The Parliamentary panel on environment and forests has raised serious concerns regarding the Draft National Forest Policy for its excessive focus on commercialisation of forest and serving industry interests. Once finalized, this document will replace the current National Forest Policy, 1988.
The Supreme Court has recently directed the state governments to evict around 10 lakh forest dwelling communities whose claims have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act. This order may affect some of the country’s most vulnerable communities and their fundamental rights, therefore it needs a relook.
While listing out the achievements of the government in social welfare measures, President Ram Nath Kovind recently mentioned that, under the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana, 6 crore women had become members of self-help groups and the government had provided loans worth over Rs 75,000 crore to such groups.
Recently, The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 (Triple Talaq bill) was passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill is humanitarian consideration for Muslim Women suffering from triple talaq. Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract jail term 3 years and a fine for a man.
However, there is a standoff in the Rajya Sabha for its passage due to the contention from opposition parties and Muslim community leaders who are sticking to their stand against the bill mentioning that there is no need for the bill since the instant triple talaq has already been banned by the Supreme Court.
Recently, the Supreme Court of India was moved by the plight of the chained mentally ill patients in a “faith-healing asylum” at Badaun, Uttar Pradesh and ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to take urgent measures to address the horrible situation. Chaining of such patients amounts to violation of the Mental Health Care Act of 2017 and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Notably, 14% of India is in need of active mental health interventions. This issue calls for a relook at the status of mental health and healthcare in India.
According to the data from the International Labour Organization (ILO), India’s female labour force participation rate (FLPR) is at 27% which is among the lowest in the world and has declined considerably over the last 2 decades. This decline in female labour force participation is despite robust economic growth, rising incomes, falling fertility rates and improvements in female literacy.
Sikkim is set to become the first state in India to launch Universal Basic Income (UBI). The idea of universal basic income has gained popularity in the western nations due to the threat of automation-induced job losses. In India, the idea gained ground due to the chronic poverty & inequality and the government’s failure to provide subsidies effectively to poor people. Moreover, the persistent farm distress and poor wage growth across occupations also highlight the need for an income support scheme in India.
The Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers has recently released the Drugs (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019 which prescribes that the drugmaker who has brought in an innovative patented drug will be exempt from the price control rules for 5 years from the date of marketing. It is meant to strike the right balance between consumer and producer interests. However, it falls short of addressing certain concerns regarding the drug pricing regulation in India.