Matters of Legislation: Dynamics between the Centre and the States

Did you ever raise an eyebrow over the fact that India with its strong federal structure is not a federation? For a sovereign nation to be called a federation, the legislative powers between the Centre and the States need to be divided in an independent manner such that they remain within their sphere. Unlike the American Federation, India was called a Union of States as its formation was not the result of an agreement by the States and no State can secede from it. According to BR Ambedkar and the Drafting Committee of 1947, the indestructibility of our federal nation made it a Union. (more…)

Gender Studies in School Education: Redefining the Policy Approach

The sorting of bodies into binary categories has been used for labor division and for identifying key differences in personality traits over the past centuries most of which has led to adverse consequences for gender identities. Gender studies, therefore, as an academic discipline aims to demystify these categories and introduces fluidity as an important aspect of gender. Most importantly, gender as a lived experience affects an individual’s social location and opportunities, therefore, its consequences demand careful examination. Gender can be defined as “both a term that refers to relationships of power, and a category of analysis and knowledge as an analytical tool”. Gender as a field of study is thus meant to teach us how to use such information for analysis to expand our understanding and execute inclusive policies.  (more…)

National Family Health Survey (2019-2020): Assessing India’s Stance on Sexual Health & Family Planning

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is a large, multi-round survey conducted in a representative sample of households throughout India. The survey provides State-wise information for India on fertility, maternal and child mortality and nutrition to name a few domains, to collect essential data on the health status of the population. Till date, 5 such surveys have been rolled out, the first being in 1992-93.

NFHS-5 (2019-20) was released on 12th December 2020 by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan- the indicators of evaluation in the survey being areas such as population, family health, reproductive and child welfare and domestic violence to name a few. (more…)

Access to School Education for Girls in India: Impact & Interventions for Change

One of the major challenges of the education system in India is to address gender disparities in terms of enrolment and drop-out rates of the girl child. The dismal female literacy rate in 1981 was at 28.47% and increased to 65.46% in 2011 as opposed to the male literacy rate of 82.14% in 2011. The rural findings of ASER 2018 also reflected that in 2008, 20% of girls nationally in the 15-16 age group were not enrolled in schools, and in 2018 this number remained at 13.5%. (more…)

Role of Skill Development in India’s Future: Assessing the India Skills Report, 2019

India, one of the most populous countries in the world, can accrue a lot of benefits from its labor market. There lies the immense potential for India to be the largest provider of skilled labor to the world. After opening up the economy, the Government realized the significance of skill development in the country, as it plays a significant role in increasing employment opportunities for the population.   (more…)

2nd National Environmental Law and Policy Essay Writing Competition, 2021

Institutions such as CSOs and pressure groups have played a major role in raising ecological consciousness among people. However, their impact has not been greatly felt at the macro level as they struggle to voice their objections against the popular narrative of the human necessity for development. The failure of market forces, in considering the environmental consequences of their actions advocates the importance of policy intervention. Thus the need for policy-driven conservation efforts, duly supplemented by citizen activism, cannot be undermined. (more…)

Proposed Regulation of OTT Platforms and Digital Content in India : Implications and the Way Ahead

India is predicted to become the 6th largest market for OTT (Over-the-top) platforms by 2024, with digital media reaching a valuation of $5.1 billion by 2021 alone. This growth can be credited to several factors including record low internet prices and the proliferation of mobile devices. This massive and undeniable change in the media landscape raises, perhaps inevitably, the issue of the integration of digital media into a broader policy landscape. The dialogue surrounding the regulation of digital media in all its forms has been steadily gaining momentum globally and in India. The question of content regulation in particular has proven to be a complex and nuanced issue with different stakeholders such as the government and media entities representing varied perspectives. (more…)

The Anuradha Bhasin Judgment and the Conditional Status of the Right to the Internet

The preamble to the Indian Constitution provides for the liberty of thought and expression to each and every citizen of the country. This solemn resolve is envisaged in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution which provides for freedom of speech and expression to its citizens. This freedom is restricted by Article 19(2) which provides for reasonable restrictions on eight grounds under which the State can encroach on a person’s freedom of speech and expression. Article 19(2) is generally understood as a provision enabling the State to make laws that impose reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression. In addition to this, Article 19(2) is also a restriction on the State itself as it cannot restrict a citizen’s free speech on any grounds other than those specifically mentioned. Furthermore, the restriction must be made through a law that needs to be checked against fundamental rights. Thus, restrictions cannot be imposed at the whims and fancies of the State. A recent case that reinforces this principle while also improvising the interpretation of the right to access the internet vis-a-vis the fundamental rights is Anuradha Bhasin v Union of India (more…)

“Respect” as Income Support? The Case of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi

The Kisan Long March of 2018 brought the grave situation of agrarian distress to the fore and built a consensus demanding policy intervention. Thus, the announcement of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme (PM- KISAN) came as a form of confirmation of the ongoing agrarian crisis. The sixth installment of the scheme was rolled out by the Government from 1st August 2020. This Central scheme was announced in 2018 to benefit 14 crore small and marginal farmers with direct cash transfers of more than 75,000 crore rupees. Under this scheme, small and marginal farmers holding not more than 2 hectares of land are entitled to receive Rs 6,000 a year in 3 installments. After 2 cycles of the scheme being complete, it is important to look into its success and what it has been able to achieve in real terms.  (more…)