The COVID-19 Challenge: Tackling the Policy Plague of Social Inequalities

By Anushka Gutte, Research Associate, Policy

In late December, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission of China reported a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei province. Surfaced in the Chinese seafood and poultry, it was soon identified to be the novel corona virus. As of this writing, the corona virus outbreak has caused over 4 million cases and over 200,000 deaths worldwide. India reported its first case in Kerala on 30th January, 2020, a student from Wuhan. Since then India has reported over 70,000 COVID-19 cases. Over the last three months, India has taken multiple actions in terms of investments in healthcare, vaccine research, testing to deal with the ensuing pandemic. However, these are inadequate at social fronts, especially in a country like India where issues of social inequality are of utmost importance. (more…)

Access to Clean Cooking Fuel in India: Aspiring for Gas Pipeline while struggling for LPG

By Anushka Gutte & Mrigakshi Tandon, Research Associates, Policy

In May 2016, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana that aimed at providing 5 crore Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) connections in the name of women of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) household. Research suggests that only 18 percent of rural households in India have access to LPG as cooking fuel, whereas the rest use different, more tedious, unclean and hazardous means for cooking. Moreover, access to LPG connections is largely limited to the urban and semi-urban areas covering the middle income and affluent households. People belonging to BPL category or rural areas have little or no access to these connections. They predominantly use ‘chullahas’ where they burn wooden sticks in the stove for cooking, which makes these families, especially the females therein, vulnerable to harmful fumes. (more…)

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020: A Progressive Starting Point with Enough Room for Change

By Anushka Gutte, Research Associate, Policy

On March 17, 2020 the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha through a voice vote. The Bill seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 by primarily proposing four changes. The Bill comes at a time when unsafe abortion is the third-leading cause of maternal mortality in India and a number of petitions have been made to amend the Act. (more…)

The POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019: Enough To Stop Child Sexual Abuse?

By Shivangi Pandey, Research Associate, Human Rights and Social Justice Policies

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s data collected in 2018, 109 children are sexually abused everyday. The Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019, (POCSO Bill 2019) which amended the 2012 Act brought out by the government has been an effort to curb sexual crimes against children. The amendment has made punishments more stringent, an effort to make the investigation and judicial proceedings child-friendly with new clauses in place. Though the above seem like  progressive steps forward, it is argued that these provisions only drive attention away from the abysmally poor form of implementation and low rate of conviction.  (more…)

The Ordeal of Manual Scavenging: Tracing the Evolution of India’s Mitigation Policies

By Khushi Pamnani, Research Associate, Human Rights and Social Justice Policies

The UN defines manual scavenging as the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. Upon collection of the excreta in containers like thin boards, baskets, and buckets, manual scavengers are then responsible to carry them on their heads to locations that are several kilometers away from the latrines. The demand for manual scavenging still persists due to a lack of functional and sanitary sewage systems. 

(more…)

FAME India – Phase 2: Lack of Success in the Face of Policy Deficiencies

 By Keerthana Chavaly, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi.

Phase 2 of FAME India, which is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, aims to reinvigorate the push for clean energy and address the drawbacks of Phase 1 by increasing the use of environmentally friendly electric vehicles through investing Rs. 10,000 crores for a period of three years (2019-2022). In June 2015, the government kick started a scheme called Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India). The scheme aimed to increase the use of electric vehicles in the country by implementing a policy that would raise the demand for environmentally friendly vehicles. The policy focused on the auto sector, with Phase 1 of the scheme intending to develop infrastructure and promote technologies that would be required for increased and sustained production of electric vehicles (EVs). However, the results of Phase 1 have not been entirely positive – reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel targets have not been met.

(more…)

The Feat of Ecologically Sensitive Urbanisation: What India can learn from its Asian peers

By Riya Mathur, SRCC, New Delhi.

Given that the purpose of urbanization for any developing country is to produce highly efficient urban areas for better consumption and efficient management of resources and ensuring public welfare, India needs a concrete structure to embark on this journey. In a time when rural to urban migration is high and the consequential environmental degradation concerns the policy makers, the aim of a truly urbanized country seems difficult to achieve. With all that it faces today, it is only apt to not just consider where India’s urban planning went wrong but also how these mistakes can be addressed in a way to strategize as to what the country can do to better its policies in the face of ecological challenges that accompany massive urbanization. The best way to do this would be to compare India’s practices with those of its peers which consist of similar assets and face similar challenges. 

(more…)

Ethanol Production in India: Green Fuel Policy for a Cleaner Future

By Prachi Mishra, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore & Riya Mathur, SRCC, Delhi.

The growing global consciousness in regard to the impending doom of climate change, has finally managed to startle governments and policy makers to endorse sustainable legislation. In most developing countries, fuel for industry, commute and domestic usage alike makes up the largest part of emissions, making fuel policy an area of targeted attention. Bio-Fuels and subsequent techniques like ethanol blending of petroleum are avenues of great potential for achieving greater fuel efficiency and environment sustainability.

(more…)

Disha Bill, 2019: Deterrence for Sexual Offenders?

By Yash Jain, WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Awakened by the heinous and brutal rape in the outskirts of Hyderabad that shook the entire country and made the legislatures realize the need for strict and stringent laws for the punishment of rape and other sexual offences, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passed the Disha Bill, 2019. The Bill, derives its name from the given name to the victim, a veterinary doctor who was raped and murdered in the incident. Also known as the AP Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2019, this Bill seeks to amend the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, for ‘heinous offences of rape’ and the Indian Penal Code, 1860, to strengthen the provisions relating to crimes against women and children. 

(more…)

Ecologically Sensitive Urbanization in India: Lessons from Europe

By Ishita Puri, St Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

Urbanization spurs a unique set of issues for both human and ecological well being, blemished by economic disparity and environmental degradation. In developing countries like India, urban spaces are the motors of the economy and generators of wealth. While it is difficult for a resource-rich and densely populated India to sustainably fulfill the loft demands of urbanization for food, energy and water and accommodation of increasing waste and emissions, certain efficacious models adopted by European countries can highlight the way forward.

(more…)