Missing the wood
Anti-CAA stir: queer groups, sex workers take centre stage
GS Paper II
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, significant provisions and basic structure.
Mains: linking the NRC-NPR
What’s the News?
- Protesters from all genders, sexual and caste minorities along with other marginalised groups of migrant as well as sex workers gathered against the three instruments of citizenship- the National Population Register (NPR), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2016:
- With this, the government plans to change the definition of illegal migrants. The Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction. However, the Act doesn’t have a provision for Muslim sects like Shias and Ahmediyas who also face persecution in Pakistan.
- The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.
The NRC-NPR link:
- The compilation of the NPR is a preliminary step towards preparing the NRC. On the basis of the NPR, the local register of Indian citizens will be finalised after due verification. This is the procedure set out under the “Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003”.
- So, from April 1, 2020 onwards, the National Register of Citizens process will begin with house to house enumeration for the National Population Register.
- The game plan of the ruling party is to create a communal division in States such as West Bengal is absolutely clear. On the one hand, it claims that the NRC process will eliminate all those who are “Muslim infiltrators” from Bangladesh.
- On the other hand, by amending the Citizenship Act, Hindu migrants who have come from across the border over the decades will be given citizenship.
Concerns of Trans, queer groups and other marginalized groups with the CAA and NRC
Both NRC and NPR deny the sexual and gender minorities their right to self-determination
- As their inability to furnish evidence in the form of birth certificate, proof of residence, land records, etc. that will likely result in their harassment.
- The biggest problem for sex workers is to prove their work and the other is a lack of documents to prove their identity.
- The queer people are put at risk. The CAA anyway excludes Muslims and when you are a queer too, you are doubly marginalised.
- Many daily wagers will be forced to appear before Foreign Tribunals and skip work while many migrant workers are not legal owners of land occupied by them, such as in slums, they are their legitimate owners because they have lived there for long and have developed the area but the NRC or NPR exercise will not take those rights into account.
Prerogative of States:
The Kerala Assembly’s resolution calling upon the Centre to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, reflects the widespread unease and disquiet the legislation has caused
- The work in the NPR gets halted since it is the State government which provides personnel for the enumeration and verification process. Kerala and West Bengal have announced that they are suspending the NPR process in their States.
- Other State Governments should also do so. If the Central Government stands by the announcement that the NRC process has not begun, then it should withdraw the July 31, 2019 notification for the updation of the NPR.
Rather than treat it as a controversy over the question whether a State Assembly is competent to question the law on a matter under the Union government’s domain, the Centre should reflect on the core issue: that the CAA may be in violation of the equality norm and secular principles enshrined in the Constitution.
- The Parliament of India could make laws on subjects under the Union List which included citizenship, as per Clause 2 of Article 245 of the Constitution.
- Article 245 (clause 2) states that no law made by Parliament shall be deemed to be invalid on the ground that it would have extra-territorial operation.
- The principal objection — that citizenship being a matter concerning the Union, it is not open to State Assemblies to give their opinion on it — is not valid.
- To the extent that a State government believes that a parliamentary law is not constitutional, it is entirely in order for the State legislature to call for its repeal.
- Further, a resolution is not legislation, and is not governed by the principle of legislative competence. It is only an expression of a political opinion.
- In the U.S. Congress, lawmakers can effectively block defence sales to India, or pursue sanctions on the S-400 missile system purchase from Russia, for example, regardless of support in the Trump administration for India.
- To date, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi remains the only individual worldwide sanctioned thus under the U.S.’s International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 by the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
- It hampers India’s image at the international stage and the United Nations and its affiliated bodies could provide a platform for India to be targeted.
- New Delhi’s break in ties with Turkey and Malaysia for their comments at the UN on Kashmir could also lead to them vetoing India’s legitimate position at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), where it hopes to blacklist Pakistan for terror financing this year.
- It will lead to a lower number of foreign visitors, and visit cancellations/ postponements by leaders.
- It would have an impact on India’s diplomatic capital.
Diplomatic capital is a complex combination of the goodwill the country has banked on over decades as a democratic, secular, stable power, bilateral transactions it can conduct in the present, and the potential it holds for future ties, particularly in terms of its economic and geopolitical strengths.
- Nation-wide NRC coupled with the proposed CAB would further change the character of the Indian Republic.
- India may no longer be a de facto Hindu Rashtra, but, to some extent, a de jure Hindu Rashtra with legally sanctioned religion-based exclusions effected without changing the Constitution.
- It is now for the courts to decide whether some of these changes will stand the test of constitutionality or not.
‘’ Recent Kerala Assembly’s resolution calling upon the Centre to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is objected by center as citizenship being a matter concerning the Union, it is not open to State Assemblies to give their opinion on it.’’ In the light of the above statement critically analyze the issue.
A long fight
Paper: GS II
Topic: Issues Relating to Development and Management relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
For Prelims: Primary Health Care, Tuberculosis, etc.
For Mains: Government Policies & Interventions for Development, Health Infrastructure in India.
Why in News: At the End of TB Summit, 2018, the prime minister of India made a bold commitment to end tuberculosis by 2025 five years ahead of the global target.
About Tuberculosis (TB)
- It is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body.
- TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.
The National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis (2017-2025) – TB Eradicating by 2025
According to the World Health Organization Global TB report 2018, the estimated number of TB cases in India in 2017 was 27, 40,000, amounting incidence of 204 per lakh population.
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has developed the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis (2017-2025) with the goal of ending TB by 2025.
- The key focus areas are:
- Early diagnosis of all the TB patients, prompt treatment with quality-assured drugs and treatment regimens along with suitable patient support systems to promote adherence.
- Engaging with patients seeking care in the private sector.
- Prevention strategies including active case finding and contact tracing in high risk / vulnerable population
- Airborne infection control.
- Multi-sectoral response for addressing social determinants.
- The Government has plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) for addressing various issues in TB like AI-assisted TB Smear Microscopy and X-Ray in screening for TB.
- Also, AI is being explored for monitoring treatment adherence and surveillance of TB disease at State and District levels.
What are the issues and challenges associated with fighting with TB?
- India still has the highest TB burden in the world and despite the disease being fully curable, people still die from it.
- TB usually affects people in their most productive years and drives families into debt.
- It has a direct link to human suffering, discrimination and also poverty.
- Due to its infectious spread, it directly affects the economic growth as well.
- Even today, about half a million TB cases go un-notified, especially those seeking care in the private sector.
- How do we break this cycle of transmission? Every patient who is diagnosed late and does not receive timely treatment continues to infect others.
- Control drug resistance: A key challenge is building a forward-looking plan to address and control drug resistance, a man-made menace that is a major roadblock in fight against TB. Every TB patient must be tested for drug resistance at the first point of care, whether in the public or private sector, to rule out any drug resistance.
What needs to be done to eradicate tuberculosis?
At the End of TB Summit, 2018, the prime minister of India made a bold commitment to end tuberculosis by 2025 five years ahead of the global target.
- The first step is the creation of awareness and empowering of communities:
- TB affects millions, yet very few know enough about it. Today, with the expansion of the media, especially in regional languages, and evolving technology, reach can have the right information.
- This is the first step towards ensuring that people are empowered with the necessary information to identify and recognise TB symptoms, and seek diagnosis and treatment.
- The second step is ensuring to provide every Indian with access to correct diagnosis and treatment for TB, regardless of their ability to pay for it:
- This can only happen if work with the private sector as did in the case of polio.
- Need to go door to door, identify TB patients, and provide each of them care with compassion.
- Today, there are numerous innovative private-sector programmes and partnership schemes for TB.
- These have been formulated keeping in mind the needs of the private sector and those of patients’ right to choose where to seek treatment.
- Need to look beyond treatment: Recognising that medicines are not enough, the government has launched the Nikshay Poshan Yojana besides numerous other schemes under which TB patients receive Rs 500 every month while on treatment to ensure that the patients have economic support and nutrition during the required period.
- Community must act as a source of support:
- Everyone needs to come together as a country to fight the disease and end the stigma surrounding it so that every patient can seek care that is free from discrimination and with dignity.
- The community must act as a source of support for the patient.
- This will only happen as the government can educate more and more people about the nature of the disease.
- By employing a “multi-sectoral and community-led” approach, will help in building a national movement to end TB by 2025.
- Government initiatives:
- The government has recently launched programmes for doctors and labs to offer them various incentives and health personnel are keen to work with them at all levels.
- Have made the processes simpler; in the process to make them even simpler.
- The government is also working with the private sector through organisations like the Indian Medical Association and Indian Academy of Pediatrics, to ensure patient-centric care as per “Standards of TB Care in India” (STCI).
- Sincere efforts are also being made to make health systems more accessible and reliable.
- The government wants to ensure that those seeking care trust us and get the appropriate care for completing treatment.
- The government is striving to create more labs, point of care tests, and assured drug pipeline, access to new drugs and, most importantly, provide counselling and support for those affected.
- The Government has increased resource allocation towards the TB Elimination Programme four-fold and is confident of achieving our targets.
- The government has established a strong network of diagnostic and treatment centres, and all drugs and diagnostic are provided free to all types of TB patients.
- On September 25, 2019, the ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign’ was launched to accelerate the efforts to end TB by 2025.
- The campaign aims to initiate preventive and promotive health approaches, and proposes potentially transformative interventions such as engagement with the private sector healthcare providers, inter-ministerial partnerships, corporate sector engagement, latent TB infection management and community engagement.
- Need of a multilingual, multi-stakeholder awareness effort to ensure that every single Indian knows about the challenges of TB and where to seek treatment.
- Need to track these missing cases and ensure that those in need of care and treatment are able to access it.
- The government machinery at the field level should work with communities and provide free diagnosis and treatment to every affected individual.
- Need for the private sector to partner with the government pro-actively.
- With resilience, sufficient investment, innovative approaches and strategies and the participation of all stakeholders, TB can be defeated.
- For too many, this goal may seem unattainable; it is possible if all come together as a country to fight TB the way country fight with polio.
- As long as the people continue to die every year from this preventable and treatable disease, this represents the failing of duties as citizens, doctors, administrators, and public health professionals.
- The country must join hands and unite to ensure a TB-free India and put in the effort to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025.
India still has the highest TB burden in the world and despite the disease being fully curable, people still die from it. Examine.
Question Demand: Question demands to write about the changes that are needed in the medical infrastructure so that health care should be reached to everyone in nook and corner of the country helping in eradication of TB by 2025.
Introduction: Mention the need for reform in the health care system from the infrastructure point of view and also from an ethical prospect, to promote community based approach.
- Explain the importance of personal touch in health care.
- Issues associated with primary health care in India and technology is adopted to reduce the number of unreported cases.
Conclusion: Suggest steps that are necessary to frame out by the Government and policymakers to adopt a multipronged approach for the medical system in India to eradicate TB by 2025.