming safety and green technologies.
- States covered under the project: Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
- Key Features of the Green National Highways Corridor Project:
- The project supports an in-depth analysis of gender-related issues in the transport sector along with help in creating jobs for women by training women-led micro enterprises and women collectives to implement green technologies in the highway corridors.
- The project will also strengthen and widen existing structures; construct new pavements, drainage facilities and bypasses; improve junctions and introduce road safety features
Women in science
Context: The new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy is currently being drafted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)
More on news:
- Its aim will be to increase the participation of women in science.
- The DST will incorporate a system of grading institutes depending on the enrolment of women and the advancement of the careers of women faculty and scientists.
What is Athena SWAN?
- The Athena SWAN Charter: It is an evaluation and accreditation programme in the UK enhancing gender equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
- Function:Participating research organisations and academic institutions are required to analyse data on gender equity and develop action plans for improvement. The programme recognises such efforts with bronze, silver or gold accreditation.
- Institutions that sign up commit to:
- Addressing unequal gender representation.
- Tackling the gender pay gap.
- Removing the obstacles faced by women in career development and progression.
- Discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
- Gender balance of committees and zero tolerance for bullying and sexual harassment.
How well has it worked?
- In 2019, a report by Ortus Economic Research:In partnership with Loughborough University found that 93% of participants believed the programme had a positive impact on gender issues.
- 78% said it had impacted equality and diversity issues positively, and 78% noted a positive impact on the career progression of women.
- A study in BMJ: It found that in the five-year period since the scheme was started, participating institutions had a higher number of female leaders than non-Athena institutions, and gender diversity in leadership positions also improved.
Why does India need such a programme?
- GATI: In India, it will be called GATI (Gender Advancement through Transforming Institutions). India is ranked 108 out of 149 countries in the 2018 Global Gender Gap report.
- According to DST figures: In 2015-16, the share of women involved in scientific research and development was 14.71%.
- The DST has also found that women are either not promoted, or very often drop out mid-career to attend to their families.
What are the challenges ahead?
- Institutions lack control:To get as many institutions as possible to sign up, the DST will need to manoeuvre around government red tape as most universities, barring the IITs and NITs, are run and funded by the government as well.
- This means that these institutions don’t have direct control over institutional policies, recruitment and promotions.
What are the steps of DST towards ensuring gender equity?
- Gender equity:The DST has tied up with National Assessment and Accreditation Council, under the UGC, aiming to push gender equity through them.
- Gender sensitisation: The DST plans to run intensive gender sensitisation programmes, especially for the top leadership of institutions, and work within existing rules such as pushing for women members on selection committees during recruitment processes.
- Policy changes: In the future, the DST is likely to consider policy changes such as those brought about in the UK providing financial incentives through grants to institutes.
- For the pilot, 25 institutes will be shortlisted to carry out self-assessment on gender equity in their departments. The British Council is assisting the DST and will facilitate collaboration between selected institutions under GATI with Athena SWAN-accredited institutions in the UK, with each institute here having a partner institute in the UK for guidance.
Context – Declining female labour force participation.
Why in news-
Year 2020 marked as-
- The nearly fifty years since the Committee on the Status of Women in India (CSWI) submitted the report ‘Towards Equality’ to the United Nations (UN).
- It focused on women-sensitive policymaking in India, providing a fresh perspective on gender equality.
- The 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action- A benchmark for analyzing the condition of women and State-led empowerment.
What is the status of women’s workforce in India?
- Workforce participation: India demonstrates one of the lowest labour participation rates for women, which have been consistently declining since 1950.
- The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2018-19 indicates a fall in absolute employment for women.
- Women faced a decline in labour participation rates (from 2011 to 2019) in rural areas from 35.8% to 26.4%, and stagnation in urban areas at around 20.4%.
- Poor worldwide Rankings:
- Global Gender Gap Index– India has been ranked 149th among 153 countries in terms of women’s economic participation and opportunity published by World Economic Forum.
- 2019 Oxfam report– Gender wage gap highest in Asia. Based on hourly wages, women earn, on average, 65.5% of what their male colleagues earn for performing the same work.
- Women in agriculture:
- Lack of ownership of land– As many as 87 per cent of women does not own their land, only 12.7 per cent of them do.
- Status of women in other sectors of the economy:
- Manufacturing sector – around 14% of the female labour force.
- Women account for only 19.9% of the total labor force in India
- The service sector sees women disproportionately involved in care-work, over 60% of the 4.75 million domestic workers are women.
- The non-availability of white collar jobs, disproportionate long hours and lesser job security narrow downs the job opportunities for educated women in India.
What are the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and new labour codes on women workforce?
- COVID-19 impact– Recent job stagnation and high unemployment rates for women, exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic, also keep women out of the labor force.
- Job lost in pandemic– The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data showed that 39% of women lost their jobs in April and May compared to 29% of men.
- New labour codes impact– The labour reforms disregard women’s work conditions.
- The codes acknowledge neither the gender wage gap nor non-payment of wages and bonuses
- Ignore informal mostly women workers in terms of social security, insurance, provident fund, maternity benefits, or gratuity.
- There is no protection against sexual harassment at workplace.
- Maternity benefits remain unchanged from the 2017 amendment
- Addressing structural issues which keep women away from the workforce is a must.
- Policy decisions need to articulate gendered concerns during public health emergencies because gender-sensitive pandemic planning may substantially mitigate these concerns.