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100 Days Of Modi 2.0: Are We Really Heading Towards Development?

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Following their victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the Modi government came back to power with a massive win, of over 300 seats of its own. After a long time, a single political party secured the majority in the lower house of the Parliament. People have had many expectations from this government, and why shouldn’t they? As the ministers, during their election campaign, showed many dreams to the people, now it’s the Modi 2.0’s turn to fulfill their promises.

It may not be fair to judge a government based on the work done by them in the last 100 days, but this is the era of advertisement, and one has to show every small contribution done by them. Also, through this, they try to gain massive support from their party workers as well as the people who had elected them. This will also help them in the upcoming state elections.

I want to bring to your attention some statistics regarding 100 days of their work under the NDA government:

1. Right To Information (RTI) Act 

The center introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the RTI act, which gave the government the power to fix salaries, tenures and other terms and conditions of employment of Information Commissioners. The government described the previous RTI law as “clumsy” and assured the Parliament that This new bill leads to ease of delivery of the RTI act but is it so? Now, I want to know what type of liberalisation this is? Will the Information Commissioners be able to do their duty now without any fear? I don’t think so, as now, the government will get to decide the salary and tenure of those officials. So now, there might be some fear in the mind of officials whenever any question related to government work is asked.

Despite protests from the Opposition, The bill was passed down the Lok-Sabha as well as the Rajya-Sabha.

2. Motor Vehicle Act

Now, this is the most thoughtful decision presented by the government. There is an increase in the fines for traffic violations and update of many terms in the act. I know many people have been penalised because of their habit of breaking traffic rules. This Act will make people aware of traffic rules, but I want to see each people, I repeat each people of this country, be bound to follow the traffic rules. It should not be limited to the common people and must be followed by every government official, as well as rich people. Also, I want to see this rule followed in small towns and villages as well. Only then can we say that we have been successful in our mission.

3. POCSO Amendment Act 

This POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by the Parliament and includes the death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, and strict action to be taken for other crimes. This Amendment also provided for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography. I hope this Bill works well to curb such crimes. We have seen many bills in the past, presented before the Parliament, and most of them become a law, but none of them has worked very smoothly to deter the crime rates.

4. Unlawful Activities Prevention Act

Many regional parties supported the government while passing this bill in both houses of the Parliament. This bill mainly contains an amendment that allowed an individual to be declared as a terrorist. Home Minister Amit Shah had said that “this Act will not be misused”, and also that there will be “four-stage scrutiny done by officials”. But, there are still some disadvantages, one of which is that the Central government can declare any individual as a terrorist if they believe in their involvement, which is a cause for concern.

5. The Muslim Women (Protection Of Rights On Marriage) Bill, 2019

It replaces an ordinance which had come into effect on February 21, 2019. The Bill made all declarations of instant Talaaq (divorce), which includes written or electronic, illegal. According to the bill, now a law, no Muslim man can pronounce ‘instant’ and ‘irrevocable’ divorce, which, under triple talaq, happened when the word ‘talaq’ would be pronounced thrice in one sitting. Muslim women have welcomed this bill as they felt that women would be more empowered with the existence of this type of law. Despite being opposed by the Opposition in the Parliament, it was passed by both the houses. The bill includes the provision of allowance for the woman and the children dependent on her.

6. Removal Of Article 370 And The Formation Of Two New UT’s 

One of the toughest and shocking decisions by the Modi-led cabinet was the revocation of Article 370 and the revocation of ‘statehood’ from Jammu and Kashmir. It has now been reorganised it into two new Union Territories (UT): J&K and Ladakh. The decision was taken by the government when there was no state legislature. Moreover, President’s Rule has been imposed there for over a year. So, this was done under the rule of the Governor and the Central government, keeping the people of J&K in ‘silent mode’. Ministers are saying this is to be done to remove terrorism and to develop J&K and Ladakh area.

7. The Slowdown Of The Economy

India’s GDP growth for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2019-2020 (FY20) slumped to 5% (the lowest in 25 quarters or in six years). Key Indian factors are facing the effects of the slowdown as jobs continue to be slashed. But, the government is yet to acknowledge that the economy is going through a period of slowdown. Almost all Indian sectors including auto, manufacturing, agriculture, FMCG, real state, and construction have slumped badly. Also, foreign investors are also constantly pulling out their capital from the Indian market. All major Indian companies, from biscuit manufacturing to automobiles have seen the record fall down over the last few quarters, forcing them to call out for support from the government. The Indian Rupee has, once again, become one of the worst-performing Asian currencies, and has seen the steepest decline in the last six years. Also, this all led the government to borrow a huge sum from the RBI, yet the government has been saying “All is going well”.

8. Mission Chandrayan-2

An important event that made sure everyone’s eyes were glued to their TVs late at night was ISRO’s attempt to land Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram on the lunar surface in the first attempt. As the process is still in continuation I would say we should see what information we get, because we had lost communication with Vikram.

This article was first published here.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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