Marriage most foul
- Case of ‘Arab nikah ’, a type of Muslim marriage is known in Hyderabad under different names & forms.
- Detailed conversations with multiple sources in the police and the community reveal the sad picture of how a group of dalals (touts) persuade vulnerable, impoverished families with three or four minor daughters with a story of how sheikhs hold the promise of altering their lives for the better.
- In some cases, they say this is a ‘short-term marriage of convenience’ in exchange for money.
- Once convinced, the family pressures their young daughters.
- Touts produce documents to show the girl as an adult and her signature is taken on blank bond papers, to come in useful later in the case of a divorce.
What happens to those girls:
- In most cases, the sheikh spends some time with the little girl and leaves for home after divorcing her.
- In the last seven years, over a dozen such child marriages to wealthy Arabs have been performed, at least two to three a year, most of these marriages lasting from a few days to a few months.
- Such marriages have become public largely on account of cases registered in five police station limits in Hyderabad.
- Many more may have escaped the radar, such as the case of a 17-year-old girl who had approached the Santoshnagar Police Station stating that her parents and touts were trying to perform her marriage for the sixth time in January 2014.
- Her five marriages in the previous two years had ended in divorce, she had said in her statement.
MEA scuppers Kerala Minister’s China visit
- The one-word “denial” was communicated to the office of the Tourism Minister .The efforts of the State government to find out the reason for denial of permission to Mr. Surendran to attend the six-day event through Kerala’s Liaison Officer in New Delhi did not succeed.
- The agenda of China to promote the “Belt and Road initiative” (Silk route) at the UNWTO platform had resulted in the denial of permission.
- The Joint Secretary, Tourism, Suman Billa, an IAS officer of Kerala on Central deputation, will represent the country.
- The Tourism Minister said the denial of permission was a ‘political decision” and he will petition Prime Minister.
Bali action puts India on other side of debate.
- India’s decision to reject a joint statement by the World Parliamentary Forum in Indonesia, that included references to human rights in Myanmar in its ‘Bali declaration’, was a major show of support for the Suu Kyi government just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended his bilateral visit there.
- The move, has put India on the other side of the Rohingya refugee debate from Myanmar’s other neighbours and countries in the region.
- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were all among countries that joined the Bali declaration , that India disassociated from, according to Indonesian officials.
In their explanation, the Indian delegation headed by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had said the reference to Myanmar had been “proposed at the eleventh hour” and was unjustified as the Parliamentary forum was meant to focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and not a particular country.
- In two separate paragraphs, the Bali Declaration that was eventually made by 49 countries, expressed concern about the recent violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where the UN says at least 1,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed, and 2,70,000 have fled, mainly to Bangladesh, in the past two weeks.
Indicators that matter
- The deaths of more than 70 children in one hospital in Gorakhpur and 49 in Farrukhabad, both in Uttar Pradesh recently, reflect the appalling state of public health in India.
- It needs to be remembered that India’s public health-care sector has been ailing for decades.
- According to the latest Global Burden of Disease Study, India has the 154th rank, much below China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
- Though ‘health’ is a State subject, States have been reducing their health-care spending efforts in relation to total government spending.
- In 2013-14, the per capita public expenditure on health in U.P was Rs. 452.
- The number of primary health centres, went down from 3,808 in 2002 to 3,497 in 2015.
- The gravity of the situation is understood better when we juxtapose this with the 25-30% increase in the State’s population during the same period.
- These statistics show that health has never been a political priority in the State.
- The serial blasts that rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, occupy a special place in the history of terrorism in India.
- Planned abroad and executed with chilling precision in a dozen chosen spots, the crime altered the country’s understanding and perceptions of security.
- it inflicted near-permanent damage to inter-community relations in society.
- It warranted resolute action to render justice to the 257 people who died and over 700 people injured in the blasts.
- The trial that began with the accused available at that time took about 14 years to end, with a hundred suspects being convicted.
- Misgivings, may turn around the fact that the trial took place under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, which allows confessions made to senior police officers to be admissible evidence.
‘Income inequality in India at its highest level since 1922’
- According to our benchmark estimates, the share of national income accruing to the top 1% income earners is now at its highest level since the creation of the Indian Income Tax [Act] in 1922.
- The top 1% of earners captured less than 21% of total income in the late 1930s, before dropping to 6% in the early 1980s and rising to 22% today.
- Over the 1951-1980 period, the bottom 50% group captured 28% of total growth and incomes of this group grew faster than the average, while the top 0.1% incomes decreased.
- Over the 1980-2014 period, the situation was reversed; the top 0.1% of earners captured a higher share of total growth than the bottom 50% (12% versus 11%), while the top 1% received a higher share of total growth than the middle 40% (29% vs. 23%).
- These findings suggest that much can be done to promote more inclusive growth in India.
- Since the 1980s, India did not only open-up and liberalise its economy, it did it in a way that was very favorable to top income earners and capital owners.
- Top tax rates which were very high in the 1970s (up to 98%) decreased to 30% in the 1980s. Wages set by governments in government enterprises were liberalised after privatisations and the dispersion increased.
- On the other hand, growth at the bottom of the distribution was notably lower than average growth rates since the 1980s.
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