Policy Briefs

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

The Prime Minister of India, in his independenceday speech on 15th August 2014 had announced the National Mission on Financial Inclusion with the objective of covering all households in the country with banking facilities, titled, “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana” (PMJDY). On 29 August 2014, PMJDY was launched with an ambitious target of opening 7.5 crore bank accounts by 26 January 2015.This should be seen as a continuum of Financial Inclusion effort started by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Under the scheme, a person from an unbanked household, opening an account will get a RuPay debit card with Rs. 1 lakh accident insurance cover, among other provisions. An additional Rs. 30,000 life insurance cover for the accounts opened up to 26th January, 2015 was also announced by the Prime Minister.

National Food Security Act, 2013: Assam

INDIAN CONTEXTIndia’s high economic growth rate in the past decade has not been fully reflected in the health status of its people, with 22 per cent of its population undernourished. According to the National Family Health Survey 2005-06, 40.4 per cent of children under the age of three are underweight, 33 per cent of women in the age group of 15-49 have a body mass index below normal and 78.9 per cent of children in the age group of 6-35 months are anemic. The estimates of malnutrition show that, about 20 per cent of rural children are severely malnourished and another 30 per cent are moderately malnourished. Moreover, it is a channel for inter-generational transmission of poverty. Generally, the risk of child malnutrition is high among the poor households where mothers have poor nutritional levels. These are disturbing statistics which point to nutritional deficiencies. Although economic growth resulted in a decline of poverty, it has not translated into a commensurable increase in food energy intake or an improvement in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) score for India.

Juvenile Justice Bill 2014

KEY MESSAGES (1) The proposal of the NDA Government to allow “transfer” of juveniles aged 16-18 to the adult criminal justice system poses a grave danger to society.o   Juveniles transferred to the adult criminal justice system are far more likely to become hardened criminals and commit even more serious crimes than if they are kept within the juvenile justice system. o   Studies in the US show that “the New York kids treated as adult criminals were rearrested faster, more often, and for more serious crimes, and more often were returned to prison” and that 80% of the juveniles who are released from adult prisons go on to commit more serious offences. o   There is no evidence whatsoever that putting juveniles who commit serious crimes in adult prisons will deter crime.

Child Labour Amendment Bill, 2012

India has the largest population of youth in the world, with 24.3 crore individuals between ages 10 and 19 years. However, there has been a consistent lag in the efforts to invest in children and youth so as to enable them to realize their full potential. Many children in India are in throes of extreme poverty and misery and are rendered unproductive consequently. India is home to 49.6 lakh child labourers according to the 66th Round (2009-10) of the National Statistical Survey Organization (NSSO). This number stands at a staggering 1.26 crore child labourers, according to the 2001 Census. Moreover, there are approximately 80 lakh children out of school. The economic circumstances in their families compel them to leave classrooms and engage in menial work, even in hazardous conditions. To tackle the challenge of child labour, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 4, 2012 by the then Minister of Labour and Employment, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge of the Indian National Congress.

SCs and STs -Prevention of Atrocity-Amendment Bill 2014

The Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) are historically disadvantaged people that are given recognition in the constitution of India. According to 2011 census of India the population of SC‟s and the ST‟s is about 16.2% and 8.2% of the total population in India. Understanding the social disadvantage of Dalits in India, Government enacted Untouchability (Offences) Act in 1955. Due to existing gaps and loopholes the Act was revamped as the Protection of Civil Rights Act in 1976. This legislation did not translate into social equality in independent India. The post-independence era was marked by frequent instances of atrocities springing up across the country. All such events shook the then national leadership. Hence, under pressure from Dalit Members of Parliament, the Government of India started monitoring atrocities against SCs from 1974 and in the case of STs from 1981 onwards, with special focus on murder, rape, arson and grievous hurt.

Union Budget Analysis 2014-2015

KEY MESSAGESBudget of a country broadly reflects the roadmap of a government. It is more than mere accounting and necessarily should reflect the ideology of a government.

  • The first Union Budget 2014-15 of NDA II government exemplifies and reiterates its core ideology, which is pro-market, pro-business and pro-rich. It brings out the big picture, which clearly favours the rich and neo-rich society.
  • Through economic-revival mechanism, government has laid the strategy and roadmap for massive privatization. FDI, FII, PPP models are hugely promoted. These will ensure growth but not redistribution. These are the channels for private players having prominent role and voice, creating oligarchy and concentration of economic power.
  • It has no in-depth roadmap for poverty alleviation programme. Most of the redistributive right-based flagship programmes are being overlooked, which shows utter lack of sensitivity of the government towards vulnerable communities.
  • Planning for mega projects on shipping, ports, SEZ etc. will certainly displace and marginalize number of small communities. There is no clear mention of their alternative arrangement, compensation and protection.
  • Overall the budget has a poor reflection on pro-poor agenda. It has spoken about deprived sections in a very rhetoric manner and has not spelt out any clear vision for social sector, which therefore is highly skewed. It rather shows the roadmap of ‘Shining India’ - phase II of NDA I, which tends to deprive the ‘other India’.  

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012

Over the years, the Government of India has taken several steps to address the issue of child labour by putting in place legislations, policies and social programmes for the protection of children. These include: Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986; National Child Labour Policy (1987) and the Right to Education Act (2009). Trade Unions, Child Rights Organisations, Employer Organisations and other stakeholders have played a significant role in advocating the rights of children. The Government has already indicated the need to take more progressive measures for eliminating child labour in India. But the genuine consensus, ownership and partnership in action has to be strengthened amongst all sections of society for effective implementation of any legislative effort.