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1. Paternity Leave

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  • Child Care Leave was introduced by the 6th Pay Commission. Since then rules pertaining to CCL have been changed depending on need. Initially it applied only to women employees.

  • Current move comes after the recommendation of the 7th Pay Commission. A single male government employee has been defined as “an unmarried or widower or divorcee government servant”.

  • During the period of child care leave, a female Government servant and a single male Government servant shall be paid 100% of the salary for the first 365 days, and at 80% of the salary for the next 365 days.

  • Child care leave may not be granted for a period less than five days at a time.

  • It shall not ordinarily be granted during the probation period except in case of certain extreme situations where the leave sanctioning authority is satisfied about the need of child care leave to the probationer, provided that the period for which such leave is sanctioned is minimal.

  • It shall not be granted for more than three spells in a calendar year

1.1. Paternity Leave in India

  • In Government Sector: The Central Government in 1999, by notification under Central Civil Services (Leave) Rule 551 (A) made provisions for paternity leave –

  • for a male Central Government employee (including an apprentice and probationer) with less than two surviving children Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017

  • It provides for full paid absence from work for a period of 26 weeks (earlier 12 weeks) to take care of the child.

  • The Act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more women.

  • To be eligible for maternity benefit, a woman must have been working as an employee in the establishment for a period of at least 80 days in the past 12 months.

  • For women who are expecting after having 2 children, the duration of paid maternity leave shall be 12 weeks.

  • Maternity leave of 12 weeks to be available to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months from the date of adoption as well as to the “commissioning mothers”.

  • The Act makes it mandatory for employers to educate women about the maternity benefits available to them at the time of their appointment. for a period of 15 days to take care of his wife and new born child.

  • In private sector: There isn’t any such law that mandates private sectors to provide the paternity leaves to its employees. Therefore, paternity leave is open to interpretation by individual companies. Some of the major MNCs have already taken steps through their HR policies such as Microsoft (12 weeks), Infosys (5 days), Facebook (17 weeks), TCS (15 days).

  • Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha in 2017 as a Private Member Bill: o As opposed to the Maternity Benefit Act which is only applicable to women in the formal sector, this Bill aims to extend the paternity benefit to both formal and informal sector, thus covering the entire 32 crore male workforce.

  • Paternity Leave Policies around the World • Iceland: Both the parents have an independent right to parental leave of three months and also have a joint right to three additional months, which may be either taken by one of the parents or equally divided between them.

  • Spain: Fathers are entitled to 30 days paid leave at 100% of covered pay.

  • UNICEF had the provision of four weeks paid paternity leaves to its male employees but now it has been extended to sixteen weeks across all its offices worldwide.

  • The maximum period for which any man with less than two surviving children shall be entitled to paternity benefit shall be fifteen days.

  • It also talks about providing similar benefits to adoptive fathers and those who have had a child through surrogacy.

  • The government should constitute a Parental Benefit Scheme Fund in which all employees (irrespective of gender), employers and the Central government shall contribute in a pre-defined ratio.

1.2. Benefits of Paternal Leave

  • Better Childcare: It leads to improvements in prenatal & postnatal care, including decrease in infant mortality.

  • Employee Retention: It will also lead to higher employee retention rate and higher job satisfaction.

  • Life-long positive impact: Various studies have shown that when fathers are more hands-on with their parenting it can lead to improved cognitive and mental health outcomes for children.

  • Positive Impact on Women career: When fathers take more paternity leave, mothers can increase their full-time work and it often leads to higher wages for women and has a positive impact on the female labor force.

  • Less burden on women: When men increase their use of paternity leave, time studies show that the amount of household work fathers and mothers perform may become more gender-balanced over time.

1.3. Issues in paternal leave

  • Loss of Productivity: Frequent Leaves may disrupt work and affect productivity.

  • Lack of legal framework: Just like there is Maternity Benefit Act in place for women to get adequate time off, there is need of legislation to ensure Fathers too can spend time with Child after birth. Parliament should consider the proposed National Paternity Benefit Bill, 2017.

  • Gender biased perceptions: Recent order for single parent seems to be “against the spirit of equality” as it is “officially announcing that care giving of children is solely a woman’s responsibility and the men are supposed to do it only if there is no woman in the family”.

2. Draft Child Protection Policy

Background

  • Increasing Child Abuse: According to social audit conducted by the MWCD from 2015 to March 2017, 1,575 children were abused and were living in the shelter homes.

  • Supreme Court recent judgments: It said the existing mechanism was "not adequate" to curb incidents of sexual abuse of children and girls at shelter homes and asked the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) to apprise it on the formulation of a child protection policy.

2.1. Highlight of the draft Policy

  • It’s a first policy dedicated to the protection of children, which until now was only a part of the broader National Child Policy, 2013.

  • Aim: It aims at providing a safe and conducive environment for all children through the prevention and response to child abuse, exploitation and neglect.

  • Framework for institutions: It provides a framework for all institution, and organization (including corporate and media houses), government or private sector to understand their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding/ protecting children and promoting the welfare of children; individually and collectively and have a zero tolerance of child abuse and exploitation

  • Ensure Accountability: Institutions should designate a staff member to ensure that procedures are in place to ensure the protection of children as well as to report any abuse.

  • Complaint Procedure: Any individual who suspects physical, sexual or emotional abuse must report it to the helpline number 1098, police or a child welfare committee.

  • Child Friendly Module: Institutions and organizations working directly with children must develop age-appropriate modules and materials for orientating children on child abuse, online safety and services available for them.

  • Humanistic Orientation: Organizations who undertake research and collect data on children, directly from children or indirectly from parents/community must ensure that children are not harmed or traumatized in any way during the process. All research staff must be trained on ethical practices and child friendly procedures.

  • Deter Child Labour: Corporate houses and industries must establish and strengthen monitoring mechanisms to ensure that industry/subsidiaries are not using child labour in any form.

  • Safety Mechanism: Child friendly zones must be developed in all places for public dealing and safe spaces for mothers to keep their infants.

2.2. Legal Provisions for Safeguarding Children in India

  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015: provides for strengthened provisions for both children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with the law.

  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 (POSCO): to protect the children against offences like sexual abuse, pornography etc. and provide a child-friendly system for trial against the perpetrators.

  • Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act 1994: to prohibit prenatal diagnostic techniques for the determination of the sex of the fetus leading to female feticide.

  • The Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005: provides for the constitution of National & State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights and Children's Courts to provide speedy trial of offences against children.

  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009: prohibits detention of children till they complete elementary education i.e., class 8.

  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006: The Act prohibits solemnization of child marriage.

  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016: widened the scope against child labour and provides for stricter punishments for violations.

  • National Policy of Children 2013 - It has four priority areas - Survival, health and nutrition; Education and development; Child Protectionand; Child Participation

  • National Action Plan for Children (NPAC), 2016 – It links the 2013 Policy to actionable strategies under its priority areas.

  • United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child: India is a signatory to this convention.

3.  Global Gender Gap Report 2018

World Economic Forum

  • It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • It is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation and the Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Major Reports and Indices by WEF

  • Global Competitiveness Report

  • Global Gender Gap Report

  • Global Human Capital Report

  • Inclusive Development Index

  • Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report

  • Global Energy architecture performance index report

  • Global Risks Report

  • Global Enabling Trade Report

  • Global Information Technology Report

  • Recently, World Economic Forum released Global Gender Gap Report, 2018.

3.1 Highlight of Report

  • About report: Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 149 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment.

  • Gender Parity: World has closed 68 per cent of its gender gap and at the current rate of change, it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap.

  • Sectoral Performance: Economic gender gap narrowed in 2018, however, access to health and education, and political empowerment suffered reversals due to limited access to childcare, low self-confidence, outdated skill sets, family biases and lack of women-friendly company policies.

  • South Asia was the second-lowest ranking region in the index, with only 65 per cent of its gender gap now closed.

  • Gender Gaps in Artificial Intelligence (AI): Only 22% of AI professionals globally are female, compared to 78% who are male. Impact of Gender Gap in AI:

  • It may exacerbate gender gaps in economic participation and opportunity in the future.

  • It implies that AI use across many fields is being developed without diverse talent, limiting its innovative and inclusive capacity.

  • It also indicates a significant missed opportunity in a professional domain where there is already insufficient supply of adequately qualified labour.

  • Performance of India: India (108th, 66.5%) records improvements in wage equality for similar work and fully closed its tertiary education gap for the first time, but progress lags on health and survival, remaining the world’s least improved country on this sub-index over the past decade.

  • India and AI: India has the second-largest artificial intelligence (AI) workforce but one of the largest AI gender gaps, with only 22 per cent of roles filled by women. Reason for low performance are:

  • Low representation in growing areas of employment that require STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and knowledge. disproportionate impact on roles traditionally performed by women.

4. Tribal Education In India

4.1  Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) in tribal areas for providing education on the pattern of Navodaya Vidhalaya, the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas and the Kendriya Vidyalayas.

  • The establishing of EMRSs is based on the demand of the concerned States/UTs with the availability of land as an essential attribute.

  • EMRS are set up in States/UTs with grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution of India.

  • Management of each EMRS is under a committee which include, among others, reputed local NGOs involved with education.

4.2. Objectives of EMRS

  • Provide quality middle and high-level education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in remote areas.

  • Enable them to avail of reservation in high and professional educational courses and in jobs in government and public and private sectors.

  • Construction of infrastructure that provides education, physical, environmental and cultural needs of student life.

4.3. Coverage of Scheme

  • As per existing guidelines at least one EMRS is to be set up in each Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA)/ Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) having 50% ST population in the area.

  • As per the budget 2018-19, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Eklavya Model Residential School by the year 2022.

  • Recently Government approved revamping of 'Eklavya Model Residential Schools' set up for Tribal students.

4.4. Status of Tribal Education in India

  • Low Literacy Level: According to census 2011 literacy rate for STs is 59% compared to national average of 73%.

  • Interstate disparity: Wide Interstate disparity exists across the states e.g. in Mizoram and Lakshadweep STs literacy is more than 91% whereas in Andhra Pradesh it is 49.2%. In fact, in most of the north eastern states like Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, STs are at par with the general population.

  • Gender disparity: Literacy level among ST men is at 68.5% but for women it is still below 50%.

4.5. Constitutional provisions for Tribal education

  • Article 46 of Indian constitution lays down that, the state shall promote, with special care, the educational and economic interests of weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.

  • Article 29(1) provides distinct languages script or culture. This article has special significance for scheduled tribes.

  • Article 154(4) empowers the state to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizen or for SCs or STs.

  • Article 275(1) provides Grants in-Aids to states (having scheduled tribes) covered under fifth and six schedules of the constitution.

  • Article 350A states that state shall provide adequate facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at the primary stage of education.

4.6. Challenges to tribal education

  • Poor socio-economic condition

  • Most of the tribal community is economically backward and sending their children to school is like a luxury to them. They prefer their children to work to supplement the family income.

  • Illiteracy of parents and their attitude towards education is indifferent, as well as their community never encourages the education of children.

  • Parents are not willing to send their daughters to co-educational institutions due to safety concerns.

  • Lack of infrastructure: Schools in tribal regions lacks in teaching learning materials, study materials, minimum sanitary provisions etc.

  • Linguistic barriers: In most of the states, official/regional languages are used for class room teaching and these are not understood by the tribal children at primary level. Lack of use of mother tongue cause hindrance in initial basic education and learning (despite article 350-A).

  • Teacher related challenges: Inadequate number of trained teachers is a big problem in imparting education to tribal children. Also, Irregularity of the teachers in school and their different background lead to failure in establishing a communication bridge with tribal students.

  • Apathy of tribal leadership : Tribal leadership generally remains under the outside influences and agencies such as the administration, political parties. Tribal leaders began to exploit their own people politically, socially and economically.

  • Village autonomy and local self-governance has still not properly established. Poor law and order situation and loss of respect for authority is also a hurdle.

  • High illiteracy rate among tribal women: The disparity in educational levels is even worse as the Scheduled Tribe women have the lowest literacy rates in India.

4.7. Suggestions for improving tribal education

  • Infrastructural development: More EMRSs in remaining tribal regions as well as better infrastructure in other schools such as adequate class rooms, teaching aids, electricity, separate toilets etc. should be furnished.

  • Emphasis on career or job-oriented courses: E.g. Livelihood College (Dantewada, Bastar) offers nearly 20 courses, in soft and industrial skills, and has created many job opportunities for tribal youth.

  • Local recruitment of teachers: They understand and respect tribal culture and practices and most importantly are acquainted with the local language. TSR Subramanian committee suggested Bilingual System- combination of local language and mother tongue.

  • Teacher Training: New teacher training institutes should be opened in tribal sub plan areas to meet the requirement of trained teachers.

  • Student safety: There must be strong machinery to protect students from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence.

  • Establish separate school for girls: This would reduce hesitation of some parents to send their daughters to co-educational institution.

  • Enhance awareness: Government should take some specific initiative such as awareness camp, street drama, counseling etc. which can create awareness among the tribals about the importance of education.

  • Regular monitoring by high level officials: This is necessary for smooth functioning of school administration.

5. SDG INDIA INDEX - BASELINE REPORT 2018

Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)

  • It is a treaty-based international, inter-governmental organization dedicated to supporting and promoting strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in developing countries and emerging economies.

  • India is not yet a member country of the GGGI but is recognised as a partner.

  • NITI Aayog recently came up with the SDG India Index- Baseline report 2018.

5.1.  SDG India Index

  • NITI Aayog has developed the SDG India Index in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics &

  • Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Global Green Growth Institute and United Nations in India.

  • The SDG India Index tracks progress of all States and U Ts on 62 Priority Indicators selected by NITI Aayog, which in turn is guided by MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework comprising 306 indicators and based on multiple-round consultations with Union Ministries/Departments and States/UTs.

  • It measures their progress on the outcomes of the interventions and schemes of the Government of India.

  • The SDG India Index is intended to provide a holistic view on the social, economic and environmental status of the country and its States and UTs.

  • SDG India Index spans across 13 out of 17 SDGs (excluding Goals 12, 13, 14 and 17).

  • A composite score has been computed between the range of 0-100 for each State and UT.

  • If a State/UT achieves a score of 100, it signifies that it has achieved the 2030 national targets.

  • Classification Criteria based on SDG India Index Score is as follows:

  • Aspirant: 0-49

  • Performer: 50-64

  • Front Runner: 65-99

  • Achiever: 100

  • Kerala and Himachal Pradesh are the top performers among states with a score of 69. Chandigarh leads the UTs with a score of 68.

  • The index score range for states is 42-69 while for UTs it is 57-68.

  • According to the SDG India Index, the nation as a whole has a score of 58, showing the country has reached a little beyond the halfway mark in meeting the sustainable development goals

  • The Index can be useful to States/UTs in assessing their starting point on the SDGs in the following ways: o Support States/UTs to benchmark their progress against national targets and performance of their peers to understand reasons for differential performance and devise better strategies to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

  • Support States/UTs to identify priority areas in which they need to invest and improve by enabling them to measure incremental progress.

  • Highlight data gaps related across SDGs for India to develop its statistical systems at the national and State levels.

December Indian Society and Issues

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