26th December 2019 : The Hindu Editorials Notes : Mains Sure Shot
Question – In context of female labor force participation, analyze the concerns of women working in night shifts. (200 words)
Context: The Karnataka government issued a notification allowing women to work night shifts (7 p.m. to 6 a.m.) in all factories registered under the Factories Act, 1948. States that already allow this are Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
International labor organization:
- States require to amend the Factories Act to remove both sex-based discrimination in night work and restrictions on the fundamental right to practise any profession, occupation, trade, or business of one’s choice.
- It will improve the ease of doing business, investor friendliness, and flexibility in a macroeconomic climate.
- As per industrial bodies and chambers of commerce it will benefit the trade and manufacturing sectors, especially the garment industry.
- Increase in female labor force participation.
- Related to security:- The amendment suggests that night shifts for women will only be allowed if the employer ensures adequate safeguards concerning occupational safety and health, protection of dignity and honour, and transportation from the factory premises to points nearest to the worker’s residence. But employers generally fails to provide security and dignity in day time. So its is challenging for employers to provide security at night period.
- Concern related to sexual harassment :- Though the amendment places the onus on employers to prevent sexual harassment, workers say existing mechanisms aimed at addressing workplace violence, including abuse of workers’ rights and verbal abuse, which are primarily driven by unrealistic production targets, are simply absent or dysfunctional.
- The amendment has prioritize installation of CCTV cameras but workers point out that there is no guarantee of their operational status, or clarity on who handles the footage.
- Lack of participation of workers union while formulation of this notification by the Karnataka Government.
- This notification does not resolve the issues related to pay structure for night work. Overtime in garment industry is only an extension of regular work without giving due compensation for overtime.
- Amendment has strengthened the position of factory inspector but there are many cases of improper inspection or negligence toward grave misconduct.
- The amendment has also failed to address child care, an important concern in a woman-dominated sector, especially when paid care is beyond their means.
- Promises such as 12 consecutive hours of rest between the last shift and the night shift, separate canteens, and more rest rooms also appear unconvincing in a context where even restroom breaks are infrequent due to high production targets.
- In a sector where there is systemic failure and worker-management relations are turbulent, putting the onus of worker safety and security in the hands of the management alone can be risky.
- The measures suggested by the Delhi HC after the Nirbhaya rape case must be followed by all the states. (16th December article).
Question – In context of the Global Gender Gap Index, 2020, analyze India’s performance and suggest the way ahead.(250 words)
- the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2020 has ranked India 112th. India Dropped four points from 2018.
- The Index measures the extent of gender-based gaps on four key parameters — economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
- It measures gender-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in countries, rather than the actual levels of the available resources and opportunities.
India’s performance analysis:
- The country has reportedly closed two thirds of its overall gender gap, with a score of 66.8%, but the report notes with concern that the condition of women in large fringes of Indian society is ‘precarious’.
- Economic participation and opportunity – Of significant concern is the economic gender gap, with a score of 35.4%, at the 149th place, among 153 countries, and down seven places since the previous edition, indicating only a third of the gap has been bridged. The participation of women in the labour force is also among the lowest in the world, and the female estimated earned income is only one-fifth of male income.
- Health and survival – An alarming statistic is India’s position (150th rank) on the very bottom of the Health and Survival sub index, determined largely by the skewed sex ratio at birth, violence, forced marriage and discrimination in access to health.
- Educational attainment and political empowerment – It is on the educational attainment (112th rank) and political empowerment (18th rank) fronts that the relatively good news is buried.
Steps taken by the government for the upliftment of women:
- Mahila E-haat – It is a direct online marketing platform launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to support women entrepreneurs, Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to showcase products made and services rendered by them. This is a part of digital India initiative. Women can register themselves and leverage technology for showcasing their work to a broader market.
- Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao – This is a social campaign aimed at eradication of female foeticide and raising awareness on welfare services intended for young Indian girls.
- In India, the child gender ratio in the age group of 0 – 6 years stood at 931 girls for 1000 boys and it dropped to 918 girls for every 1000 boys in 2011. Sex – selective abortion or female foeticide in India has led to the sharp decline in the ratio of girls born in contrast to the boys in some states in the country. The wide gap in child gender ratio was first noted in 1991 when the national census data was released and it turned out to be a worsening problem after the release of 2001 national census data.
- To bridge the growing gap between the birth of girl and boy infants, the government of India has taken up an initiative to promote Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and many programmes has been organized to promote ‘Save Girl Child’ and to ‘Educate Girl Child’, since January 2015. The campaign has also received support from the Indian Medical Association.
- The “Save the Girl Child” movement was launched on 22 January 2015, it is a joint initiative run by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao – The scheme was launched with an initial funding of Rs 100 crores. It mainly targets the clusters in Uttarakhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana.
- One Stop Centre scheme – Popularly known as ‘Sakhi,’ it was implemented on 1st April 2015 with the ‘Nirbhaya’ fund. The One Stop Centres are established at various locations in India for providing shelter, police desk, legal, medical and counselling services to victims of violence under one roof integrated with a 24-hour Helpline.
- Working Women Hostels – The objective of the scheme is to promote the availability of safe and conveniently located accommodation for working women, with daycare facility for their children, wherever possible, in urban, semi-urban, or even rural areas where employment opportunity for women exist.
- Swadhar Greh – The Swadhar scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2002 for rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances. The scheme provides shelter, food, clothing and care to the marginalized women/girls who are in need. The beneficiaries include widows deserted by their families and relatives, women prisoners released from jail and without family support, women survivors of natural disasters, women victims of terrorist/extremist violence etc.
- STEP – The Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme aims to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/ entrepreneurs. Sectors include Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Handlooms, Tailoring, Stitching, Embroidery, Zari etc, Handicrafts, Computer & IT enable services along with soft skills and skills for the workplace such as spoken English, Gems & Jewellery, Travel & Tourism, Hospitality, etc.
- Nari Shakti Purushkar – The Nari Shakti Puruskars are national level awards recognizing the efforts made by women and institutions in rendering distinguished services for the cause of women, especially vulnerable and marginalized women. The awards are presented by the President of India every year on 8 March, International Women’s Day at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
- Provide opportunities to women and encourage participation.
- Actual implementation of schemes and policies.
- While a good score on any global index is a target worth pursuing, what is being questioned here is basic — is the state reneging on its commitment to half its population? A commitment to ameliorate the conditions for women is a non-negotiable duty of any state.
- Finally, a rounded approach is necessary to ensure women’s access to resources, opportunities.