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Leaving no one behind – OPINION – The Hindu

  • The Vision 2030 document should formulate a disability-inclusive development agenda

      • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) is formulating a Vision 2030 document
      • This document is coterminous with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all 17 of which equally affect persons with disabilities as they do any other citizen.
    • A starting point
      • A starting point was that the government, the NITI Aayog, and all the associated stakeholders should interpret the provisions of the SDGs in line with the requirements and spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

  • Disability is still seen as an opportunity for dispensing charity rather than as a development or a human rights issue.

      • The knowledge of MPs and State legislatures must be refreshed on the rights, needs and issues of persons with disabilities based on the changing disability landscape, the UNCRPD, and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
      • The NITI Aayog must invest effort in building awareness for NGOs, academics, civil society, the private sector, etc., in order to articulate a disability-inclusive development agenda.

  • Persons with disabilities must be seen as integral to the decision-making process and not as an afterthought
  • There must be seven-year checkpoints for ministries or departments to assess the outcomes.

    • Fair and adequate representation of disability groups during the consultation process is imperative.
    • The NITI Aayog has mapped each goal to a nodal ministry and each target with the government’s key programmes and departments to make these targets accountable and realise them within a specified time period.

  • Disability is an issue that cuts across several ministries; it is not just a subject for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

      • Specific budgets need to be allocated across initiatives and ministries to address the needs of persons with disabilities.
      • The document must insist that data for persons with disabilities are appropriately collected, maintained and disaggregated.

  • there are universal targets, which must also be achieved for persons with disabilities.
  • All data must be available in the public domain, and published in an accessible format and in a timely manner.

    • The UN recommends the Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Disability, while India has been using a different question.
    • The NITI Aayog should call for a national-level consultation with cross-disability groups and arrive at a consensus on the right question, which should then be unified across all data instruments of all sources of demographic information, including the impending Unique Disability ID, the population census, civil registration, sample surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation, Sample Registration System and for all social schemes.

  • The overarching principle of Vision 2030 is to “leave no one behind”.

Are injectable contraceptives advisable? – OPINION – The Hindu

    • The government is aiming to control women’s fertility rather than uphold their reproductive rights

  • Instead of putting its efforts into improving the delivery of existing contraceptive methods, the government has recently chosen to introduce the injectable contraceptive, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), which is known to have adverse effects on women’s health.

    • The articulation of population as a ‘problem’ or talking in terms of a ‘population explosion’ is deeply problematic, for it brings with it the spectre of ‘control’ and eventually, in a country like ours, control over women’s body and fertility.
    • Women, even rural women, today want fewer children. However, they are forced to have more children due to several reasons that range from economic compulsions, lack of negotiating power within the family, to limited access to health services including contraceptive services.

  • Case against injectables

    • There are concerns regarding the preparedness of the government health system to implement this contraceptive method.

  • DMPA may be easy to administer, but health workers need to be capable of assessment before administering it and of managing side effects that some women may experience.

    • The Government of India guidelines on the injectable contraceptive mention side effects like menstrual changes, irregular bleeding, prolonged/heavy bleeding, amenorrhea (stopping of menstruation), weight gain, headaches, changes in mood or sex drive, and decrease in bone mineral density.
    • DMPA requires administration once every three months
      • studies from Africa have shown that the risk of HIV infection may increase for women who have been administered injectable contraceptives.
      • the government needs to introspect whether existing methods have been made available to people through informed choice, in a safe manner.

  • Gaps in the system

    • Regular stock-outs of oral contraceptives and condoms, lack of training to the auxiliary nurse midwife or ANMs on intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs), instances of lack of informed consent for post-partum IUCD, and the rampant violation of the guidelines for sterilisation, which in 2014 led to the deaths of 13 women, all reflect gaps in implementing and monitoring such programmes.
  • It is strange that while the existing contraceptive methods are not being provided properly, the government has gone on to introduce a method that raises so many questions and may prove to be more complicated in its implementation.
  • By introducing DMPA in the public health programme, the government also has to answer whose interests are actually being served. There are serious concerns that some agencies are pushing this for profit
  • The government should have been more cautious in introducing this method. It appears that by introducing injectable contraceptives under the guise of ‘expanding the basket of choices’, the government actually aims to control women’s fertility rather than uphold their reproductive rights.

The Governor’s options – OPINION – The Hindu

  • What happened now?

    1. The legal challenge of the Congress in the Supreme Court against the BJP’s claim to form the government in Goa brings to fore a vacuum in the Constitution.
    2. In the case of a hung legislature, is the Governor bound to follow the constitutional convention to call upon the single largest party to form the government and prove its majority in the House? Or, as the court endorsed on Wednesday, can a political rival cobble together a post-poll alliance to form a majority that overcomes the single largest party and form the government?
    3. The Manohar Parrikar government came to power on a first-come-first-appointed basis despite the fact that the BJP came second in the Assembly elections.
    4. The Governor did not consult the single largest party, the Congress, before giving Mr. Parrikar the green signal.
    5. The SC, in turn, said the Congress did wrong by not staking its claim to form the government.
  • The debacle exposes the fact that there are no specific guidelines in the Constitution on who the Governor should invite to form a government in a State where rival parties with narrow majorities engage in a face-off.
  • The constitutional convention of inviting the single largest party in the case of a fractured mandate has been outlined by the Sarkaria Commission recommendations, which were affirmed by a Constitution Bench of the SC in Rameshwar Prasad v Union of India in 2005.
  • The Commission report specifically dealt with the situation where no single party obtained absolute majority
  • It provided the order of preference the Governor should follow in selecting a Chief Minister in such a fluid situation:
    1. An alliance of parties that was formed prior to the elections.
    2. The single largest party staking a claim to form the government with the support of others, including independents.
    3. A post-electoral coalition of parties, with all the partners in the coalition joining the government
    4. A post-electoral alliance of parties, with some of the parties in the alliance forming a government and the remaining parties, including independents, supporting the government from outside.