Social Security for Migrant Labour in India: An Overview

Migrant workers continue to face endless issues choosing to work in different States and cities, especially since they are mostly employed by the unorganized sector. Migrating from their hometown to an urban area in search for better opportunities puts them in a vulnerable position where they are forced to fend for themselves in less than substandard working conditions and subject to being exploited for very little money. Many migrant workers who engage in seasonal work are often trapped in debt or bondage. In order to ensure decent livelihood and standard of living of such a huge chunk of the population, the need to have a sturdy legislation upholding their rights is of utmost importance for the overall development of the economy. (more…)

The COVID-19 Challenge: Tackling the Policy Plague of Social Inequalities

By Anushka Gutte, Research Associate, Policy

In late December, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission of China reported a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei province. Surfaced in the Chinese seafood and poultry, it was soon identified to be the novel corona virus. As of this writing, the corona virus outbreak has caused over 4 million cases and over 200,000 deaths worldwide. India reported its first case in Kerala on 30th January, 2020, a student from Wuhan. Since then India has reported over 70,000 COVID-19 cases. Over the last three months, India has taken multiple actions in terms of investments in healthcare, vaccine research, testing to deal with the ensuing pandemic. However, these are inadequate at social fronts, especially in a country like India where issues of social inequality are of utmost importance. (more…)

The POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019: Enough To Stop Child Sexual Abuse?

By Shivangi Pandey, Research Associate, Human Rights and Social Justice Policies

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s data collected in 2018, 109 children are sexually abused everyday. The Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019, (POCSO Bill 2019) which amended the 2012 Act brought out by the government has been an effort to curb sexual crimes against children. The amendment has made punishments more stringent, an effort to make the investigation and judicial proceedings child-friendly with new clauses in place. Though the above seem like  progressive steps forward, it is argued that these provisions only drive attention away from the abysmally poor form of implementation and low rate of conviction.  (more…)

The Ordeal of Manual Scavenging: Tracing the Evolution of India’s Mitigation Policies

By Khushi Pamnani, Research Associate, Human Rights and Social Justice Policies

The UN defines manual scavenging as the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. Upon collection of the excreta in containers like thin boards, baskets, and buckets, manual scavengers are then responsible to carry them on their heads to locations that are several kilometers away from the latrines. The demand for manual scavenging still persists due to a lack of functional and sanitary sewage systems. 

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India’s Performance on the UN Human Development Index: Walking on the Path of Socio-Economic Progress

The Index (HDI) is relevant as it shows the impact of policies – economic and social – on the lives of citizens, illustrates potential lacunae in policy implementation and formulation by highlighting the real effects of public policies through statistical analysis and emphasises the need for economic growth that leads to social development. (more…)

UAPA Bill 2019

UAPA Bill, 2019 : Towards a terror free country or a flawed path?

By Tanu Singh, Ramjas College, New Delhi.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah put forward a Bill on 9 July 2019, proposing amendments in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. On 24 July the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha cleared the Bill with 147 voting in favour and 42 against. UAPA, implemented in 1967, is an Act ‘to provide for the more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations and for matters connected therewith’. It assigns absolute power to the Central Government, by way of which, if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so. (more…)

Right to Information

Changes in the RTI Act: Diluting Democracy?

By Priya Singh, Christ University, Bengaluru.

The Parliament recently passed the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019. This Amendment Bill was proposed to amend the Right to Information Act of 2005. Despite strong opposition protest in the Lok Sabha and an opposition walkout in Rajya Sabha, the Amendment Bill has been ratified by both Houses of the Parliament. The opposition had proposed to refer the Bill to a standing committee that would decide its constitutional validity, however, this was not assented to by the majority.  (more…)

Right to Disconnect: A Statutory Requirement?

By Shloka Suda, School of Law, UPES, Dehradun.

During the last 25 years, there has been a drastic improvement in the modes of communication, every person carrying a cellular device is just a phone call away, letters are written via email, the transmission of messages takes place in seconds through means of the internet. In the wake of advancements in technology, it has become increasingly difficult for a person to separate professional life from personal life. This “problem” has been recognized by the International Labour Organisation, as the said situation has only led to increased responsibility and accountability on the Employee. Any person who wants to give a 100% at his job invariably ends up spending all of his day working, which leads to a degradation in the quality of their life. In order to protect employees from this complication and to maintain the distinction between work and home, a need for “The Right to Disconnect” has been acknowledged. The Right to Disconnect essentially empowers the employee to not respond to any work-related queries post designated work hours. (more…)

Reservation Policy: Time for a Revamp?

By Elizabath Pappachan, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

The reservation policy is in a way uniquely Indian. The reservation policy is a form of affirmative action or positive discrimination where the idea is to support the disadvantaged members of society through advantages given in areas like education and employment, amongst others. It emerges from different conceptions of equality. The commonly accepted idea of equality states that all humans are equal and should be treated equally, regardless of race, gender, religion, caste and other social barriers. However, affirmative action arises from a conception of equality that acknowledges differences of social background and the discrimination of certain sections of society may mean that people do need to be treated differently to achieve true equality. (more…)

Gandhi’s Harijans: The Misunderstood Sect

By Anmol Kaur Bawa, Symbiosis Law College, Pune.

HARIJANS AND THEIR SOCIAL DISABILITIES:

The term “harijan” is not Gandhi’s coinage. The name was suggested by several untouchable correspondents who contended the usage of the word “asprishya” meaning literally “untouchable” in the pages of “Navjivan”.  Harijan means “man of god”. All the religions of the world describe God pre-eminently as the friend of the friendless, help of the helpless and protector of the weak; hence the word aptly demystifies the condition of the untouchables in India as the most helpless, weak and friendless men in the society and according to Gandhi, they belong to the community of untouchables. (more…)