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Showing posts with label ARTICLE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ARTICLE. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Is Essential Defence Services Bill a colonial practice to ban strikes?

 Is Essential Defence Services Bill a colonial practice to ban strikes? 

The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, prohibits workers engaged in essential defence services from striking work especially in light of the decision to corporatise the Ordnance Factory Board. In a two-part series, K.R. SHYAM SUNDAR critically analyses the Bill. Part I deals with the apprehensions and views of trade unions and the continuation of a colonial practice to ban strikes and lockouts

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The decision to corporatise the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and make strikes illegal has pitted the staff of the ordnance factories and civilian defence employees against the Centre.

The OFB, under the Department of Defence Production (DDP) of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), comprises 41 ordnance factories producing arms, explosives and ammunition. Besides, there are nine central public sector undertakings (PSUs), like HAL and BEL, which are under the administrative control of the department.

The decision to dissolve the OFB and replace it with seven government-owned corporate entities was rejected by the employees, who fear eventual privatisation and losing the security of their service and retirement conditions.

On June 27, the 80,000-strong workforce of the ordnance factories and 4,00,000 civilian defence employees, under the banner of three recognised unions, declared that an indefinite strike would start on July 26. 

Subsequently, the Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021—which prohibited strikes, lockouts, and lay-offs in units engaged in essential defence services—was promulgated on June 30. On July 22, the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, which replaced the Ordinance, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 22.

Corporatisation and OFB

Successive governments have sought to corporatise the OFB. The UPA-1 government contemplated corporatisation of the OFB following the recommendations of the TKA Nair Committee (2000) and Vijay Kelkar Committee (2006).


Corporatisation of the OFB is expected to result in economic efficiency, improve corporate governance and enable access to market funds, among others. 

In 2001, the Centre opened up the defence sector to the private sector with foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 26%, both subject to licensing. In 2016, it allowed FDI under the automatic route up to 49% and above 49% through the government route wherever it was likely to lead to access to modern technology.

In May 2020, FDI in the sector was increased from 49% to 74%, and up to 100% through the government route as part of the reforms in the defence sector to boost self-reliance. In the same month, the quest for self-reliance was rechristened as Atmanirbhar package.

On May 16, 2020, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced structural reform measures for several sectors, including defence. She proposed two measures to enhance self-reliance, viz. ‘Make in India’ for self-reliance in defence production, and improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency in ordnance supplies by corporatisation of the OFB. This was followed by the constitution of an empowered group of ministers (EGoM) in September 2020 to oversee and take the measures forward.

On June 15, 2021, the Union Cabinet approved the policy measure to corporatise the OFB and bundle them into seven corporate entities. Critics have questioned the operational validity of the corporatisation process.

Apprehensions and views of trade unions

The government has assured that all employees belonging to groups A, B, and C would be transferred to the corporatised entities on deemed deputation initially for two years without changing their service conditions. Further, their pension liabilities would be borne by the Central government.

However, workers have some grave concerns. Trade unions have contested the very process and logic of corporatisation and pointed out some serious implications for employees and even for the defence sector.

All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF) Secretary C Srikumar observed that ‘the government is converting the OFB into a corporation only to privatise it (later)”. This apprehension is supported by the fact that Sitharaman announced in May that there would be a maximum of four PSUs in the strategic sector and all others would be privatised.

Jamalon

Also read: Corporatisation of ordnance factories may lead to selective privatisation in the long term

Even if the entities are declared part of the strategic sector, there is no guarantee they will not be privatised. The main contention of the unions is that economic efficiency can be achieved even staying within the government-regulated framework. On November 21 2020, the trade unions had submitted their reform proposals to enhance economic efficiency to the government. The government has not considered the proposal.

Myntra

Besides, there is no guarantee that the service conditions of the employees will not change after two years. The service conditions of OFB staff are on par with that of Central government employees. Post-corporatisation, their service conditions would become the same as that of Central PSU employees, the OFB workers argue. 

The unions further argue that the decision to corporatise the OFB is arbitrary, and violates the previous commitment by various governments and also the settlement reached with the Centre in October 2020.

Also read: Ordnance Factory Board federations condemn ‘draconian’ Ordinance

Strikes and government promises

Trade unions were always against corporatisation of the OFB. In fact, one of the issues of the general strike called by a majority of CTUs in the 2010s concerned allowing FDI and privatisation of defence, the railways and insurance.

In August 2019, the three recognised union federations—AIDEF, Indian National Defence Workers’ Federation and even the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh—struck work. As a result, the Ministry of Defence constituted a high-level committee of the DDP on June 2, 2020, to address the concerns of the trade unions regarding corporatisation of the OFB. The committee assured the trade unions that it would engage with them as per their request.

When the government started pushing for the corporatisation of the OFB aggressively even during the pandemic last year, the federations called for an “indefinite strike” to be held from October 12, 2020. However, it was deferred as a result of a conciliated settlement between the Centre and the unions that the service conditions would remain the same and the federations can express their concerns to the EGoM. 

However, the government and the unions made little headway for two reasons. First, while the government asserts that corporatisation is a “policy decision” and non-negotiable, the trade unions contest its very validity and legitimacy. Second, the workers want their service conditions to remain unchanged.

Emergency powers

Corporatisation measures had been shelved for several years thanks to the agitations and strikes by trade unions. However, the current regime has assumed ‘emergency powers’ to prohibit strikes in the defence sector to thwart any attempts to block corporatisation. The Bill is similar to the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), 1968. The Central and the state governments have often used ESMA to prohibit strikes.

The use of emergency powers was typically a colonial strategy. State intervention in industrial disputes became very severe during the Second World War, when the British introduced the Essential Services Act, 1941, and the Defence of India Rules (Rule 81-A, introduced in 1942, and Rule 56-A, introduced in 1943) to ban strikes and lockouts and other forms of industrial protests. General and political strikes were also prohibited.

In the neoliberal dispensation, the governments irrespective of parties in power have used ESMA to secure reform objectives. In this sense, the “globalisation logic” drives the state to acquire extraordinary powers as in the defence sector now. (https://www.epw.in/system/files/pdf/2012_47/21/Essential_Services_Maintenance_Act.pdf). From a welfare state, it is becoming a hard reform state and it appears that the neoliberal state would use all the strategies up its sleeve to drive reforms even it is antithetical to the ethos underlying the pluralistic democratic state.

The government should not introduce laws that have a colonial hangover. In a democracy, workers have the right to strike if their legitimate demands are either not met or new laws endanger their job security.

(K. R. Shyam Sundar is Professor, HRM Area, XLRI, Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur. The views expressed are personal.)

SOURCE ;  .theleaflet.in


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The power of school feeding programmes to improve nutrition

 

India has the world’s highest number of undernourished children and the largest school-feeding programme – the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme – but limited evidence is available on the intergenerational impact of the programme. Based on data from the National Family Health Survey and National Sample Survey, this article shows if a mother was a beneficiary of MDM during schooling, there is a 20-30% reduction in height deficits of her children.

 

By April 2020, schools in 170 countries were closed to curtail the transmission of Covid-19. In India, 247 million children have been out of the classroom for over a year. Beyond the devastating consequences school closures are having on learning, health experts are particularly concerned about vulnerable Indian children missing out on the free lunch they receive at school.

School feeding programmes

Today, India has the world’s highest number of undernourished children and the largest school feeding programme – the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme.

Undernourishment, and particularly stunting (that is, being short for one’s age), is a marker of suboptimal conditions early in life and is associated with poor life outcomes such as lower productivity and earnings, and higher incidence of chronic diseases (Leroy and Frongillo 2019). Numerous studies have shown that programmes providing free meals to children at school can combat hunger, and support their education and long-term wellbeing (Chakraborty and Jayaraman 2016, Singh et al. 2014). School meals are especially beneficial for girls, incentivising their staying in school longer, postponing marriage, and lowering the chances of teen pregnancies, all of which are, unfortunately, still common in South Asia and have negative consequences on the nutrition of girls and their children (Afridi 2011, Scott et al. 2020, Nguyen et al. 2019).

But what is still unknown is whether the nutrition benefits of school feeding programmes carry over to the next generation.

Intergenerational impact of India’s midday meal scheme

India’s MDM scheme was launched in 1995, and thus its early beneficiaries are now of childbearing age. We hypothesise that women who received free meals when they were children in primary school would be better nourished and more educated as adults, and consequently would have children with improved height. To explore this hypothesis, we use MDM coverage data from the National Sample Survey – Consumer Expenditure Surveys (NSS-CES 1993, 1999, 2005), and child growth data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4, 2016) (Chakrabarti et al. 2021). We examine associations between historic MDM coverage and current child stunting, and explore potential pathways through which receiving a free meal in school may benefit future child growth.

A first look supports our initial hypothesis: prevalence of stunting in 2016 is lower in states where more girls received free meals in school in 2005 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Stunting prevalence and state-level coverage of Mid-Day Meal scheme

Source: National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 (2016) for stunting data, and 61st National Sample Survey (NSS) Consumer Expenditure Survey (2005) for state-level MDM coverage data.

Notes: (i) Figure shows association between stunting prevalence among children under five years of age in 2016, and MDM coverage among girls in the 6-10 years age group in 2005. (ii) Each circle represents an individual state in India, with circle size representing the state population size. (iii) Fit line and shaded 95% confidence interval are also weighted by state population size. (A confidence interval is a way of expressing uncertainty about estimated effects. A 95% confidence interval means that if you were to repeat the experiment over and over with new samples, 95% of the time the calculated confidence interval would contain the true effect.)

Our empirical analysis shows that this observed association between MDM in school and stunting prevalence among the next generation, holds when tested with rigorous statistical models. Our three key findings are: First, our statistical models that account for biasing factors, show that if a mother was a beneficiary of MDM during schooling, there is a 20-30% reduction in height deficits of her children. This effect is greater among poor households. Second, to put these effects into perspective, our models estimate that 29% of the improvement in HAZ (height-for-age z score) from 2006 to 2016, is explained by the MDM. Third, these findings are supported by programme pathway analysis showing that MDM beneficiaries have more years of education, are taller, give birth later and have fewer children, and are more likely to use health services compared to non-beneficiaries.

These findings provide evidence that, when intergenerational effects are considered, the complete benefit of school feeding programmes for nutrition is much larger than previously understood. School feeding programmes can address many fundamental drivers of undernutrition in a large segment of the population during pre-adolescence and adolescence, which are periods of high nutritional needs.

Policy implications

Extending such programmes into and beyond middle school, and improving the quantity or quality of meals provided may further enhance their benefits. Programme expansion has substantial financial implications, but the multigenerational benefits likely outweigh the costs, as both education and nutrition improvements are societal needs. Many exciting initiatives to improve school meals are currently underway in India including – school gardens, breakfast meals, provision of eggs, micronutrient fortification of food staples, and integration of nutrition and hygiene education. Evidence of the impact and relative benefit of these initiatives are limited, demanding further evaluation, but such efforts to deepen and expand the impact of school meals should generally be welcomed, given their broad positive effects. A learning agenda that explores the multiple contributions of expanding programme coverage and improving meal quality can help ensure impact and cost effectiveness. Bringing stakeholders together to co-create this learning agenda is critical as schools re-open and as India seeks to ensure that the millions of school-aged children continue to get the nutrition they need to lead healthy and productive lives.


Notes:

  1. Launched in 1995 as a centrally sponsored scheme, the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme provides children in government and government-aided schools (later extended to cover more groups of schools) with a nutritious, prepared midday meal. The scheme aims to improve the nutritional status of children studying in class one to eight, and to encourage children from disadvantaged sections to attend school more regularly and concentrate on school activities.
  2. The statistical models we use control for child age, sex, birth order, area of residence, religion, caste, access to services from the Integrated Child Development Services and Public Distribution System. Models include ‘fixed effects’ for mother’s birth year, state, household wealth, and the interaction of state and mother’s birth year. Fixed effects control for time-invariant unobserved individual characteristics.
  3. The z score expresses the anthropometric values such as height or weight as a number of standard deviations below or above median value of the reference population. (Standard deviation is a measure that is used to quantify the amount of variation or dispersion of a set of values from the average of that set.)
  4. Full MDM coverage predicts 3.9 years of attained maternal education, a delay in age at first birth by 1.6 years, having a fewer (−0.8) children, a higher probability (22%) of having at least four antenatal care visits, and a higher probability (28%) of giving birth in a medical facility.
  5. This would be particularly true for girls at the onset of menstruation.

Further Reading

  • Afridi, Farzana, “The impact of school meals on school participation: evidence from rural India”, The Journal of Development Studies, 47(11): 1636-1656.
  • Chakrabarti, Suman, Samuel P Scott, Harold Alderman, Purnima Menon and Daniel O Gilligan (2021), “Intergenerational nutrition benefits of India’s national school feeding program”, Nature Communications, 12: 4248.
  • Chakraborty, Tanika and Rajshri Jayaraman (2019), “School feeding and learning achievement: Evidence from India's midday meal program”, Journal of Development Economics, 139: 249-265.
  • Leroy, Jef L and Edward A Frongillo (2019), “Perspective: What Does Stunting Really Mean? A Critical Review of the Evidence”, Advances in Nutrition, 10(2): 196–204. Available here.
  • Nguyen, Phuong Hong, Samuel Scott, Sumanta Neupane, Lan Mai Tran and Purnima Menon (2019), “Social, biological, and programmatic factors linking adolescent pregnancy and early childhood undernutrition: a path analysis of India's 2016 National Family and Health Survey”, The Lancet: Child & Adolescent Health, 3(7): 463-473.
  • Scott, Samuel, Phuong Hong Nguyen, Sumanta Neupane, Priyanjana Pramanik, Priya Nanda, Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Kaosar Afsana and Purnima Menon (2021), “Early marriage and early childbearing in South Asia: trends, inequalities, and drivers from 2005 to 2018”, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1491: 60-73. Available here.
  • Singh, Abhijeet, Albert Park and Stefan Dercon (2014), “School Meals as a Safety Net: An Evaluation of the Midday Meal Scheme in India”, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 62(2).

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Tuesday, 3 August 2021

As Multiple Governments React to Pegasus Exposé, India Is an Outlier

 The Indian government will have to first come clean to the court on whether it engaged the NSO Group and spent public money on buying a Pegasus licence

 Explained: What is Pegasus Spyware & How to Know If You Have Been Affected

Developments around the Pegasus scandal these past few days must make it impossible for the Israeli company, NSO Group, to obfuscate the centralised nature of the storehouse of client data that leaked last month.

The fact that France’s cyber security authorities have independently authenticated the presence of Pegasus in the phones of two French journalists present in the  database demolishes the Israeli company’s claim that the list of leaked numbers was intended to be used by its clients for “other purposes” and not for deploying the deadly spyware against unsuspecting citizens and foreign nationals.

President Emmanuel Macron of France has announced an investigation into Pegasus after his own number and that of several French ministers appeared in the leaked list.

The Narendra Modi government was trying to discredit the testing method of the Amnesty Tech Lab, even though its methodology was validated by Citizen Lab of Toronto University. Now, with the French government independently authenticating the Pegasus Project’s findings, there will be ever more pressure on the Indian authorities to announce an investigation. This should also persuade the Supreme Court, where the matter will come up this week, to consider an independent probe.

NSO Group, in its initial communication, tried to confuse matters by saying the leaked database was linked to its customers merely seeking “HLR lookup services”. This relates to identification and authentication of active phone connections in a database before delivering any service. NSO was trying to suggest that such identification and authentication of persons on the database was for other legitimate purposes and not for delivering spyware.

In reality, the use of “HLR lookup services” or Home Location Register services, is just the first step of authenticating a customer before delivering any service, commercial or spyware. It is a generic service, in a manner of speaking. Even before delivering spyware, such authentication is required, according to experts. So NSO’s claim that the database Forbidden Stories accessed comprises random persons from different countries merely for some commercial HLR lookout services doesn’t hold water. No one, including the Israeli government, is convinced about this alibi offered by NSO. Otherwise why would the Israeli authorities raid NSO’s premises? Or why would NSO be forced to suspend its spyware services to some countries – as some media reports have it claiming – when it insists the database was merely offering commercial HLR lookup services.

If the database consisted of merely some benign HLR services offered by NSO, why would the US government seriously raise the issue of NSO’s Pegasus sale with Israeli officials? Indeed, all these developments flow from the leaked database and the database is the fountainhead of the Pegasus exposé.

 As far as the government of France and the US are concerned, the nature of the leaked database is clearly established via sample testing of phones by both the Amnesty Lab and France’s cyber security authorities, which found that Pegasus had indeed been deployed against at least 37 smartphones, including 10 in India.


The writing on the wall is very clear and the Indian authorities would also do well not to fudge anymore. The Modi government’s constant questioning of the mechanism of phone testing and the authenticity of the leaked database makes it appear to be in bed with the Israeli company. That is terrible optics and the sooner the PMO realises it, the better.

India’s judicial system is also likely see through such unedifying contortions. Of course, before going into larger questions over the use of Pegasus, the Indian government will have to first come clean to the court on whether India has bought the spyware and spent public money on it. There is no escaping this question. This truth will bob up to the surface sooner rather than later.

 source ; the wire

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Monday, 2 August 2021

Justice delayed is still justice denied

 Why our criminal justice system urgently needs a law for compensation for those under illegal detention 

Even 74 years after independence, the judicial system does not work within reasonable timelines. Thousands who rely on the legal system suffer as verdicts get delayed, denying them justice. A 108-year-old man died recently before the Supreme Court could address his appeal in a land dispute that he had pursued since 1968. Pending cases infringe the right to a fair and speedy trial, writes OSHI SAXENA.

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SOPAN Narsinga Gaikwad, a 108-year-old man, died before the Supreme Court could hear his appeal in a land dispute he had pursued since 1968. The case was pending before the Bombay High Court for close to 27 years before it got dismissed.

The Supreme Court agreed on July 12 to hear his appeal after his counsel argued that the delay was because the elderly petitioner lived in rural Maharashtra and learned of the High Court verdict much later. The protocols for the Covid-19 pandemic also delayed him.

Gaikwad had purchased a plot of land in 1968 through a registered sale deed. He discovered it had been mortgaged with a bank instead of the loan taken by the original owner. When the previous owner defaulted on repayment, the bank notified Gaikwad.

“Unfortunately, the man who pursued his case right from the trial court to the Supreme Court was not alive to hear that his matter has been agreed to be heard,” the petitioner’s counsel Viraj Kadam told news agency PTI.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy issued notice on the application to condone two 1,467-day and 267-day delays in petitioning the Supreme Court against two High Court orders, passed in 2015 and 2019. The Supreme Court also requested a response from the opposing parties within eight weeks.

“We must note that the petitioner is 108 years old, and the High Court did not deal with the merits of the case, and the matter was dismissed due to the non-appearance of the advocates,” Justice Chandrachud said.


The bench said that after his case got dismissed in 2015, his lawyers may have been unable to locate him since he lived in a rural area. It noted the submission from Kadam that the trial court decree was reversed by the first appellate court, while the second appeal before the Bombay High Court had been pending since 1988.

Numerous cases are pending in courts that stay unresolved for a decade or much longer. More get added to this pile every day, as the courts are unable to deal with them.

Long-lost Bhopal gas tragedy trial

Another example of judicial sluggishness is the Bhopal gas tragedy case. The Union Carbide Factory devastated over five lakh people, and the aftermath of the poisonous leaks still impedes the lives of those who live in the area. The case has dragged on for years in court, but only seven company employees were tried and convicted, to just two years in prison.

The company avoided liability by paying $470 million as compensation. However, many victims have yet to receive compensation for the undeniable harm the adversity caused them. A long and complex legal battle ensued, but victims are still hoping for justice three decades later.


Jessica Lal case: a prolonged battle for truth and justice

The murder of Jessica Lal was a high-profile case that no one could forget, and for all the wrong reasons. In the early hours of April 30, 1999, Jessica Lal, a celebrity barmaid, was shot to death by Manu Sharma at a crowded party. Manu is the son of Venod Sharma, a wealthy and influential former Congressman from Haryana.


Sharma murdered her for refusing to serve him alcohol after the bar had closed for the night. During the first trial, which concluded on February 21, 2006, Manu and others got acquitted. The prosecution witnesses had turned hostile, and one even proposed the absurd two-weapon theory. Many believe the witnesses were under intense pressure to change their narratives.

Years later, in December 2007, Sharma was finally sentenced to life in prison. On June 1, 2020, he walked out of Tihar jail, released prematurely from his life sentence by the sentence review panel of the Delhi government, which cited his “good conduct” as the reason.

Stern SC warning on NCMSC report

The Supreme Court recently expressed disappointment that a report of the National Court Management Systems Committee (NCMSC) in 2019 was still very far from being enforced.

‘If left to the Union of India and the states, no work would happen at the Supreme Court. The government is the largest litigant and in every matter, with few exceptions, there is an application for time,’ said a bench consisting of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah.

The NCMSC study, led by former Supreme Court Justice AK Sikri, recommended steps to standardise judicial hearings and minimise the case backlog. In November 2019, the NCMSC submitted a five-volume report.

In January 2020, the Supreme Court asked the Centre and States to file their responses. By last week, though 1.5 years have gone by, the governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh had still not filed their responses.

According to the National Judicial Data Grid, the judiciary has to grapple with a massive backlog of around 30 million cases. With 17 judges per million citizens, the ratio of judges to citizens is highly insufficient.


India has a complicated legal system. Cases get transferred from inferior to superior courts, fresh arguments and evidence must get presented, and dates are assigned after long gaps, sometimes of a year.

Retrials occur, and years or decades pass by without any concrete legal outcomes. The government must find solutions to these problems, for delays unnecessarily make life dreadful for those who decide to embark on never-ending quests for justice.

(Oshi Saxena is pursuing her master’s degree in journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune. She hopes to amplify the voices of the underprivileged. The views expressed are personal.)

 source ; theleaflet.in

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Pandemic further worsens living conditions in Urban India

 

All over India, urban planning is being carried out with the intent to monetise land, water and housing with no scope for the poor and the working class. 

Pandemic further worsens living conditions in Urban India 

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the hollowness of the urban development trajectory in India. Since the last few decades, especially after the economic reforms in the 1990s, the city development models have been for-profit maximisation through privatisation of utilities, monetisation of land and corporatisation for capital intensive technologies. In this process, the organised strength of the working class has been weakened and more informalisation has crept in.

The first urban commission in 1988 visualised the city’s development linked with manufacturing and industrialisation. The current scenario is more service-driven where the bargaining power of the workers’ vis–a–vis the State apparatus has shrunk. The basic necessities that were considered as essential delivery by the State are being privatised. Housing, water, health, education and such other sectors saw massive privatisation, both vertical and horizontal. This has led to a phenomenal gap between the country’s rich and the poor.

Another important feature is massive migration of labour from urban to urban and rural to urban. According to the World Bank, there are nearly 450 million migrants in India, however rural to urban migration is nearly 52 million according to the 2011 Census, which is a jump of 6.5% and an equal number migrates from urban to urban. The figures for the 2021 Census will certainly be far more than this.

There is no concrete policy for migrants in India. The social security net, though weak, is completely missing the migrants and when the lockdown was announced, they could not stay in the cities even for 24 hours as they knew that they will starve to death had they stayed back.

URBAN EMPLOYMENT

Nearly 21 million salaried jobs were been lost during the lockdown out of a total of 87 million i.e., almost 25 %; the worst affected section were white-collar professionals such as engineers, physicians and teachers. Six million such jobs have been lost which is 31% of all white-collar jobs.

The second worst affected category of salaried employees were industrial workers — 26% of their jobs have been lost. This decline is most apparent in small industrial units because the MSME sector was badly affected by the lockdown. The employment rate had come down from 39.5% in 2019-20 to 38 %(October 2020). That means 1.5% of a billion people i.e. around 15 million lost their jobs during this period.

Another important feature during the lockdown was a fall in the gross value addition which saw a contraction in various sectors of the economy thus leading to unemployment/decline in employment: The worst affected were construction (–50%), trade, hotels and other services (–47%), manufacturing (–39%), and mining (–23%). It is important to note that these are the sectors that create the maximum new jobs in the country. In a scenario where each of these sectors is contracting so sharply — that is, their output and incomes are falling — it would lead to more and more people either losing jobs (decline in employment) or failing to get one (rise in unemployment).

The unemployment rate had spiked to 24% in April 2020 soon after the lockdown was announced and the urban labour participation rate fell from 40.46 in January 2020 to 32.47 in April 2020. However, for the urban male category, it fell from 65% to near 40% during the same period (Global LFPR is more than 70 %, and this shows the precarious condition in India- there are hardly any jobs). According to Suresh Babu and Chandan in The Hindu, informality continues to undermine the prospects of reducing working poverty. The pandemic and association policy responses have exposed the vulnerability of these urban jobs.

During this period salaried job holders from sectors like hospitality, real estate, construction, retail, SMEs and ancillary manufacturing units have contributed to unemployment.

The urban employment guarantee scheme must be launched in all the urban centres to arrest rising joblessness. Urban employment continues to be near 10%. There should be an investment in infrastructure and that too not with large capital-intensive technologies but labour-intensive approach for municipal infrastructure. Some of the work in urban employment can be linked to large scale rejuvenation of water bodies in the urban centres. Most of these water bodies are neglected and the focus happens to be on supplying water from long distances. The capacity of the rural economy to absorb workers who returned from cities is low and the viability of agriculture to provide these workers with a decent living standard is questionable.

HOUSING ISSUES

The push currently is for more market-oriented housing. Since 2014 public housing has dropped from 6% to 3%. It should not be less than 25% in any given situation for inclusive housing. No wonder that nearly 50 million people are without houses (including those living in dilapidated houses). The proliferation of slums continues unabated. Nearly 40% of the urban population lives in slums in large cities. The 2011 Census puts it to near 20% whereas the World Bank estimates nearly 35.2% living in slums.

Nearly 40% of people live in single room houses and 75% in two rooms, whereas the average size is not more than 25 square metres. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for housing fell short of its target. In 2020-21 only 5.4 % of the houses were sanctioned. There are four verticals in PMAY. In ARHC i.e. affordable rental housing, 80,369 houses were supposed to be built, but only 1,703 were constructed.

Interestingly, the JLL (commercial real estate company) survey 2020 shows that 0.46 million (4.6 lakh) properties (houses)worth USD 550 billion (Rs 40 lakh crore) are ready but there are no buyers. In another report, 13 lakh houses worth Rs 9.38 lakh crore, which is about 5% of India’s GDP, are lying unsold. Likewise, the Reserve Bank of India has estimated that 0.95 million ( 9.5 lakh) properties (houses) worth Rs 80 lakh crore are stuck in the construction process. This shows the conditions and changes in the housing patterns in India.

UNORGANISED SECTOR

According to the Economic Survey, the unorganised sector comprises 93 % of the workforce. This sector was most affected during the pandemic as there was hardly any social security net available for these workers.

About 80 % of the workforce in the country is in the informal economy. According to government figures, four % of these are contract workers. Only one in five has a monthly salary job. Half of the workforce is self-employed. These are shopkeepers, hawkers, salon runners, bicycle repair cobblers, etc. They have been the worst affected once the lockdown was announced. Actually, every sector in the economic system is connected to another.

During this period the state’s social structure was also lacking. According to two primary surveys done by civil society groups, 83% of the total relief camps were run by non-state actors and only 17% by the state governments. In a sample survey of 4,763 migrant workers from Delhi who migrated back during the lockdown; 86 % were living in rented JJ(jhughi jopdi) colonies-slums. Only four % had a place to stay at their work site. In another large survey of over 11,550 workers across India who migrated back, 80 % were wage, factory/construction workers. Daily average wages were between Rs 400-Rs 460; 72 % had ration in store for just two days; 89 % were not paid wages during the lockdown; 75 % lost their livelihoods and 53 % were bearing additional debt burden. They hardly had any assets along with them.

Even the middle-class sections were badly hit. In various condominiums in a city like Gurgaon, the maintenance costs per house have gone up to Rs 7,000 from Rs 5,000. Likewise, for electricity, the per-unit cost is charged at Rs 21 which earlier was Rs 17.

There is a huge debt that the urban workforce is caught in. The household debt jumped from 32.5 % in 2018 to 38 % in 2021.

URBAN POLICIES TO INCREASE ECONOMIC BURDENS

The 15th Finance Commission has made this amply clear that those cities/town that does not start collecting and incrementally increasing their user charges on properties in the form of property tax will lose their grants. Already Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are reeling from the pressure of surmounting property tax charges. Along with that, there is a secured incremental increase in utility charges on water and sanitation.

Likewise, the use of capital intensive technologies in urban mobility and sanitation (focus on large STPs & waste to energy plants) creates debt as people are forced to pay the enhanced user fees for the operation and maintenance costs in the form of tipping fees to such plants. After sanitation, water utility is another area being targeted by the Modi government for abject privatisation. Under the Jal Jivan Mission (JJM), the target is to provide potable tap water to every household by 2024. This is absolutely necessary and fine. But the way this is being done is quite contrary to the intent — the provisions do not match the intent. The model being emulated is Telangana’s Mission Bhagiratha model, which has a spending of over Rs 50,000 crore and 80% of the money is borrowed from the market. The capital investment and operation management are for capital intensive technologies.

The JJM proclaims for equity participation — willingness to pay for services and making water everyone’s business. The transition of water management from the principle of ‘water is a right’ to ‘water is a need’ is evident in JJM and the need can be fulfilled by any service provider — private or public!

Master plans of a few large metros are also being updated. Delhi MPD 2041 is in the process. There is a dramatic shift in these master plans. Two states have interesting developments. In Delhi, this master plan is a shift from the Nehruvian planning model to a corporate-driven planning. In the earlier plans (1961 Delhi), there was ample space for urban social housing (LIG’s, Janta Flats etc.), though never accomplished. However, the new draft plan is more focussed on TOD (Transit Oriented Development). In fact, TOD is going to be the new mantra for urban development. Though it speaks about urban mobility with strong interconnections of housing, again it is focussed on middle-class urban housing and with no scope for the poor and the working class. TOD is actually land monetisation and this is what will be witnessed across the urban spectrum in the years to come. AIIMS redevelopment, metros, etc., are little glimpses of this.

Tamil Nadu is another state that portrays the urban development model with principles laid out by multilateral agencies and the World Bank is instrumental in guiding the urban development trajectory. Water, housing, etc. will be seen through the same prism of monetisation. Street vendors removal, slums eviction, property tax issues are all part and parcel of this design.

Likewise, spending on health, education is squeezing. Venture funds are entering the education sector with more digitalisation. Only 27% of Indian households have access to the internet. For urban households, the percentage is higher but completely inadequate to meet the universalisation of education standards.

The National Health Mission, which is insurance-driven, faltered badly during the pandemic. With India’s public health spending less than 1.5% of GDP (the Economic Survey recommends a minimum spending of 3%), however, the government is more interested in private players taking over this important sector. Public spending on the health sector is quintessential for the well being of the people. Hence, in city planning, not community health centres or primary health centres, but more super speciality hospitals are witnessed, which robs the common people further.

The central vista re-development project is another important project in Delhi pushed by the prime minister for a new parliament building and a large mansion for himself with nuke bunkers etc. Worth more than Rs 20,000 crore, it is a complete vanity project that not only shows the abject insensitivity of the government but also exhibits the sheer despotism of urban governance.

These forms of urban development strategies are unsustainable and will lead towards more alienation of people and will further enhance their miseries.

The writer is former deputy mayor of Shimla. The views are personal.

 

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Judges decide for spouses: stay back, don’t leave

 Judges decide for spouses: stay back, don’t leave 

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, contains one of the most dreaded sections of the Indian statute books: the rule in section 9 on restitution of conjugal rights. This section has been variously interpreted by courts, but it should have no place in a democratic country, especially one that recognises women as equal citizens, write PRERNA DHOOP and VANDANA DHOOP

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SECTION 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, a potent symbol of Judeo-Christian morality imported into Indian legal jurisprudence does not easily permit an individual to break free from the clutches of marriage.

American judge Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, in his seminal article, “The Path of the Law”, has devised a four-pronged test to evaluate the utility of a legal provision in the prevailing societal circumstances: first, what are the ends section 9 seeks to accomplish; second, what are the reasons to desire those ends; third, what is being given up to gain those ends; and fourth, are the ends worth the price?


Over the years, there has been a stark disagreement between high courts in India concerning the practical utility of section 9, such that when Andhra Pradesh High Court through Justice P Choudary in T Sareetha vs T Venkata Subbaiah, declared the provision as constitutionally invalid, the Delhi High Court, through Justice AB Rohatgi, in Harvinder Kaur vs Harmander Singh Choudhry, held it to be perfectly valid.

A single-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Saroj Rani vs Sudarshan Kumar Chadha, through Justice Sabyasachi Mukharji, broke the tie between the high courts by upholding section 9 and observing: “it served social purpose as an aid to the prevention of break up of marriage.”

Section 9 permits judicial intervention in a couple’s private life by reinforcing the coherent logic that runs seamlessly throughout the statute, i.e., the marital bond between a husband and wife should endure eternally. Generally, in section 9 cases, judges—acting mechanically—blindly uphold the ‘marriage is sacrament’ and ‘permanence of the marital bond’ kind of theological reasoning, as if they were the interlocutors between humans and God.

Practically, the court’s issue of notice of “restitution of conjugal rights” to a spouse who chooses to leave the matrimonial home is an example of “legal imperialism”, where the law completely overlooks and sidelines critical aspects of matrimony such as an individuals’ interests, emotions, expectations and lived reality, in the name of preserving the sanctity of marriage and ensuring love lasts forever.

Section 9 cases are marred in complex procedures and confusing legalese, with lawyers and judges tailoring the spouses’ accounts to fit a set of narrow “legal issues”, disqualifying everything else they consider non-legal, even actual individual narratives of love, faith, happiness, infidelity and violence.

For example, when a spouse has to prove a “reasonable excuse” for withdrawal from the “society of the other”, ultimately, only that knowledge and experiences matter which hold “legal significance” in the eyes of the lawyers and judges and not individual trials and tribulations.


By mounting the judge’s subjective satisfaction as to the “truth of the statements made in petition” onto a high pedestal, section 9 tends to completely erase individual experiences, psychological and sociological findings, even common sense.

It is quite likely for judges, while interpreting and constructing the meaning of whether a spouse has left “without reasonable excuse’ to substitute the couples” everyday life experiences with their own beliefs and value systems. 

In extreme circumstances, such exercise of judicial discretion might lead a victim of domestic abuse and marital rape back to the perpetrator’s home. By permitting judicial access to the marital life of individual couples, section 9 significantly narrows the “private zone” in which an individual is the master of one’s destiny and enjoys absolute freedom.

Section 9 expands public scrutiny of an individual’s most personal choices, such as sex and lovemaking. It operates like a sovereign who lays down the dos and don’ts for spouses in the realm of marriage.

Britain abolished the provision on the restitution of conjugal rights under section 20 of the Matrimonial Proceedings Act in 1970. The same year, in an infamous Indian case, Anna Saheb vs Tarabai, a woman who had left her painter husband and after several attempts at reconciliation did not return, because she believed there was no possibility of their making a “happy home” was ordered to go back to her husband. 

A division bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, through judges JS Dayal and JS Raina, interpreted section 9 as follows: “A petition cannot be dismissed merely because the wife does not like her husband or does not want to live with him, because he is too poor or is otherwise not fit to be a proper life companion for her. Once a marriage has been solemnised the husband is entitled to the society of his wife and he cannot be denied such society merely because she does not like him, and for reasons of her own does not feel happy with him.”


The two male judges obviously could not anticipate what would happen to Tarabai when she was forced to return to a man she despised. They were only performing their judicial role of enforcing Indian society’s moral code of conduct which prescribes strict virtues for men and women—self-will and self-assertion for men; abnegation of self, patience, resignation, and submission to power by women.

Further, resistance to her husband’s will is certainly not a trait of a duty-bound and graceful wife because a man does not like his domestic companion to have a will different from his. They conveniently forgot about individual autonomy and constitutional morality.

Although worded in gender-neutral terms, section 9 does not posit husband and wife as coequals in a matrimonial relationship. Rather, women view it as an instrument of oppression—a noteworthy fact—completely ignored by a male-centric Indian judiciary. 

Celebrated poet and navratna in King Akbar’s court Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana poignantly observes about the bond of love:

“Beware, oh human! Of the delicate thread of love, handle it with care and do not let it snap. If it breaks once you might repair it by tying its ends together however, don’t forget, the ends form a knot which as much as you may try cannot be concealed.”

Reasonably, it would help the law, courts and judges to understand that with love there is nothing to be done, that it is senseless to say to a person who wants to go away: ‘No, you must stay’.

(Prerna Dhoop is an Assistant Professor at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore and Vandana Dhoop is an independent research consultant based in Kolkata. The views expressed are personal.)

source ;  theleaflet.in


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Farmers relieved as J&K High Court halts forcible land acquisition in parts of state

 COVID-19: J&K HC takes suo moto cognizance of increase in domestic violence cases amidst Lockdown 

Despite ownership rights being with farmers in J&K, the government is forcibly trying to acquire their lands for various mega projects. The acquisition should be in accordance with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, but this has not been done, reports RAJA MUZAFFAR BHAT from Srinagar.

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THE Jammu & Kashmir High Court has come to the rescue of 86-year-old Abdul Rahim Bhat and 10 others, mostly hailing from Ganderbal district of Kashmir, by preventing the district administration from forcibly acquiring their land.

The collector of Ganderbal had issued a notification for land acquisition almost four years back, but after issuance of Section 4 under the erstwhile J&K Land Acquisition Act 1934, the notification under Section 6 was not issued.

The High Court bench, headed by Chief Justice  Pankaj Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar, said that as no declaration has been made under Section 6 of J&K Land Acquisition Act 1934 (now repealed ),  the notification issued under Section 4 is simply a proposal to acquire the land. 

The order reads: “Admittedly so far there is no declaration under Section 6 of the Act so as to finally acquire the above land. The notification under Section 4 of the Act is simply a proposal to acquire the land and since the land has not yet been finally acquired, we are of the opinion that writ petition is premature and is not maintainable at this stage.”

Go by law

The bench disposed of the petition and asked the respondents (the government) to proceed in accordance with the law if it was in need of the land for a road-widening project.

The order said:

“Accordingly, the writ petition stands disposed of with a liberty to the respondents to proceed in accordance with the law, if necessary, to acquire the land leaving it open for the petitioners to challenge the acquisition proceedings as and when the final notification to acquire the land is issued by the respondents. It is made clear that as the land has not been finally acquired, the ownership/ title of the land has not passed to the respondents and the petitioners are free to use it in the manner they so desire. 5. The writ petition is, accordingly, disposed of.”

If a fresh notification for the land acquisition is to be issued, it has to be done in accordance with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, which is applicable in J&K post Article 370 abrogation.

This law is among others that could have benefited the people of J&K. But the government is being accused by farmers of not applying this law in many cases of land acquisition. In fact, the aggrieved persons, Abdul Rahim Bhat, and others, had gone to the High Court with the same prayer.

Syed Nasarullah, a retired administrative officer in the J&K Judicial Services, said: “The collector, land acquisition, Ganderbal, cannot issue Section 6 notification under the J&K Land Acquisition Act of 1934 as the same is no more in operation post Article 370 abrogation. Now a fresh notification has to be issued under the Right to Fair Compensation law only, which is enforced in J&K with effect from October 31, 2019.”

PWD issues tender 

The collector issued a notification under Section 4 of the J&K Land acquisition Act 1934 on October 21, 2017. He expressed an intention to acquire around 23 kanals of land (three acres approximately) for widening, construction and upgradation of the Pandach-Beehama Ganderbal road in Malshahibagh estate tehsil, district Ganderbal.

Ironically, much before the notification of Section 4, the collector, in association along with the chief engineer, PWD Roads & Buildings Kashmir and executive engineer, PWD (R&B) Ganderbal, issued a tender under No: Fresh NIT 41 of R&B /Gbl/2017-18 dated  31.05.2017.

E-tenders were invited from prospective bidders for the construction and widening of the proposed road. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 1,900.75 lakh. Prior to the issuance of the NIT, the district collector/deputy commissioner Ganderbal and executive engineer, PWD (R&B) Ganderbal, had prepared a detailed project report for execution of the work. This was presumably under the misconceived notion that the entire land for construction of the proposed road was the sole property of the government and not of any individual.

It was only during the erection of the alignment posts through the private land of Abdul Rahim Bhat and others that they became conscious about the alleged land grabbing by the district administration of Ganderbal. 

When they raised their voice and went to meet the district administration, the latter issued a land acquisition notification under Section 4 in October 2017, i.e., six months after floating of the NIT by PWD (R&B).

Hand-in-glove

Shafqat Nazir, the advocate pleading this case told The Leaflet: “The land acquisition proceedings initiated by the then collector, land acquisition  Ganderbal, along with his boss, the deputy commissioner, Ganderbal, or even the chief engineer, PWD (R&B), were unconstitutional and illegal.

The Section 4 notification was issued after the NIT had already been issued by the indenting/ executing department. Though the notice under Section (4) of the repealed J&K Land Acquisition Act 1934 was issued in 2017, no further steps for completing the land acquisition proceedings were taken. As such, the purpose of issuance of the Section 4 notification has been rendered redundant and this was viewed seriously by the High Court division bench which called the notification simply a proposal to acquire land.”

Nazir, an advocate in the J&K High Court, who has been pleading this case, said: “It was mandatory upon the collector to issue Section 6 notification and then he has to make an award within two years. If the award is not made by then, the entire land acquisition proceedings become null and void.”

Srinagar Ring Road project 

A similar fraud is being committed by the district administration of Budgam on the direction of the government to forcibly acquire some 500 acres in Budgam district for construction of the Srinagar Ring Road.

The affected farmers want an application of the Right to Fair Compensation Act just as the affected parties in Ganderbal want.

The notification for the Srinagar Ring Road project under Section 4 was issued on March 20, 2017, for village Wathoora in Budgam. The declaration under Section 6 was made in August 2017. It was thus mandatory for the collector, land acquisition, Budgam, to finalise the acquisition process and make an award before August 2019 (within two years).

Section 11 of the J&K’s repealed land acquisition act of 1934 mandates the acquiring authority to complete proceedings within two years of declaring an intent to acquire the land under Section 6 of the Act.

If it fails to do so, the notification and proceedings lapse according to Section 11-B of the 1934 Act (now repealed)

After four years of issuance of the Section 6 notification, if the government wants to invoke the repealed J&K Land Acquisition Act 1934, it can be called a legal fraud and deceit. It was also incumbent upon the collector to notify the award, according to the repealed J&K Land Acquisition Act 1934, which says that the award of the collector would be final when:

“(1) Such award shall be filed in the Collector’s office and shall, except as hereinafter provided, be final and conclusive evidence, as between the Collector and the persons interested, whether they have respectively appeared before the Collector or not, of the true area and the value of the land, and the apportionment of the compensation among the persons interested.

(2) The Collector shall give immediate notice of his award to such persons interested, as are not present personally or by their representatives when the award is made.”

Farmers not notified

However, the collector, land acquisition, Budgam, did not at any point notify the aggrieved farmers that any award was made by him in respect of their land intended to be acquired within two years.

Even until July 31, 2021, the final award has not been made public in most of the villages in Budgam. Everything is being done in total secrecy. Not even an oral notice was issued to the affected people to attend the collectorate to receive the award.

Therefore, a fresh notification has to be issued for the acquisition and compensation, but the government is not ready. Unfortunately, the High Court’s interim orders issued in Abdul Salam Bhat, G A Paul and Ali Mohammad Akhoon V/S UT of Jammu & Kashmir, are not respected.

In many villages such as Khanda , Gund e Kuzwera, Ganji Bagh, Ichgam, Dharmuna and others, the National Highway Authority of India with the help of district administration, Budgam, is allegedly trying to take land into possession using force. 

In many cases, people haven’t been paid any compensation and in some cases, some part of the compensation was accepted by farmers under protest.

In these three orders, the High Court asked the government to maintain status quo and in Abdul Salam Bhat’s case, it even directed that a fresh notification be issued for Wathoora village if the government needed the land for the project as none of the farmers in this village had received compensation and were still in physical possession of the land.

The J&K High Court order on forcible land acquisition in Ganderbal has given some hope to affected landowners. The judiciary is the only hope for aggrieved farmers to get fair compensation during a land acquisition process. It is hoped that this order is respected by the government and a fresh notification is issued under the Right to Fair Compensation Act not only for road widening in Ganderbal but for megaprojects like the Srinagar Ring Road project as well.

(Raja Muzaffar Bhat is a Srinagar-based activist, columnist, and independent researcher. He is an Acumen India Fellow. The views expressed are personal.)

source ;  .theleaflet.in/


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Chandrapur gets the first Swasth kiosk in the state

 Swasth kiosks set up by the Tata Trusts encourage healthy lifestyle by making screening for Non-communicable Diseases easily accessible

 Swasth Chandrapur 

Vikas Wadke*, a resident of Chandrapur in Maharashtra, had been chewing gutka (tobacco) for years. So perhaps, what followed does not come as a surprise. On 18 January 2021, 36-year-old Vikas woke up feeling an unbearable pain in his mouth. Even the act of opening his mouth hurt.

What happened next is where the storyline takes an unexpected tack. To understand what was wrong, Vikas did not visit the local doctor, but instead walked into a health and wellness kiosk. Two months earlier, in November 2020, Tata Trusts had set up the Swasth Chandrapur opportunistic screening and awareness kiosk at the Government Medical College. The kiosk is an initiative of the Chandrapur Cancer Care Foundation (CCCF), a public-private partnership of the Maharashtra state government, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), District Mineral Foundation (DMF) and Tata Trusts.

The opportunistic health kiosk is a solution that can be a game changer for India’s healthcare system, offering free screening for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, and oral, breast and cervical cancers.

The focus on NCDs is because of the worrying health data. Maharashtra’s incidence of NCDs is high – forming 63% of the overall disease burden. The risk of NCDs is higher for those who consume tobacco. Over a third (35%) of the men in Maharashtra consume tobacco in some form and, like Vikas, start at an early age; when it comes to women and tobacco, the rate is 17%. Consequently, the state also has a high incidence rate of cancer at 80 people per 100,000 population. However, most of the common cancers – oral, breast and cervix – can be easily detected with regular screenings.

Since Vikas was aware of the Swasth Chandrapur kiosk, he visited the kiosk and got himself screened without any delay. A clinical examination showed that he had restricted tongue movement and difficulty in swallowing. He was advised to visit the nearest district hospital without delay for a biopsy. The biopsy was performed on 20 January 2021 and the reports confirmed that Vikas was suffering from oral cancer.

Immediately after the diagnosis, Vikas was counselled at the Swasth Chandrapur kiosk where the medical team helped him cope with fear and anxiety, and gave him the confidence to undergo treatment. He was also given information about the relevant government health scheme under which he could avail cashless treatment.

On 4 February 2021, Vikas was referred to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Nagpur for further diagnostic procedures and treatment. He was advised six chemotherapy cycles and he successfully completed his first cycle of chemotherapy on 14 June 2021.

On 23 June 2021, Vikas revisited the Swasth Kiosk for his follow-up test. He was calm and willing to follow the medical advice and treatment protocol for further chemotherapy.

Vikas’ case is a clear example of how critical early screening is in detecting and treating disease in the early stages. The Swasth Chandrapur kiosk helped in the early detection of Vikas’ oral cancer and the medical team guided him in the right direction to avail treatment on time. Vikas is more than grateful for the guidance and assistance of the kiosk medical team; now he actively promotes cancer prevention measures and screening amongst his peers and friends.

The Tata Trusts are setting up such kiosks in the heavy footfall areas of Medical College Hospitals to reach maximum numbers of patients and visitors. Six kiosks are already operational in Assam, and one each in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Ranchi in Jharkhand and Chandrapur in Maharashtra. The kiosk in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha is expected to open this year.

The Swasth screening kiosks are a vital step towards reducing incidence rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and easily identifiable cancers through early detection and timely treatment. The kiosks not only help save lives, they also reduce treatment and care-related expenses, and improve the quality of life.

 SOURCE ; tatatrusts.org

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