A UN report says India is on the “brink of an urban revolution”, as its population in towns and cities are expected to reach 600 million by 2031.
What is the issue?
Women constitute a considerable share of urban migrants, but governments seems blind to their concerns.
The policy makers need to model plans for enhancing the lot of migrants in general and urban-women migrants in particular.
How women migration is developing?
A recent UN report says India is on the “brink of an urban revolution”, as its population in towns and cities are expected to reach 600 million by 2031.
Fuelled by migration, megacities of India (Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata) will be among the largest urban concentrations in the world.
Interestingly, the 2011 Census reveals that women constitute a major share of the urban migrant population, which is a new trend.
Marriage-induced migration continues to be the predominant reason for the overwhelming presence of women among migrants.
But its importance has declined post liberalization as export-oriented economic development has created demand for women labor.
An “India spend analysis” shows that women migrating for work grew by 101%, which is more than double the growth rate for men, which stands at 48.7%.
However, both the Census and National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) have failed to capture this growing trend of women’s work related migration.
Consequently, such surveys treat women as secondary earners and ignore her other motivations for migration and her labor participation post migration.
What are the concerns?
Internal migration is currently very high but governments continue to exclude migrants from urban development policies.
Even the enactment of “Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act” hasn’t yielded desired results.
Female migration trends have not yet recognized women as economic actors, thereby their experiences in migration remains unexplored.
They are largely seen as either secondary labor force or mere family baggage that is merely accompanying their male counterparts.
Migrants in general are faced with challenges in getting basic documentation done, accessing social entitlements and financial services.
Women migrants are further disadvantaged as they are underpaid at work, vulnerable to sexual crime, and face maternity related complications.
Hazardous work environments further their woes, and a good percentage of women workers face “respiratory illness, ergonomic problems (body aches), mental and reproductive health issues.
How to proceed?
Recognizing that women migrants have a right to equal access to employment, adequate income and social protection is primarily needed.
There should be better data collection to capture the complex dynamics of gender-specific migration to help the state respond better to their needs.
We need to enhance vocational training programs to improve employability of women migrants and their access to support services.
Kerala has initiated to provide insurance and free medical treatment for its 30 million migrant workers, which needs to be emulated by others.
The political inclusion of migrants would also democratize urban governance and ensure the building of cities on the basis of gender equality.
Women Migration Women Migration Women Migration Women Migration Women Migration Women Migration Women MigrationWomen Migration Women MigrationWomen Migration Women Migration Women Migration Women Migration
Karnataka Elections & The Role Of A Governor After The Polls
G.S. Paper 2
Why in news?
Karnataka assembly elections brought focus for a clearer definition regarding the role of a governor after the polls.
How things unveiled in Karnataka?
The Karnataka assembly has 225 seats out of which 224 are elected members and one is the nominated member from Anglo-Indian community by the governor of the state.
In the recent assembly elections candidates from three major political party contested in the polls and BJP secured 104, Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and others 6 seats respectively.
After the polls BJP approached the governor of the state to call their party to form the government on the basis of single largest party in the state.
At the same time the opposition parties got majority of seats by forming collation government, hence approached the governor to give a call to form the government.
But the governor ordered the BJP candidate to form the government and provided him 15days of time to prove his majority.
Against this decision the opposition parties approached the SC, in this case SC ordered for a floor test which was to be telecasted live.
In the end, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) gambit to turn a hung assembly in Karnataka into victory failed.
What did the SC’s come up with?
The Supreme Court did not allow enough time for the BJP party to peel away members of the other two legislative parties, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).
In any case morale in the newly created post-poll coalition seemed high.
Transcripts of phone calls released in the media exposed BJP’s move to bribe newly elected members of the Karnataka legislative assembly to stay away from their respective parties.
SC gave a strong blow to BJP’s effort to engage openly in underhand means, when the opposition appeared newly energetic.
How the powers of a Governor are misused by the political parties?
The office of the governor has been made dull by some of its occupants as the ruling parties in the centre used to freely misuse the governor’s powers.
Depending on the outcome of state elections, various political parties have expected the governor to do different things, and call on different leaders to “prove” their mandate on the floor of the assembly.
Earlier Congress wanted the governor to call on it, as the largest-single party, in Goa and Manipur, for example.
This kind of inconsistency is not supportive of constitutional morality.
What needs to be done?
Pre-poll alliances take precedence over post-poll alliances, which, in turn, supersede individual parties in terms of numbers.
The role of the governor in appointing speakers and scheduling the vote of confidence also needs to be spelled out.
If politicians do not step in and define a clear set of guidelines for the governor on the occasion of a hung assembly, then the Supreme Court will have to do so.
Proper political consensus is needed to be evolved on this matter and the Supreme Court has already addressed the subject on various occasions.
By this the faith of the electorate in the democratic process and in the power of votes would be restored.
Regional Connectivity Developments In Asia & Their Significance
G.S. Paper 2
Why in news?
India declined to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
However the regional connectivity projects between India and China will continue to benefit south Asian region.
What are the regional connectivity developments happening in Asia?
Indo-Myanmar- Thailand Trilateral Highway
India, Thailand and Myanmar are working on about 1,400km long highway that would link India with Southeast Asia by land.
This highway will give a boost to trade, business, health, education and tourism ties among the three countries.
It is a motor vehicles agreement which has seen a positive development recently.
It proved the ambition of establishing physical connectivity among the smaller states of South Asia through India can eventually be realised.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
It is a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan.
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
It is a development strategy proposed by China, focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries.
Why regional connectivity is important for Asia?
Poor connectivity is the major reason why intra-regional trade is among the lowest in South Asia.
South Asia, with its 1.8 billion population is only capable of conducting around 5% intraregional trade as connectivity remains a constant barrier.
Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) continue to plague the region and addressing infrastructure deficits can do away with 80% of the NTBs.
Thus Connectivity can significantly improve people-to-people interaction leading to better understanding, greater tolerance and closer diplomatic relations in the region.
What are the concerns with regional connectivity in Asia?
States in South and Southeast Asia are involved in multiple regional initiatives led by India and China but are unable to get the benefit due to their slow progress.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation remains moribund with little hope of it becoming functional in the near future.
The Bay of Bengal too remains among the least integrated regions in spite of having immense potential of enhancing trade through utilization of its ports and waterways.
The India-led Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) involving Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, has made little progress.
Thus many smaller states are losing out and having to pay the price of missed economic opportunities due to the actions of the two Asian giants.
If BRI, BIMSTEC and BBIN were developed through coordination and consultation led by the two Asian giants, the projects under the schemes could have been implemented more efficiently.
What measures are required to address such issues?
With the minimum required cooperation in pursuing regional initiatives, India and China can significantly enhance trade, investment and connectivity in the region.
India-China has an opportunity to forge a pragmatic understanding on the efficacy of regional initiatives through greater communication, enhanced cooperation and better coordination.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code & the Bhushan Steel Case
G.S. Paper 2
Why in news?
Tata Steel acquired 73% stake in the bankrupt firm Bhushan Steel for about 35,000 crore rupees last week.
This is the first major resolution of a bankruptcy case under the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
What is the Bhushan Steel Case about?
Bhushan Steel was one among the 12 major accounts referred to the “National Company Law Tribunal” (NCLT) at the behest of the RBI last year.
These accounts were the biggest the Non-Performing Assets (NPA’s) that was plaguing various banks.
Tata Steel recently acquired 73% stake in the bankrupt firm Bhushan Steel for about Rs. 35,000 crore.
This was through a bankruptcy case under IBC, and hence this becomes the 1stmajor resolution under the act.
The proceeds from the acquisition will be used to settle about two-third of the Rs. 56,000 crores that Bhushan Steel owes banks.
What can be learnt from the Bhushan case?
While the Bhushan resolution is just 1 case that managed more than about 67% recovery, it is nevertheless an encouraging sign for banks.
Notably, before the launch of IBC, if assets get stressed, banks were typically able to recover just about 25% of their dues.
More significantly between 2014-2017 bad loan recovery rate of public sector banks was just 11%, and about 2.4 lakh crores were simply written off.
More than 1 lakh crore is expected to be recovered in the near future through other cases referred by the RBI to the NCLT.
If the banks do indeed recover funds of this scale, it would reduce the burden on the government, as pressures for bank recapitalization will ease.
Additionally, speedy resolution would also free valuable assets that can be employed for economic production.
What are the concerns that need consideration?
IBC legislation has subsumed a plethora of laws that confused creditors and has streamlined the way to deal with troubled assets.
But issues such as the proposed eligibility criteria for bidders have left it bogged down and suppressed its capacity to help out creditors efficiently.
The Insolvency Law Committee has vouched for relaxation of ‘bidder eligibility criteria’ in order to enhance participation, which needs to be considered.
Also, strict time limit for resolution as mandated by IBC merits review in order to balance the objectives of speedy resolution and maximizing asset recovery.
What is Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code?
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is a bankruptcy law in India which aims at providing speedy resolution process to the Creditors for recovery of their money due from the debtors.
It was introduced in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Indian Parliament) in 2015 and received Presidential assent in 2016.
What is National Company Law Tribunal?
The National Company Law Tribunal or NCLT is a quasi-judiciary body established in India,that makes a formal judgment on a disputed matter, relating to the companies issues in India.
It was constituted on June 1, 2016.
It was set up to govern the companies registered in India.