- Israel – Hamas Conflict
- Mental Health and the Floundering Informal Worker
Israel – Hamas Conflict
The unexpected and unprecedented assault launched by Hamas on Israel last Saturday resulted in the loss of around 700 lives, serving as a stark reminder of the unsustainable conditions in the occupied and blockaded Palestinian territories. This incident highlights the risks posed by non-state actors like Hamas to Israel, regardless of the strength of its military and intelligence agencies.
GS2- International Relations
Despite the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, the positive trajectory of India-Israel relations remains robust and continues to strengthen across various domains. Evaluate. (15 marks, 250 words).
- While tensions had been escalating in the West Bank for months, the coordinated, low-tech yet lethal incursion from Gaza caught everyone off guard.
- The West Bank had already been witnessing daily violence, with 200 Palestinians and 30 Israelis killed this year alone.
- Before the Saturday attack, the Benjamin Netanyahu government largely ignored the ongoing violence and pursued its policy preferences, including judicial overhaul.
- Despite the Israeli military describing the situation in Gaza as “stable instability” prior to the attack, Hamas’s assault resembled the 1973 Yom Kippur war, shaking Israel profoundly.
- Hamas, previously known for suicide attacks in the 1990s and early 2000s, demonstrated a lack of distinction between civilians and soldiers, dealing a severe blow to Israel.
Analysis of the Present Attack:
- The attack prompts both moral and pragmatic questions.
- The indiscriminate violence by Hamas against Israeli civilians is reprehensible and counterproductive to the Palestinian cause, increasing the risk to Palestinian lives as Israel responds, often without regard for civilian casualties.
- Simultaneously, the Palestinian territories, enduring the longest occupation in modern history, are a simmering cauldron of unrest.
- The absence of a peace process, coupled with Israel’s continuous settlement construction and use of force, has only fueled radicalism among Palestinians, strengthening Hamas.
- Despite Israel declaring war, past military interventions have done little to weaken Hamas. Recent geopolitical shifts in West Asia, such as Israel-Arab reconciliation and Iran-Saudi détente, have sidestepped the core issue of the occupation of Palestine, allowing the status quo to persist. However, this status quo cannot endure without consequences.
To achieve lasting peace and stability in the region, Israel and other international players must redirect their focus towards finding a resolution to the Palestinian question. Military operations, without addressing the core issue, would only amount to superficial interventions.
Mental Health and the Floundering Informal Worker
The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day (October 10) is centered around ‘mental health as a universal human right.’ Often overlooked within the context of mental health is the informal worker.
- Government Policies & Interventions
- Inclusive Growth
- Management of Social Sector/Services
- Growth & Development
Highlight the causes for poor mental health among informal workers in India. What can be done to create a mentally healthy workforce? (10 marks, 150 words).
Informal Workers and Mental Health:
- According to a study by the International Labour Organization (ILO), 15% of working-age adults globally live with a mental disorder.
- In India, where more than 90% of the workforce is informal, these workers operate without regulatory protection, facing unsafe conditions, long hours, limited access to social and financial protections, high uncertainty, and discrimination.
- Gender disparities are evident, with over 95% of working women engaged in informal, low-paying, and precarious employment without social protection.
- Unemployment and poor-quality employment have consistently been detrimental to mental health, with youth unemployment being particularly high in India.
Causes of poor mental health for informal workers:
|Lack of social security:||There is a lack of a clear social security roadmap for this vulnerable group, which can significantly impact their mental health.|
Informal workers, especially the elderly, face mental distress due to accumulating debt and rising healthcare costs.
|Healthcare costs:||Informal workers also experience mental distress due to accumulating debt and rising healthcare costs, which are intertwined and mutually reinforcing.|
The recovery post-COVID-19 remains uneven among informal worker cohorts, with many reporting food insecurity and reduced consumption.
|Miscellaneous:||The mental health and well-being of informal workers are impacted by factors such as food security, access to livelihood, and financial stability.|
Positive mental health is influenced by decent work, but factors such as unemployment, unstable employment, workplace discrimination, and unsafe working environments can pose risks to mental health.
Despite the significant contribution of informal workers to national income, India’s budgetary allocation for mental health, currently under 1% of the total health budget, has focused heavily on digital mental health programs.
There is an urgent need for proactive policies to improve mental health recognition and action, upholding the basic human right to good health, including mental health. This is critical for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 3 on ‘good health and well-being’ and SDG 8 on ‘decent work for all/economic growth.’