QUESTION : Do you think section 377 of the IPC is out of sync with the social reality today? What approach would you suggest to address the issue? Discuss by giving your view on that.
ON THE MARGINS WITH FULL EQUALITY STILL OUT OF REACH
Plight of Sexual Minorities
WHY IN NEWS ?
The article highlights the plight of sexual minorities despite the landmark judgments by the Supreme Court.
ROLE PLAYED BY THE JUDICIARY :
• The Delhi High Court’s verdict in Naz Foundation vs Government of NCT of Delhi (2009) was a landmark in the law of sexuality and equality jurisprudence in India.
• The court held that Section 377 offended the guarantee of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution, because it creates an unreasonable classification and targets homosexuals as a class.
• In a retrograde step, the Supreme Court, in Suresh Kumar Koushal vs Naz Foundation (2013), reinstated Section 377 to the IPC.
• However, the Supreme Court in Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. vs Union of India (2018) declared that the application of Section 377 IPC to consensual homosexual behaviour was “unconstitutional”.
• This Supreme Court judgment has been a great victory to the Indian individual in his quest for identity and dignity.
• It also underscored the doctrine of progressive realisation of rights.
NO LEGAL SANCTION TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE :
• Despite the judgments of the Supreme Court, there is still a lot of discrimination against sexual minorities in matters of employment, health and personal relationship.
• The Union of India has recently opposed any move to accord legal sanction to same-sex marriages in India.
• The Union of India stated that the decriminalisation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code does not automatically translate into a fundamental right for same sex couples to marry.
• The U.S. Supreme Court, in Obergefell vs Hodges (2015) underscored the emotional and social value of the institution of marriage and asserted that the universal human right of marriage should not be denied to a same-sex couple.
• Indian society and the state should synchronise themselves with changing trends.
NEED TO AMEND ARTICLE 14 TO PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION :
• Article 15 secures the citizens from every sort of discrimination by the state, on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth or any of them.
• The grounds of non-discrimination should be expanded by including gender and sexual orientation.
• In May 1996, South Africa became the first country to constitutionally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
• The United Kingdom passed the “Alan Turing law” in 2017 which ‘granted amnesty and pardon to the men who were cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts’.
DIFFICULTIES FACED BY LGBT COMMUNITY :
• Heterosexuality: They are more likely to experience intolerance, discrimination, harassment, and threat of violence due to their sexual orientation than those that identify themselves as heterosexual.
• In-equality & Violence: They face inequality and violence at every place around the world. They face torture from people who mock at them and make them realize that they are different from others.
• Deprived in Rights: In many countries, the rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples are not enjoyed by same-sex couples. They are prohibited from those rights.
• Isolation from society: They gradually develop low self-esteem and low self-confidence and become isolated from friends and family.
• Conflict in Family itself: Lack of communication between LGBT children and the parents often leads to conflict in the family. Many LGBT youths are placed in foster care or end up in juvenile detention or on the streets.
• Racial Discrimination: Additionally, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face poverty and racism daily. They suffer from social and economic inequalities due to continuous discrimination in the workplace.
• Tape of Addictions: These people mostly get addicted to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco to get themselves relieved of stress and rejection and discrimination.
• Victims of Hate Crimes: They also become victims of hate crimes. In some countries, homosexuality is regarded as a crime. It is illegal and is often met by imprisonment and fines.
• Exclusion and discrimination have more impact on the lives of LGBT persons. This has resulted in the following-
• Dropping out of school earlier
• Leaving home and family
• Being ignored in the community
• Lacking family support
• Attempt suicide
WAY FORWARD :
• Justice Rohinton F. Nariman had directed in Navtej Singh Johar & Ors., the Government to sensitise the general public and officials, to reduce and finally eliminate the stigma associated with LGBTQ+ community through the mass media and the official channels.
• School and university students too should be sensitised about the diversity of sexuality to deconstruct the myth of heteronormativity.
• Special laws should be enacted.
• Provide opportunities in social and economic activities.
• Need to take preventive measures in family, public and domestic violence.
• Need to change the social attitude toward LGBT Minority people.
• Need to organize workshops and seminars about their rights.
• The state has to protect their fundamental rights without any discrimination.
• The government should take initiatives to support employers in making the workplace and workplace culture more supportive and inclusive of LGBT people
It is time for change, but the burden should not be left to the powers that be. The onus remains with the civil society, the citizenry concerned and the LGBTQ+ community itself.
SOURCE: NOT THE HINDU
QUESTION : Explain why there is a need for transformation towards sustainable, nutritious and resilient food systems to achieve the goal of zero hunger for India ?
FIGHTING HUNGER NEEDS FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
Overcoming Malnutrition And Climate Change
WHY IN NEWS ?
The article suggests pathways to achieve SDG-2 by the adoption of climate-friendly agriculture practices.
• Food is a common thread linking all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and critical to achieve overall goals within the timeframe.
• Thus, India, with one-sixth of humanity, will have to play a critical role to achieve the targets.
INDIA’S CURRENT SITUATION ON FOOD AND MALNUTRITION :
• India shares a quarter of the global hunger burden.
• 4 out of 10 children in India are not meeting their full human potential because of chronic under-nutrition or stunting.
• National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – 5 shows many states have not fared well on nutrition indicators.
• In addition to the malnutrition challenges, India’s food system faces negative consequences of the Green Revolution technologies.
• Statistics specific to the SDG-2 (goal on zero-hunger):
o 34.7% children aged under five in India are stunted;
o 40.5% children between 6-59 months are anaemic;
o 50.3% of pregnant women between 15-49 years are anaemic;
o Children aged 0-4 years are underweight.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND FOOD SECURITY: FAST FACTS
• Climate change is a threat multiplier for hungry and undernourished people.
• Countries with high levels of hunger are often also highly vulnerable to climate change, and have a low capacity to adapt.
• Climate change affects food production and availability, access, quality, utilization, and stability of food systems. In short, it impacts all aspects of the food system.
• Extreme weather-related disasters are increasing and reduce the yields of major crops.
• Higher levels of CO2 reduce the nutritional value of crops.
• The global food system contributes about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. About ⅔ of food are lost and wasted from farm to table. These losses therefore exacerbate climate change without improving food security or nutrition.
• Climate change and conflict combined destroy livelihoods, drive displacement, widen inequalities, and undermine sustainable development.
• Ending hunger and undernutrition in a changing climate demands large-scale action.
HOW VULNERABLE IS INDIA ?
• Agriculture – Indian agriculture, and thereby India’s food production, is highly vulnerable to climate change.
• This is largely because the sector continues to be highly sensitive to monsoon variability.
• About 65% of India’s cropped area is rain-fed.
• Nutrition – India already is one of the top rankers in multiple forms of malnutrition globally.
• There are multiple reasons contributing to poor nutritional status of India’s population.
• They range from food scarcity to food excess (unhealthy), increased consumption of refined cereals, simple sugars and salt, etc.
• However, adverse variables like climate change, pollution, etc, added to this scenario can further worsen the public health nutrition (PHN) indices.
• With only about one in 10 children getting adequate nutrition, India at least ought to keep other potentially influential variables favourable.
SUGGESTIONS FOR OVERCOMING CLIMATE CHANGE AND MALNUTRITION :
Below are the ways in meeting the targets under SDG-2 (Zero Hunger), while addressing the threats of climate change and malnutrition:
(1) Crop Diversification:
• Crop diversification to climate-resilient, especially in those areas where the existing practices are ecologically unsustainable is important for achieving nutritional targets.
• Incentivising farmers during the transition of crop sowing along with a robust value chain can facilitate the diversification process.
(2) Adopt climate-smart intervention
• Climate-smart interventions like conservation agriculture, organic farming and agro-ecological approaches can address the environmental concerns while ensuring food security and nutrition.
o Need: As per third Biennial Update Report submitted by Government of India to UNFCCC, agriculture sector contributes 14% of the total emissions.
• Natural farming practices: It has been tried and scaled up in parts of India (Andhra Pradesh) that bring synergy towards ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation.
• Conservation agriculture: It offers solution to Crop-residue burning problem with soil management such as zero-tillage or no-till farming, crop rotation, in-situ crop harvest residue management/mulching, etc.
o Crop-residue burning has become a huge problem in parts of the country. This is mainly propelled by monoculture and a package of subsidies that perpetuate ecologically unsustainable farm practices.
(3) Alternative of chemical pesticides
• Instead of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, Organic farming that involves crop cultivation in natural ways can be used.
• Use of botanical pesticides, green-manuring, biological pest control, etc. should be adopted as they are nature-friendly and such practices lead to eco-conservation.
(4) Modifying consumer behaviour
• Breeding of desired staple crops that are rich in essential micronutrients like Iron, Zinc, etc., should be a top priority for the agriculture research system.
• For that, the government must ramp up its investments in agri research and innovation.
• POSHAN Abhiyaan can play an effective role in addressing the issues of persistent malnutrition by bringing all relevant ministries and stakeholders together.
(5) Minimize food losses
• According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates, 40% of the food produced in India is either lost or wasted in every stage of supply chain.
• As per another estimate, winning the fight against food loss and waste can save India $61 billion in 2050 through increased industry profitability and reduced food insecurity, as well as reduced GHG emissions.
(6) Shifting towards a circular economy
• Shifting towards a circular economy can enable India progress towards the SDGs including halving food waste by 2030 and improving resource efficiency.
• Businesses and government must recognise the potential of the circular economy to drive business competitiveness, sustainable economic growth and job creation through waste to value initiatives.
Through circular economy principles, India can transform the way the economy uses resources through reusing, recycling, redistributing food.
• As India’s success is essential to achieve the planetary goal of Zero Hunger, there is urgent need for transformation towards sustainable, nutritious and resilient food systems to achieve the goal of zero hunger.
• Conclude that If we are to achieve a world without hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030, it is imperative that we accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems and people’s livelihoods in response to climate variability and extremes.