08 June, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu
- Protect LGBTQIA+ Community: HC (Polity & Governance)
- LPA & Indian Ocean Dipole (Geography)
- Draft Rules - Live Streaming of Court Proceedings (Polity & Governance)
- China hosts ASEAN Foreign Ministers (International Relations)
- Towards a stronger mental health strategy (Social Justice)
- Question for the Day
UPSC Current Affairs: Protect LGBTQIA+ community Page – 05
UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II – Social Issues
Sub Theme: Vulnerable sections | UPSC
Context: Madras High Court on Monday directed the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to enlist non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that could provide counseling, monetary support, legal assistance and protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and such others’ (LGBTQIA+) community until a law could be enacted to protect them.
Backdrop to the Judgment
- A writ petition was filed by two young women who had fled from Madurai to Chennai because their parents were opposed to their relationship.
- Madras High Court directed the Madurai police to keep their hands off the issue and penned down an elaborate judgment for the protection of rights of LGBTQIA community.
Directions of Madras High Court
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to upload the details of the NGOs, along with their address, contact details and the services provided by them, on its website within eight weeks and revise the information periodically.
- Any person from LGBTQIA+ community who has faced an issue can approach any of the enlisted NGOs for safeguarding their rights.
- In order to provide need based relief to people from LGBTQIA+ community, NGOs should also coordinate with the police with respect to offences committed against them.
- NGOs, in consultation with the Ministry, should maintain confidential records of such persons who approached them and the aggregate data be submitted to the Ministry bi-annually.
- The court further ordered that appropriate changes be made to the existing government short stay homes, anganwadi shelters, Garima Greh (shelter home for transgender persons) for providing accommodation, food, medical care and recreational facilities to those from the community in need of such assistance. The Ministry was directed to create the infrastructural requirements within 12 weeks.
- The Court further ordered to carry out sensitisation programmes for stakeholders, including police and prison authorities, judges, physical and mental health professionals, educational institutions, health workers, public and private workplaces.
PROBLEM FACED BY LGBTQRIV+ COMMUNITY
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely to experience intolerance, discrimination, harassment, and the threat of violence due to their sexual orientation, than those that identify themselves as heterosexual.
- This is due to homophobia (the fear or hatred of homosexuality). Some of the factors that may reinforce homophobia on a larger scale are moral, religious, and political beliefs of a dominant group.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people face tremendous difficulties growing up in a society where heterosexuality is often presented as the only acceptable orientation and homosexuality is regarded as deviant. They continue to face discrimination and exclusion across the world in all spheres of life.
- In the labour market, a majority of LGBT people continue to hide their sexual orientation or to endure harassment out of fear of losing their job. Particularly vulnerable are young LGBT people who experience estrangement from family and friendship networks, harassment at school and invisibility, which can lead in some cases to underachievement at school, school drop-out, mental ill-health and homelessness. discrimination not only denies LGBT people equal access to key social goods, such as employment, health care, education and housing, but it also marginalizes them in society and makes them one of the vulnerable groups who are at risk of becoming socially excluded.
Impact of Exclusion & Discrimination
- Dropping out of school earlier
- Leaving Home and Family
- Unable to find regular jobs, have less options than others.
- Being ignored in the community and isolated
- Unable to access various services and Unaware of what they are entitled to
- Mobility, Move to other areas, (such as the city and urban areas)
- Lack of family and social support
- Migrate to other countries for seeking safer livelihood and acceptance
- Rejected from Religion
- Attempt suicide
- Decide to follow their parents to marry opposite sex and then divorce.
Impact of Family Reactions on LGBT Children: Conflict and Rejection
- Problems with communication and lack of understanding about sexual orientation and gender identity can lead to fighting and family disruption that can result in an LGBT adolescent being removed from or forced out of the home.
- Many LGBT youth are placed in foster care, or end up in juvenile detention or on the streets, because of family conflict related to their LGBT identity.
- These factors increase their risk for abuse and for serious health and mental health problems.
- They are more prone to mental and physical health issues, increase attempt to suicide, chances of drug addiction, indulging in criminal activities etc.
Barriers to Health Care
- LGBT) face particular obstacles, barriers, and challenges that frequently make it difficult for them to find and receive competent and affirming healthcare. Heterosexist assumptions can adversely affect the quality of treatment, and fear of a negative experience keeps many LGBTs from seeking help.
- Heterosexism is a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of female–male sexuality and relationships.
- Organizations and individual therapists are not always LGBT friendly.
Challenges for LGBT Elders
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) face a number of particular concerns as they age. They often do not access adequate health care, affordable housing or other social services that they need due to institutionalized heterosexism.
- Most LGBT elders do not avail themselves of services on which other seniors thrive.
- Lack of family support system as enjoyed by other elderly people.
Victim of Hate Crimes and Violence
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and those perceived to be LGBT are regularly targeted as victims of hate crimes and violence. LGBT people experience stigma and discrimination across their life spans, and are targets of sexual and physical assault, harassment and hate crimes.
SUPREME COURT ON SECTION 377 IPC: I AM WHAT I AM, SO TAKE ME AS I AM
- Five Judge Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in the landmark judgment in Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India has decriminalized sexual relations between consenting homosexual adults in a historic judgement.
- The Court held that section 377 of Indian Penal Code would not apply to consensual same sex acts between homosexuals, heterosexuals, lesbians and other sexual minorities, but would apply to bestiality and non-consensual sexual acts. This judgment has resulted in striking down of the Victorian era law and has effectively pushed diversity and pluralism back into the centre stage of India’s public discourse.
Section 377 of IPC
- Homosexuality was criminalised in India under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a relic enacted by British rulers in 1861, which had described same sex acts as "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" and allowed for jail terms of up to 10 years.
- Section 377: Unnatural offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Important Highlights of the 2018 SC Judgment
Indian Constitution in Changing Times
- The rights that are guaranteed as Fundamental Rights under our Constitution are the dynamic and timeless rights of 'liberty' and 'equality' and changing times illustrate and illuminate the meaning of the expressions used in the Constitution as it is a living and dynamic document which cannot be framed in time.
- Constitution fosters and strengthens the spirit of equality and envisions a society where every person enjoys equal rights including LGBTIQ community which enable them to grow and realize their potential as an individual.
- Constitutional Morality vs Social Morality
- The concept of constitutional morality must be in consonance with the constitutional rights of the citizens, howsoever small that fragment of the populace may be.
- In situations of transgression or dereliction in the sphere of fundamental rights, which are also the basic human rights of a section, howsoever small part of the society they may be, then with the aid of judicial engagement and creativity constitutional courts have ensured that constitutional morality prevails over social morality.
- In the garb of social morality, the members of the LGBT community must not be outlawed or given a step-motherly treatment by the society.
- Constitution of India allows state to take affirmative action to eradicate the systematic discrimination against the backward sections of the society and the expulsion and censure of the vulnerable communities including the LGBT.
- A country or a society which embraces constitutional morality has at its core the well-founded idea of inclusiveness.
- Human Dignity
- The fundamental idea of dignity is regarded as an inseparable facet of human personality. Dignity has been duly recognized as an important aspect of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
- In the international sphere, the right to live with dignity had been identified as a human right way back in 1948 with the introduction of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 became the Magna Carta of people all over the world. The first Article of the UDHR was uncompromising in its generality of application: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
- Thus, to understand a person‘s dignity, one has to appreciate how the dignity of another is to be perceived.
- Dignity and liberty as a twin concept in a society that cares for both, smoothens the atmosphere by promoting peaceful co-existence and thereby makes the administration of justice easy.
- Dignity is that component of one‘s being without which sustenance of his/her being to the is inconceivable. Dignity of all is a sacrosanct human right and sans dignity, human life loses its substantial meaning.
- Section 377 of IPC & Privacy
- The Supreme Court observed that while testing the constitutional validity of section 377 of IPC, the idea of privacy as part of fundamental rights of life and personal liberty must be understood.
- The Court observed that autonomy is individualistic and it is expressive of self-determination and such self-determination includes sexual orientation and declaration of sexual identity. Such an orientation or choice that reflects an individual‘s autonomy is innate to him/her.
- The Nine Judge Bench in privacy case has held that sexual orientation is also a facet of a person's privacy and that the right to privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India.
- Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (1948) makes a reference to privacy by stating:
- "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."
- Article 17 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party, talks about privacy - "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home and correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation."
- Right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and liberty guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Article 21 and it is a "right to be let alone", for a citizen has a right to safeguard the privacy of his/her own, his/her family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, child-bearing and education, among other matters.
- It is in this aspect that LGBT community has a right to realisation of its basic right to companionship, so long as such a companionship is consensual, free from the vice of deceit, force, coercion and does not result in violation of the fundamental rights of others.
- The Court held that even if the percentage of LGBT community is less, their right to privacy must be protected. Thus, in this aspect, the Court found section 377 of IPC violative of their fundamental rights including that of privacy.
- Section 377 amounts to an unreasonable restriction, for public decency and morality cannot be amplified beyond a rational or logical limit and cannot be accepted as reasonable grounds for curbing the fundamental rights of freedom of expression a nd choice of the LGBT community.
- Consensual carnal intercourse among adults, be it homosexual or heterosexual, in private space, does not in any way harm the public decency or morality. Therefore, Section 377 IPC in its present form violates Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
- The Court distinguished between consensual and non-consensual sexual activity between individuals. The Court held that so far as section 377 penalised any consensual sexual activity between two adults, be it homosexuals (man and a man), heterosexuals (man and a woman) and lesbians (woman and a woman), cannot be regarded as constitutional.
- However, the Court held that part of section 377 as constitutional and valid which penalises for the act of bestiality and where any sexual activity between individuals has resulted without due consent.
TRANSGENDER PERSONS (PROTECTION OF RIGHTS) ACT, 2019
The Act to provide for protection of rights of transgender persons and their welfare. Issues related to transgender persons are dealt by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
è Transgender is a person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-man or trans-woman (whether or not such person has undergone Sex Reassignment Surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy), person with intersex variations, genderqueer and person having such socio-cultural identities as kinner, hijra, aravani and jogta.
è Prohibition against discrimination: The Act prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to: (i) education; (ii) employment; (iii) healthcare; (iv) access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public; (v) right to movement; (vi) right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property; (vii) opportunity to hold public or private office; and (viii) access to a government or private establishment in whose care or custody a transgender person is.
è Transgenders have the following rights - residence, employment, education, health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries.
è Insurance Scheme - The government should make provision for coverage of medical expenses by a comprehensive insurance scheme for Sex Reassignment Surgery, hormonal therapy, laser therapy or any other health issues of transgender persons.
è Certificate of identity for a transgender person to be issued by District Magistrate.
è Offences and penalties: The Act recognizes the following offences against transgender persons: (i) forced or bonded labour (excluding compulsory government service for public purposes), (ii) denial of use of public places, (iii) removal from household, and village, (iv) physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse. Penalties for these offences vary between six months and two years, and a fine.
è National Council for Transgender persons (NCT): The NCT will consist of: (i) Union Minister for Social Justice (Chairperson); (ii) Minister of State for Social Justice (Vice- Chairperson); (iii) Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice; (iv) one representative from ministries including Health, Home Affairs, and Human Resources Development.
è Other members include representatives of the NITI Aayog, and the National Human Rights Commission. State governments will also be represented. The Council will also consist of five members from the transgender community and five experts from non-governmental organisations.
FUNCTIONS OF NCT
è Advise the Central Government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects for transgenders.
è Monitor and evaluate the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons.
è Review and coordinate the activities of all the departments of Government and other Governmental and non-Governmental Organisations dealing with transgender persons.
è redress the grievances of transgender persons.
UPSC Current Affairs: Fair Wind |Page – 06
UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper I – Prelims
Sub Theme: Monsoon | UPSC
Monsoon is the singlemost important event in India. It affects the fate of farmers as much as it affects the fate of government. A good monsoon reduces the burden on government ,while a bad one can make it spend more. It is one the most important single variable in the Indian economy. On monsoon relies the fate of 50 % of the Indian population. However forecast of monsoon remains a challenge till date. Not a single year passes where hopes of millions of Indians are attached to the IMD’s(Indian metrological department ) monsoon forecast .
Prediction of monsoon is also the biggest headache for IMD, because it is very difficult to predict the exact behaviour of monsoon. This is due to a variety of reasons .Firstly ,The topography of Indian subcontinent makes the monsoon system very complex. Secondly, Tropical weather is difficult to predict because weather systems in the tropics aren’t understood very well. One reason for this is that weather systems destabilise faster in the tropics than they do in the extra-tropics, where they persist for longer durations.
Since it is difficult to predict the exact amount rainfall, IMD relies on probabilistic forecast. It does not come up with any definitive number for its forecast . For this probabilistic exercise , the IMD has classified monsoon rainfall in five categories:
- Deficient (less than 90 per cent of the LPA(Long period average- a 50 year average))
- Below Normal (90-96 per cent)
- Near Normal (96-104 per cent of the LPA)
- Above Normal (104-110 per cent of the LPA)
- Excess (above 110 per cent of the LPA)
Probabilistic forecast assigns probability to the above different categories of monsoon rainfall. For example in for the year 2018, it has forecasted that there was a 42 per cent probability of rainfall being normal this year, and a 30 per cent probability of it being below normal.
A historical perspective
Forecasting Indian monsoon rainfall has a long history and dates back to 1886. The first official seasonal monsoon forecast was issued by Sir Henry Blanford in 1886. It was based only on an assessment of the amount of snow cover over the Eurasian region. Lesser snow cover meant a better monsoon. It was Sir Gilbert Walker who laid the basis for a forecast on a statistical basis. He was the first meteorologist who systematically examined the relationship between Indian monsoon rainfall and global circulation parameters and selected 28 predictors to issue forecast based on regression equation during the year 1906. This was further improved in 1932 by using 16 prameters . In spite of several changes in operational empirical models of IMD, based on extensive research work since 1932, no significant improvement in prediction skill of Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall was realized till recently.
There are two models for monsoon prediction
- Statistical model : This is specific to the monsoon and is based on 16 parameters determined by IMD, for which data is collected and fed into models. These models calculate the numbers based on mathematical equations. ‘Statistical models’ try to match prevailing conditions with historical records to see how the monsoon had behaved in years when similar conditions had prevailed.
- General circulation method/ Dynamic model : This model makes continuous observation of some selected physical phenomena, and notes how the conditions for monsoon behave over a period of time. It then follows those changes to extrapolate for the future, and comes up with a forecast. IMD has recently started using this model for weather forecasts . However this model has its own limitations.
Challenges in Monsoon forecast
A major problem has been to identify a small set of stable and independent parameters that influences the monsoon rainfall and the bulk of its variance. Moreover, the parameters themselves have been found to be unstable over long periods. Many of the once strongly influencing parameters have declined in their correlations over the years. Some have, in fact, turned negative. The search for a minimal set of stable and strongly enforcing parameters thus remains a constant one.
In dynamical model a lot data is required to be fed about current weather conditions. Presently, the lack of enough and quality data is one of the biggest challenge. The IMD collects weather data like temperature, humidity, wind and precipitation through 679 automatic weather stations, 550 surface observatories, 43 radiosonde or weather balloons, 24 radars and three satellites. However this data is not enough given the size of India .More data is required to make the predictions accurate. Then, there are major data gaps, like those involving dust, aerosols, soil moisture and maritime conditions.
Further the automatic weather stations are of substandard quality. The upkeep of instruments is a major problem. They need to be calibrated and cleaned regularly, which doesn’t happen often. That affects the quality of data.
The models that are brought from the west have been developed by western scientists to forecast in their region. These models need to be fine-tuned for Indian conditions. However this fine-tuning is not an easy task under tropical conditions, where weather is fairly unstable as compared to the extra tropical systems.
Another issue is that dynamical models require huge amount of computations, for which supercomputers are required. As such increase in number of supercomputers remains a challenge for India. Also qualified software professionals are required who can put the data collected to good use. Their availability remains a challenge in quality monsoon forecast.
Correlation between El-nino and Indian monsoon is still under research. And it is difficult to forecast exactly how much the El-nino will affect. In addition to this Global warming has also emerged as factor which affects the monsoon forecast.
A forecast which predicts a ‘normal monsoon’ can be misleading at times. This is because in a year some areas may receive higher amount of rainfall as compared to the others. Thus the distribution of rainfall is difficult to predict. Also forecasts are not available at district level or block level. As such it does not help farmers in deciding as to which crops should be sown, so that they do not face the brunt of a drought or a flood.
National Monsoon Mission
Government launched the National Monsoon Mission to set up a state-of-the-art coupled ocean-atmospheric climate model for:
(a) Improved prediction of monsoon rainfall on extended range to seasonal time scale (16 days to one season)
(b) Improved prediction of temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events on short to medium range time scale (up to 15 days) so that forecast skill gets quantitatively improved further for operational services of India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Targets were to develop a state of the art dynamical prediction system for monsoon rainfall (over Indian region) on different time scales (e.g., short range, medium range, extended range and seasonal time scales) with reasonably good prediction skill. Due to these government efforts statistical model along with dynamical model is improving the monsoon predictions.
Thus only if the monsoon forecast is improved drastically, India will be better prepared to face the uncertainties of monsoon and climate change. Also it will help in effectively managing the disasters.
Indian Ocean Dipole
- Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is basically similar to the El Nino weather system that develops in the Pacific Ocean.
- IOD measures differences in sea surface temperatures between the western and eastern parts of the Indian Ocean.
- During the positive phase of Indian Ocean dipole the water over western Indian Ocean is warmer than normal leading to formation of troughs (low pressure regions) and thus enhanced rainfall
- On the other hand cooler waters develop off Indonesia resulting in less rainfall and high temperatures in Australia.
- 2019 witnessed the record level of positive phase of Indian Ocean Dipole
- It has been found that in 2019 the IOD event peaked in mid-October when the waters around east Africa were about 2 degrees Celsius warmer than those near Australia.
- This resulted in development of Super Cyclones in western Indian Ocean (Super Cyclone Kyarr in mid-October) and drier conditions in Australia.
UPSC Current Affairs: Draft rules for live streaming court proceedings out | Page – 08
UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II – Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Judiciary | UPSC
Context: Draft Rules released by the Supreme Court e-Committee for live-streaming and recording court proceedings propose a 10-minute delay in transmission and exclusion of communally sensitive cases and matters that involve sexual offences and gender violence against women.
The Rules are part of the National Policy and Action Plan for implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the judiciary. This will imbue greater transparency, inclusivity and foster access to justice. The Rules would cover live-streaming and recording of proceedings in High Courts, lower courts and tribunals.
The following will be excluded from Live-streaming:
- Matrimonial matters, including transfer petitions arising thereunder.
- Cases concerning sexual offences, including proceedings instituted under Section 376, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).
- Cases concerning gender-based violence against women.
- Matters registered under or involving the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) and under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
- Cases, which in the opinion of the Bench, may provoke enmity amongst communities likely to result in a breach of law and order.
- Recording of evidence, including cross-examination
- Privileged communications between the parties and their advocates; cases where a claim of privilege is accepted by the Court; and non-public discussions between advocates
- Any other matter in which a specific direction is issued by the Bench or the Chief Justice.
e-Committee – Supreme Court
- The e-Committee was to assist in formulating a National Policy enabling the Indian judiciary to prepare itself for the digital age, to adapt and apply technologies and communication tools making the justice delivery system more efficient and thus benefitting its various stakeholders.
- Technology must be harnessed to “Empower” and “Enable.”
- Ensuring Access to Justice to all
- Creating an efficient and responsive judicial system
The e-Committee is guided by these objectives:
- Interlinking of all courts across the country
- ICT enablement of the Indian judicial system
- Enabling courts to enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
- To make the justice delivery system accessible, cost-effective, transparent and accountable.
UPSC Current Affairs: China hosts ASEAN foreign ministers | Page – 11
UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II – International Relations | GS paper 1 – Prelims
Sub Theme: China, ASEAN | UPSC
China is hosting Foreign Ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries on Monday and Tuesday, with Beijing pushing for closer economic cooperation and aligning COVID-19 recovery efforts even as it looks to push back against the recent regional outreach of the Quad grouping.
Chinese officials have in recent weeks stepped up criticism of the Quad — the informal India, Australia, Japan and the United States grouping — and of Washington in particular. During recent visits to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, China’s Defence Minister called on both countries to reject “military alliances” — a term that some Beijing are using to describe the Quad, but a label that the group rejects.
The Communist Party-run Global Times on Monday blamed the U.S. for those tensions rather than China’s moves that prompted the protests from the Philippines and Malaysia. Countries “see clearly that quarrels on South China Sea are not the biggest threat to regional stability; it is the U.S., whose warships frequently sail through the sensitive waters and try to force ASEAN countries take sides to confront China,”
After the first Quad leaders’ summit held in March and the announcement of a regional vaccine initiative, many Chinese analysts framed ASEAN as a key space where Chinese and Quad initiatives may rub up against each other
UPSC Current Affairs: Towards a stronger Mental health Strategy | Page – 7
UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II – Social Issues
Sub Theme: Mental health | UPSC
Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders. According to WHO, Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
Multiple social, psychological, and biological factors determine the level of mental health of a person at any point of time
Status of Mental Health in India:
According to India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative of PHFI (Public Health Foundation of India)
- In 2017, 197.3 million Indians (14.3% of the total population) were suffering from various mental disorders. Of these, 45.7 million had depression and 44.9 million had anxiety disorder
- The contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India in terms of DALYs (Disability adjusted life year) increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2017
(DALY= the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death)
- The prevalence of Mental disorder is relatively higher in the southern states and in females
Status of Mental Health Infrastructure in India:
- In India, the share of mental hospitals per 1,00,000 population is as low as 0.01
- The distribution of mental health units in general hospitals is just 0.03 units per 1,00,000 population
Constitution and Legal safeguards for Mental Health:
- The right to a dignified life ensured under Article 21 of the Constitution extends to right to seek Mental Health care (In fact this right was recognised under Mental Health care act 2017). SC in a recent judgement reiterated that every person with Mental illness shall have a right to live with dignity
- Article 47 -Duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health
- Mental Healthcare Act, 2017:
The Act seeks to ensure rights of the person with mental illness to receive care and to live a life with dignity
- Rights of persons with mental illness
- Every person shall have the right to access mental health care and treatment from services run or funded by the government
- protection from inhuman and degraded treatment
- Right to Confidentiality in respect of his mental health
- Advance Directive- The Act empowers person with mental illness to make an advance directive that states how he/she wants to be treated for the illness and who his/her nominated representative shall be
- Decriminalization of Suicide- A person who attempts suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be punished under the Indian Penal Code
- prohibiting electro-convulsive therapy- Electro-convulsive therapy is allowed only with the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia. The therapy is prohibited for minors.
- Insurance: Th act mandates that every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness
Issues related to Mental Health care in India
- Lack of awareness about symptoms delays diagnosis
- Stigma- Mental is illness is often stigmatised in India which discourages the patient to seek treatment
- Lack of adequate Mental Health care service infrastructure
- Affordability-In India, expenditure incurred to access mental health services often drives families to economic crisis due to ‘out-of-pocket’ (OOP) expenditure for medicines, psychiatrist fee and travel in addition to losing wages on the day of visiting psychiatrist
- Focus of the government is more on physical health care rather than mental health. India spent less than 1% of its total healthcare budget on mental health in 2017.
The COVID pandemic has exacerbated the Indian mental health crisis
- COVID-19 positive patients often suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress related to the disease
- Frontline workers often face stigma from their community and family and must deal with the fear of getting infected. They also suffer from anxiety and insomnia related to overwhelming workloads
- Loneliness and depression due to isolation
- Increase in alcohol and drug use, as well as severe withdrawal symptoms due to the sudden unavailability of alcohol and other addictive substances during the lockdown.
(Other reasons like economic insecurity due to job loss, Domestic abuse during pandemic etc.)
Steps to Tackle Mental health crisis in India
- Increase the awareness and sensitivity to tackle the stigma associated with mental illness through Campaigns like ‘Swach Mansikta Abhiyan’
- Provision of adequate Mental health care infrastructure, preferably funded by government
- Increase the proportion of expenditure on mental health care in the overall Health Budget
- Deployment of Adequate mental health workers with proper training