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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 16 January 2023


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 16 January 2023


Contents

  1. To Close the Labor Market Gender Gap, Societal Reform Is Necessary  
  2. Basic structure doctrine

To Close the Labor Market Gender Gap, Societal Reform Is Necessary


Context

According to a recent World Bank report, the gender gap in labour force participation is narrowing globally, including in India. However, this is primarily due to male labor-force participation declining.

Relevance

GS Paper-2: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes

Mains Question

Despite the fact that men and women are equally educated, there is a persistent gender gap in labour force participation. Examine. (150 words)


Key Highlights

  • The gender gap in favour of men is 25% globally, 38% in lower-middle-income countries, and 51% in India, according to the OECD.
  • Women’s labour force participation leads to higher ownership and control of financial assets, which in turn accelerates development by reducing poverty and inequalities.
  • As a result, if men and women are equally qualified or educated, they must have equal employment opportunities and thus participate equally in the labour market, thereby closing the gender gap.

Do you Know?

  • The gender gap in labour force participation is the difference between the percentage of working-age women and men participating in the labour force.
  • India is ranked 135th out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2022. (WEF).
  • The ranking in economic participation and opportunity was particularly dismal, with India ranking 143rd. This poor performance is largely due to Indian women’s low labor-force participation.
  • India’s situation is far worse than that of the majority of developing countries worldwide.

What is the Current Status of Women’s Workforce Participation in India?

  • Low Female Labor Force Participation Rate: According to World Bank data, nearly two-thirds of Indian women with college degrees are unemployed, pushing female labour force participation to 27 percent in 2011-2012, which is among the lowest in the world – down from nearly 40 percent in the early 2000s.
    • A greater number of women are pursuing degrees in science and technology. However, the unemployment rate for graduate Indian women is much higher than in other Asian developing countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia.
  • A lack of suitable jobs: More Indian women have expressed a desire to work but have been unable to find suitable jobs that are safe, flexible, and provide access to benefits and dignity in the workplace.

Why Is There Still A Gender Gap Despite Men and Women Being Equally Educated?

  • Female education does not translate into labour force participation: o Data from two rounds of the Kerala Migration Survey, 2013 and 2018, show that female education does not translate into labour force participation.
    • In fact, the more educated a woman is, the less likely she is to enter the labour force.
  • Assigned gender roles to women: o This refers to the gender roles that society assigns to women and binds them to the household.
    • These predetermined gender roles help to explain why females participate in the labour force at a lower rate than males.
  • Reasons for Low Work Participation Among Women With High Education Levels:
  • The fear of male retaliation for women’s financial independence.
  • Cultural and religious factors also contribute to women’s low labor-force participation. For example, among women of all religious faiths, Muslim women in Kerala have the lowest labour force participation rate.
  • The tightening of the labour market in the Gulf countries has resulted in a reverse migration, with Muslim men constituting the majority. Despite the economic crisis, the Malabar region’s female labour force participation has remained low.

What should be done?

  • Increase Representation: o An exception must be made in order for the Women’s Reservation Bill 2008 to be passed in Parliament.
    • While this is being debated, political parties should begin nominating women for one-third of the seats.
  • Gender-responsive innovation: o A renewed emphasis on innovation that focuses on a gender-responsive approach to the innovation process, promotion of women’s innovations, support for underprivileged innovations, and so on.
  • Public-private partnerships: o Promote public-private partnerships in this area, as well as recognise businesses that contribute to national gender parity goals.
    • Support women in business by embracing healthy public-private partnerships and bringing technology to aid innovative processes, solutions, and products to increase their economic participation.
  • Fully implement the numerous schemes announced: o The government can begin by fully spending the allocated budgets and holding district collectors accountable with metrics similar to the Aspiring Districts initiative. (The Nirbhaya fund was significantly underutilised.)
    • It’s time to change “Beti-Bachao-Beti-Padhao” to “Beti-Padhao-Beti-Kamao”.
    • Start-up India must develop programmes to create an environment in which women entrepreneurs can thrive.
  • Create an independent authority for gender parity, such as the UIDAI, to serve as the nodal agency for scaling up at the district level, with clear objectives, metrics, targets, and good governance.
    • It has the potential to address a wide range of issues, including education, skilling, safety, transparency in informal sector labour participation, wage parity, and women’s business opportunities.

Conclusion

  • Economic crises cannot be relied on to change deeply entrenched societal norms in order to close the gender gap.
  • The state’s role in enacting enabling regulations to increase female labor-force participation is also limited.
  • Deep-rooted societal reforms redefining age-old gender roles are the only way to close the persistent gender gap in the labour market.

Basic structure doctrine


Context

The Vice President sparked a debate on the separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches.

Relevance:

GS Paper-2: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions, and Basic Structure

Mains Question

Is the basic structure doctrine an infringement on parliamentary sovereignty? Analyze critically in light of the Vice President of India’s recent remarks on “basic structure doctrine.”


What’s the problem?

  • He once again criticised the Supreme Court for employing the doctrine of basic structure to invalidate the constitutional amendment that established the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act.
  • According to him, the basic structure doctrine usurps the sovereignty of the elected legislature and contradicts the democratic imperative that the elected legislature reign supreme.
  • The Vice-comments President’s calling into question the fundamental structure doctrine articulated in the landmark Keshavananda Bharati case (1973) do not reflect the correct legal position.

Limitations of Parliamentary Legislation

  • It is common knowledge that the Constitution of India imposes two restrictions on parliamentary legislation.
    • One is through judicial review, which is the ability of constitutional courts to examine legislation for possible violations of any fundamental right. It is stated in Article 13 that laws that contradict or detract from fundamental rights are invalid.
    • Another is that no amendment to the Constitution should destroy any of its fundamental elements.

What is the doctrine of fundamental structure?

  • The Doctrine of Basic Structure is a type of judicial review used by the courts to determine the legality of all legislation.
  • The Supreme Court developed the doctrine in a 1973 landmark decision, Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala. A 13-judge Constitution Bench ruled, by a vote of 7 to 6, that the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution is inviolable and cannot be altered by Parliament.
  • The Court declares a law unconstitutional if it is found to “harm or destroy” the “fundamental elements of the Constitution.” The test is applied to constitutional amendments to ensure that they do not weaken the Constitution’s fundamental principles. Widely regarded as a check on the Parliament’s majoritarian tendencies, the test imposes substantial restrictions on the ability to amend the Constitution.

What are the fundamental characteristics of the Indian Constitution?

  • In the Keshavananda decision, the Supreme Court cited several aspects of the Constitution that could be identified as “fundamental characteristics” of the document, but added that the list was not exhaustive.
  • Examples of fundamental features include judicial review, the rule of law, federalism, and the structure of a democratic republic.
  • In its 2015 decision striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and the related Constitutional Amendment, the Supreme Court identified “judicial independence” as a fundamental aspect of the Constitution.
  • Using the basic structure doctrine, the five-judge panel invalidated the amendment passed by an overwhelming majority of the Parliament (with just one member abstaining). The Vice President described this as the judiciary undermining the authority of the legislature.

Does basic structure Doctrine threaten parliamentary authority?

  • It is demonstrably false that the basic structure doctrine undermines parliamentary sovereignty.
  • Parliament is sovereign within its domain, but it is constrained by the Constitution’s limitations.
  • The basic structure doctrine prevented the misuse of a parliamentary majority from undermining the Constitution.
  • The primary objective of the doctrine is to ensure that fundamental elements of the Constitution are not rendered obsolete by legislation.
  • In only a few instances has it been used to invalidate amendments, but many others have survived basic structure challenges.
  • Parliamentary majority is ephemeral, but the rule of law, parliamentary form of government, separation of powers, the concept of equality, and free and fair elections should be perpetually protected from legislative excess.
  • A new Constituent Assembly could draught a new constitution that alters these fundamental concepts, but a legislature formed under the current Constitution cannot be permitted to do so.

Conclusion

  • The Supreme Court has utilised the basic structure doctrine in a variety of decisions to preserve the sanctity and fundamental nature of the Constitution.
  • The doctrine has developed through Supreme Court decisions and continues to grow. It forces constitutional amendments to conform to certain standards or values that uphold the sanctity and spirit of the Constitution.
  • Judiciary does not abrogate amendment powers or the power to pass laws; it merely imposes certain restrictions to promote democratic principles. It imposes restrictions on any institution gaining disproportionate influence or control over others. It contributes to upholding the supremacy of the Constitution and its principles.

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