The year 2020 saw an unprecedented return of migrant workers to rural India during the lockdown. This has increased the pressure on the already stressed rural employment scheme MGNREGS. However, 2020-21 budget allocation for MGNREGS is inadequate to meet the demand, as it is much lower than the revised estimates of FY21.
Recently, pop star Rihanna’s tweet turned the global spotlight on internet shutdowns at sites where farmers’ protests were taking place. She and other eminent women who tweeted support to the farmers’ protests later became victims of misogynistic comments from those who were offended by the said tweets. The social media was at its lowest when several critics resorted to slut-shaming, name-calling and glorifying abuse against these women. From this incident, it is evident that, while social media plays a powerful role in enabling women’s voice to be heard, it also fails to curb harmful and toxic contents by its users. Such instances often forcefully silences women users. It is the duty of the government and social media to protect women from such a harmful environment.
In recent times, freedom in India and its various aspects have come into question many a time. Such an aspect of freedom that comes into question time and again is academic freedom in India. Many scholars, researchers, and academicians complain about their diminishing rights to express what they consider needs to be heard and known. India’s score in the Academic Freedom Index(AFI), 2020 was abysmally low and its scores were close to countries like Saudi Arabia and Libya. Similarly, the Scholars at Risk network in its Free to Think Report,2020 showed a dismal condition of academic freedom in India. In such a situation, academic freedom in India and its various aspects need to be studied deeply to find a way out of this crisis and pave the way for a healthy academic environment in India.
In the last few decades, suicide has emerged as one of the common causes of death in India. A large number of people lose their lives every year to suicide in India. Suicide has emerged as a serious public health issue in our country. It leaves a major social, economic and emotional burden on those who are left behind. Hence, it has become important to delve deep into the issue and look into the various aspects related to it.
The pandemic-led health and socio-economic crisis have hit women and girls in a disproportionate fashion, leading to increased feminisation of poverty, domestic work, work burden as well as a spike in domestic violence. At the same time, it has also caused a boost in the feminisation of agriculture, making rural women play a critical role in providing household income. This presents an unmissable opportunity for the economic empowerment of women, which has the potential to remove all structural barriers hampering gender equality within India.
The recent occurrence of coronavirus pandemic has brought the issue of social security in India at the forefront. Large scale movement of migrant workers from the various cities of India was a great lesson for all the stakeholders. It made people realise the need for social security for all the members in the society and thus, there needs to be a great deal of discussion on this issue at all the levels.
The Supreme Court has recently ruled that reservation for promotions in public posts is not a fundamental right, and a state cannot be forced to provide the quota if it decided not to. The idea that reservation is not a right may be in line with the Constitution, but, the government still has the responsibility to offer Reservation for vulnerable sections of Indian society.
Unbiased interpretation of judiciary of laws passed by the legislature is vital for ensuring sound democracy and inclusive society. Yet, the Indian Judiciary is plagued by patriarchal mindset, with interpretations being regressive and insensitive towards women. In this light, steps need to be taken to inculcate gender sensitivity in the Indian judiciary, so that it treats everyone as equal regardless of differences.
With the coronavirus pandemic roiling across the world, most of the government measures focus on containing the spread of the infection. In this situation, social issues, many of which are gender-related, are given lesser priority. This, along with the lockdown orders, has led to increased instances of violence against women, creating a new “shadow pandemic” amid the COVID-19 crisis.