Mains Q & A 14 February 2023
Q1. Gender discrimination against women in business undermines the purpose of empowering them. Examine. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS I Women Empowerment
India has made great economic progress in recent decades. Women’s economic equality has not advanced at the same rate as the economy. India still has a gender salary gap notwithstanding the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976, which mandates equal pay for equal work.
India has experienced an increase in the number of startups and new businesses over the previous 10 years, the majority of which were founded by men. While many Indian women wish to own their own businesses, success is generally more difficult for them.
Current Indian situation:
Despite the rise in female success stories, the World Economic Forum recently published a poll in which it was found that “just two of the ten media stories reported on worldwide are about women.”
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 shows that, on the one hand, the proportion of women among professionals with a degree is continuously increasing, along with the development of income equality, albeit more slowly.
On the other hand, with only 27% of management posts held by women, there remains a persistent lack of women in positions of leadership, and overall compensation disparities are still only partially resolved.
One of the lowest-ranked countries in South Asia, India slipped 28 places to be ranked 140th out of 156 countries in the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
The primary causes of India’s growing gender gap, which is currently 62.5%, include the underrepresentation of women in politics, technical, and leadership roles, the fall in women’s labour force participation, poor healthcare, the low female to male literacy rate, and income inequality.
India ranks 136 on the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Index because women hold only 14% of leadership roles among senior officials and managers and only 30% of professional and technical jobs.
Despite having the second-largest AI workforce in the world, India, according to the GoI, only has 10% female company founders and just 22% female AI employees.
Why there is a gender gap:
Patriarchal Mentality: Preferring male employees over female employees
Males are more likely than females to be promoted to higher positions
tempered ceiling: To develop in their organisations and take on management-level positions, Indian women must get through artificial hurdles like stereotypes, media-related worries, and unofficial restrictions.
Women purposefully put in less hours in rural industries like agriculture, making them eligible for lower pay.
Lack of Transparency: Due to the opaque pay arrangements in the private sector, many women are unaware of the exact salary they should be receiving.
This disparity is substantially less in occupations in the public sector because employees with the same positions are entitled to the same pay.
Socio-Cultural Causes: Marriage, pregnancy, and parental duties are among the socio-cultural factors that contribute to women’s career pauses.
Higher education also gives women more freedom to pursue hobbies and other diversions unrelated to employment, all of which reduce female labour force participation.
The types of vocations that women say they would want to have, such as regular part-time positions that offer predictable income and allow women to balance work and household duties, are not readily available.
concerns about workplace harassment and safety, both overt and covert.
Workplace sexual harassment: Countless instances of workplace sexual harassment have been made public thanks to the #Metoo campaign. However, due to the slow legal system, many women have not obtained justice.
Given the widespread cultural shame attached to women working outside the home, most traditional Indian families insist that you quit your profession before getting hitched.
When family incomes increase for cultural reasons, women leave the workforce to care for the family and avoid the stigma of working outside.
Pink collarization of the workforce: Positions traditionally associated with women, such as lecturers, instructors, nurses, and receptionists, are generally thought to be exclusively suitable for women. As a result, they are denied possibilities in other industries.
What must be done:
The experience with rural self-help groups demonstrates that women are incredibly fast at repaying loans, and the government should boost loan amounts and streamline loan distribution for women.
Interventions to address digital and financial inclusion, as well as efforts to address or lessen the volume of unpaid labour and redistribute it between men and women, are a few examples of potential policy initiatives.
The family must adjust to the changing role of women and enlist volunteer assistance for home duties.
To avoid burnout, introduce flexible and part-time employment opportunities.
Website that allows users to search for and order food from restaurants Zomato said that all female employees will now be eligible for up to ten days of “period leaves,” creating a more pleasant work atmosphere.
According to the findings, men’s salaries will increase when productivity increases as a result of more women entering the job.
Advantages of Periods A proposal was presented to the Parliament in 2018 as a private member’s bill. It is crucial to take the provisions’ importance into account in order to develop a gender-sensitive labour policy.
In order to improve the working circumstances for the 10% of women who are employed formally, we must keep in mind the remaining 90% of women who work in the informal sector.
Education of women:
Programs like Skill India, Make in India, and new gender-based quotas on corporate boards and in the police force can all ignite positive change. However, we need to invest in skill development and job support.
Furthermore, the commercial sector might actively support the training of female entrepreneurs. Consider Unilever’s Shakti initiative as an example, which has taught over 70,000 rural women in India how to start their own businesses and sell personal care products in order to increase the reach of its brands there.
Equal pay: India’s legal system upholds the principle that equal pay for equivalent work should be implemented. Greater wage transparency and gender-neutral job evaluation are required for this.
guaranteeing a safe commute to work: It is essential to modernise the current communication and transportation infrastructure and provide safe housing for women who travel or move for work.
It would make sense and be easy to provide women income tax benefits. Increasing the number of women in India’s workforce would be a bold but successful strategy.
Participation in public decision-making organisations like Parliament is one of the key indicators of political empowerment for women.
Women now have more flexible job alternatives thanks to the gig economy, allowing them to grow their careers without missing important family milestones.
Without a question, in order to support women in realising their full potential, changes to societal standards and the makeup of available employment opportunities must be made. As the country takes pride in having the fastest economic development in the world and seeks to have a $20 trillion GDP, it becomes imperative to incorporate women in order to attain this goal. The biggest impact will come from cultural reforms, yet improving societal standards requires constant pressure from the government, organisations, and individuals.
Q2. Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is a promising alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method that promotes innovative methods for handling legal disputes. Analyse. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Judiciary related issues
Alternative dispute resolution has become an essential part of the legal system in the present because it frequently results in quick resolutions and results that are beneficial to both parties. Online dispute resolution uses or benefits from technology to resolve conflicts, which is the only distinction it has from conventional conflict resolution.
The government should build the necessary capability and infrastructure if it wants to mainstream ODR and make it widely used in India, according to the report from the NITI Aayog-established committee on the action plan for ODR, which is led by retired judge AK Sikri.
For the Indian judiciary, online dispute resolution has benefits include:
The introduction of electronic courts in India has a number of advantages, including the creation of a system for administering justice that is transparent, affordable, time-saving, protects witnesses’ rights, reduces the backlog of open cases, and—most importantly—decreases the prevalence of dishonest practises.
Every piece of information relating to a particular case would be available online. It would be available to attorneys, parties, and the general public via the internet.
From their home or place of business, registered attorneys can submit their case files online. They have no trouble with mail, traffic, or messenger services. They can immediately create a docket sheet and update it after the documents are filed.
It is simple to view the case’s documents online at any time and from any location.
E-courts would facilitate the computerization of courtwork flow management. It would therefore help to improve case management and court procedures. Video conferencing capabilities would be available in every court facility. Eyewitness testimony from individuals unable to attend court can be recorded using this technique.
The information would not be lost because every piece of information pertaining to the case would be meticulously recorded and stored. Data keeping entails monitoring minute changes made to electronic documents, such as bail decisions and warrants.
The witnesses are frequently unable to show up in court and give their testimony because of the other party’s strength and threats of severe consequences. E-Courts can be used to handle these cases.
Online dispute resolution has some legal restrictions:
Using e-courts in India is a time-consuming and difficult process. Electronic filing of a document is required, which is a difficult procedure. All of the evidence cannot be presented digitally.
Lack of technolegal expertise is the main cause of the poor reputation of e-courts in India. India lacks the technolegal expertise necessary to establish electronic courts. To ensure the success of the e-court project, the nation needs more technologically advanced legal e-court facilities.
The e-court project will cost a lot of money. It makes extensive use of infrastructure and computers. In the long run, e-courts might run into a financial problem.
The strength of hackers is increasing every day. It is impossible to dismiss the possibility of e-Courts being compromised in such a scenario.
What must be done:
It is crucial to create a clearly defined and predetermined framework because it can aid in providing the Indian e-courts scheme with a clear roadmap and direction.
In order to do this, the government must create a task force that works well and is made up of judges, technologists, court administrators, skill developers, and system analysts, and that they can use to develop a plan for institutionalising online access to justice.
Creating hardware, software, and IT systems for courts, investigating the use of artificial intelligence using the data base created by e-courts projects, and establishing suitable e-filing systems and procedures are all tasks that should fall under the purview of such a task force.
developing knowledge and recognition for paralegals to help advocates and others access the system to file their cases and add to their pleadings and documents as the case progresses
After the blueprint is complete, the High Courts in the entire nation may refer it to the Rule Committee of the High Court for the purpose of developing the necessary rules to put the e-court system into operation.
The implementation of a strong security system that offers secure access to case information for appropriate parties is one area that requires attention. The infrastructure and system security of e-courts is of utmost importance.
Additionally, a user-friendly e-courts system that is accessible to the general public and simple will encourage litigants to use such facilities in India.
The government must also devote significant resources to staff training in order to maintain all the electronic data.
The successful operation of e-courts can also be greatly aided by holding training sessions to acquaint Judges with the framework and procedure of e-courts.
It is crucial to strike a balance between defending the rights and interests of its users and making sure that excessive regulation doesn’t stifle innovation.
Strengthening the current legal framework for ADR and introducing ODR-related amendments are urgently needed.
This can be done by creating a general mediation law, passing a data protection law, digitising legal procedures like notarization, or mandating pre-litigation mediation for specific types of cases.
introducing rules or principles that, despite being presently optional, ODR service providers should follow in letter and spirit
The policy plan urges these service providers, such as technology platforms, ODR service centres, and neutrals, to adopt design and ethical principles.
ODR should be implemented in stages, with the lessons learned from each phase informing the next, in order to ensure that capacity considerations are adequately addressed.
To enable quicker adoption of ODR, the government should implement targeted initiatives like establishing legal tech hubs and tax incentives for the private sector. ODR is at the forefront of these changes and is poised to transform dispute resolution not only in India but also in other countries that look to India for inspiration.
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