Topic: Women related issues.
‘Women in Prisons’ report
Context: The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) has come up with its report titled ‘Women in Prisons’ which aims to build an understanding of the various entitlements of women in prisons, the various issues faced by them and possible methods for resolution of the same.
Highlights of the report- important recommendations:
Who is vulnerable? Women- elderly, disabled, pregnant, mothers who have recently given birth but whose children are not with them in prison, those who have miscarried, or those who have recently undergone abortion.
Arrangements for women with care-giving responsibilities: Prior to their imprisonment, women with care-giving responsibilities must be allowed to make arrangements for their children, and a reasonable suspension of detention may also be provided for this purpose. Provisions for extended and frequent visits, and admission of children into Childcare institutions have also been proposed.
Bail: Bail should be granted to those under-trial women who have spent one-third of their maximum possible sentence in detention, by making necessary changes in Section 436A of the CrPC which provides for release after half of the maximum sentence has been served.
Special care for pregnant and lactating women: A separate accommodation for mothers in post-natal stage to maintain hygiene and protect the infant from contagion, for at least a year after childbirth has been proposed. There are special provisions relating to health and nutrition be made for women who have recently given birth outside prison, or who have undergone abortion or miscarriage. Instruments of restraint, punishment by close confinement or disciplinary segregation should never be used on pregnant and lactating women. Pregnant women must be given information and access to abortion during incarceration, to the extent permissible by law.
Legal aid: To make legal aid more effective, legal consultations must be conducted in confidentiality and without censorship. For persons with language barriers or sensory disabilities, adequate arrangements must be made by the prison administration to ensure that such persons do not face any disadvantage by providing an independent interpreter.
Rehabilitation: A comprehensive after-care programme to be put in place, covering employment, financial support, regaining of child custody, shelter, counselling, continuity of health care services etc. Counselling should also be provided to family members and employers to adequately receive the woman after release.
Grievance redressal: Apart from the prisoner herself, her legal adviser or family members should be allowed to make complaints regarding her stay in prison. An inmate register can also be placed at an accessible spot in the prison for submitting grievances. All official visitors must hold special one-on-one interviews with prisoners away from prison authorities during inspection visits.
Challenges faced by women in prisons:
- Women in prisons face greater hardships than their male counterparts due to many factors such as social stigma, financial dependence on their families or husbands etc. These difficulties are further exacerbated when the woman has children.
- Women have to face numerous problems in prisons owing to inadequacy of female staff which often translates to the reality that male staff becomes responsible for female inmates, which is undesirable.
- Women are not provided with meals that are nutritious and according to their bodily requirements.
- Women are at a most disadvantageous position when it comes to their reintegration in society after release. Many are abandoned or harassed post-release, mainly due to the stigma attached with incarceration, which is even more pronounced in cases of women.
- Women also tend to lose ties with their children over the years, due to inadequate child custody procedures. Also, a robust grievance redressal mechanism was required to tackle cases of sexual harassment, violence and abuse against women in jails.
Reforms are needed for improving the lives of women under incarceration including the elderly and the disabled, addressing a wide range of issues pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth in prison, mental health, legal aid, reintegration in society and their caregiving responsibilities among others. In this regard, changes in the National Model Prison Manual 2016 have also been suggested to bring it in line with international standards and norms.
- As of 2015, there are 4,19,623 persons in jail in India, of which, 17,834 (about 4.3%) are women. Of these, 11,916 (66.8%) are undertrial prisoners.
- There is an increasing trend in the number of women prisoners – from 3.3% of all prisoners in 2000 to 4.3% in 2015.
- A majority of female inmates are in the age group of 30-50 years (50.5%), followed by 18-30 years (31.3%).
- Of the total 1,401 prisons in India, only 18 are exclusive for women, housing 2,985 female prisoners. Thus, a majority of women inmates are housed in women’s enclosures of general prisons.
Van Dhan Vikas Kendras
Context: Government proposes to set up 3000 Van Dhan Kendras involving 30,000 SHGs across the country.
About Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative:
The initiative aims to promote MFPs-centric livelihood development of tribal gatherers and artisans. It mainstreams the tribal community by promoting primary level value addition to MFP at grassroots level. Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.
- The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.
- At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level.
- Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.
- Composition: As per the plan, TRIFED will facilitate establishment of MFP-led multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, a cluster of 10 SHGs comprising of 30 tribal MFP gatherers each, in the tribal areas.
Significance of MFP:
- Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income.
- It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time.
- This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban)
Context: The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has approved construction of another 3,18,900 affordable houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban) with an investment of Rs 8,692 crore. With this, 51 Lakh Houses have been sanctioned under the scheme in three years of implementation.
The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Programme launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), in Mission mode envisions provision of Housing for All by 2022, when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence.
The Mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme verticals:
- Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource.
- Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy.
- Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectors.
- Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction /enhancement.
- The beneficiaries are poor and people living under EWS and LIG categories in the country.
- The scheme is divided into three phases. In the first phase, a total of 100 cities will be covered from April 2015 to March 2017. In phase two, 200 cities will be covered from April 2017 to March 2019. In the third phase, the leftover cities will be covered from April 2019 to March 2022.
- The government is providing an interest subsidy of 6.5% on housing loans which can be availed by beneficiaries for 15 years from start of loan date.
- The government will grant Rs 1 lakh to all the beneficiaries of the scheme. In addition, Rs 1.5 lakh will be given to all eligible urban poor who want to construct their houses in urban areas or plan to go for renovation in their existing houses. One can also avail loans under this scheme to build toilets in existing houses.
Software to help strengthen the implementation of Poshan Abhiyan
Context: ICDS-CAS (Common Application Software)- It is a Specially designed software to help in strengthening service delivery and improving nutrition outcomes through Effective monitoring and Timely interventions in POSHAN Abhiyaan.
Common Application Software (ICDS-CAS):
The POSHAN Abhiyaan empowers the frontline functionaries i.e. Anganwadi Workers and Lady Supervisors by providing them with Smartphones. The Common Application Software (ICDS-CAS) especially developed for this purpose enables data capture, ensures assigned service delivery and prompts for interventions wherever required. This data is then available in near real time to the supervisory staff from Sector, Block, District, State to National level through a Dashboard, for monitoring.
POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 8thMarch, 2018 in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
The programme through use of technology, targeted approach and convergence strives to reduce the level of Stunting, Under-nutrition, Anemia and Low Birth Weight in Children, as also, focus on Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers, thus holistically addressing malnutrition.
UN MSME Day 2018
Context: UN MSME Day is celebrated on June 27th across the world.
The General Assembly, in 2017, recognizing the need to improve small business access to microfinance and credit, decided to designate 27 June as Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. The goal is to encourage member states to facilitate observance of the day by increasing awareness and actions to support small business.
The resolution was introduced by the delegation of Argentina, co-sponsored by 54 member states and adopted without a vote by the 193-member General Assembly on 6 April 2017.
What is a micro-, small, or medium-sized enterprise?
The criteria for defining the size of a business differ from country to country. As a reference, the European Commission’s definition of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises is established according to the number of employees and the annual turnover or balance sheet:
- Micro-enterprise: fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover (the amount of money taken in a particular period) or balance sheet (a statement of a company’s assets and liabilities) below €2 million.
- Small enterprise: fewer than 50 employees and an annual turnover or balance sheet below €10 million.
- Medium-sized enterprise: fewer than 250 employees and annual turnover below €50 million or balance sheet below €43 million.
The choice of MSME definition could depend on many factors, such as business culture, the size of the country’s population, industry and the level of international economic integration.
Significance of MSMEs:
- Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are the backbone of most economies worldwide and play a key role in developing countries.
- According to the data provided by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), formal and informal Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) make up over 90% of all firms and account on average for 60-70% of total employment and 50% of GDP.
- These types of enterprises are responsible for significant employment and income generation opportunities across the world and have been identified as a major driver of poverty alleviation and development.
- MSMEs tend to employ a larger share of the vulnerable sectors of the workforce, such as women, youth, and people from poorer households. MSMEs can even sometimes be the only source of employment in rural areas. As such, MSMEs as a group are the main income provider for the income distribution at the “base of the pyramid”.
How they contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals?
- Micro-, small and medium sized enterprises are vital in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular in promoting innovation, creativity and decent work for all.
- Efforts to enhance access to finance for SMEs across key sectors of national economies are an important element of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG targets 8.3 and 9.3 call for enhancing the access of SMEs to financial services. In addition, SMEs are an important element in the implementation of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).
Topic: Infrastructure- energy.
Global solar bank
Context: ISA is planning global solar bank to finance $150 billion of power projects.
World Solar Bank:
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) plans to approach multilateral development banks (MDBs) such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to specifically finance solar projects. This SPV aimed at financing $150 billion would become a World Solar Bank.
The proposal for a World Solar Bank comes against the backdrop of ISA’s mission to undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology. It needs to mobilize more than $1,000 billion of investments by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy and pave the way for future technologies.
The Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.
- Objectives: The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.
- What it does? As an action-oriented organisation, the ISA brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale, and promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity building.
- When it entered into force? When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty based International Intergovernmental Organization, headquartered at Gurugram, India.
The ISA is not only expected to spur innovation in the RE space but also help make India a technological hub with independent manufacturing capabilities of RE equipment like solar panels, rather than being dependent on imports, through initiatives like ‘Make in India’. India’s Ministry of External Affairs is expected to play a role in “marrying Indian tech and finance capabilities with specific projects around the world”.
India announced a goal of obtaining 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030 at the Paris climate change summit. It is close to achieving 20 GW grid connected solar power generation capacity this fiscal year (2018), in pursuit of achieving its target of 100 GW by 2022.