Pew Research Center, using World Bank data, has estimated that the number of poor in India (with income of $2 per day or less in purchasing power parity) has more than doubled from 60 million to 134 million in just a year because the pandemic-induced recession. This means India is back in a situation to be called a “country of mass poverty” after 45 years.
As India is preparing to vaccinate most of its population against the COVID-19 disease, India’s immunisation programme and its readiness have come to the fore as a matter of discussion. Immunisation is a proven tool to control and eliminate life-threatening diseases. India has numerous schemes and programmes to save its population from various diseases and it has the legacy of adhering to reach the goals it set for itself. The Government of India in collaboration with the States runs various immunisation programmes throughout the country and ensures the health and wellness of its population. At the same, the country faces several challenges in delivering vaccines to targeted beneficiaries and thus it will be keenly observed how the nation deals with the challenges in administering its immunisation programmes.
In a recent webinar, the Prime Minister of India stated that in recent years, India has added 139 Giga Watts capacity and reached the goal of one nation-one grid-one frequency. He added that reforms like the UDAY scheme were undertaken to improve financial and operational efficiencies. He further added that India has become a power surplus country from a power deficit one. The idea of One Nation, One Grid has been making rounds in the news for the last few years. However, the idea is not new to us. To reach the ambitious goal of India becoming a nation using renewable energy sources for most of its needs, the idea of One Nation, One Grid is vital. The energy sector plays a crucial role in the progress of the country and influences both ease of living and ease of doing business. To fulfil the goals, the nation needs to have last-mile connectivity and One Nation, One Grid is a step forward in this direction.
In a recent development, the High Court of Gujarat proposed a set of nine-point guidelines to combat the problem of menstrual taboo in India. The bench also sought the opinion of the state and centre on the proposed set of guidelines. This has brought the issue of menstrual hygiene to the centre of discussion. Menstrual taboo and hygiene have been a topic of discussion for a long time in India yet there has been very little progress noticed in this domain. Taboos related to menstruation have multi-dimensional effects on a woman’s life and health. There is a lack of awareness among Indian women regarding menstrual hygiene. Given such a grim situation, it has become important that these issues are taken for discussion and appropriate measures are taken to address these issues.
Recently, the Union Budget(2021-22) has announced to provide additional funds for micro-irrigation projects and improving the efficiency of irrigation in the country. This has brought back the spotlight on irrigation schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), which is one of the premier irrigation schemes of the country. Out of 141 million hectares of net sown area in the country, 45% of the area is covered under irrigation. A lot of farmers are dependent upon rainfall for irrigating their lands which makes them vulnerable to crop failure and other risks. In such a situation, government-sponsored schemes play a key role in ensuring a steady flow of income to the farmers. Irrigation schemes form an important part of such efforts leading to productivity enhancement and increased farm income.
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, communicable diseases have become the focus of every nation yet the concern for non-communicable diseases(NCDs) cannot be overlooked. It has been noticed during the crisis that those who were suffering from comorbidities were the worst sufferers. The comorbidities were none other than non-communicable diseases(NCDs) that made people more vulnerable to the pandemic. A modeling study published in The Lancet Global Health suggests that, worldwide, one in five people are at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 if they become infected, mostly as a result of underlying NCDs. Several countries saw disruptions in providing regular healthcare services to the patients suffering from NCDs due to the focus on COVID-19 and because the economic state of the countries was in shock. The pandemic showed the extent of the burden that NCDs pose on health resources. In such a situation, the pandemic has again brought back the focus on NCDs that need to be tackled efficiently to tackle any further risk to people’s health all over the world.
As the Government passes the new labor laws and when the sudden loss of employment of thousands of laborers during the Covid 19 pandemic captures the limelight, the question of the right to work has become a focus of many. The ‘’right to work’’ is an essential part of human life. One must work to earn and fulfill the basic needs of one’s life. It is considered to be one of the foundations for the realization of other human rights. But time and again this right has come into question. It thus becomes important to understand this issue and see its various aspects to come to a legitimate conclusion.
In recent times, with the ongoing farmers’ agitation near the Delhi-Haryana border, agriculture as an issue has again captured the limelight. Various issues related to farmers have cropped up. The Union Government has dedicated a significant part of the 2021 Budget towards providing agricultural credit to the farmers. As the country is facing a number of problems in agriculture of which financing the agricultural needs tends to be a major issue, agricultural credit has become an important subject now to discuss and to pay attention to.
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.