Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Untitled Post

दरिये के इस तरफ होते हैं लोग, उस तरफ तुम... शांत लहर, वहां तक पहुँचने के पूरे मौके और इश्क़ की नाव. लेकिन हम वहां तक नहीं पहुँच पाते, बस किनारे से हाथ हिलाते रह जाते हैं.

डर तुम्हारे वजूद से नहीं है, डर खुद की बेवकूफी का है. इश्क़ की नांव एक बार डूबे तो अगली दफे दरिया में कदम रखने में डर लगना ही है... और मैं तो इस दफे बड़ी मेहनत से किनारे लगा हूँ.

न मैं पत्थर हूँ, न बावरा... बस इश्क़ के दरिये में फिर उतरने की हिम्मत नहीं... डर है, इस बार डूबा तो उबर न पाऊं.

#IshqKaDariya

बीमा खरीदने से पहले बीमा की शर्तों को अच्छे से जानिये | रवीश कुमार

रेडियो टीवी पर बीमा की शर्तों को दनदनाकर पढ़ते हुए सुनने से हमेशा लगता है कि बीमा तो बस ले लेने का मैटर है, समझने का चैप्टर नहीं है। शर्तें लागू को इस तरह से पढ़ा जाता है कि अगर दुर्घटना से बच भी गए तो इन शर्तों से मारे जाएंगे।

जिस तरह से मौजूदा सरकार बीमा की नई-नई स्कीम ला रही है उस पर विस्तार से बात करना चाहिए ताकि अधिक से अधिक लोग इसका इस्तेमाल भी करें और कुछ कमियां हैं तो उस पर भी बात हो ताकि वो कमियां दूर हो जाएं। क्योंकि बीमा की असलियत पॉलिसी की डिटेल में होती है न कि प्रीमियम में।
शनिवार 9 मई को कोलकाता में प्रधानमंत्री सुरक्षा बीमा योजना, प्रधानमंत्री जीवन ज्योति योजना और अटल पेंशन योजना को काफी भव्य तरीके से लॉन्‍च किया गया। प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा कि 80 से 90 प्रतिशत आबादी के पास कोई बीमा नहीं है।
भारत सरकार ने 15 अगस्त से 26 जनवरी के बीच जनधन के तहत 15 करोड़ नए खाते खोले। आज देश के 95 प्रतिशत लोग बैंक से जुड़ गए हैं। इन 15 करोड़ खाते में गरीब लोगों ने 15 हज़ार 800 करोड़ रुपये जमा कर दिये। प्रधानमंत्री ने यह तो नहीं कहा कि इन 15 करोड़ में से आधे खाते में एक पैसा नहीं है फिर भी यह कोई सामान्य कामयाबी नहीं है।
यह बात इसलिए कही कि जिन लोगों के खाते में एक पैसा नहीं है वे नई योजना के तहत प्रीमियम की राशि कहां से देंगे। क्या सरकार देगी। प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा कि इस बैंकिंग के कारण ही सुरक्षा कवच की योजनाओं लागू हो रही हैं। 1 मई से यह योजनाएं ट्रायल बेसिस पर शुरू हुई और 9 मई तक 5 करोड़ से ज्यादा लोगों ने रजिस्टर करा लिया जब प्रधानमंत्री योजना लॉन्‍च कर रहे थे तब मुझे भी मेरे बैंक से एसएमएस आया कि आपके खाते से 330 रुपये का प्रीमियम ले लिया जाएगा बस आप फलाने नंबर पर नॉमिनी का नाम एसएमएस कर दें। ऑटोमेटिक तरीके से मेरा भी बीमा हो गया और प्रधानमंत्री के खाते में मैं भी गिना गया।
अटल पेंशन योजना छोड़ दें तो यह मोदी सरकार की तीसरी जन बीमा योजना है। जनधन योजना में भी दुर्घटना में मरने या शरीर के किसी हिस्से के क्षतिग्रस्त होने पर एक लाख रुपये का बीमा कवर है तो प्राकृतिक मौत के बाद 30,000 का बीमा है। जनधन योजना के तहत सिर्फ गरीबों के खाते खुले हैं या अमीरों के यह स्पष्ट नहीं है। जनधन के तहत दुर्घटना बीमा है ही तो दो-दो नई बीमा योजना क्यों लॉन्‍च की गई। इनमें से किसी भी योजना से इलाज के खर्चे का पैसा नहीं मिलेगा।
प्रधानमंत्री सुरक्षा बीमा योजना में दुर्घटना में मौत या शरीर का कोई अंग बेकार होने पर बीमा मिलेगा। अगर दुर्घटना में एक हाथ, एक पैर एक आंख चली जाए तो एक लाख रुपये मिलेंगे। दोनों हाथ, दोनों पांव चले जाएं तो दो लाख का बीमा मिलेगा। इस योजना का लाभ 18 से 70 साल के लोगों को मिलेगा। हर साल मात्र 12 रुपये प्रीमियम देने होंगे। हर साल इसका नवीनीकरण कराना होगा। प्रधानमंत्री जीवन ज्योति योजना में 18 से 50 साल के लोगों को बीमा कवर मिलेगा। किसी भी कारण से मृत्यु के बाद बीमा धारक के परिवार को दो लाख रुपये मिलेंगे। प्रतिदिन एक रुपये के हिसाब से साल में 330 रुपये का प्रीमियम देना होगा। लेकिन 330 रुपया एक साथ देने पर ही पॉलिसी मिलेगी। हर साल इस पॉलिसी का नवीनीकरण कराना होगा। अगर आपके तीन खाते हैं तो आप तीन बीमा नहीं ले सकते हैं।
जैसा कि मैंने कहा कि बीमा की खूबसूरती डिटेल में होती है। http://financialservices.gov.in/ नाम की सरकारी वेबसाइट से मिली जानकारी के अनुसार बीमा धारक को यह भी ध्यान रखना है कि 70 साल की उम्र होते ही जीवन सुरक्षा बीमा समाप्त हो जाएगी। अगर तब तक मृत्यु नहीं होती है तो आपको कोई पैसा नहीं मिलेगा। 55 साल की उम्र तक प्रीमियम देकर जीवन ज्योति योजना का लाभ उठा सकते हैं। बीमा की राशि तभी मिलेगी जब मृत्यु होगी या दुर्घटना के शिकार होंगे। इसका मतलब यह हुआ कि 37 साल तक 330 रुपये का प्रीमियम बेकार गया।
इसमें कुछ भी गलत नहीं है। बस आपको जानना है कि यह बीमा दुर्घटना बीमा है। आम तौर पर हम जो जीवन बीमा कराते हैं हमें टर्म खत्म होने के बाद प्रीमियम की राशि से डेढ़ से दो गुना या पांच गुना राशि मिलती है। सरकार की नई बीमा योजना में राशि मिलेगी पर दुर्घटना या मौत होने के बाद ही वर्ना नहीं। इसी के साथ एक पेंशन योजना भी लॉन्‍च हुई है। अटल पेंशन योजना।
18 से 40 साल की उम्र के युवा ही इस पेंशन योजना के पात्र होंगे जिसका लाभ 60 साल के होने पर मिलेगा। इसके लिए साठ साल तक हर महीने 42 रुपये से लेकर 1452 रुपये देने होंगे। इस आधार पर पेंशन की राशि एक हज़ार से पांच हज़ार तक तय हो सकेगी। इसके लिए आपको खाते में बचत करनी होगी और नहीं भर पाये तो सरकार भर देगी। लेकिन सरकार 31 दिसंबर तक ही विशेष मदद करेगी।
आलोचना यह है कि यह योजना 18 से 50 साल के लोगों के लिए ही हैं। 50 साल से पार के लोगों को क्यों बाहर कर दिया गया। सीनियर सिटीजन भी शामिल नहीं हैं। प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा कि गरीबों के लिए जो पेंशन योजना है उसके लिए सबको एक हज़ार रुपया दिया जा रहा है। कांग्रेस कहती है कि भारत सरकार ने आम आदमी बीमा योजना, राजीव गांधी शिल्पी स्वास्थ्य योजना और राष्ट्रीय स्वास्थ्य योजना की ही पैकेजिंग कर दी है। राजीव गांधी शिल्पी स्वास्थ्य बीमा योजना के तहत शिल्पकार, उसकी पत्नी और दो बच्चों को बीमा कवर दिया गया था। जन्म के दिन से 80 साल की उम्र तक इसके दायरे में थे। 697 और 797 रुपये प्रीमियम सरकार देगी हर साल और शिल्पकार अपनी तरफ से देगा 100 रुपये हर साल। देश के किसी भी अस्तपाल में कोई भी मेडिकल इलाज कराया जा सकता था।
अब यह देखना होगा कि इन योजनाओं की स्थिति क्या है। गरीबी रेखा से नीचे के लोगों के लिए एक और योजना आई थी राष्ट्रीय स्वास्थ्य बीमा योजना जो चल रही है। हमारे मेहमान मोहन गुरुस्वामी ने लिखा है कि मोदी सरकार ने जो तीन योजनाएं लॉन्‍च की हैं उनमें से किसी में भी सरकार अपनी तरफ से एक पैसा नहीं देगी। सब जनता को देना होगा और नाम सरकार का होगा। उनकी दलील है कि इन योजनाओं का लाभ उसी को मिलेगा जिसके पास बैंक खाता है। 120 करोड़ की आबादी वाले देश में 15 करोड़ लोगों के ही बैंक खाते हैं। 110 करोड़ लोग इस स्कीम से बाहर क्यों किये गए हैं।
अटल पेंशन योजना के तहत वही पैसा आपको 60 साल बाद मिलेगा जो आपने जमा किया है। यही नहीं जितने लोग बीमा लेंगे उसमें मरने वालों की संख्या बहुत कम होगी। ज्यादा तर लोग बच जाएंगे। ऐसे में प्रीमियम राशि बीमा कंपनियों की जेब में चली जाएगी। आपको देखना होगा कि 50 साल या 60 साल होने पर मृत्यु दर क्या है। वैसे वर्तमान में भारत में औसतन अनुमानित जीवन-काल 65 साल है। मतलब की औसतन एक भारत का नागरिक 65 साल के आयु तक ज़िंदा रहता है। जो भी है ऐसी नीतियों के बारे में चर्चा होनी चाहिए जिससे ज्यादातर लोगों का भविष्य जुड़ा है।

Juveniles need reform, not prison

The Cabinet has decided to treat 16- to 18-year-olds as adults for ‘heinous’ offences. This assuages post-Nirbhaya rage but strongly violates the rights of the child.

By clearing amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act and allowing juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 to be tried and punished as adults for ‘heinous offences’ (offences that are punishable with imprisonment of seven years or more), the Cabinet on April 22 sounded the death knell for juvenile justice. It consciously overlooked the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report that found the transfer system proposed under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill violative of India’s constitutional mandate and its international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee had been particularly critical of the drastic approach of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, stating that “one must not forget that juvenile justice law is based on a strong foundation of reformation and rehabilitation, rather than on retribution”. It recommended that all clauses proposing “differential treatment of children between 16 and 18 years of age needs to be reviewed.”
Despite this, the Cabinet has approved the transfer system. The Press Information Bureau release states that the decision to transfer will be based on an assessment of whether “the crime was committed as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult’”, to be undertaken by the Juvenile Justice Board that will have psychologists and social experts. What it does not spell out is that a child tried as an adult will end up in prison.
Can’t determine cause and effect
The edifice of the proposed system stands on three flawed assumptions: children are as culpable or blameworthy as adults; it is scientifically possible to determine maturity and mindset beyond reasonable doubt; and the transfer system will effectively deter juvenile crime and enhance public safety, particularly of women.
Advances in neuroscience and studies by the Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice at the MacArthur Foundation, U.S., show that the human brain undergoes key physical changes from the ages of 16 to 18, and this continues right until the mid-20s. This evolutionary process of the brain primarily concerns risk-assessment behaviour that is directly tied to what we term as “maturity”. Though persons in this age group may ‘know what they are doing is wrong’, it has been shown incontrovertibly that they are unable to act on that knowledge and restrain themselves. This is precisely because at this stage they underestimate risk, are susceptible to negative influences, and lack foresight. Their ability to understand legal processes and make decisions is not the same as that of adults. This is endorsed by an internationally renowned expert in child and adolescent psychiatry, Shekhar P. Seshadri, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bengaluru. Professor Seshadri explains that “adolescents are less culpable than adults because adolescent criminal conduct is driven by transitory influences that are constitutive of this developmental stage. By nature of their psycho-biological profile, adolescents are greatly influenced by their environment, and too immature to weigh the consequences of their actions.” This predisposes them to poor decision-making — a key factor that distinguishes them from adults. But, just as they can be influenced negatively, they can also be moulded in the right way. To try and punish them like adults and send them to prison would grossly violate their right to equality.
Latest research by Bonnie and Scott (2013) shows that individualised assessments of adolescent maturity are not possible and suggesting it can be done would mean “exceeding the limits of science”. The assessment thus proposed is fraught with errors and arbitrariness and will allow inherent biases to determine which child is transferred to an adult court. When psycho-social maturity or mental capacity cannot be measured accurately, it would be a travesty of justice if children accused of breaking the law are transferred to the adult system and ultimately sent to an adult prison based on such a flawed assessment.
Jail doesn’t reduce violent crime
Despite ample evidence that punitive laws do not improve public safety or deter juvenile crime, the government is bent on importing a failed Western model. The independent Task Force on Community Preventive Services set up by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control reviewed scientific evidence on the effectiveness of transfer laws and concluded that: “….transfer policies have generally resulted in increased arrest for subsequent crimes, including violent crime, among juveniles who were transferred compared with those retained in the juvenile justice system. To the extent that transfer policies are implemented to reduce violent or other criminal behaviour, available evidence indicates that they do more harm than good.” The U.S. is now closing down prisons and redirecting funds to community-based treatment programmes.
Instead of dealing with the root causes of juvenile crime, such as poverty, broken families, unregulated access to pornography, or the failure of the child protection system, the government seems to be blindly targeting adolescents. This is surely an erroneous strategy to protect women or to assuage the public outrage after the Delhi gang rape, given that these juveniles will graduate from adult prisons as a much higher risk to the community.
Tragically, the grave human rights violations inherent in the transfer system were recognised by the multi-party Parliamentary Standing Committee, but dismissed entirely by the Ministry responsible for protecting children.
On being informed about the proposed law, a young boy who journeyed through the juvenile justice system said, “We learn everything from adults. From people who take drugs, we learn to take drugs; from people who make bombs, we learn to make bombs. And that is what we will learn when you send us to jail. So, if you send us to jail, we will become like them.” Another young woman, a victim of trafficking who went on to do the same to a 12-year-old-girl herself, said, “Please do not kill our spirit and hopes by sending us to jail. Help us, guide us, advise us, support us and show us the right path — don’t condemn us to a life in jail”.
With the Ministry and the Cabinet having turned their back, all hopes are pinned on Parliament to do what is right for India’s adolescent children.
(Arlene Manoharan, Swagata Raha and Shruthi Ramakrishnan are from the Centre for Child and the Law at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru.)

Source: The Hindu

Land, development and democracy | Mihir Shah

India cannot continue with a pattern of industry that yields so few jobs but has such a large ecological footprint. Neither can it be excited by the urban nightmares that its cities are today. The land law debate must be the occasion to talk about these key national agendas

The current debate on the land law is important because it affords us a chance to reflect more deeply on the nature of India’s development process and the experience of democracy for a majority of our citizens. I see the 2013 land law as part of a response — highly belated in my view — to the perception of millions of our people that while India’s economy was booming over the last two decades, they were not part of the growth story.
Indeed, many people feel that development has happened at their cost. Official estimates place the number of people displaced due to development projects since Independence at 60 million, less than a third of whom have been properly resettled. Most of the displaced are the assetless rural poor, marginal farmers, poor fisherfolk and quarry workers. Around 40 per cent of them are Adivasis and 20 per cent Dalits. Official statistics testify that on all indicators of development, Dalits and Adivasis have been the worst off groups. Already at the bottom of the development pyramid, being deprived of their land and livelihoods has completely pauperised them, forcing many to move and live in subhuman conditions in our metros. The last two decades have also seen unprecedented agrarian distress, with more than two lakh farmers committing suicide, as per the National Crime Records Bureau. This is something that had never happened before in Indian history.
A sense of hurt
It is in this backdrop that we need to understand the heightened sensitivities and palpable anger over forcible land acquisition. Given that 90 per cent of our coal, more than 50 per cent of most minerals, and prospective dam sites are mainly in Adivasi regions, there has been, and is likely to be, continuing tension over issues of land acquisition. Through these tensions, not only has a question mark been placed over our development strategy, the delicate fabric of Indian democracy has become terribly frayed at the edges. In the remote Adivasi heartlands of India, people feel such a deep and abiding sense of hurt, alienation and cynicism that they have allowed themselves to be helplessly drawn into a terrible vortex of violence and counter-violence, even when they know in their heart of hearts that it will lead to their own destruction.
The 2013 land law tried to reach out to these people, by undoing a draconian colonial Act more suited to a 19th century empire than to a 21st century vibrant democracy. At the heart of the 2013 law was the provision of seeking the consent of those whose lands were to be acquired and of caring for those whose livelihoods would be destroyed in the process. Undoing these provisions is a virtual resurrection of undiluted powers of “eminent domain”, which the 1894 law conferred on the state.
Listening to the farmer
I do not dispute the fact that there can be many situations where land is needed for a development project that could actually benefit those whose lands are being acquired. What could be the possible harm in seeking the prior, informed consent of these people, after making the effort of explaining to them how they would stand to benefit? There are those who argue that farmers would be better off giving up farming. Indeed, they say farmers do not want to farm any more. Why would these farmers conceivably say no if we were to propose more attractive and tangible alternative options to them in return for their land? Is it not for farmers to assess whether the project will actually be of benefit to them and whether the recompense offered to them is a fair bargain? And allow them to be parties in working out what could be regarded as a fair deal for all? But all this will happen only if we are willing to talk to farmers and listen to them, who, I dare say, based on my experience of listening to them for 25 years, have a great deal to teach us.
Importance of SIA
This is the essence of Social Impact Assessment (SIA), which was again at the heart of the 2013 law. SIA is an instrument meant to assess the positive and negative impacts of the project and also to assess whether the objectives of the proposed project could not be achieved in some other manner, especially by acquiring significantly less fertile, multi-cropped land, a crucial requirement of national food security. When we look back at the history of land acquisition in India, we find it riddled with instances of far too much land being acquired and not being put to use. Just one look at the huge amounts of unused land in possession of many of our universities today would make you see the point. And as a recent study by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reveals, of the over 60,000 hectares of land acquired for Special Economic Zones (SEZs), from 2006 to 2013, around 53 per cent has not been put to any use. Just because it was possible to bully uninformed village people, we continued to do so.
SIA is an attempt to check these kinds of malpractices. It is also a way of making sure that land acquisition is not an easy way for the real estate mafia to make a quick buck in the name of development. The CAG study found many instances of land acquired at rates much below the market value being diverted to private builders in urban areas for commercial exploitation after denotification. The 2013 Act provided for the return of unused land to the original owner in cases where the land has not been used for the purposes for which it was acquired within five years. This is a key provision that should be retained.
SIA is an attempt to restore the declining faith in the democratic process, by reaching out to those who believe all decisions affecting their lives are made in distant, uncaring corridors of power, leaving them without any say. Incidentally, SIA is also best practice in development projects across the world. The 2013 law was a belated attempt to catch up with what other nations have been doing for long. Doing away with SIA would destroy a very powerful means of what is globally termed “conflict prevention”, a variety of activities aimed at anticipating and averting the outbreak of conflict.
Many people are rightly concerned about the slow pace of decision-making in development projects. They wish to do away with democracy-building, consent-seeking processes. But repeated experience shows that the attempt to push through projects without the consent of local people only results in massive delays, costing huge sums of money to the project developer. For an enlightened capitalist, it would be far more sensible and expeditious to conduct business in a peaceful, consensual atmosphere, rather than being repeatedly prevented from functioning due to endless strife and conflict. The 2013 law has proposed a time-bound SIA, which could be a powerful means of conflict prevention by taking local communities on board and making them integral partners in development. There are many instances of this across the world, as also in India.
Need for debate
The enactment of the 2013 law was a real struggle, with many, across partisan divides, fiercely opposing it. A key role in its passage was played by Parliament, which instilled the law with necessary balance. The extraordinary leadership provided by the present Speaker of the Lok Sabha was crucial in seeing the Act through with complete unanimity. Her sagacity and consensus-building skills, as Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, helped reconcile conflicting arguments into a seamless whole.
It is the very same spirit that the nation seeks today from Parliament, for balance and compromise are the hallmarks of a democracy. This has not been an empty debate. All sides have had powerful points to make. All the concerns being expressed are genuine national concerns. The country needs industrialisation and urbanisation. But their specific forms need to be debated. Surely, we cannot continue with a pattern of industry that yields so few jobs, and one that has such a large ecological, especially water, footprint. We also cannot be excited by the urban nightmares that our cities are today. The debate on the land law is a great occasion to move the dialogue forward on these key national agendas. If we want to acquire the land of farmers to serve larger goals, surely the projects in which they are embodied must not be of the kinds that repeat the mistakes of the past. The people of this country, who are being asked to make sacrifices for the larger national good, must know and be convinced that what they give up will indeed serve a meaningful “public purpose” and not involve the injustices and malpractices of the past. That is why the consent and SIA clauses need to be retained in the land law that Parliament eventually passes. Let us not reduce it to a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) vs. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) issue. Let us hope Parliament will rise above narrow partisan politics and seize this opportunity to provide an appropriate response to the utterly tragic suicide of Gajendra Singh.
(Mihir Shah has lived and worked with the Adivasis of central India for the last 25 years.)

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