Daily Mains Newsletter for UPSC 18 Dec 2021

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

18 Dec 2021 - Saturday

Index

Table of Contents

GS Paper – 2 (Issues Related to Women)

Enforcing age of marriage

Context:

  • The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to raise the minimum marriage age for women from 18 to 21.
  • Several global organizations such as UNICEF have specified children under the age of 18 as minors and marriages below the specified age as child marriage. 

Child marriages in India:

  • It is important to break the cycle of early marriages in families as even in urban areas, women are married off as soon as they turn 18 years.
  • Global Childhood Report: India even today child marriage prevalence is higher in rural areas as compared to urban areas as these figures are 1% and 6.9% for rural and urban areas respectively for age group 15-19 years.
  • Although India’s maternal mortality ratio has improved to 113 in 2016-18 from 130 in 2014-2016, it is still far below the SDG target of 70 deaths per 1,00,000 live births.

What is the minimum age of marriage?

  • Personal laws prescribe certain criteria for marriage, including age of the bride and groom.
  • For example, Section 5(iii) of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, sets a minimum age of 18 for the bride and 21 for the groom. This is the same for Christians under the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, and the Special Marriage Act.
  • For Muslims, the criteria are attaining puberty, which is assumed when the bride or groom turns 15.
  • However, child marriages are not illegal even though they can be declared void at the request of the minor in the marriage.

Why is there a need to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls?

  • Underage marriage of a woman increases vulnerability and reflects the low status of women in society as compared to men. Some other issues faced by women:
  • Education:Women have societal pressure to get married early and have children.
  • Domestic responsibilities often take over the lives of women and they are unable to pursue higher education.
  • Economic Independence: Early marriage of women deprives them of proper education and job prospects and thus economic independence.
  • Economic independence as it allows her to make conscious choices 
  • It promotes gender equality by ensuring equal participation
  • Health issues: Study shows that women who get married before 18 years of age are likely to deal with unwanted pregnancies, premature babies, retarded growth, prolonged labour, miscarriage, and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • All this because they lack proper education as they are married at a young age. This deprives them of proper health care and antenatal care which is why the rate of infant mortality is higher in young mothers.
  • Domestic violence: According to the International Council of Research on Women (ICRW), women who are less educated and married between 15 to 19 years of age are more likely to be victims of domestic violence compared to more educated women.
  • Mental health: Early marriages have a significant impact on the mental health of women. They are likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
  • Poverty: Girls belonging to poor families are more likely to get married at an early age and women who get married at an early age are likely to spend their lives in poverty.

We need a multi-pronged approach to end child marriage:

  1. Girls must be able to attend school regularly, remain there, and achieve so for the residential schools, girls’ hostels, and public transport should be established by State.
  2. Teachers should hold regular gender equality conversations with high school girls and boys.
  3. The expansion of secondary education and support for young women to apply their education to earn a livelihood should be ensured.
  4. Empowerment measures are required to end child marriage, such as community engagement through programs like Mahila Samakhya. 
  5. Decentralizing birth and marriage registration to gram panchayats will protect women and girls with essential age and marriage documents, thus better enabling them to claim their rights.
  6. In India, the need for parity in the legal age of marriage of men and women is required which can further be a step towards equality. The decision of the Central government is commendable, however, there must be stricter enforcement of the law.

Conclusion:

Marriage is based on cultural norms and practices. The first law regulating the minimum age of marriage was the Sarda Act or the Child Marriage Restraint enacted in 1929 and post-independence an amendment was made under the Act in 1978 increasing the age of marriage to 18 years for women and 21 for men.
However, there was no proper implementation of this law, so with this rule there must be stricter enforcement of the law.

Economics / Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy

Cross Border Insolvency Reforms

Why in News?                                                               

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 is now set to be amended to expand the scope of the Code to include cross-border insolvency matters.

What is Cross-border insolvency?

  • Cross-border insolvency involves a situation where an insolvent debtor has assets or creditors in more than one country.
  • The issue arises, when different countries have conflicting domestic bankruptcy and insolvency regimes, governed by principles of territorialism.
  • There is also the issue of lack of co-operation amongst foreign courts and statutory agencies.

What is UNCITRAL Model Law?

  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law proposed the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross Border Insolvency to deal with such issues.
  • The proposal was adopted in 1997 and it can be adopted by countries with modifications, which suit their domestic context.
  • It has provisions allowing foreign insolvency courts, and officials access to domestic courts (and vice versa).
  • It also provides for recognition of orders and judgments passed by insolvency courts located in foreign jurisdictions.
  • Increasing cross-border trade, prompted several Asian nations (Myanmar, the Philippines, Republic of Korea and many more) to adopt the Model Law in the last decade.
  • The Model Law has till date been adopted by 49 countries.

What are the efforts taken by India for Cross-border insolvency?

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016 is regarded as landmark legislation. It is a Model Law that has been tweaked to suit India’s context and requirements.
  • The MCA constituted a Cross-Border Insolvency Rules and Regulations Committee (CBIRC) to make recommendations to the draft rules.
  • Notable features include its applicability to corporate debtors and personal guarantors.
  • It is also indicated that financial service providers and pre-packaged process may be outside the proposed framework.

Why Cross-border insolvency reform is essential now?

  • Economic growth since the 1990s has been driven by LPG reforms.
  • Increased interdependence of economies has resulted in high levels of cross-border investments, foreign borrowing, and movement of people across countries. So, the risk of failure is also no longer restricted to a single economy.
  • Financial risks are transmitted through global markets and the absence of a comprehensive framework to deal with cross-border risks hampers prospective businesses and investments.
  • The Joint Parliamentary Committee, while reviewing the draft IBC Bill in 2016, emphasized the need for a cross-border resolution framework.

What are the challenges associated?

  • Enforcement of foreign judgments – The Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) supports the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.
  • The use of these provisions involves going through already heavily backlogged Indian courts.
  • Since insolvency matters need timely addressing, this would be both time-consuming and costly.
  • The IBC envisages entering into bilateral agreements and issuance of letters of request to foreign courts such agreements with countries entails time, effort and costs.
  • Bilateral economic arrangements have not always given the desired results.
  • Arriving at an agreement applicable to several countries is challenging.
  • Settlement of insolvency matters with non-reciprocating countries requires filing new suits.

What are the benefits of having a Cross-border insolvency framework?

  • Dispute settlement.
  • Access to assets held abroad in foreign subsidiaries.
  • Information sharing and cooperation of foreign agencies and reduce litigations across jurisdictions.
  • Encompasses suitable timelines, skilled professional capacity, and coordination requirements.
  • Indicates clear supportive measures available to foreign jurisdictions in India.
  • Indian creditors and investors lending/investing aboard will also benefit from a clearly defined resolution mechanism.

Paper-IV| Ethics:

Moral objectivism: The position that certain acts are objectively right or wrong, independent of human opinion. It doesn’t depend on what anyone thinks is right or wrong. Moral Objectivism holds that there is objective, universal moral principles that are valid for all people.

Moral Relativism:

Moral relativism is the idea that morals are not absolute but are shaped by social customs and beliefs. In other words, morals aren’t set in stone. Instead, they are defined by culture. Helping to link the term to its definition, moral relativism holds that morals are related to culture.

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