Editorial Simplified | 11th March 2017

Editorial Simplified : 11th Day of March 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers. 

The Hindu / The Indian Express

Editorial : Partial cover: More needs to be done on the mother and child front / Baby Steps

Context

Passing of maternity bill

Important Points

  • Paid maternity leavefor women in the organised sector has been enhanced to 26 weeks from 12
  • This is in line with several expert recommendations including that of the World Health Organisation, which recommends exclusive breastfeeding of children for the first 24 weeks.
  • We have also allotted 12 weeks’ paid leave to mothers adopting or having a child through surrogacy.
  • The Bill stipulates that all establishments employing 50 or more people provide creche facilities, allowing women to visit four times a day. Organisations must now communicate these rights to female employees via writing.
  • Health care should be treated as a right and deliveries handled without cost to women; the income guarantees during the 26-week period can be ensured through a universal social insurance system.
    • Such a policy would harmonise the varying maternity benefit provisions found in different laws that govern labour at present.
    • There would also be no discrimination against women in recruitment by employers who currently have to factor in benefit payments.
    • Also, women would not suffer loss of income simply because they cannot remain in employment after childbirth.
  • In comparison, this is what other countries offer
    • China offers 14 weeks, Australia 18 weeks, Norway 36-46 weeks (pay varying from 100 to 80 per cent of wages) and Denmark gives 52 paid weeks.
    • With its clear 26-week duration, India’s policy appears simpler than even Canada’s, which offers 52 weeks leave, but only 55 per cent wages for 17 weeks.
    • The US offers only 12 weeks, which don’t come with guaranteed pay.
  • Global studies show strong links between paid maternity leave and ensuring that women return to the workforce after childbirth.
    • For an individual, this offers the opportunity to enrich life with a child — who is ensured better healthcare — and be financially strong during a sensitive time.
    • Economically, this offers companies a valued employee’s return, some studies showing women work longer hours upon rejoining.
    • Socially, this means a much better chance of women staying in the workforce.
    • For a nation, this gives more employment and earnings; for individuals, it values diverse facets of their selves. 

Analysis

  • The amended law is expected to cover only 1.8 million women, a small subset of women in the workforce. It only applies to the organised sector, covering 4.4 per cent of women within this, but as the debate in Parliament highlighted, over 90 per cent of India’s women workers are in its unorganised sector, fields, domestic labour, etc
  • For these many poor millions in the unorganised sector, the only support available is a small conditional cash benefit of ₹6,000during pregnancy and lactation offered under the Maternity Benefit Programme.
  • Such a move should lead to closer scrutiny of the difficulties faced by unorganised workers who fall beyond the scope of any worthwhile labour welfare measures
  • The reported move to restrict even this meagre benefit to the first child for budgetary reasons is retrograde and must be given up.
  • The Bill is also silent on paternity leave, which some MPs rightly said was essential to redefine childcare from being “women’s work” to a shared responsibility.
  • The current Maternity Benefit Bill takes a step in the right direction, but this is still a baby step.

The Hindu

Editorial : After Mosul | Iraq must begin process to erase sectarian wounds

Context

Loss of Mosul by the IS and Iraq’s re-capture of it

Important Points

  • Iraqi troops have captured the Mosul airport and major administrative buildings, and liberated population centres. Isolated resistance by small groups of jihadists remains. It has been a prolonged campaign, ordered by the Iraqi PM in October 2016, and the Iraqi troops, backed by Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia militias on the ground and U.S. air power in the sky, moved inch by inch.
  • They first liberated eastern Mosul and then moved to the west, the IS’s power centre.
  • Mosul was the jewel of the IS’s military gains, a place where its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his ‘Caliphate’ in June 2014.
  • A few weeks ago, the IS lost the ancient city of Palmyra to the Syrian army. IS’s territory has shrunk. It once controlled huge swathes in central and eastern Syria and north-western Iraq, but its influence is now limited to some pockets.

Analysis

  • IS still has presence in some pockets in Iraq and in at least two major cities in Syria, Raqqa and suburbs of Deir ez-Zor. Even if the group loses its territories, it could transform itself into a state-less jihadist group like al-Qaeda and continue to target civilians in the region and beyond.
  • However, without territories, the IS couldn’t claim to be a ‘Caliphate’. It will be driven away from cities to deserts and mountains, wrecking its conventional military capabilities.
  • In the short run, the military operations to liberate territories from the IS in Syria and Iraq should continue; in the longer run, the respective governments should adopt a more comprehensive approach to deal with the asymmetric threats the group will pose.
  • In Iraq, for example, the IS’s eventual defeat depends on how the government addresses Shia-Sunni tensions.
  • The current Iraqi PM has tried to reach out to the Sunnis and promised to heal the sectarian wounds inflicted by the previous regime which caused alienation among Sunni Muslims of Iraq, which the IS exploited for popular support.
  • He now has to make sure that the Sunnis are treated as equal citizens and share power equitably. 

The Indian Express

Editorial : A Cure for VIP Culture

Context

AIIMS’ decision to scrap a special counter for VIP patients

Important Points

  • 10,000-odd patients queue up at the AIIMS OPD counter everyday and to lower their priority behind VIP referrals smacks of gross insensitivity even in a country that affords special privileges to VIPs at public places
  • The hospital has not, however, done away with VIP referrals — it will continue with the earlier arrangement whereby its media and protocol division coordinated them.
  • Last year the Safdarjung Hospital’s administration too asked doctors to attend to patients referred by the office of the medical superintendent on a priority basis; these included VIPs referred by MPs, ministers and bureaucrats. That decision, too, had to be revoked.

Analysis

  • In the absence of other similar speciality hospitals in the country, AIIMS, what was meant to be a tertiary care institution, has become a primary healthcare centre for patients from all corners of the country.
  • The Union government has plans to set up 16 AIIMS-like hospitals across the country and it is expected that these healthcare centres will take away a lot of the load of the country’s premier public healthcare institute.
  • At AIIMS, patients are turned away or given long dates because beds and critical facilities like radiation machines are booked. This long wait can mean temporary homelessness, even death.
  • It is disquieting that hospitals and healthcare facilities are not immune to the effects of India’s obnoxious VIP culture.
  • At the heart of the demand for rooting out this culture is a tenet central to democracy — equality, not just before the laws but also in accessing public institutions like the AIIMS.

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