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.
Recently, the union government has introduced 124th Constitution Amendment Bill (10% Quota Bill) in the Parliament to provide for 10% reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) among the general category candidates in higher education and government employment.
Recently, the Lok Sabha has passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) bill, 2016 which prohibits commercial surrogacy and allows only altruistic surrogacy. The bill seeks to protect the rights of the surrogate mother and the child born from surrogacy and promotes ethical surrogacy. However, it falls short of addressing certain key concerns regarding the surrogacy in India.
Recently, various state governments have announced farm loan waiver worth Rs. 850 million. This can negatively impact banks’ credit offtake (commercial loans) and cause further stress and amount to another agrarian crisis.
Recently, the Lok Sabha has passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 with some amendments. The bill aims at empowering the transgender community in the country by giving them a separate identity. The main objective of the bill is to define transgender and prohibit discrimination against the transgender community. However, it falls short of addressing certain key issues being faced by the community.