1.The legal message (The Hindu)

2.Six steps to job creation (The Hindu)

1.The legal message (The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of recent Supreme Court verdict and need to adjudicate marital rape. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • The Supreme Court had recently criminalising sex between a man and his minor wife, but the court has refrained itself from adjudicating on the larger issue of marital rape, its judgment made reference to the Justice J.S. Verma committee recommendations that explained why the exemption of marital rape must be removed, and that a marital or other relationship is not a defence or justification for a lower sentence.

Outdated notions

  • Around 2.6 billion women live in countries, including India, where marital rape is not a crime. Millions of others live in countries including the U.S., where marital rape is treated differently from other forms of rape.
  • India’s rape law, which make an exception for cases where the perpetrator is the husband, has its origins in the common law. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which defines rapes, makes an exception for marital rape by stating, “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”
  • The unjust treatment of marital rape as an exemption stems from three common law notions-
  • Marriage constitutes a contract, which includes the woman’s irrevocable consent to sex;
  • A woman is the property of her husband, and rape is a violation of a man’s property rather than a crime against women; and
  • After marriage, a woman’s identity becomes part of her husband’s.
  • Despite the outdated, problematic origins of this exception, the Indian government has consistently resisted a change in the law. Though the Nirbhaya case (Delhi in 2012) resulted in an amendment to the criminal legislation in India, including the definition and punishment of rape. However, the exemption of marital rape was retained, despite recommendations by the Justice Verma committee.
  • Lawmakers reacted to its recommendation arguing: “If marital rape is brought under the law, the entire family system will be under great stress.” After few years later, we face the same debate as the Delhi High Court hears a petition seeking the inclusion of marital rape under the existing rape law. This inclusion too is being rejected by the government.
  • According to the government, it will be used as a tool to harass men, and it will affect the institution of marriage an argument that places greater significance on marriage than women’s rights.

Counterintuitively, it is also being rejected by some women’s rights activists, for completely different reasons

  • Women’s rights lawyer Flavia Agnes has other objections as she does not “believe in placing rape on a pedestal within the hierarchy of crimes within a marriage. For a woman who is facing domestic violence, it is equally violating if her skull is fractured, her spine is broken, her cornea is damaged, liver is injured, or her vagina is penetrated forcefully.
  • According to her while sexual violence is “very common, but it is never in isolation”, and that “those who isolate penetrative sexual violence within marriage, and place it on a pedestal, are oblivious of the women’s social realities.”
  • Feminist researcher Sahla Aroussi made a similar critique in a recent publication where she examines sexual violence in conflict and argues that a narrow focus on sexual violence ignores the multiplicity of suffering faced by women and can result in inadequate attention being paid to their other needs.
  • There is need to ensure that law and policy interventions do not inadvertently trivialise non-sexual violence and that steps are taken to strengthen compliance and implementation of laws relating to all forms of violence. But we must also recognise that removing the current marital exception, if nothing else, has an important signalling effect.

Examples- 

  • The challenge of socio-cultural norms is not unique to India. The experience in countries such as the U.S. where marital rape is criminalised shows that despite changes in the law, the patriarchal notion that marriage overrides the legal and sexual autonomy of a woman still exists.
  • Although all 50 states had enacted laws against marital rape by 1993, but almost half the States still treat it differently from rape outside of marriage. In some states, marital rape is a chargeable offence only if the perpetrator uses or threatens to use physical force.
  • In others, proof of marriage is often an easy way to reduce or mitigate the consequences of the offence. These kinds of legal distinctions legitimise the perception among law-enforcement agencies that cases of marital rape should be treated as less serious than rape outside of marriage.

Way ahead

  • It is crucial to focus on preventive measures; UN multi-country study on violence in Asia-Pacific recommended that strategies must focus on structural factors that prevent the incidence of rape, rather than focussing only on strengthening response mechanisms. Since gender socialisation begins young, the study also speaks of the need to focus interventions on children and adolescents.
  • Socialisation is reinforced through family and societal institutions, popular culture and media. Social learning psychologists have found that a disrupted home environment contributes to violent, anti-social behaviour of a child.  

Question– according to the National Family Health Survey, 46 per cent of women between the ages of 18-29 years were married before the age of 18. In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court has recently ruled that sex with a wife who is under 18 years of age is rape and therefore a crime. Analyse.

 

2.Six steps to job creation (The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the need to some measures to create job opportunities. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • India is indeed the fastest growing large economy in the world; yet with investment low, credit offtake low, capacity utilisation in industry low, agricultural growth low, and plant load factor low, it is hardly surprising that job growth is low as well.
  • There are three demographic groups that are in urgent need of jobs-a growing number of better educated youth; uneducated agricultural workers who wish to leave agricultural distress behind; and young women, who too are better educated than ever before.
  • Although growth is relatively high but it is the pattern of growth that is the problem.

Assessment

  • Among many dimensions of the problem, in the quarter century since economic reforms began, it is not manufacturing that has been the leading sector driving growth. Manufacturing should drive productivity in the whole economy. Services cannot, as services by definition ‘service’ the distribution of produced goods. What can policy-makers do to revive job growth, other than invest more in infrastructure? 

Need

  • Firstly there is need for an industrial and trade policy. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is finally preparing an industrial policy. For 20 years after economic reforms began in 1991 there was no National Manufacturing Policy, and the Policy, when it came in 2011, was not even implemented.
  • While the DIPP is preparing the industrial policy document, it is essential that trade policy is consistent with such an industrial policy. Otherwise the two may work at cross purposes and undermine each other’s objectives. This is precisely what has happened over many years.
  • The domestic manufacturers face high tariffs since the last 12-15 years, leading to higher raw material cost at home, emanating from the unfavourable inverted duty structure. This was pointed out by FICCI way back in 2014 for aluminium, steel, chemicals, capital goods, electronics. This has prevented many manufacturing sectors from growing since economic reforms began. This must be corrected.
  • The automobiles sector in India faced no inverted duty structure. India has become in the last decade one of the largest producers of vehicles of several kinds in the world now. Electronics faced an inverted duty structure, but the Finance Minister has made changes, and slowly electronics manufacturing has grown.
  • Secondly there is need for special packages for labour-intensive industries to create jobs. There are a number of labour intensive manufacturing sectors in India such as food processing, leather and footwear, wood manufacturers and furniture, textiles and apparel and garments. Though the apparel and garments sector received a package from the Government of India roughly a year back. The other labour intensive sectors have been ignored.
  • Thirdly there is need of cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Most of the unorganised sector employment is in MSMEs, which tend to be concentrated in specific geographic locations.
  • There are various modern industry clusters in India and an additionally there are traditional product manufacturing clusters, like handloom, handicraft and other traditional single product group clusters. There is a cluster development programme of the Ministry of MSMEs, which is poorly funded and could be better designed as well.
  • Fourthly there is need to align urban development with manufacturing clusters to create jobs. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has a programme called AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) aimed at improving infrastructure for small towns. Infrastructure investment by the government always creates many jobs.
  • But the programme does not take into account whether the infrastructure investment under it is taking place in towns which have clusters of unorganised sector economic activities. Hence an engagement between the Urban Development and MSME Ministries is necessary to ensure that this is happening. It will attract more investment to industrial clusters, which is where most non-agricultural jobs are.
  • Fifthly we need to focus of women. Girls are losing out in jobs, or those with increasing education can’t find them, despite having gotten higher levels of education in the last 10 years. Secondary enrolment in the country rose from 58% to 85% in a matter of five years (2010-2015), with gender parity.
  • Skilling close to clusters rather than standalone vocational training providers, which is where the jobs are, is likely to be more successful. The problem with skilling programmes has been low placement after skilling is complete. The availability of jobs close to where the skilling is conducted will also enhance the demand for skilling.
  • And lastly public investments in health, education, police and judiciary can create many government jobs. Public investment in the health sector has remained even in the last three years at 1.15% of GDP, despite the creation of the national health policy at the beginning of 2017. The policy indicates that expenditure on health will rise to 2.5% of GDP only by 2025.
  • In the absence of greater public expenditure, the private sector in health keeps expanding, which only raises the household costs on health without necessarily improving health outcomes, because the private sector does not spend on preventive and public health measures.
  • Preventive and public health have always been in all countries the responsibility of government. More government expenditure in health means more jobs in government and better health outcomes.

Question India’s economic growth has been unexpectedly in the slowest pace in three years. Suggest some the measures to create opportunities to address the problems.