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Daily Category  (Women empowerment)

Orunodoi Scheme

Context:

The Assam government has decided to launch the 'Orunodoi' Scheme.

Orunodoi Scheme:

  • It is a cash transfer scheme which will cover over 18 lakh families of the state who will receive 830 rupees per month in their bank accounts.
  • The monthly assistance would support a family to buy medicines worth Rs 400 per month, 50 % subsidy of four kg pulses worth Rs 200, Rs 80 for sugar, and for essential vegetables and fruits worth Rs 150.
  • It is the biggest ever scheme in post-Independence Assam,
  • The scheme would strengthen the role of the women as the money will be deposited in the bank accounts of the women of the families.

Beneficiaries:

  • The number of beneficiaries will increase to about 22 lakh once the BTC districts are also included.
  • The scheme will be rolled out in 29 districts at the moment.
  • The districts under the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts have not been included due to the model code of conduct for the forthcoming Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) polls.

Significance:

  • It is the first of its kind in the country as no other state has such a high coverage of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme nor matches the amount of cash transfer that is being made.
  • It marks a paradigm shift in the approach to poverty alleviation program, where the government does not decide how money should be spent for the poor.
  • Widow, unmarried or divorced women, and the physically challenged are usually considered a burden in many households but this will ensure that they are not a liability but an asset and their position in the family will improve.
  • It is the first of its kind initiative because the state government has introduced a massive cash transfer program which is very close to the initiative of universal basic income.

Source: The Hindu

Athena SWAN Charter

Context:

Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy of the Department of Science & Technology have called for increasing the participation of women in science. The concept borrows from a program started by the UK in 2005 called the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network).

Need for gender equity in Science:

  • According to DST, in 2015-16, the share of women involved in scientific research and development was 14.71%, after it had actually increased from 13% in 2000-2001 to 29% in 2014-15.
  • The women researchers work in either academia or the public sector while men tend to predominate in the private sector, where the opportunities for advancement and the salaries tend to be better.

Challenge:

  • Social Conditioning: It is the most acute problem throughout one’s childhood and adolescence.
    • The dangerous spin-off brought about by social conditioning of children is when they develop cognitive biases as adults.
  • Caregiver: Women are often considered as caregivers for the family and there is more emphasis on time-off policies for new mothers and not concerned on academic and research contribution of women.
  • Stigmas towards women still exist: Gender bias and discrimination are prevalent in different areas, including publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Initiatives to promote Women in Science:

  • Vigyan Jyoti: It is an initiative that will create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education. 
  • The Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI): It will develop a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing the Gender Equality in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
  • An online portal: The portal will provide E-resources related to all women-specific government schemes, scholarships, fellowships, career counseling with details of subject area experts from various disciplines in science and technology.
  • Women Scientist Scheme (WOS): The scheme was launched in 2002, which is aimed at providing opportunities to women scientists and technologists who desire to return to mainstream science after a break in career due to social responsibilities.
  • Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN): It was launched in 2014 to bring gender parity in Science &Technology through gender mainstreaming.

Athena SWAN Charter:

  • It was established in 2005 to encourage and recognize the commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEM.
  • It is an evaluation and accreditation program in the UK enhancing gender equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM).
  • The participating research organizations and academic institutions are required to analyze data on gender equity and develop action plans for improvement.

Source: Indian Express

Time Use Survey

Context:

The all India Time Use Survey, 2019 has recently been published by the Government of India. The survey has covered the entire country for the first time.

Time Use Survey:

  • It provides a framework for measuring time dispositions by the population on different activities.
  • Objective: To measure the participation of men and women in paid and unpaid activities.
  • The survey is an important source of information on the time spent in unpaid care-giving activities, volunteer work, unpaid domestic service-producing activities of the household members.
  • It also provides information on time spent on learning, socializing, leisure activities, self-care activities, etc., by the household members” 

Average time spent:

  • The average Indian woman spends 243 minutes, a little over four hours, on these, which is almost ten times the 25 minutes the average man does.
  • An average Indian woman spends 19.5% of her time engaged in either unpaid domestic work or unpaid caregiving services.
  • Men spend just 2.5% of a 24-hour period on these activities. In every other group of activities – from employment and learning to socializing, leisure, and self-care activities like sleeping and eating – men spend a higher share of their daily time than women.
  • There seems to be an inverse relationship between age and the amount of time spent by women on household chores, but a direct one between age and the time spent by men on these.
  • While women above the age of 60 see a sharp fall in their domestic work burden, men tend to devote a greater time to domestic work when they cross 60.

Other key findings:

  • Total percentage of employed population: As much as 2 % of persons who were of the age of six years or above were engaged in employment and related activities in the country in 2019.
  • The proportion of males and females: 57.3 % of males were engaged in employment and related activities while the proportion was 18.4 % for females in the country.
  • Women in rural areas: In rural areas, the proportion of women engaged in employment and related activities was higher at 19.2 % compared to 16.7 % in cities.
  • Gainful employment: The proportion of males above the age of six years engaged in gainful employment or related activities was higher in cities at 59.8 compared to 56.1 % in rural areas.
  • Unpaid domestic services: 53.2 % of participants in the survey were engaged in unpaid domestic services for household members. The proportion of females in the category was higher at 81.2 % compared to 26.1 % for males. This figure for both men and women is higher in rural areas.

Source: The Hindu

Civil Registration System

Context:

According to a 2018 report on the ‘vital statistics on India based on the Civil Registration System’, Arunachal Pradesh recorded the best sex ratio in the country. The report was published by the Registrar General of India.

Key Highlights:

  • The ratio was determined on the basis of data provided by 30 States and Union Territories.
  • The requisite information from six States namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal is not available.
  • The number of registered births increased to 2.33 crore in 2018 from 2.21 crore registered births in 2017.
  • The report highlighted that the level of registration of births has increased to 89.3% in 2018 from 81.3% in 2009.

Performance of States and Union Territories:

  • Arunachal Pradesh recorded 1,084 females born per thousand males, followed by Nagaland (965) Mizoram (964), Kerala (963), and Karnataka (957).
  • The worst was reported in Manipur (757), Lakshadweep (839), Daman & Diu (877), Punjab (896), and Gujarat (896).
  • Delhi recorded a sex ratio of 929, Haryana 914, and Jammu and Kashmir 952.

Civil Registration System:

  • The history of the Civil Registration System (CRS) in India dates back to the middle of the 19th century.
  • In 1886 a Central Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act was promulgated to provide for voluntary registration throughout British India.
  • CRS in India is the unified process of continuous, permanent, compulsory, and universal recording of the vital events (births, deaths, still-births) and characteristics thereof.
  • The data generated through a complete and up-to-date CRS is essential for socio-economic planning.

Source: The Hindu

End of Life Choice Act 2019

Context:

As per preliminary referendum results majority of voters in New Zealand have voted in favor of the End of Life Choice Act 2019.

Background:

  • End of Life Choice Act 2019 was passed in 2019 but to be effective it requires at least 50 % of the votes in the 2020 referendum.
  • In 2011 the most significant case that shaped the debate around assisted suicide in New Zealand was of a lawyer Lecretia Seales who was diagnosed with brain cancer.
  • In 2015, Seales and her lawyers filed a statement of claim with the High Court of New Zealand arguing that her general physician should not be prosecuted for assisting her in her death.

End of Life Choice Act 2019:

  • It is meant to give certain terminally ill people the option of requesting medical assistance to end their lives.
  • Objective: To establish a lawful process for assisting eligible persons who are able to exercise that option.
  • As per the Act, assisted dying means when a person’s doctor or nurse gives them medication to relieve their suffering by bringing on death or when a person takes the medication themselves.
    • The act interprets assisted dying as referring to both euthanasia and assisted suicide.
  • As per New Zealand’s act, the provisions of the law are limited to terminally ill people and are subject to the fulfillment of various criteria.

Criteria in order to be eligible for assisted dying:

  • Individual must be 18 years or older;
  • A citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand;
  • Individual to suffer from a terminal illness that is likely to end their life in less than six months;
  • The individual should have a significant and ongoing decline in physical capability;
  • She/he should experience unbearable suffering that cannot be erased; and
  • The individual should be able to make an informed decision about assisted dying
    • The individual should understand information about assisted dying, remember information about assisted dying in order to make the decision, use or weigh up information about assisted dying to inform their decision, and communicate their decision about assisted dying in some way.
    • A person is not eligible for assisted dying if they are suffering from a mental disorder or a mental illness if they have a disability of any kind or they are of advanced age.
  • Under the Act, a health practitioner is now allowed to suggest that a person consider dying while providing a health service to that individual.

Provisions of Euthanasia or Assisted Dying in other countries:

  • In the UK, while euthanasia is regarded as manslaughter or murder, assisted suicide is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
  • Assisted dying is legal in parts of Australia, Canada, Colombia, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and some states in the US.
  • The Netherlands was the first country to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in April 2002.
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court of India declared the right to die with dignity as a fundamental right and passed an order allowing passive euthanasia in the country.

Source: Indian Express

The Commission on Status of Women (CSW)

Context:

India has been elected as a member of the Commission on Status of Women (CSW).

  • India beats China to become a member of the UN's Commission on Status of Women.

Details:

  • Duration: India will be a member for four years from 2021 to 2025.
  • It is a ringing endorsement of India's commitment to promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in all the endeavors.
  • India, Afghanistan, and China had contested the elections to the Commission on Status of Women. While India and Afghanistan won the ballot among the 54 members, China failed to cross the half-way mark. 
  • The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The Commission on Status of Women (CSW):

  • CSW is a body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). 
  • CSW is a functional commission of the ECOSOC, it was established by ECOSOC resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946. 
  • 45 member states of the United Nations serve as members of the Commission at any one time.
  • It promotes women’s rights, highlights the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and helps in shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council:

  • It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic and social fields of the organization, specifically in regards to the 15 specialized agencies, the eight functional commissions, and the five regional commissions under its jurisdiction.
  • ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and formulating policy.
  • In addition to a rotating membership of 54 UN member states, over 1,600 nongovernmental organizations have consultative status with the Council to participate in the work of the United Nations.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States

Source: The Hindu

The State of the World Population 2020 report

Context:

The State of the World Population 2020 report has been released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Key findings:

  • As per the report, 46 million out of the total 142 million missing girls due to sex selection, both pre- and post-natal are from India. It shows One in three girls missing globally is from India.
  • Over the past 50 years, the number of missing women has more than doubled in 1970 they were 61 million. As of 2020, India accounted for 45.8 million missing females.
  • The report examines the issue of missing women by studying sex ratio imbalances at birth. Sex ratio imbalances are a result of gender-biased sex selection and excess female mortality due to deliberate neglect of girls because of a culture of son preference. 
  • India has the highest rate of excess female deaths at 13.5 per 1,000 female births.  It shows one in nine deaths of females below the age of 5 due to postnatal sex selection. 
    • Excess female mortality: It is the difference between observed and expected mortality of the girl child or avoidable death of girls during childhood.
  • According to estimates averaged over a five year period (2013-17), annually, there were 1.2 million missing female births, at a global level. India had about 4,60,000 girls ‘missing’ at birth each year.
    • Among this, in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan excess female mortality of girls below 5 years of age was under 3 percent.
  • China and India together account for about 90-95 percent of the estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million missing female births annually worldwide due to gender-biased sex selection.

Government schemes for the girl child:

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: It was launched in 2015 and aims at reducing the Child Sex Ratio, provide equal opportunities for the girls. It s a joint initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
  • Sukanya Samridhhi Yojana: Thie scheme promotes saving for the girl's education and marriage. The girl should be less than 10 years at the time of opening an account. The account can remain operational until the girl is 21. The account can be opened in post offices and designated private and public banks. 
  • Balika Samriddhi Yojana: Designed to provide financial support to young girls and their mothers who fall below the poverty line, the scheme’s key objective is the improvement of their status within the society, raising the marriageable age for the girls and improve the enrollment and retention of girl students in schools.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA):

  • UNFPA is established as a trust fund in 1967 and began operations in 1969.
  • It is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and works as a sexual and reproductive health agency.
  • In 1987, it was officially renamed the United Nations Population Fund but the original abbreviation, ‘UNFPA’ for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities was retained.
  • UNFPA is entirely supported by intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, voluntary contributions of donor governments, foundations, and individuals.

Source: The Hindu