North East Gas Grid Project: Can we Promote Natural Gas as a Sustainable Fuel?

On January 8th, 2020, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved funding of INR 5,559 Crore for the North-East Gas Grid project. The proposed length of the gas grid pipeline is 1,656 km. The Project will connect Guwahati in Assam to major cities in the North-East Region– Itanagar, Dimapur, Kohima, Gangtok, and Numaligarh to name a few. The original budget for the project was INR 9,262 Crore. The lack of anchor customers makes the Project less economically viable, hence, the government has provided a viability gap funding of 60%, and the association in charge of the Project has stated that the remainder of the funding will be raised through equity and debt. (more…)

National Health Policy, 2017: A Favorable Development with Room for Change

The Constitution of India makes every State responsible for “raising the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties”. But the healthcare system in India exhibits numerous challenges in its access, affordability, quality and coverage in urban and rural areas. To tackle the challenges of the healthcare system, the government of India has introduced numerous schemes and brought about changes in its existing policies. One of these changes was the introduction of National Health Policy (NHP) in 2017. Fourteen years after the NHP of 2002, the new health policy was introduced in the context of rise in non-communicable diseases, enhanced fiscal capacity, emergence of a robust health care industry and increasing healthcare expenditure by people. Through the National Health Policy of 2017, the perspective of health has changed from cure to prevention to lay the foundations of a proactive approach in the health sector. (more…)

Energy Access in India: Is the Disadvantaged Strata Excluded?

Around 940  billion people in the world do not have access to electricity and more than 3 billion people suffer because of lack of access to clean cooking fuels. Since independence, India has made substantial progress, however, it has a huge population, deprived of access to energy, chiefly amongst the vulnerable sections of its population. The Census of 2011 highlights that only 30% households have access to clean fuels out of which only 12% is constituted by the rural population. A research states that tribal populations and people of lower caste have 10-30% less access to clean cooking fuel and electricity majorly due to the caste system and rigid hierarchies in the society. (more…)

The Hour of the Basic Income

The spread of COVID-19 has exposed the inadequacy of measures nations claimed they had, to deal with a crisis. A microorganism succeeded in locking down nations, disrupting markets, and exposing loopholes in the existing policies and welfare systems.  As India wades through the stormy seas of averting a health crisis, millions are left bereft of livelihoods and safety nets. The plight of migrant workers has brought to light the true state of our social infrastructure as they were denied basic services to even get back home. 

Thomas More in his 16th century book titled Utopia wrote …provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody’s under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse’. Since then, several humanist thinkers, politicians, billionaires and social activists have lent their support to Universal Basic Income (UBI). The Economic Survey of 2016-17 had designated UBI as a powerful idea to be deliberated upon but not yet ripe for implementation. As the Coronavirus pandemic lingers and experts are left in a dilemma in predicting a definite last date to the war against the virus, there can be no better opportunity than now to analyze the idea of UBI and evolve an appropriate mechanism. (more…)

Housing Migrant Workers: The Biggest Ambiguity in Labour Policies Framework?

According to the 2011 Census, India has 5.6 crore inter-state migrants, which is 33% less than the number that was observed in the previous census conducted in 2001. This population is mainly employed by the unorganised/informal sector and plays a significant role in the accelerated growth story of India’s urban infrastructure. The current policies have not been successful in equipping the migrant labour workforce with crucial amenities like housing in the cities they have migrated to, which added to their quandary during the COVID pandemic. Provision for habitation for the migrant workforce has only now been brought to the forefront for discussion, which reflects the failure of the government and detachment from the transformative constitutionalism mechanism. (more…)

Social Security Policies for Migrant Labour: Struggles of Data Deficiency

Coronavirus outbreak and the consequent nationwide lockdown has impacted nearly 40 million internal migrants, as per the World Bank, because of the uncertainty of their living conditions and their excludability in any specific demographic. The current pandemic saw an exodus of migrant workers, which made everybody unsure of the actual number of people who work in the informal economy. More than 90-92% of the workforce in India is informal, which directly means that they have no social and employment security.

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The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019: Revamping AYUSH for Improved Health Care Policies

The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 was formulated to integrate the medical and research institutions dealing with the Indian System of Medicine (ISM), under a national commission.The necessity of this Bill was in question because of the existence of the Central Council of Indian Medicine under the Indian Medicine Central Council (IMCC) Act, 1970, both of which the Bill seeks to replace. (more…)

Social Security for Migrant Labour in India: An Overview

Migrant workers continue to face endless issues choosing to work in different States and cities, especially since they are mostly employed by the unorganized sector. Migrating from their hometown to an urban area in search for better opportunities puts them in a vulnerable position where they are forced to fend for themselves in less than substandard working conditions and subject to being exploited for very little money. Many migrant workers who engage in seasonal work are often trapped in debt or bondage. In order to ensure decent livelihood and standard of living of such a huge chunk of the population, the need to have a sturdy legislation upholding their rights is of utmost importance for the overall development of the economy. (more…)