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Model Answer for GS Main Test-2

1. Criminal defamation as a legal instrument is often abused by the powerful to


smother the freedom of speech. What is criminal defamation? Do you think is it
justified in a liberal democracy like India?
(10 Marks, 150 Words)
Answer – Defamation is the communication of a false statement through printed words or
images (liable) or through spoken words (slander), which harms the reputation of an
individual. It is one of the reasonable restrictions of the freedom of speech and expression
under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution. As per Indian law, defamation can be both—
civil and criminal. Criminal defamation is described in section 499 and 500 of the Indian
Penal Code. Criminal defamation provides for a term of 2 years, or fine, or both.

Problems with Criminal Defamation

● The concept of crime is essentially concerned with the social order, but defamation is a
crime against a private individual. Therefore, it should be a private wrong, leading to only
civil liabilities.
● Incarceration for using one’s freedom of speech and expression is unjustified in a liberal
democracy if it does not amount to incitement of violence.
● It does not pass the “proportionality principle” as there is an alternative measure of civil
liability to achieve the same purpose with a lesser degree of limitation.
● The threshold of defence in the criminal defamation cases is higher than the civil
defamation case. The accused has to establish in addition to the truthfulness of the
statement that the statement was justified for “public good”.
● Though the state has the power to criminalise any act, which is not morally repugnant
like dishonour of cheque criminal defamation provisions have a direct impact on the
constitutionally guaranteed rights under Article 19(1).
● Section 199 of CrPC has often been misused, as it allows the public prosecutor to
defend the defamed civil servants. It is unfair to allow the state to use its legal machinery
to suppress criticism, further causing the burden on the exchequer.
● Generally, this provision is used by politicians, corporate houses, and powerful elites to
muzzle the voices of cartoonists, journalists and activists.
Why India needs Criminal Defamation?

● Supreme Court in 2016 Subramaniam Swamy case held that individual’s Right to
Reputation & to live with dignity (interpreted under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution)
cannot be disgraced for the reason that another individual has his Right to Free Speech
and Expression (under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution).
● Further, it held that making defamation a criminal offence is a reasonable restriction to
the fundamental right of speech and expression under Article 19, as it is not just a private
wrong, but a crime against the society.
● Due to the socio-economic backwardness of the country, people will not be able to pay
monetary fine given in the civil liability commensurate to the loss of reputation.
Therefore, civil defamation cannot act as a deterrent.
As India is the world’s largest democracy, we need a serious rethink on the matter, as no
progressive society has the concept of Criminal Defamation now. Our defamation laws

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are a British era colonial legacy, and even they abolished Criminal Defamation in 2009,
Sri Lanka abolished Criminal Defamation recently. It’s about time the restrictions on
Article 19 in the form of Criminal Defamation be done away with.

2. India has made good progress in education since the introduction of Sarva
Shiksha Abhiyan and Right to Education Act. Critically analyse. How, in this
regard, Samagra Shiksha Scheme promises to ensure inclusive and equitable
quality education at all levels of school education?
(10 Marks, 150 Words)
ANSWER:

The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the designated
scheme for implementation of the Right to education (RTE) act 2009, with the aim of
universalizing elementary education. SSA has made significant progress in achieving
near-universal enrolment and equity. There has been a reduction in the number of out of
school children in the 6-14 years age group, from 135 lakh in 2005 to 60 lakh in 2014.
While the annual average dropout rate came down to 4% in 2015, the pupil-teacher ratio
has improved to 24 from earlier 32.

However, the task is far from over. While quantitatively there has been an improvement,
qualitatively we are still lagging. This is highlighted by the following:

● Nearly 47% Class V students cannot read Class II text while only 43% can perform the
simple calculation (ASER report by NGO Pratham).
● Gender and social category gaps are still wide, particularly concerning the curriculum.
● The testing methodology awards rote learning more than problem-solving.
● Lack of infrastructure is a persistent problem with public schools.
In this background, the Government of India has launched the Samagra Shiksha
Scheme as an overarching scheme for school education extending from pre-school to
class XII. The key features of the scheme are:

● Subsumes three erstwhile centrally sponsored schemes:


1. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
2. Rashtriya Madhyamika Shiksha Abhiyan
3. Teacher Education
● Envisages ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school to senior secondary level.
● Reaches out to girls and children belonging to SC/ST/Minority community/Transgender.
● Gives preference to Special Focus Districts, Educationally Backward Blocks, LWE
affected districts etc.
● Supports states for the strengthening of school infrastructure including in rural areas.
● For improving quality of education, it envisages interventions like:
1. In-service training of teachers and school heads
2. Conducting Achievement surveys
3. Grants for the library, sports, ICT and digital initiatives as well as leadership development
programs

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The scheme paves the path for the construction of an organic structure of schooling. It
can be further built upon by ensuring higher investment in education (6% of GDP),
compulsory certification of teachers and pre-school education also declared as a right as
suggested by TRS Subramanian panel on education.

3. The Supreme Court’s recent verdicts on privacy in Justice Puttaswamy case and
Aadhaar Act case have placed individual’s right to privacy on a high pedestal. In
this light, critically analyse the Draft Personal Data Protection Bill,2018 based on
BN Srikrishna Committee’s recommendations.
(15 Marks, 200 words)

ANSWER:

In Justice K.S.Puttaswamy vs Union of India case, the Supreme court unanimously


declared Right to privacy as a fundamental right arising from articles 21 and 19 among
others. On similar lines, the Supreme court struck down Section 57 of Adhaar act which
allowed private companies to have access to information under Adhaar. The Court thus
recognized information privacy as a facet of the right to privacy and recommended that
the Government of India should examine and put in place a robust mechanism for data
protection.

The government appointed the Srikrishna Committee to prepare a data protection


framework. The Draft Personal Data Protection Bill is one of the recommendations of the
committee.

Provisions of the Bill

● Definition of personal data: It defined personal data to include data from which an
individual may be identified or identifiable, either directly or indirectly.
● Rights of the individual: These include: (i) right to obtain confirmation from the fiduciary
on whether the personal data has been processed, (ii) right to seek correction of
inaccurate personal data, (iii) right to be forgotten.

● Obligations of the data fiduciary (One who has access to the data): Implementation of
policies about the processing of data, maintaining transparency, implementing security
safeguards and instituting grievance redressal mechanisms to address complaints of
individuals.

● Establishment of a Data Protection Authority- The Authority is empowered to take steps


to protect the interests of individuals, prevent misuse of personal data and ensure
compliance with the Bill.
● Consent-based processing under normal circumstances while non-consensual on
separate grounds.
● Offences and Penalties: Under the Bill, the Authority may levy penalties for various
offences by the fiduciary.

Challenges with the bill:

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● The fiduciary does not require the consent of the user to process the data. The user can
only get information about the status of the data with the company, i.e. data was
processed or not. TRAI recommended for the necessary consent of the user.
● The Bill talks about “data localisation” but it allows companies to transfer data to other
countries but they have to keep a copy of data in India. Since data storage is a very
costly affair, it will affect start-ups and small companies. However, most of the cases of a
data breach were done by big companies like Facebook.
● The Data Protection Authority will have all the dysfunctions of a bureaucratic structure.
● The Bill does not give the ‘right to be deleted’. It only talks about the ‘right to be
forgotten’.
● The legitimate tension between data privacy rights and the imperatives of governance
and security: The bill allows the processing of data, including sensitive personal data for
any function of the legislature.
● Ensuring credibility, competence and independence of data protection authority.

The Justice Srikrishna Committee had an unenviable task before it. They have set the
stage right while opening up some challenges as well. The European Union’s General
Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be a better reference for Indian data protection
framework.

4. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome


(Prevention and Control) Bill 2017 has been passed by Parliament recently.
Discuss how it can protect the rights of the affected people?
(10 Marks, 150 Words)
Ans: To safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV, recently the
government has enacted HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act 2017. The act is a
milestone because it empowers a person living with HIV in the following ways
(Part A):
● Right against Discrimination: Any discrimination meted out against people with HIV in
the fields of employment, health care services, educational services, public facilities,
property rights, holding public office, and insurance is prohibited.
● Right to Property: The new legislation has provisions to safeguard the property rights of
HIV positive people.
● Right to Reside: Every HIV infected person below the age of 18 years has the right to
reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household.
● Right to Free Treatment: The Act makes Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) a legal right
for all HIV/AIDS patients. Any person testing positive will be entitled to free treatment by
the state and central government.
Part B: Role of government and judiciary
The central and state governments shall take measures to:
● prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS,
● provide anti-retroviral therapy and infection management for persons with HIV or AIDS,
● formulate HIV or AIDS education communication programmes that are age appropriate,
gender-sensitive, and non-stigmatizing, and

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Role of Judiciary:
● Cases relating to HIV positive persons shall be disposed of by the court on a priority
basis.
● In any legal proceeding, if an HIV infected person is a party, the court may pass orders
that the proceedings be conducted - (a) by suppressing the identity of the person, (b) to
restrain any person from publishing information that discloses the identity of the
applicant.

Conclusion: HIV/AIDS has been associated with a lot of stigma and discrimination.
Though discrimination has diminished over the years due to various efforts, the new law
will play a significant role in ensuring equal rights to the people infected with HIV and
AIDS.

Extra Content:
As per the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), India has 21.17 lakh people
living with HIV, the third largest in the world after South Africa (68 lakh) and Nigeria (34
lakhs).

Few More Rights:


● Right to Consent and Confidentiality: It also provides for confidentiality of HIV-related
information and makes it necessary to get informed consent for undertaking HIV tests,
medical treatment and research.
● Right against Hatred: The Act penalises "propagation of hatred" against the protected
person where a violator could be punished with a minimum jail term of three months to a
maximum of two years and can be fined up to one lakh rupees.

Few More Roles:


● Government to lay guidelines for the care and treatment of children with HIV or AIDS.
Every person in the care and custody of the state shall have the right to HIV prevention,
testing, treatment and counselling services.
● Facilitate access to welfare schemes especially for women and children,
● Also, an ombudsman shall be appointed by each state government to inquire into
complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services.

5. Trace the evolution in the process of judicial appointment in the higher judiciary to the
present system of Collegium. In the context of the recent demand of bringing back
National Judicial Appointment Commission Act discuss how more transparency and
accountability can be brought into such appointments.
(15 Marks, 200 Words)
Part V & Part VI of the Constitution deals with the organisation, independence,
jurisdiction, powers, procedures and so on of the Supreme Court and High Court
respectively. Article 124, 214 describes the process for appointment and removal of
judges of the Supreme Court & High Court by President.

Appointment of Judges
SUPREME COURT

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The president appoints the chief justice after consultation with such judges of the Supreme
Court and high courts as he deems necessary. Evolution in the judicial appointment

Controversy over Consultation


● First Judges case (1982), the Court held that consultation does not mean concurrence
and it only implies the exchange of views.
● But, in the Second Judges case (1993), the Court reversed the earlier ruling and ruled
that the advice tendered by the Chief Justice of India is binding on the President. But, the
Chief Justice would tender his advice on the matter after consulting two of his seniormost
colleagues.
● Further, in the Third judge's case (1998), the Court opined that the Chief justice of India
requires ‘consultation of plurality judges’ and consult a collegium of four seniormost
judges of the Supreme Court through Memorandum of Procedure.

HIGH COURT
Appointment of Judges
The President appoints the chief justice after consultation with the chief justice of India and
the governor of the state concerned. For appointment of other judges, the chief justice of
the concerned high court is also consulted.
● In the Second Judges case (1993), the Supreme Court ruled that no appointment of a
judge of the high court can be made unless it conforms with the opinion of the chief
justice of India.
● In the Third Judges case (1998), the Supreme Court opined that in case of the
appointment of high court judges, the chief justice of India should consult a collegium of
two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
Thus, the sole opinion of the chief justice of India alone does not constitute the ‘consultation’
process.

Recently, the government passed the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act leading to
the creation of National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), which was struck
down by Supreme Court as being the unconstitutional violating basic structure of
Separation of Power.

However, Supreme Court admitting fault of old collegium asked government to propose
new MOP, which is still sub-judice.

Further steps to be taken to ensure more accountability and transparency in judiciary


appointment
1. Proactive information sharing - Recent step by SC to put all reasons for acceptance
and rejection in higher judiciary appointment and transfer cases online is a progressive
step.
2. All India Judicial Service (AIJS) - As restated by Prime Minister, the system of All India
Judicial Service, with an exam like UPSC to ensure merit and representation of
backward section in higher echelons of the judiciary
3. Independent commission - Present collegium is criticized to create IMPERIUM IN
IMPERIO and shrouded in secrecy, spoils system. An independent commission can be
set up, outside executive domain to uphold transparency and independence of the
judiciary. Such practice is followed in the UK
4. Self-Accountability – Rather than having external attempts like NJAC, collegium
should itself uphold highest standards of integrity and functioning that would increase
transparency and accountability.
5. Objective Parameters for an appointment – Collegium system must be laid down
objective criteria for promotions and transfers giving due importance to merit,
performance etc. of the judge.

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6. Fixing accountability - There should be a fix time limit for approval of recommendations
by the executive.

Further effective communication, MoP finalization, Justice Venkatachalaiah Commission


2002 recommendation of replacing collegium can be implemented to improve
transparency and accountability in judicial appointment procedure.

6. Supreme Court ending the Sabarimala ban while establishing triumph of


constitutional morality might lead to rationalizing religion. In the light of the recent
Supreme Court verdict, critically examine its implication on religious freedom and
diversity of India.
(15 Marks, 200 words)
The Supreme Court in the Young Lawyers Association vs. Union of India 2018 case
struck down the centuries-old ban on the entry of women aged 10-50 in the Sabarimala
temple. Thus, declaring the legal sanction under Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of
Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 as unconstitutional.

Triumph of the Constitutional Morality

● The judgement to allow entry of women into the temple gave women the ‘right to
equality’ under Article 14.
● It also questioned the traditional morality based on religious rules-laden with patriarchal
values and equated with the practice of untouchability under Article 17.

Rationalisation of Religion

● The notions of rationality cannot be used in the cases of religion. The basic principles of
religion are based on myths to cater to the needs of the people.
● The constitution provides the people of any religion for forming the rules under Article 25.
● If the “essential religious practices” are determined by the court, then It takes away the
cultural meanings provided to the rituals by the devotees.

Impact of the Decision on Religious Freedom and Diversity

● The use of rational principles to determine religious cases will universalise rituals and it
will also take away people’s right to frame rules for their religion.
● Sabarimala judgement will open the floodgates of the litigations, which will impact all
religions as most of the mosques do not allow entry of women.
● Religious practices and rituals are based on the cultural markers of the region. The
doctrinal use of precedence in judicial decision-making practices will have far-reaching
impacts on future cases.
● Further, the judgement used the concept of untouchability in a broader sense to include
all kinds of social exclusion practices. But, equating Dalit women with Brahmin women in
this case under Article 17 will take-away the different forms of discrimination practised
against Dalits from the centre of the debate, which includes the role of religion.
● The judgement also made clear that the right of religious freedom under Article 25
cannot be used to propagate regressive practices and discriminate against vulnerable
sections.

Religious morality and constitutional morality should not be seen as binary as the
constitution itself gives place for religious morality from Article 25 to 30. However, the
principles of religious morality should not be regressive to become a means for the social

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exclusion practices. The need for changing regressive practices should also come from
the society to understand the principles of constitutional morality.

7. “Internet provides one of the most potent platforms for expressing people’s
voices in contemporary times”. In light of the statement, discuss the effects of
internet shutdown on the freedom of speech and expression.
(15 Marks, 150 words)

ANS:

In simplifying and fastening communication, the internet has played a significant role in
facilitating people to mobilise, voice their concerns, and bring about a political change.
The “Arab Spring,” “Sunflower Revolution,” “Jan Lokpal” movement, Washington’s
Women’s March, and #MeToo campaign are a case in point. The Internet and especially
social media gave common people the freedom of speech and expression in the true
sense as it gave them tools to publicise their views and question other’s views.

Internet shutdown, in this context, refers to a deliberate suspension of internet services


in a limited area, for a given amount of time, usually on the orders of the government.
www.internetshutdowns.in, a website that is tracking the instances of internet shutdown
in India has reported 208 shutdowns in the last three years out of which 70 were in the
state of Jammu and Kashmir alone.

EFFECTS OF INTERNET SHUTDOWN ON THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND


EXPRESSION:

● Given the essential nature of the internet in the current context, whenever an order of
internet shutdown is passed anywhere in the country, a citizen’s ability to exercise the
rights mentioned above is severely sabotaged.
● The government uses section 144 of the CrPC and Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 to
suspend internet services in certain areas to quell protests, rumour mongering and
propaganda. But it takes away the right of the people to express their views on social
media freely. It affects both the people participating in the protests and people being
neutral to these protests.
● The Supreme Court often said that the state’s right-infringing actions must be
“proportionate,” i.e. there must not be a greater invasion of individual’s right than what is
strictly necessary to achieve state’s goal. However, the internet shutdown is
indiscriminate, in both whom they target and how they target.
● The Telegraph Act of 1835 was framed by the colonial British-police state, which brings
the problem of transparency and accountability at the forefront. The Act requires a
certain officer to order internet shutdown. Further, there is a provision of “review
committee” to see whether the shutdown was valid or not. However, all the accountability
mechanisms are under executive control.
● The Right to access the internet is one of the human rights under international law, and
the state should respect this right of the people so that they can enjoy true freedom of
speech and expression. The state cannot use the excuse of law and order problem to

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justify internet shutdown rather it can go for preventive mechanisms like better
intelligence gathering and continuous talks with civil society groups.
● Studies have also shown an adverse psychological and social impact of internet
shutdowns, demotivating citizens by increasing the feelings of isolation and exclusion in
them.
Conceptually speaking, public safety and law and order vs free speech and other
fundamental rights, is a conundrum that liberal democracies have been facing since their
inception in various forms. The medium of the internet lends its complexities to an age-
old problem.

WAY FORWARD:

Therefore, it is necessary that all the orders of internet shutdowns should be scrutinised
by the judiciary as an individual has to be presented before a judicial magistrate within
24 hrs of his/her arrest. It can bring transparency in the mechanism. As a modern liberal
state, the state should accept the widened interpretation of the term freedom of speech
and expression and use the tool of internet shutdown in the extreme cases of public
safety and law and order problems.

8. “The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018


treats the developmental problem as a legal problem”. Comment.
(10 Marks, 150 Words)
Trafficking is the recruitment, harbouring or transportation of a person under force for
extreme exploitation involving sexual acts, forced labour, slavery and practices similar to
slavery. The present Bill on anti-trafficking changes focuses on trafficking for sexual
exploitation to include “modern slavery”.

Modern slaves are defined as persons under control of another person’s, who applies
violence and force to maintain that control, and the goal of that control is exploitation like
forced labour, bonded labour, forced marriages and so on. A report by ILO, IMO and
Walk Free Foundation estimated that there are 40.3 million slaves in the world, including
18 million in India (2016). The number in forced labour is 24.9 million and in forced
marriages.

Trafficking as a Developmental Problem

Most of the cases of modern slavery are due to a developmental deficit in the region.
These reasons are forced migration, poverty and hunger, exchange of women as a
commodity at many places and so on. Therefore, trafficking should be seen as a
developmental problem and should be dealt with better social welfare legislation.

Focus on Developmental Problems

The bill is focusing on forced labour, child labour and household workers, a move from
the present Act PITA, which is for the people engaged in sex work.

a. The Bill adopts a failed carceral approach to trafficking, based on a prosecution-driven,


raid-rescue-rehabilitation model. However, the problems with the forced labour and

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modern slavery require changes in the labour laws to make corporate houses liable for
using them.
b. The use of criminal law to deal with the problems of trafficking is focussing upon only
individual bad actors rather than the networks of people engaged in the crime.
c. The Bill talks about the rehabilitation of the rescued people in the government-run shelter
house, while the Supreme Court appointed a committee in the Budhahdev Karmakar
vs State of West Bengal recommended for community-based rehabilitation model.
d. The issue of trafficking requires that the big corporate houses should report on the use of
forced labour in their supply chain, but the present Bill does not talk about this. The State
of California and the UK have pioneered this approach.
However, the traffickers are committing a crime under the penal provisions of the country
(Indian Penal Code), and their actions should fall under criminal law. But, the root causes
of this problem should be seen holistically.

Hence, trafficking can no longer be understood as a matter of crime as the Bill does.
Trafficking is a development issue and threatens to have trade implications as US law
restricts the import of goods produced with forced labour; Australia is contemplating a
similar law. FDI could also be negatively impacted. As the international discourse on
trafficking and forced labour rapidly shifts, India needs to do more than recycle a failed
criminal law model and holistically rethink trafficking. The government must refer the Bill
to a standing committee for comprehensive consultations with Indian trade unions and
workers’ groups.

9. In spite of having provision of disqualification, Section 8 of the Representation of


the People Act, 1951 hasn’t been able to check the criminalisation of politics
effectively. How far, in your opinion, the recent presentation by the Election
Commission in SC will help to mitigate the menace of criminalisation of politics.
(15 Marks, 250 Words)
ANSWER

The criminalisation of politics means rising participation of criminals in the electoral


process and selection of the same as elected representatives of the people. As per
Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report, 185 winning candidates in the 2014
general elections had criminal cases against them compared to 162 in the 2009 polls.

Problems with Section 8 of the RPA, 1951

Section 8 of the RPA, 1951 provide that candidate convicted for a crime for which the minimum
imprisonment is two years shall be disqualified from the date of conviction (Lily Thomas
vs Union of India 2013). However, the legal provision has been inadequate to curb the
rise of criminalisation of politics as:
● Disqualification is limited to certain crimes or conviction with minimum of two years of
imprisonment.
● With laggard criminal justice system, politically connected and influential candidates
evade the conviction for a long period.
● Lack of onus on political party vis-à-vis their candidates’ criminal antecedent.
● Lack of inner-party democracy

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● Opaqueness in electoral funding also perpetuates the criminalization.
Recommendations of the Election Commission

● Disqualification of candidates once the once the charges are framed.


● Change in qualification criteria to reduce the number of candidates with criminal
candidates.
● Changes in constitution of a political party to ensure inner-party democracy.
● Disqualifying convicted persons from forming political parties or becoming office-bearer
of a party.
● Transparency in electoral funding.
Are these Steps Sufficient?

These steps can have an impact on the increased criminalisation of politics, but these
will not be able to eradicate this problem. Further steps needed are:

● Media should play a more proactive role and conscious role in bringing the naked
character of criminals involved in the politics.
● Voter awareness to make them understand the need for separation of crime and politics.
● The role of civil society, NGO and other organisations for starting a campaign to
demotivate people to vote criminal candidates.
● The right to recall and reject.
In a nutshell, eradication of three Cs – Cash, Corruption and Criminality could lead our
country towards vibrant polity and democracy.

(15 marks, 200 words)


10. India cannot realise the demographic dividend without its citizens being healthy.
Critically analyse how Ayushman Bharat can help in harnessing demographic
dividend.?
(10 Marks, 150
Words)
Answer: Demographic dividend occurs when the proportion of working people in the
total population is high because this indicates that more people have the potential to be
productive and contribute to the growth of the economy. Countries with the greatest
demographic opportunity for development are those entering a period in which the
working-age population has good health, quality education, decent employment and a
lower proportion of young dependents.

India has around 65% of its population in between the age of 15-59, and its median age
will be just 28 by 2020 according to the sample registration survey of India (SRS)
statistical report and thus is in a great position to harness the demographic dividend.
However, the reaping of demographic dividend is not given, and countries need to put in
place the appropriate social and economic policies, and thus reforms in the health sector
are a prerequisite for it.

The Role of Ayushman Bharat

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1. To strengthen primary health care by setting up or converting some 150,000 sub-centres
in the country into “health & wellness” centres by 2022, which will offer a set of
services including maternal and child health services, mental health services,
vaccinations against selected communicable diseases, and screening for hypertension,
diabetes, and some cancers.
2. To offer
financial
protection from
catastrophic
expenditure,
often
encountered
once a family
member is sick and
needs long-term
health care
through
Pradhan
Mantri Jan
Arogya Yojana
(PM-JAY),
covering ten
crore families or
approximately 50 crore population, with Rs 5 lakh insurance cover per family per year.
Thus, the scheme is for secondary and tertiary healthcare, mainly for hospital care.

Possible Impacts on the Process of Achieving Potentials of Demographic


Dividends

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I. avert wage loss and impoverishment: 55–60 million Indians are pushed into poverty
every year due to the high out of pocket expenditure (OOPE) on health, which is 62.6%
of total health expenditure. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yogna will
• Covers ~40% of the population at bottom strata leading to increased productivity of the
bottom most population.
• This will also curtail the costs associated with dependents or non-working population.
II. The scheme will have a multiplier impact on the healthcare and allied sectors like
pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical devices and the overall Indian economy by way
of employment generation.
III. The comprehensive primary healthcare delivered through HWCs would benefit entire 1.3
billion people of India across rural and urban setting (regular screening of above 30
years of age for 12 diseases).
IV. The extended services in HWCs would cover some non-communicable diseases
(NCDs), and can tackle the epidemiological transition, which will help to harness
demographic dividend.
More Steps Needed:
I. Not all states on board and many beneficiaries could remain excluded.
II. There needs to be an improvement of healthcare infrastructure at the local level as
around 1.6 lakh new bed capacity required according to the consultancy firm PWC.
III. Lack of NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers) or
Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospital for quality processes. Currently,
India has only 538 NABH and 34 JCI hospitals that focus more on the processes and
quality of services. This is around 1-3% of all hospitals in India, according to government
data.
IV. The regular OPD visits and diagnostics need to be covered under some programme to
decrease OOP expenditure.

If Ayushman Bharat scheme is properly implemented, it has the potential to transform


the health infrastructure and can turn out to be an IV drip for healthcare in India. It can
have substantial impacts on the process of harnessing demographic dividend.

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