7th February 2021

Beggars learning vocational skills for life with dignity

  • A new scheme launched here for the rehabilitation of beggars through vocational training has enabled them to lead a life with dignity.
  • Beggars are being equipped with the necessary life skills at a special training centre established in Jaipur by the Rajasthan Skill and Livelihoods Development Corporation (RSLDC).

‘Willing participants’

  • Over 40 beggars hailing from Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, who came to Jaipur in search of livelihood but ended up on footpaths, have been provided with shelter, where they are learning yoga, meditation, sports and computer operations.
  • In addition to skill development, psychological counselling and emotional support is also being given during the residential training.
  • The first group of beggars is being trained in the catering skills. Others will be trained later for a variety of occupations, such as that of an electrician, plumber, guard or beautician.

Constitutional provision

  • The preamble of the Constitution of India mandates to ensure equality of status and of opportunity and Justice, social, economic and political to all its citizens.
  • The article 14 provides for quality of all before law, article 16 provides for equality of opportunity in matters of public employment,
  • The article 21 provides the right to protection of life and article 23 provides for the right against exploitation, all of which being fundamental rights bestowed by the Constitution to all citizens of the country.
  • Also the United Nations Convention against Transnational organized Crime identifies forced begging as a form of exploitation through trafficking in human beings.

THE BEGGARS (EMPOWERMENT, SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND REHABILITATION) BILL, 2014.

  • It extends to the whole of India. Whoever employs or uses any person for the purposes of begging or causes any person to beg shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than three years which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both;
  • Whoever, having the actual charge of, or control over a child, abets the commission of the offence punishable under sub-section (1), shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than three years which may extend to ten years, or with fine or with both.
  • The Competent Court, may increase punishment or penalty on trial under subsection (1) on finding aggravating circumstances or heinous offences, depending on the nature of the crime,
  • Any person convicted of human rights violations or an offence under Indian Penal Code of 1860 or other laws that involve as human right violation trafficking of human body parts, rape, Molestation, Sexual Harassment and torture.
  • Any person found begging shall be detained by the police and before mankind such a detention, the officer—in-charge of the concerned police jurisdiction shall satisfy himself as to the bona fide of the detained beggar.
  • The appropriate Government shall have mandatory establish and maintain, in every district, either by itself or through voluntary or non-Governmental organisations a Receiving Vocational Shelter, for persons detained under Section 4 with the exception of children and differently abled persons, with the following provisions.
  • The appropriate Government may establish and maintain, in every district, either by itself or through voluntary or non-governmental organizations, Children Shelters, which shall be registered as such, for all children with the exception of those with physical or mental disability, detained under Section 4, with the following provisions.
  • The Central Government, in consultation with the State Government, shall establish a Beggar’s Welfare Fund for the purpose of skill development, vocation training, medical facilities and Education among others in such manner as may be prescribed.

What are the causes of beggary in India?

  • Unremunerative agriculture, poverty, unemployment and disruption of joint family and of caste control are the major causes of increase of beggary in India. India neglects 600,000 of her blind, 250,000 of her deaf and dumb, 100,000 of her insane and 1,000,000 of her lepers.
  • The main causes of begging that force the people to adopt the heinous activity i.e. begging, are prevalence of poverty, illiteracy, by inheritance of caste, handicapped, diseases, oldness, death of parent, etc., out of them, poverty is a single factor.

Beggary is a problem in India

  • Poverty is real in India but not begging. Begging in India has become a big racket in the country. For many, begging is just like any other profession. They go out to earn money, not by working, but by begging.
  • The 1931 census mentioned just 16% women beggars. The figure shot up to 49% in 2001.There are 10 million street children many among who beg for livelihood.
  • The country in total has over four lakh beggars, with the highest 81,000 beggars in West Bengal, while Lakshadweep merely has two vagrants. At least 4,13,670 beggars reside in India, which consists of 2,21,673 males and 1,91,997 females.

Is Beggary is crime in India or not?

  • India has no federal law on begging and destitution. About 20 states had adopted the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, which carries a penalty of detention of three to 10 years in so-called beggar homes.
  • It’s estimated that there are around 500,000 beggars in India half a million people! And, this is despite the fact that begging is a crime in most states in India (State subject under schedule 7).
  • It is felt there is a need for a framework that creates positive responsibilities on the State and provides for a more effective protection of the rights of the destitute and people into begging, guaranteed under the Constitution.

 

Experts point to climate change impact

  • A deluge that resulted from a glacial melt on Nanda Devi flooded Rishiganga river in Uttarakhand and washed away at least two hydroelectric power projects — the 13.2 MW Rishiganga hydroelectric power project and the Tapovan project on Dhauliganga river, a tributary of the Alakananda.
  • The India Meteorological Department (said that no rain is forecast) and the Central Water Commission, also failed to predict the flooding from the glacial burst, arrases the question mark on his (both) works.
  • Environmental experts attributed the Nanda Devi glacial melt to global warming. Glacier retreat and permafrost thaw are projected to decrease the stability of the mountain slopes and increase the number and area of glacier lakes, according to the latest assessment reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates. These changes have a broad range of observed effects that are synonymous with the term.
  • Climate change has driven erratic weather patterns like increased snowfall and rainfall, and warmer winters had led to the melting of a lot of snow.
  • The thermal profile of ice, it was increasing. Earlier the temperature of ice ranged from -6 to -20 degree Celsius; it is now -2 making it more susceptible to melting.

Deference between Climate variability and Climate change:

  • Climate variability includes all the variations in the climate that last longer than individual weather events, whereas the term climate change only refers to those variations that persist for a longer period of time, typically decades or more.
  •  In the time since the industrial revolution, the climate has increasingly been affected by human activities that are causing global warming and climate change.
  • The largest driver of warming is the emission of greenhouse gases, of which more than 90% are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane.
  •  Fossil fuel burning (coal, oil, and gas) for energy consumption is the main source of these emissions, with additional contributions from agriculture, deforestation, and industrial processes.

Human impacts of Climate Change:

  1. Human impacts include under nutrition
  2. hunger from reduced crop yields,
  3. declining fish stocks,
  4. increases in vector-borne diseases,
  5. flooding, natural disaster
  6. potentially severe economic impacts,
  7. increased global economic inequality
  8.  more people living in uninhabitable climate zones
  9.  The increased migration.
  10. Effects such as these have led the World Health.
  11. The rising sea levels.
  12.  The rising ocean temperatures,
  13.  The Rising in ocean acidification

Mitigation of climate change:

  • The forestation and tree plantation.
  • The reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and removing them from the atmosphere;
  • The methods include the development and deployment of low-carbon energy sources.
  • Renewable Energy wind and solar,
  • a phase-out of coal, enhanced energy efficiency,
  • The reforestation and forest preservation.
  • Adaptation consists of adjusting to actual or expected climate,
  • The improved coastline protection, better disaster management,
  •  The development of more resistant crops.
  •  Adaptation alone cannot avert the risk of Climate change its most be effective implementation. Etc
  • Paris climate change agreement signed in 2015, India has committed to cut GHG (Green House Gas) emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35 per cent, increase non-fossil fuel power capacity to 40 per cent from 28 per cent in 2015, add carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonne CO2 per annum by increasing the forest cover.
  • The Environment Minister said that we have achieved 21% of its emissions intensity reduction target as a proportion of its GDP in line with its pledge to a 33-35% reduction by 2030.
  • India was the only major G20 country that was on track towards keeping to its nationally determined commitments to halt runaway global warming.

 

Men access mental health helpline more

  • The ‘Kiran’ Helpline service was set up by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.Seventy per cent of callers to a mental health rehabilitation helpline launched, in September 2020 by the Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) Ministry,
  • were men according to an internal report of the Ministry accessed by About 32% of those who reached out were students.
  • The Kiran helpline (1800-599-0019) of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) of the Ministry was launched on September 7 by SJE Minister
  • The majority of callers (75.5%) were in the age group of 15 to 40 years, while 18.1% were older, in the 41 to 60 age group,
  • The callers, the report said, 65.9% had “milder nature of distress”, while 26.5% were “moderately distressed” and 7.6% were “severely distressed”. The report said 32.3% of the callers were students, 15.2% were self-employed, 27.1% were employed, 23.3% were unemployed, 1.4% were home-makers and 0.7% did not reveal the information. 
  • While most of the callers (78.2%) sought help for themselves, others reached out for their parents, siblings, spouse and others.
  • Most of the calls were from the North zone (40.32%), followed by West (27.08%), South (16.99%), East (11.28%) and North East (4.33%), the report said.
  • Speaking to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, a clinical psychologist of the DEPwD working on the helpline said most of the calls had been from “young adults”.
  • The 24/7 helpline offers early screening, psychological first-aid, psychological support, distress management, mental well-being, psychological crisis management services and referrals to mental health experts and is operated by 81 front-line professionals, apart from volunteer psychiatrists, clinical and rehabilitation psychologists, the Ministry report said.

Issues/Challenge

  • High Public Health Burden: An estimated 150 million people across India are in need of mental health care interventions, according to India’s latest National Mental Health Survey 2015-16.
  • Lack of Resources:
    1. Low proportion of mental health workforce in India (per 100,000 population) include psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07).
    2. Low financial resource allocation of just over a percent of GDP on healthcare has created impediments in public access to affordable mental healthcare.
  • Loss to Economy: due to delayed or non treatment of mentally ill persons there is loss in terms of human capital and an overall loss to the economy in the form of lost man-days, plus the poor is stressed as most of mental healthcare is in urban areas and are unavailable in primary healthcare centres in rural areas, this increases out of pocket expenditure.
  • Demographic Dividend: According to WHO, the burden of mental disorders is maximal in young adults, As most of the population is young (India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25) so it requires a special focus in mental health of youth by the government to reap the benefits arising out of the demographic dividend in India.
  • Post-Treatment gap: There is need for proper rehabilitation of the mentally ill persons post his/her treatment which is currently not present.
  • Poor awareness about the symptoms of mental illness, social stigma and abandonment of mentally ill especially old and destitute leads to social isolation and reluctance on part of family members to seek treatment for the patient has resulted in a massive treatment gap, which further worsens the present mental illness of a person.
  • Rise in Severity: Mental health problems, tend to increase during economic downturns, therefore special attention is needed during times of economic distress.
  • Prone to abuse: Mentally ill patients are vulnerable to and usually suffer from physical abuse, sexual abuse, wrongful confinement, even at homes and mental healthcare facilities which is a cause of concern and a gross human right violation.

Constitutional Provision
The Supreme Court has held healthcare to be a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Mental health care Act 2017

  1. Right to make an Advance Directive: Patient can state on how to be treated or not to be treated for the illness during a mental health situation.
  2. Right to appoint a Nominated Representative : A person shall have the right to appoint a nominated representative to take on his/her behalf, all health related decisions
  1. Right to access mental health care
  2. Right to free & quality services
  3. Right to get free medicines
  4. Right to community living
  5. Right to protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
  6. Right to live in an environment, safe and hygienic, having basic amenities
  7. Right to legal aid

No Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) without anesthesia

  • Attempt to commit suicide not an offence: This act brought changes in Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (which criminalized attempted suicide). Now, a person who attempts to commit suicide will be presumed to be “suffering from severe stress’’ and shall not be subjected to any investigation or prosecution.
  • The act envisages the establishment of Central Mental Health Authority and State Mental Health Authority.

India and mental Health

  • In India, the prevalence estimates vary between 5.82 to 7.3%. In terms of absolute number suffering from mental illnesses, the prevalence estimate throws up a huge number of about 7 crore persons.
  • The median number of psychiatrists in India is only 0.2 per 100,000 population compared to a global median of 1.2 per 100,000 population.
  •  The figures for psychologists, social workers and nurses working for mental health is 0.03, 0.03 and 0.05 per 100,000 population compared to a global median of 0.60, 0.40 and 2.00 per 100,000 population, respectively.

Treatment

  • 70 MN Approximate number of people suffering from mental illnesses in India and  3000 Number of psychiatrists in India with 11500 Estimated requirement of psychiatrists ,500: Number of clinical psychologists in India.
  • 17250: Estimated requirement of clinical psychologists with 400 Number of psychiatric social workers and 23000: Estimated requirement of psychiatric social workers in India.

NMHP was launched in 1982 with very comprehensive objectives which stand true even today. National Health Policy 2002 recognised and incorporated the objectives and strategies of NMHP. WHO Mental Health Atlas 2011 states that the government’s expenditure on mental health in was only 0.06% of the total health budget. The country has only 0.301 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. Treatment at the hospitals too leaves much to be desired.

 

Government of India allocates Rs. 16000 crore for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) for 2021-22

  • Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has allocated Rs 16000 crores for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana(PMFBY)for the fiscal year 2021-22. This is a budgetary increase of around Rs 305 crore as against the previous fiscal year 2020-21,
  • The scheme extends coverage for the entire cropping cycle from pre-sowing to post-harvest including coverage for losses arising out of prevented sowing and mid-season adversities.

PMFBY

  • The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) launched on 18 February 2016 by Prime Minister is an insurance service for farmers for their yields.
  • It was formulated in line with One Nation–One Scheme theme by replacing earlier two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) by incorporating their best features and removing their inherent drawbacks .
  • It aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim for the full insured sum.
  • To provide a comprehensive insurance cover against failure of the crop thus helping in stabilising the income of the farmers.
  •  The Scheme covers all Food & Oilseeds crops and Annual Crops Commercial/Horticultural for which past yield data is available and for which requisite number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) are being conducted under General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES).
  •  The scheme is implemented by empanelled general insurance companies. Selection of Implementing Agency (IA) is done by the concerned State Government through bidding.
  •  The scheme is compulsory for loanee farmers availing Crop Loan /KCC account for notified crops and voluntary for other others. The scheme is being administered by Ministry of Agriculture.

How Befitted to Farmer

  • The scheme has made it easier for the farmer to report crop loss within 72 hours of occurrence of any event through the Crop Insurance App, CSC Centre or the nearest agriculture officer. Claim benefit is then provided electronically into the bank accounts of eligible farmer.
  • Integration of land records with the PMFBY portal, Crop Insurance mobile-app for easy enrollment of farmers and usage of technology such as satellite imagery, remote-sensing technology, drones, artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess crop losses are some of the key features of the scheme.
  • As of now. out of total farmers enrolled under PMFBY, 84% are small and marginal farmers. Thus, financial assistance is provided to most vulnerable farmers.
  • Today, PMFBY is globally the largest crop insurance scheme in terms of farmer participation and 3rd largest in terms of premium. Over 5.5 crore farmer applications are received on year-on-year basis.

Issues face by Farmer

  • The issues being faced by farmers, the major one being change in the insurance company every year, which they feel makes it difficult to submit claims and grievance redressal applications, if any.
  • More Complex possess face by Farmer, The geographical unit is a panchayat. Insurance companies are invited to tender and once that is accepted, the farmer pays a fixed percentage, the rest being paid by the state. There are well-defined procedures for lodging and adjusting claims.
  • Once the premiums are collected, a threshold limit is ascribed for the maximum claim in the event of a crop loss. In other words, if the threshold limit is low, the claim a farmer makes would get him a fraction of the loss he incurs,
  • The crop losses suffered do not tally with the crops that were insured by the private crop insurance companies. This is because the insurance companies just collected the premium amounts from the banks without actually doing a ground assessment to know what crops were under cultivation.

The government’s aim is to resolve structural, logistical, and other challenges, and expand the benefit of PMFBY to all farmers for a AatmaNirbharBharat.

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