Inclusive India

Dr C V Ananda Bose

Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future | Mathrubhumi photo

Inclusiveness is the watchword of good governance in a democratic set up. Universal adult franchise forms the core of democracy, but by itself cannot ensure equality for al. The United Nations has identified inclusiveness as a key to good governance. India has been proactive in ensuring inclusiveness as its priority in public administration. As Pearl .S.Buck has put it "Exclusion is always dangerous. Inclusion is the only safety if we are to have a peaceful world."

India is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals where gender equality occupies a predominant place. Towards this, India has taken several measures to empower the woman on ground. The recent achievement of our women athletes marching with equal strides with their male counterparts, in the Tokyo Olympics and Commonwealth Games has been immensely gratifying. You have made us proud. These are women of grit from humble backgrounds reflecting the empowerment of our women in our small towns and villages. On India's 75th year of independence in 2022, the nation should ensure commissioning of 75 world class sports academies across the country.

India should ensure equal participation of women in labour and employment and facilitate women to rise to the top echelons of power in the corporate, government, non governmental sectors and the political field. We should strive to enhance the contribution rate of our women to 40% of our GDP from the present 17% by 2025, to measure up to global standards. This should be achieved through pro active policy and administrative and legislative interventions.

On the diamond jubilee year of our independence, India should introduce gender budgeting to ensure that women get an equitable share of the divisible pool of the budgetary resources, commensurate with their share in the population of the country. All assistance by the Government, be it land, house or other incentives, to a family should be given in the name of the woman head of the household.

An assured basic income should be directly transferred to the account of the destitute women and those in dire straits.

Exclusive leadership schools must aim at creating women leaders across domains | Mathrubhumi photo

Earnest measures should be taken to ensure greater political representation and empowerment of women. We should ensure skill training centers in every district on a hub and spoke model spread across the country, with the target of generating gainful employment for at least one woman of every household. This would be further strengthened with training and incubation support for women enterprises.

We should also have exclusive leadership schools with the aim of creating women leaders across domains, from every State in India.

A notional wage should be introduced for the domestic chores done by a woman within the household. If she is neglected or abandoned in the old age, the wages would be recovered from the children and paid to her. If she is well looked after in her old age, she can exercise the right to forego this.

The nation realises the wisdom and meaning of the insightful observations of our great masters in the Vedas, 'Yathra Naryastu poojyante, Ramanthe thathra devata'.Where women are honoured, there the gods rejoice

Care for the old and infirm is integral to the social ethos of India. The family was preserved and nurtured as the fail-safe haven of men and women in the evening of their life. The proclamation of the United Nations that 'family is the strongest democracy at the heart of society', was deeply embedded in the social psyche of India for millennia. In our exposure to the west the strong family ties which bound society together with the gossamer thread of kindness, compassion and care seem to be loosening their grip. This should not be allowed to continue. Our cultural streams should not dry up or die out through want of vigil. We do have the distressing spectacle of distrustful children trying to ignore and neglect their parents in old age at the slightest pretext. India is committed to protect and comfort its senior citizens without let or hindrance. Mother is the star (Maa Hai Sitara) should be launched as a national initiative to bring solace and dignity to the mothers and other women.Outside the home equal wage for equal work should be enforced. Earnest measures should be taken to ensure that women get 33% of all seats in Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies and the local bodies. India should prove itself to be a nation safe for women in every way.

As Nelson Mandela has observed,"Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future ". India stands committed to boost the morale and self confidence of the specially abled sons and daughters of Mother India, and care for them as a matter of social responsibility. A comprehensive approach should be taken to provide barrier free life to this most vulnerable section of society. The nation should usher in a new regime and protocol to take care of the disabled with adequate attention to social and family protection, health care, insulation against violence, education, social security, food and nutritional security, poverty alleviation, ensuring their dignity of life. A special relief fund should be set up for this purpose by the Government of India and a centrally sponsored scheme should be launched to incentivise the states to accelerate their efforts in bringing succour to the differently abled. There is a Stephen Hawking in all the specially abled citizens. In memory of Arunima Sinha, the first amputee to scale the mount Everest, an Arunima Sinha abhiyaan should be launched, to instil confidence and promote fighting spirit among the specially abled.

We should ensure all our buildings to be barrier free, so as to enable the disabled. There should be a national registry of the differently abled in society and an authentic data bank on them. The nation should ensure that disability does not result in deprivation.

'Enable the disabled', should form the watchword of the nation in its dedicated drive to support and encourage the specially abled sections of the society.

Steps should be taken to encourage of tribal methods of medicine

The Scheduled castes and tribes of the nation should feel confident that society treats them with equality, gives them the opportunity to flourish in everyway. Land, housing, better education, employment, food and health should be ensured to these weaker sections of society. New schemes should be devised for skill development and self-employment for their self development. Better scholarship and hostel facilities should be ensured for students belonging to SC/ST's. SC/ST categories of inland fishermen should be provided with the same benefits as other fishermen. Steps should be taken to make the dwellings in Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes colonies more livable. Housing grant should be increased. Action should be taken to prevent misuse, diversion and lapsing of SC/ST funds. The various SC/ST packages and development schemes should be objectively evaluated to ensure that the benefits of the schemes reach the masses. Steps should be taken to reduce infant mortality rate in tribal and forest areas and address malnutrition among pregnant women and mothers. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes welfare activities should be made more efficient. All corruption and mismanagement in this field should end. Effective schemes for the preservation of culture, art and handicrafts of SC/ST sections should be developed. Steps should be taken to encourage of tribal methods of medicine and recognise their physicians. Schemes should be formulated to solve the shortage of drinking water in tribal areas. Modern crematoriums should be constructed in backward areas near Scheduled Castes habitats. Annual Progress Report of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare Schemes should be published. Failure in project implementation should be investigated and action taken.

United Nations defines Inclusiveness as the process of improving the terms of participation in society for people who are disadvantaged on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status, through. enhanced op-portunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights.

India is committed to translate this definition into definite action.

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