The Hindu Editorials Mains Sure Shot ( 2nd Aug 2019)
GS-1 or GS-2 Mains
Question – focus on India’s deepening gender imbalance and what are its consequences. Explain (250 words)
Context – The Sample Registration System (SRS) data released in July for the period of 2015-17.
The present scenario:
• In India female foeticide to increase at an alarming rate.
• According to the yearly statistical reports, the sex ratio at birth (SRB)has been dropping continuously since Census 2011, coming down from 909 girls per thousand in 2013 to 896 girls in 2017.
• In 2016 period, of the 21 large states only two – Kerala and Chhattisgarh- had an SRB of above 950 girls per thousand boys.
• Thus, at present 5% of the girls are ‘eliminated’ before they are born.
• NITI Aayog has acknowledged the seriousness of the problem in its latest report.
• It will be more clear if we follow the National Family Health Survey- 4 data.
National Family Health Survey Report:
• The data released by the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) states that of 2lakh reported births in 2010-14, the distribution of birth rate at home, government hospitals and private hospitals was 21%, 52% and 27% respectively and corresponding SRB figures were 969, 930 and 851.
• So, we can see that private hospitals have disproportionate excess of male children births.
• Even in government hospitals the SRB is declining. The worst regional SRB was for Northern India (885 girls per thousand boys). The picture was somewhat better for Central India (926) and Southern States (940) while the performance of Eastern (965) and Western India (959) was even better. For the Northeast it is 900.
• Seeing the predominant number of male births in private hospitals, even when the total number of births were less, it can be said that despite criminalisation of sex determination of the foetus, it is being practised and more so by the educated and the rich who can afford care at private hospitals.
• The focus of the government when dealing with the issue related to infants have been mainly focused on expanding special neonatal care units (SNCU), it is also important to deal with the issue of ‘missing girls’.
• With the increased number of sexual crimes against women, a declining sex ratio is even more alarming.
• There is a bias in India over first-born child – the SRB among first children were 927, meaning 2.5 percent of first-born girls are eliminated before birth. This was not the case historically.
• Stringent implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of sex selection) Act (PCPNDT Act), is worst in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, there is a massive expansion of ultrasound clinics even in remote areas. Practically anyone who wanted to determine the sex of the foetus was able to get it done illegally. The need is that the Central Supervisory Board established to see the implementation of the PCPNDT Act, meets regularly and come up with robust plans to stop this heinous practice.
• The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has to ensure that private hospitals don’t profit from discrimination against girls before birth.
The Hindu Editorials Mains Sure Shot ( 2nd Aug 2019)
Question – Reflect on how the controversy surrounding Tipu Sultan can teach us a way to deal with conflictual pasts? Discuss ( 200 words)
Context – The scraping of ‘Tipu jayanti’ by the Karnataka government.
• Controversies and conflicts regarding interpretation of the past is not something new.
• But each time it happens it makes groups polarised and each trying to prove each other wrong.
• They fail to see that there is nothing called historical ‘fact’. It is all interpretation based on the writings of other men.
• In the wake of the recent controversy, we can use it as an opportunity to understand how to make people realise this.
• One way can be establishment of a ‘Museum of Conflictual pasts’ where people will get to know about various dimensions associated with a particular controversial historical personality. For example, Tipu in this case.
• There is two sides associated with Tipu- one which see Tipu as hero who had several virtues like the first early modern ruler to put in place a form of etatisme (the authoritarian control by the state) in the absence of a social class who could which could undertake the radical economic changes at the time; a person with a lust for acquiring knowledge, who left behind a marvellous library of books; whose spectacular military success stunned the British; and whose spectacular military inventions – particularly the rocket – which pillaged the Wet; or as someone who was on a continuous quest for innovation.
• On the other hand the other side sees Tipu as someone having a zeal for conversion; his massacre of populations he considered hostile; and his introduction of Persian as the state language at the expense of Kannada.
• So, in this case instead of a bitter debate if there was a museum of conflictual pasts, people, especially young people, could go there- read the conflicting sources about the historical personality, both which praise and criticise – and draw conclusions of their own.
• This would also generate critical thinking.
• They would question why the colonial accounts have shown Tipu as a tyrant or a villain and why some sources have praised him.
• An analysis of this kind will help them come to terms with India’s many conflictual pasts, to teach people understanding and appreciation rather than revenge and retribution.
• This is the way in which we can deal with the historical wounds.
• Karnataka’s example provides limitless possibilities of such interactions and for refashioning the relationship between history and memory.
• We must develop an environment of historical temper that acknowledges the inconvenient truths of the past