Suddenly, within just six weeks, the pandemic is upon us.
Society & Culture
As somebody who spent more than a decade in Delhi, the current atmosphere of violence in India’s capital city deeply saddens me. But I am not surprised. Maybe because I come from a part of India—its troubled Northeast periphery—where such violence was a part of life.
All countries struggle to deliver affordable, high-quality health care to their citizens. If a resource-constrained nation like India has to achieve the twin goals of affordable and quality health care for all, it will require drastic re-engineering of the health care delivery model. India faces two main realities: a large population and low per capita GDP, leaving little room for the substantial investments necessary to build health care infrastructure. An acute shortage of doctors outside major metropolitan areas further compounds the problem.
March 2019 marked the 46th anniversary of the beginning of the Chipko Andolan, which is often credited as India’s first environmental justice movement. However, the history of India’s environmental justice movements can be traced much further back. Early grassroots resistances to British rule, such as the Bengal peasant revolt of 1859-63 against indigo plantations, carried ecological undertones.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its founding principles, defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It further states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic, or social condition.” Physical health of individuals has been the major focus of public health care systems across the globe, more so in developing countries including India.
Care work has been the focus of policy debates after the International Labour Organization (ILO) published a report titled “Care Work and Care Jobs for the Future of Decent Work” in 2018. The ILO observed that care work involves a range of skills that are often not formally recognized or remunerated, and involving working conditions that are not regulated. Furthermore, care work has an undisputable gender burden with two-thirds of all care workers being women who dedicate themselves to unpaid care work 3.2 times more often than men.
The Indian police, which traces its origin back to 1843 and is still largely run on the British-era Indian Police Act, 1861, has been struggling to come to terms with India’s class, caste, gender, and religious diversities. The reasons for this may be due to a lack of training, sensitization, and/or inherent personnel biases according to the 2018 Status of Policing in India Report.