Democracy is premised on elections making a difference
The diversity, sobriety and experience of the incoming cabinet strongly suggest that they have a good measure of the problems at hand, and the ambition to attempt necessary solutions.
One clear aspirational target is 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the first 100 days.
Then, Janet L Yellen, who will be the new treasury secretary and America’s top economic diplomat, has articulated as priorities both addressing the economic damage of the pandemic at home and repairing relationships with various allies abroad to take on China’s “illegal, unfair and abusive practices” collectively.
Incoming secretary of state Antony Blinken has indicated a welcome pragmatism in saying, “We’ll engage the world not as it was, but as it is.”
When it comes to India, a more strategic and sensible approach is expected from the Biden administration.
The many infirmities of China’s Western Theatre Command
Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed his armed forces to be “combat-ready to act at any second” as they began their new training exercises.
Mr. Xi also issued new rules for the selection, training and promotion of military personnel.
Joe Biden assuming the U.S. Presidency
U.S. policies on the freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea and Taiwan straits.
The performance of China’s Western Theatre Command (WTC) in Ladakh last year was below par.
It suffered a high number of casualties in the June 15 Galwan valley clash.
The Indian Army also captured the strategic mountainous heights at Rezang La and other passes.
Chinese troops had seen combat after 41 years and were hence not prepared.
Suffering from low morale as the force’s senior officers have not got promotions in time
While Xu died in custody under investigation in 2015, Guo got a life sentence in 2016.
The WTC has been facing problems in acclimatisation of its soldiers.
Recently, 10,000 troops from the WTC were moved to lower locations for recuperation.
The force has been struggling with managing the joint training of its army, strategic support and air force units, with the arrival of new fighter and stealth aircraft, rockets, artificial intelligence-based drones and other equipment.
Recently, Mr. Xi replaced Gen. Zhao Zongqi, the retiring commander of the WTC, with Gen. Zhao Xidong, who had served at Doklam in 2017 and is close to him.
The President has also changed the posture of the Chinese armed forces from defensive to offensive.
The country’s armed forces also suffer from a number of other structural issues: they are a political and not a professional force, and the personnel are mostly conscripts with low levels of education and low motivation (mostly from one-child families).
End the pandemic swiftly | ToI
While development and deployment of safe vaccines is a matter of basic science and logistics.
Building trust and confidence in vaccines requires a different science – understanding human behaviour.
Anti-vaccine forces are already at work globally to engender mistrust threatening the vaccination programme.
Viral misinformation has historically travelled faster than vaccines in India.
Transparency and trust are foundational to vaccine confidence and acceptance.
History of vaccination in India
Immunisation is a success story - it has not been without challenges
A rumor was viral, polio vaccination was a Western ploy adopted to sterilise their population and reduce their numbers
MMR vaccine rumor in Kerala
False listing of ingredients in the vaccines, religious sentiments, political or party identification
The massive flood of information, rather misinformation and disinformation, is a major though not the sole contributor to vaccine resistance.
WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Scientific literacy too matters.
So what can be done?
While various stakeholders are undertaking initiatives to curb misinformation at different levels.
Dont just leave it to frontline staff.
Stakeholders such as media have an important role in reporting
Public health communication campaigns must try to build confidence in vaccines not just by proselytising about facts but addressing related side effects and fears.
India’s story on vaccination is a success story.
There is no reason that the same success cannot be replicated if Covid-19 vaccine communications are transparent and open and each stakeholder plays their part.
Removing the creases in housework valuation
Veteran actor Kamal Haasan and his Makkal Needhi Maiam party who recently promised salaries for housewives as a part of the party’s election manifesto, has revived the debate on the recognition of domestic work as work.
What is the history of recognition of work by wives as work in the West?
What have the legislative initiatives and judicial responses been in this regard?
As in the 2011 Census, while 159.85 million women stated household work as their main occupation, a mere 5.79 men referred to it as their main occupation.
Justice N.V. Ramana in his crisp and authoritative concurring judgment of January 5, 2021 in Kirti and Another v. Oriental Insurance Company (https://bit.ly/35Yp3fD) has referred to the ‘Time Use in India-2019 Report’ of the National Statistical Office, Government of India (published in September 2020) which says that on an average, while Indian women spend 299 minutes a day on unpaid domestic services for household members, men spend just 97 minutes.
Women also spend 134 minutes in a day on unpaid caregiving services for household members.
A French government’s Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress in 2009 that studied the situation in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Finland and the U.S. drew similar conclusions.
A report entitled ‘Women’s Economic Contribution through their Unpaid Work: A Case Study of India’ (2009) had estimated the economic value of services by women to be to the tune of a whopping $612.8 billion annually.
Justice Ramana not only listed the various activities women undertake but also referred to British economist Arthur Cecil Pigou who had lamented that the household work by wives is not taken into consideration in calculating national income.
In Arun Kumar Agrawal v. National Insurance Company (2010), the Supreme Court not only acknowledged the contribution of the housewives as invaluable but also observed that it cannot be computed in terms of money.
Her gratuitous services rendered with true love and affection cannot be equated with services rendered by others.
Similar observations were recently made in Rajendra Singh (2020).
But then these cases dealt with a limited question of compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act to calculate the compensation for the death of homemakers, and not the recognition of a wife’s right in her husband’s income during the subsistence of marriage.
Justice A.K. Ganguly in Arun Kumar Agrawal (2010) referred to Census 2001 that is carried out under an Act of Parliament and had categorised those who perform household duties — i.e. about 36 crore women in India — as non-workers and clubbed them together with beggars, prostitutes and prisoners (who are not engaged in economically unproductive work).
Home and market for centuries were considered as two distinct spheres.
The market was a male sphere of selfish competitiveness, but the home was celebrated as a female sphere, a site of spiritual uplift that offered relief from the vicissitudes of market struggle.
Wives do not deserve a master-servant relationship.
The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, in 1991, had recommended measurement and quantification of unremunerated domestic activities of women and their recognition in GDP so that the de facto economic contribution of women is highlighted.
Matrimonial property laws do give women their share but only when the marital tie comes to an end.
The time has come to insist that the work women perform for the family should be valued equally with men’s work during the continuance of marriage.
Cabinet approves investment of over Rs 5200 crore for 850 MegaWatt Hydro Power Project in J&K
PM Modi releases over Rs 2,500 crore to more than 6 lakh beneficiaries in UP under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G )
10th round of talks between government and farmers' unions concludes in New Delhi
Election Commission says, those excluded from Assam NRC can exercise their voting rights in assembly polls
First Consignment of Made in India COVID-19 vaccines reaches Bhutan and Maldives
Joint exercise of IAF and Air and Space force of France Desert Night-21 commences at Jodhpur Airforce station
PM to address 18th Convocation of Tezpur University, Assam on Jan 22 through video conferencing
3-day Ports Review Meeting named 'Chintan Baithak' to be held at Gujarat from 21st to 23rd of January
1,12,007 beneficiaries inoculated on 5th day of COVID-19 vaccination drive
Road Transport and Highways Ministry and DRDO sign MoU for technical exchange on sustainable geo-hazard management
Bangladesh to provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all adults
4 miners missing in mine accident in Guizhou, China; Rescuers still trying to reach trapped on 10th day in Shandong mine
Sports Minister Kirren Rijiju to inaugurate first ever Khelo India Zanskar Winter Sports Festival in Ladakh