By Categories: Editorials

1.Right of Persons with disabilities Bill, 2014 passed by Rajya sabha:

The UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION on RIGHTS of PERSONS WITH DISABILITY(UNCRPD) is a human right treaty under the UNO which seeks to provide dignity,respect, rights to people with disability.
In 2007, India became a signatory to UNCRPD and under it had to make some amendments to its laws for which India has formulated rights to personal with disabilities bill 2014.

Major features of the Disabilities bill:
  1. The list of disabilities has been expanded from 7 to 21 for example the person with psychosocial & intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy have been included like down syndrome(it is a genetic disorder leading to mental retardation in child)
    • The disability has been defined as an evolving and dynamic concept
  2. Quantum for reservation for person suffering with disabilities have been increased from 3% to 4% in government jobs.
  3. In higher education the reservation has been extended to 5 percent from the current 3 percent.
  4. It gives effect to UN convention on persons with disabilities and related matters.
  5. It provides for imprisonment ranging from six months to two years along with fine ranging from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 5 Lakhs for discriminating against the person with disabilities.
  6. Bill strengthens the office of chief commissioner and state commissioner for persons with disabilities .  They will act as regulatory bodies.
Lacunae of the bill:
  1. Does not completely induct all the principles of UNCRPD and even dilutes few of them. Further there is emphasis on the disability of the person rather than on the removal of restrictions that are present.
  2. It has restricted the benefits of reservation to disabled people with more than 40% disabilities.
  3. The bill also doesn’t recognize the right to vote via secret ballot for disabled and  even contest elections, hold offices & perform all public functions.

The parliamentary standing committee on social justice & empowerment has recommended the following:
  1. Removing the word ‘disabilities’ from the bill as it provides a wrong connotation to these people who are bestowed with extra talent & thereby limits the potential to exhibit it.
  2. Including within the ambit of communication: sign language, video, visual displays.
  3. Including a sub section to deal with women & children with disabilities.
  4. The language of the bill should be gender neutral & transgender be included within the ambit of disabled

2. Primary education: Public schools vs Private schools

ASER(annual survey of education report) has suggested that 30.8% of the enrollment in rural region between 6-14 age group were in private schools in 2014 marking an increase of over 22% seen over past 8 years. Therefore a trend towards greater enrollment towards private schools is being seen.
However, public schools in India have played a tremendous role in increasing the gross enrollment ratio from 81.6% to 96% since 2008.
The manner this was achieved was:
  1. Making a massive supply side push by creating a sufficient schooling network covering urban and rural areas.
  2. Students were provided with uniforms, classrooms, textbooks.
But the learning outcomes in the crucial cognitive period seems to have fallen and can be substantiated by the ASER report stating that in 2014 the proportion of class3, class5, class8 students who could read class 2 textbook was 23.6%, 48.1% & 74.6% respectively.
This when compared to private school students showed a proportionally 20 percent increase. And this gap is growing.
Potential solutions:
  • Activity based learning: it is a pedagogy that teaches each child at the right level rather than teaching the average learner and it uses a broader cognitive approach than learning by rote. There are defined competency milestones that also teaches each student the cognitive level they are in. It should use the principle that ‘no child left behind’.
  • Innovative solutions like in Tamil Nadu: to tackle migration dropout due to “cotton led migration” the schools also shift to such migration areas as non residential schools.

Child Drug Abuse in India

Background :-

Recently  Supreme Court ordered the government to come up with a plan to tackle child drug abuse, acting on a petition from Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi´s child rights group.Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) filed the petition before the Supreme Court in 2014

Statistics :-

With government figures showing almost 20 percent of addicts in India are under 21, the Supreme Court said more needed to be done to educate young people about the dangers of substance abuse in India.

The court ordered govt. to “evolve a national action plan within six months to combat drug abuse amongst school children”.

A 2013 report by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights estimated 40-70 percent of India´s 18 million homeless children were exposed to some form substance abuse. Many of them started taking drugs as young as five years old, the report found.

Regional Analysis :- 

In Punjab the numbers are ridiculous nearly 75% of its youth are severely addicted to drugs, that’s 3 out of every 4 children.

Mumbai, Hyderabad and other cities around the country are quickly gaining a reputation for their drug usage; and the population in each of these cities continues to grow.

Delhi is filled with rehab centres trying to keep up with the flow of addicts. Over 500 centres across our country work together to nurse addicts back into healthy productive lifestyles but addiction is becoming too much for India.

The menace of drugs and alcohol has woven itself deep into the fabric of our society. As its effects reach towards our youth, India’s future generation will have to compete with drugs like cannabis, alcohol and tobacco.

More Indian youngsters struggle with addiction than ever before. Peer pressure, adolescent immaturity and irresponsible parenting is the three-headed monster luring our children towards addiction and a life of suffering and regret.

Fixing the youth drug problem

Nearly 75% of Indian homes house at least one drug user,usually a parent, and often the father. Experts tell us that children as young as 13 and 14 regularly experiment with intoxicants.

Instead of wondering why our youth are becoming addicts, we should start asking better questions. How do we stop them? How do we keep the stuff out of their little hands and away from their innocent minds?

The answer to these questions are two sided:

1. There needs to be an effort to prevent drug and alcohol addiction.

2. De-Addiction Centres need to focus in on the youth of India.

Preventing Addiction

Although often neglected, we need to give special attention to our young community who have never abused drugs.
The old saying, “Preventing addiction is more effective than curing it,” may seem idealistic, but it demonstrates a mindset that Indians need to adopt. While many programmes aim at presenting alternatives to addicts, we need to remember the community that has never abused drugs.
Creating healthy and attractive alternatives to drug abuse can curb the number of first time users. The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention recently came out with a handbook to help communities prevent drug abuse. Some basic prevention ideas include:

  1. Promotion of Health: The community needs to promote healthy lifestyles through personal and cultural practices. By setting an example of health you will discourage damaging and dangerous lifestyles.
  2. Focus on people and encouragement of social interaction: Promoting social interaction between old and young can only be done in a social environment. Create this environment through organized activities that all ages can partake in.
  3. Local involvement of young people and respect for cultural values: The activities you chose should focus on young people. Be sure to respect cultural traditions of the community.
  4. Encouragement of positive alternatives: Develop these alternatives with cultural values in mind, and understanding what appeals to the younger generation.
  5. Long-term perspective: Don’t be discouraged if results aren’t immediate. Preventing drug use takes time keeping a long-term perspective is important.
  6.  Community development: Focus on developing the fundamentals of your community. Education, health and social services, housing, sanitation, and income-generating activities are important ideas to focus in on.

Helping our youth come clean

The second side to India’s addiction problem comes in the form of our present addicts. And unfortunately, addiction currently plagues millions of Indians both young and old.

Solving this problem won’t be easy either, but the solution will come in the form of better youth de-addiction centres. Currently, only 33% of the 580 centres listed offer youth de-addiciton. This statistic must change if India hopes to save its youth.


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