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Modi seeks Healthy Media Debate on Democracy in Political Parties

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the media to debate democracy and the democratic values of political parties for transparency in the evolution of their leadership and in their recruitment.

“You (the media) show us what we need to focus on. Democracy in political parties is something that the country is adapting to. We need to have transparency in the recruitment that political parties do. How the leadership of a political party evolves? What kind of opportunities are given to new generations? Do democratic values form the core of their values. It should become an issue of our debate and deeply so,” Modi said in his address to the media at the BJP’s annual Diwali Milan here.

At the event that was also attended by BJP President Amit Shah along and other senior party leaders, the Prime Minister highlighted media’s positive role in promoting democratic values in India.

“Democracy in political parties is a subject more people should know more about. It is true that the funding of political parties is a point of media discussion and many things come out in the open. But overall, how they are formed, how they function, how they recruit, their values, their ideologies and their weaknesses, what is the reason behind such weaknesses… all this should be debated,” he said, adding that political parties evolving “with a true democratic spirit is necessary for the country, necessary for a democracy”.

“I hope the people who are here will one day carry the debate forward.”

He paid his gratitude to media for its “positive role” it played in making the Swachh Bharat Mission a success, despite criticizing the government over other issues.

“Half of the newspaper pages would be filled with the government’s criticism. But when it comes to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, all are on the same page. I thank each one of you for making it a personal mission.”(IANS)

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Achieving Goal of “Swachh Bharat” Will Be True Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi: Ram Nath Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, Oct 1, 2017: Urging cleanliness be made a national movement, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Sunday that achieving the goal of “Swachh Bharat” will be true tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

Kovind, who is currently in Maharashtra on an official tour, will visit Gujarat, the home state of Gandhi on his birth anniversary to pay tributes to the Father of the Nation.

On the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, the President said that Gandhi Jayanti is an occasion to rededicate to the ideals and values of Mahatma Gandhi, who believed that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’.

“Cleanliness is not only the responsibility of sanitation personnel and government departments. Today, India is fighting a decisive battle for cleanliness and hygiene through the ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign.

“Let us also commit ourselves to ensuring public hygiene, personal hygiene and environmental hygiene. It is a multi-stakeholder national movement. Achieving the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission expeditiously will be a true expression of tribute and regard to Gandhiji on his birth anniversary,” he said.

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Describing Gandhi as a man of simple living and a moral preceptor, Kovind said that he gave a new direction to the country through his leadership.

“His philosophy of non-violence and peaceful co-existence is of increasing relevance in the present times. Through the symbols of Charkha, the spinning wheel and khadi, he stressed the message of self-reliance and dignity of labour,” he said.

Kovind will commence his Gujarat engagements with paying his tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his birth place, Kirti Mandir at Porbandar.

Later, he will attend a function organised by the state government to declare Open Defacation Free status for rural Gujarat at Kirti Mandir.

The President will also inaugurate various projects including upgradation of Veraval and Porbandar fishing Harbour, upgradation of Navibandar, Miyani and Salaya Fish Landing Centre, laying the stone for development of Mangrol Phase-III fishing Harbour, announcement for development of Veraval Phase-II.

He will also foundation stone of Porbandar Phase-II, Navabandar, Mandhavad and Sutrapada Fishing Harbours and inauguration of Mangrol Rural Water Supply Augmentation Scheme of 45 villages at Mangrol, an official statement said. (IANS)

 

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What Gives Husbands The Licence to Rape? Decoding Marital Rape in the Indian Legal Scenario

Can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman?

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While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India. Pixabay
  • Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence
  • Marital rape is yet to be categorized as a criminal offence in India
  • According to the central government, criminalizing marital rape “may destabilize the institution of marriage”

New Delhi, September 2, 2017 : Baby works as a domestic help; she says she cannot recall her age when her parents married her off to a man who was much older to her; a man she barely knew. She didn’t anticipate her husband would demand to have intercourse on their wedding night. She was still young and not ready, but that didn’t stop him. Baby was raped by her husband on her wedding night. But marital rape means nothing to her.

Sunita irons clothes for a living. She says has been married for more years than she can remember. The duo has four kids together, but that doesn’t stop her husband from raising a hand or two on her, every once in a while. Every night, her husband would get drunk, hit her and forcefully demand to have sex, paying no heed to her resistance. Sunita has three daughters, and a son, and the husband still wants to have progenies. “I told my mother that this man has raped me multiple times. She protested, arguing that he is ‘your husband’ after all,” she said.

But did she never decide to approach the authorities?

To this, Sunita promptly replied, “I once had a sore eye after he (the husband) hit me with his shoe when I refused to have sex. I went to the local hospital and then the police. I narrated the entire scene; they were very considerate, offered me water and then asked me to go home and ‘adjust’.”

Sunita is unaware of a term called ‘marital rape’.

This is the reality of a huge part of the society in real India.

Like Baby and Sunita, women who suffer such indignities are often asked to “adjust” with perpetrators of violence because of a deep –embedded fear of what the society would say. This notion of an ‘ideal woman’ impedes women to object to illicit treatment meted out by their ‘better halves’.

The debate around the issue has become ripe once again with the Central Government stating that what “may appear to be marital rape” to a wife “may not appear so to others”. In an affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the central government took a stand against criminalizing marital rape saying that it “may destabilize the institution of marriage” and also become easy tool for harass the husbands and the in-laws.

Rape v/s Marital Rape

Rape is defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, but with an irregularity: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”

While rape is addressed as perforation without a woman’s accord in its main clause, the only remedy to forced intercourse provided to ‘married’ woman is specified under Section 498-A of the IPC and the civil provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestiic Violence Act.

Following the horrific 2012 Nirbhaya rape case that brought the entire world to a standstill, the Indian media has given paramount coverage to instances of rape across the country. But even after 5 years of the gut-wrenching incident, there seems no end to this crime.

ALSO READ The Hardships of Sexuality: Marital rape, violence and humiliation

Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence. However, rape by husbands within holy matrimony continues to remain an obscure subject in India and the exact number of cases is hard to gauge.

According to a 2015 report by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) tracing the proximity of offenders to the victims of sexual violence, it was revealed that in 95 per cent of all rapes, the offenders were familiar to the survivors. These, presumably include acquaintances, friends, relatives and colleagues.

And what about rape committed by husbands?

These cases continue to be an under-reported crime in India. This can be attributed to two major reasons,

  • Because of the stigma associated with it
  • Because of the presence of a defunct justice system

Furthermore, more often than not, these cases go missing because of several additional (and unnecessary) barriers stemming from a combination of familial and/or social power structures, shame and dependency.

Marital Rape In India

While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India.

A United Nations’ report titled ‘Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it?’ published in 2013 disclosed that nearly a quarter of 10,000 men  in Asia-Pacific region, including India, admitted to have indulged in the rape of a female partner. The report traced their rationale to a deep-embedded belief that they are entitled to sex despite the consent of their partners.

The study also revealed that the majority of these instances were not reported and the perpetrators faced no legal consequences.

In 2014, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in association with International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) brought out a report titled ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India’. Among other things, the report analyzed the average Indian male’s understanding and interpretation of the idea of ‘masculinity’ and how that molds their interactions with women.

Not surprisingly, the study revealed that a typical man in the Indian society associated the attributes ‘tough’, and ‘controlling’ with masculinity.

Segments of the present day Indian society continue to look at men as tough forces, who can (must) freely exercise their privilege to establish rule in personal relationships and above all, continue to control women.

Additionally, the study also revealed that 60 per cent of the Indian men disclosed the use of physical violence to establish authority.

In India, stiff patriarchal norms continue to tilt the gender balance firmly in the favor of men, as a result of which, women are forced to internalize male dominance in their lives.

Marital Rape in India : A Legal Perspective

Section 375 essentially distinguishes between two categories of women

  • Married women
  • Unmarried women

Much to the Indian society’s disappointment, the Indian legal system denies protection from rape to the married woman. This creates discrimination as the women belonging to one section are denied justice merely by virtue of being married.

But can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman? Is it justified to discriminate a woman just because she is married to the man who has raped her?

The Debate Around Marital Rape In India

Despite the piquant situation, the issue raised furor when Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told the Parliament that the question of criminalizing marital rape in India has no relevance “as marriage is treated as sacred here.”

Does marriage being a sacrament provide one with the legal right to rape a woman?

South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly had retaliated saying that it is particularly concerning when a government that claims to secure the safety of women inside and outside national territory shamelessly turn to justify a crime in the name of culture and tradition.

Group director of social and economic development at the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) Priya Nanda asserted in an interview with a leading portal that “the reason men don’t want to criminalize marital rape is because they don’t want to give a woman the power to say no.”

In 2013, a three-member commission headed by Justice J.S. Verma suggested remedial measures to combat sexual violence in India, following the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. One of its recommendations was the criminalization of marital rape.

ALSO READ Reasons Why Marital Rape Should Be Recognised as a Criminal Offence

The recommendation was ignored by the government as a large amount of people questioned its efficiency saying if made a crime,

  • It might be misused by people
  • It will be difficult to prove
  • It might break up marriages

But, how fair is it to not have a law against marital rape, only because of the reason that it is ‘difficult to prove’?

In a broader understanding, it needs to be understood that the criminalization of marital rape must not be viewed as a step against men or the institution of matrimony, but as an attempt to demolish the patriarchal system that continues to clutch the Indian society.


 

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Swachh Bharat: 10 Steps that will make “Clean India” Campaign Successful

“Is cleaning only the responsibility of the karamcharis? Do citizens have no role in this? We have to change this mindset.” – Narendra Modi

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A garbage dump. Pixabay.

Swachh Bharat Mission

November 30, 2016: We never back down from boasting about our well-kept houses but somehow we always fail miserably from keeping our environment clean. Today, the cleanliness of our country is one of the most concerning issues. The roads are always filthy and the rivers which are religiously pious and pure have been rendered poisonous. It is the duty of the municipal corporation to maintain the cleanliness of the cities but it is also our social responsibility too. It is true that we need to be the change that we want to see around us. There are a million approaches to this problem, but here are a few steps which can help us embark on the journey towards a Swachh Bharat.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India

Environmental awareness and plantations For Swachh Bharat

Every educational institution must educate the society about the importance of the environment in today’s world. Everyone should be taught how to keep their environment clean and maintain proper hygiene.

Deforestation is one of the major reasons of pollution today and therefore, more tree plantations should be encouraged.

Appropriate disposal of garbage For Swachh Bharat

Call it negligence or laziness but we keep disposing our garbage at the spot we are on the streets. We need to stop this littering and keep the streets, woods, water bodies and our surroundings clean. Make it a habit to properly dispose the garbage into dustbins and also encourage others to do it.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s View On Swachh Bharat

Sorting your garbage For Swachh Bharat

We think that the sorting different types of garbage are a tedious task. On the contrary, it actually is the most effective way of garbage disposal. All we need to do is sort our dustbins into two categories, biodegradable and non-biodegradable and dump the waste accordingly. We can help others around to implement this too. By doing this we can reuse certain non-biodegradable waste or dispose of it safely to prevent soil pollution.

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Hygiene

The spreading of diseases can be reduced if we maintain hygiene both indoors and outdoors it, in turn, helps in destroying the breeding spots for mosquitoes, rats, and many other pathogen carriers. “Diarrhea is a leading killer of children, accounting for 9 percent of all deaths among children under age 5 worldwide,” says UNICEF according to Make a Change. Dirty hands are one of the main reasons for the spread of diseases and everyone should clean their hands properly especially before eating.

Reusing and Recycling

Reusing and recycling are two huge leaps towards a clean environment. We need to find alternative uses for old and redundant objects. We also need to recycle objects which cannot be disposed of so that it does not affect the surroundings in any way.

Say NO to plastic For A Swachh Bharat

Plastic is poisonous for our environment. Being non-biodegradable it does not break down in the soil and hence, needs to be disposed of properly. If ingested, it can kill animals and also poisons our food if not disposed of properly. Therefore, we need to cut down the usage of plastic bags and always dispose of them in dustbins.

Consume what you need

Things we need and we want are different. The question is not how much can you pay for what you consume but how much is left over on this planet for an individual and how much can be consumed. Extreme exploitation of resources will lead to their depletion. Hence, we need to consider the planet’s future and make our decisions.

Water care

Water is the most valuable resource on this planet and sustains all life on Earth. The per capita availability has been on the decline in India. The rise in the population and the depletion of potable water due to pollution are the biggest reasons for the decline. Rainwater harvesting is the best way of making water available in the surroundings as water is the driving force of life, agriculture and many industries. Another option to reduce water consumption and wastage are to recycle using appropriate water treatment.

Reduce carbon footprints

Carbon Footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere as a result of the actions of an individual, organization or community.

We need to use energy efficient products and limit the usage of air conditioners, water heaters, dishwashers or thermostats. We need to keep our carbon footprints in control to control the greenhouse effect.

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Air pollution

Burning garbage might seem like an easy way to dispose garbage but we fail to realize that we release a lot of toxins into the air surrounding us. Some vehicles which have not been serviced regularly and properly also burns a lot of fuel and results in air pollution. Using public transport reduces the number of vehicles on the roads and hence, decreases air pollution.

We need to implement this in our daily life and make it a part of our routine. Only by doing so we will be able to keep our country clean otherwise, we will be leading to an environmental dystopia.

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-prepared by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker