Thursday, 26 November 2015

Relationship Between Drug Abuse and Trafficking

The simple rule of demand and supply operates in the area
of drug abuse and trafficking as well. For an addict the
drug becomes an essential commodity. For essential
commodities, the demand is inelastic. If the supply is
reduced, the demand will not become less, but the price
will go up. As we saw in the earlier chapter, the addict will
need more and more of the quantity of the drug to satisfy
his/her craving. When the addict is not able to meet the
expense for the drug he/she requires from his or her own
resources, he/she will start trading illegal. Thus she/ he
becomes an addict as well as develops a link in the illegal
trafficking system.
The criminal gangs use children to sell drugs. As per law,
children below 12 years cannot be convicted of any crime
they commit. “It is in Brazil that the phenomenon of street
children has appeared in the largest proportions. They act
as couriers for the traffic of illegal drugs and themselves
become drug users.... Some children are used in the
neighbourhood as drug couriers. They are known as
aviozinhos, the ‘little airplanes’. They earn a bit of money
that allows them to contribute to their family’s
subsistence.... From as young as six or seven years old,
drugs become an important part of the lives of these

Myths related to Drugs and Drug Abuse

Myths are what is popularly believed but in fact are false.
The general public has not properly understood drugs and
their effects. Many people become addicts due to false
notions related to drugs. Let us discuss some of them here:
1. Only weak individuals become addicts. The fact is
that the reverse is true: addicts become weak
individuals. No one starts using drugs to become
addicts. As we saw earlier, people begin to abuse drugs
for different reasons. Even at that stage an addict has
strong will power when it comes to getting the supply
of drugs. An addict will take any risk to maintain his
drug habit.
Besides, the strength of the will depends on motivation.
Motivation depends on priority. For the addict the
number one priority is the chemical, because it solves
all his problems. Thus the addict chooses to get the
chemicals more than any other thing to satisfy his/her
2. Drugs give mental and physical strength. Drugs can
change the reasoning capacity of the individual. So he
will be ready to do things which he was not capable of
doing without the influence of the drugs. Secondly the
strength that one gets is only a short-term measure.
Drugs also help a person to overcome inhibitions, and
fears and make him look like a courageous person.
3. Recreational use of drugs is not harmful. All illegal
drugs are harmful. They cause physical and
psychological changes in the user. Prolonged drug use
leads to addiction. Besides all drugs are expensive. They
make the user poor physically and financially. It also
encourages drug trafficking.
4. Everybody is taking drugs. The fact is that this is an
argument used by those who use drugs to gain
acceptability for their behaviour. Even if there are many
people using drugs the majority of the people do not
use drugs. Peer pressure is difficult to cope with and it
takes more courage and strength to stand up to what
is right and to resist drugs. Everybody is not using
5. Drugs help to forget failures and painful events of
life. The fact is that it helps you forget only as long as
the effect of the chemical lasts, for one to three hours!
It works only for the time being. It is like burying
problems alive; the ghost will come back to haunt you
the next day.
6. Drugs help to keep peer group status. The fact is
that the peer group has no status all those who drink
are drinking because they cannot stop drinking. They
want to stop but cannot. The status the peer group
pretends to have is unreal and unhealthy.
7. Drugs improve your concentration. The fact is that it
is feasting on borrowed money. Drugs can increase
mental performance, but they certainly kill the brain
cells in the long run. Students and individuals who
need longer periods of work or study use drugs. But
many of them get addicted to them, and in the long
run, they die very young. Poet Byron was a brilliant
poet, but an alcoholic who died in his twenties.

Therefore one needs to be very careful in responding to all
types of talks which go around regarding the use of drugs.
Drug abuse is a complex phenomenon, which has various
social, cultural, biological, geographical and economical
aspects. The disintegration of the old joint family system,
absence of parental love and care in modern families where
both parents are working, decline of old religious and moral
valus etc. lead to the rise in the number of drug addicts
who take drugs to escape hard realities of life. The process
of industrialization, urbanisation and migration has led to
loosening of the traditional method of social control
rendering an individual vulnerable to the stresses and
strains of modern life.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Psychology and psychiatry have a long history of debate about the interrelated
areas of normality and abnormality. Abnormal psychology is that branch of
psychology which deals with abnormi behaviour. The literal meaning termed
deviation from normal. You must be wondering as to which behaviour can be
abnormal behaviour. Abnormal behaviour cannot be defined as a single
component in a human being; rather it is a complex of several characteristics
which are interlinked. Abnormality is usually determined by the presence of
several characteristics at one time. The definition of abnormal behaviour takes
into account the characteristics of infrequent occurrence, violation of norms,
personal distress, dysfunction and unexpectedness of behaviour. Let us
understand these concepts:
1) Infrequent Occurrence: Majority of people show average behaviour as
concerned with any event in life. Those people who deviate from the
average show extreme tendencies. But frequency cannot be considered
as the sole criterion for determination of abnormal behaviour.
2) Violation of Norms: This approach is based on social norms and cultural
values that guide behaviour in particular situations. If the behaviour of a
particular individual violates social norms, threatens or makes others
anxious, it can be considered as abnormal behaviour. Abnormality is a
deviation of behaviour in higher degree from the accepted social norms.
A word of caution in this characteristic is that the social norms vary across
cultures. A social norm of one culture may be a violation of norm in
others. This concept alone is too broad as criminals and prostitutes violate
social norms but they are not necessarily studied within the domain of
abnormal psychology.
3) Personal Distress: A behaviour can be considered abnormal if it creates
distress in the person experiencing it. For example a regular and heavy
consumer of alchohol may realize his habit to be unhealthy and wish to
discontinbe his habit. This behaviour can be identified as abnormal. The
personal distress model is not self sufficient because people decide and
report on how much they are suffering. Also the levels of distress vary in
different people.
4) Dysfunctions: Dysfunction or disability considers a person to be abnormal
if his emotions, actions, or thoughts interfere with his ability to lead a
normal life in the society. For example substance abuse disorders caused
by abnormal drug use hamper a person's work performance.
5) Unexpectedness: This characteristic takes into account the unexpected
occurrence of a behaviour.
Each of the standards discussed here helps in defining abnormality. A core
feature of all abnormal behaviour is that it is maladaptive The abnormal
behaviour makes it difficult for a person to cope with the demands of day-today
life. Being normal and abnormal is not based on very rigid criteria. They
are the states of mind which every individual experiences. According to a
psychologist ". . . .. behaviour is abnormal, a manifestation of mental disorder,
if it is both persistent and in serious degree contrary to the continued well
being of the individual and or that of the human community of which the

individual is a member." It is also important to note that to a certain extent
definitions of abnormality are culturally based. For example talking to oneself
may be considered as an abnormal behaviour but certain Polynesian countries
and South American societies consider it to be a gift of special status from the

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Status of Marital rape in India

In the aftermath of Nirbhaya BBC documentary, the country came out united. Who would agree with Mukesh Singh’s justification to rape? I guess, only minuscule proportion.  Now consider another case, Suppose a person did the same with his wife. I guess these will be the most probable reactions- 1. Aadmi hi vaaiyad tha (the man was beast),  this was an unacceptable act, so she should have gone for legal remedies, and if left to us, we would have lynched him 2. It is not possible marriage is a sacred institution, the wife should have been lying, moreover it is their personal matter and wife has already given consent to have sex at the time of marriage  (any third moderate reaction is welcome).
Though marital rape has been an issue of political and social debate for a long time without any conclusion yet. Lets try to demystify it.

What is marriage?
It is a social and legal institution  in which two people mutual consent to work out things together in the train of life.
What is marital rape?
Marital rape (also known as spousal rape) is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse. It is a form of partner rape, of domestic violence and of sexual abuse.

What does the data say?
Out of the total number of rapes reported to NFHS (though it is an informal survey whose premise was to provide anonymity), 97.7% rapes were committed by the people known to the victim, out of which marital rapes accounts for 2/3rd. UN study has established the fact that 75% men want their wives to agree to sex. There have been many heartrending stories of women raped every night, even during pregnancy and child birth. It is a physical as well as mental trauma because the perpetrator is known to the person, often very close. It is a bitter reality even in developed nations.

Why all the fuss now?
Recently during parliamentary proceedings, a minister reacted on a question regarding the status of marital rape in India, “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors e.g. level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament, etc”. Other proponents of the marital rape exception, also, argue that it is essential to preserve the integrity of marriage, which is a crucial social institution, so marital rape cannot be brought within the purview of rape law.

Why should it be banned?
Marital rape is considered as the violation of Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Indian constitution which guarantees the equal protection of laws to all persons. By depriving married women of an effective penal remedy against forced sexual intercourse, it violates their right to privacy and bodily integrity, aspects of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21, by differentiating them from unmarried women.

Marital privacy – which justifies laws such as the marital rape exception – is a fundamental denial of society’s commitment to treating all persons with equal concern and respect.
After making high pitch for the government flagship Beti Bachao beti padao, we want our ‘Beti’ to not have a right on her own body. If marital rape has been committed, wife is a rape survivor and she has same rights like any other rape survivor.

Don’t women have a right to live  a dignified life even after marriage? I think, this is not true in the current setup. If it was that, then government would have continued the schemes like Sukanya Samraddhi even after marriage. Parents too would have shared the responsibility of a girl child even after marriage like they do for boys. Does marriage provides the license to rape? Hopefully, No. Sexual violence within circle of trust is more painful and the absence of a law to safeguard the same is a human right violation and unjust towards women.

What are the flaws with the legal system ?
Our legal system doesn’t provide any concrete protection to the victims of marital rape. Under Hindu marriage act, 1955 one of the “conjugal duties” of the wife is to provide sexual satisfaction to her husband, a very archaic thought congruent to the thoughts of a patriarchal society. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) considers forced sex in marriages as a crime only when the wife is below 15 or the couple is legally separated. Thus, marital rape is not a criminal offense under the IPC. Marital rape victims have to take recourse to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005(PWDVA).The PWDVA, which came into force in 2006, outlaws marital rape. However, it offers only a civil remedy for the offence.

It is not the case that these irrational acts have not been up for revision. Law Commission’s report(2000) and Justice Verma panel’s(2013) recommended to do away with the exemption granted to marital rape in the laws. Unfortunately, these were not accepted by the government and the marital rape continues to be unrecognised by law. Parliamentary committee opposed the Verma commission proposal saying that entire family system will be brought under great stress if the Marital Rape is brought under the law.

But it is prone to misuse?
Proponents of marital rape exemption argue that if legalized, this law is prone to misuse as is the case with The Dowry act. I do agree with the same because it is really difficult to prove the charges of marital rape. It is worse when we rely on the methods like two finger test for proving charges of rape in general.
Here, I would say that every law is prone to misuse, let it be a dowry act or an anti defection law, yet we have to accept that the misuse is at the part of investigation.
Moreover, don’t we have acts like Prevention of Atrocities Act(SC & ST), 1989 and similar laws against discrimination? Aren’t they prone to misuse? Because here also you have to rely on the statement of the victim prima facia. It can also be used to harass someone. Just because of this lame skepticism, we should not try to evade from our responsibility.

Why isn’t law ahead of prejudices?
In a recent case of marital rape, a 27 years old woman herself went up and approached court for marital rape. The court made a superficial assessment and concluded by saying that we wont serve any individual case and asked the victim to come up with a PIL, thus denying to serve the plea. Isn’t this absurd that a person cannot stand for himself/herself? I used to think that this is the most conventional thing that a person can seek justice for himself/herself. Similarly, political parties have divisive opinions. Few of them want consensus building in society as a pre-requisite to come with a law. As if society was ready for the revolutionary acts like Untouchability Act, Transgender Act, Child labor Act or affirmative action for vulnerable sections.

What is the international scenario?
Many countries have made it a crime for a husband to force his wife to have sex in recent years. Malaysia changed its laws to that effect in 2007; Turkey in 2005; and Bolivia in 2013. The United States began criminalizing marital rape in 1970s and most European countries in the 1990s. The United Nations has also recommended India to criminalize marital rape. Though we try to emulate US in many areas to prove ourselves as progressive, doesn’t this law provide the opportunity for the same?

Implementation Challenges in criminalizing marital rape
The major challenge is to prove the crime, what shall be the evidence? How will the investigation proceed? Charges of marital rape can be put up just to take revenge and settle scores. There is an enormous amount of social stigma attached to the marital rape. However, the picture is not that bleak as it seems. It is not the going to be the case that just after criminalizing, there will be plethora of cases. As we can see there is nearly 10% conviction rate in normal rapes and dowry cases. Marital rape is a very grey area, so its fate stands tough time. In present times, it may be very difficult to enforce too. But shouldn’t the laws and their implementation envision a equitable future and a utopian society.

Is reconciliation not the only solution?
I agree and advocate for couple counselling in cases of differences and argumentative fights. But it cannot be the last resort. There has to be some mechanism on top of it for very abusive relationships.

Isn’t the act of considering women as the victim all the time feminist and skewed?
True, it is. Cases of sexual assault against the transgender community are not currently prosecuted as rape under Section 375, which only recognizes women as victims. Here I would like to refer Justice Verma Committee recommendation to amend the section to make it gender neutral with respect to the victim. Because it can be anyone, a man, a woman or a transgender.

What if a man has no sex for a year, can he force his wife? Isn’t it about the fairness to men also? What remedy does he has?
For this question, I would say this is a valid ground to have a divorce, so go for it, but why to impose your will on someone else. Respect comes before love and much before sex. If someone is not able to earn that respect, then one should have no right to love other person.

What is it that I am up against?
I am not the extreme leftist person who wants a revolutionary change in laws and want to prosecute half of the country in one go. What I am against of, are the blatant statements made by our lawmakers and even institutions of high respect.

Though the enforcement may be a challenge, but the arguments like, the society not being ready to accept, or crying foul of our backwardness doesn’t hold any water. Atleast they should not set the wrong precedent of trivializing the marital rape. It has actually legalized marital rape(make it permissible and even encourage by vindicating marital rape) in negative sense rather than in positive sense (to prevent it). It is well accepted truth, that many rapes are going on in bedroom then why we are still in denial mode considering marital rape as an exception? Marital rape clearly reveals our gross double standard on sexual violence.

Way forward
I understand, this issue is sensitive. It took around 30 years for US to come to the present law which got started only with heinous nature of marital rapes. Can’t we try to implement it in such a phased manner? Atleast in the cases where it is clearly visible, where a woman has undergone tremendous injury, it should be made punishable as a criminal offence.

Before 2012, it was an odd act to even talk about rape, but it was the solidarity of the nation that came along with Nirbhaya, and today majority of people can condemn the act by taking its name literally. I hope marital rape will also get the same recognition.

We need a social reform because legal reform not sufficient, dowry is still embedded in our society after 10 years of its existence. It is the progressive social consciousness which is need of the hour.
Sexual consent is the right of every woman, married or unmarried, as much as of men, and nonconsensual sex should be treated exactly the same, irrespective of the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim.

It is the inner khap panchayat in us all.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Amendments proposed to Child Labour Act

The cabinet has recently approved amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. The Act prohibits the engagement of children in certain types of occupations and regulates the condition of work of children in other occupations.
The Act prohibits employment of children below 14 years in certain occupations such as automobile workshops, bidi-making, carpet weaving, handloom and power loom industry, mines and domestic work. It prohibits employment of a child in 18 occupations and 65 processes and regulates the conditions of working of children in other occupations and processes including domestic work, automobile workshops, bidi-making, carpet weaving, handloom and power loom industries and mines. 
New amendments proposed:
In light of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education it seeks to prohibit employment of children below 14 years in all occupations except where the child helps his family after school hours and as artists in audio-visual entertainment industry after school or during vacations. Provided the work should not interfere in the education of child. The changes are proposed after  keeping in mind the socio economic conditions of the country.
It adds a new category of persons called “adolescent”. An adolescent means a person between 14 and 18 years of age. The Bill prohibits employment of adolescents in hazardous occupations as specified (mines, inflammable substance and hazardous processes).
Penalties are also raised. The proposed changes raised the penalty for employing any child or adolescent in contravention of the Act to Rs 50,000 from Rs 20,000 and imprisonment for six months to two years, up from three months to a year. 
The bill will now be presented in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session. 
Though the steps are indeed very good for children and also it will confirm with international Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 138 and 182, which prohibits employment of persons below 18 years, in work which is likely to harm health, safety and morals. Some more steps should be taken into consideration like instituting preventive measures of child labour. And implementing the RTE act in letter and spirit.
It has been noticed that people from low income group send their children to school when they find more incentives in education. These incentives can be in terms of skills.

Swavlamban Abhiyaan Explained

“Three things are important for the shram-yogi: self reliance (swavalamban), self independence (swashray) and self-dignity (swabhimaan).”

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today launched “Swavalamban Abhiyan” – a set of 11 new pro-poor initiatives of the Gujarat Government, at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar. Addressing a large gathering on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that 17th September is observed as Vishwakarma Day across the country, and Vishwakarma is revered by all shram-yogis (people who live through hard work). Congratulating the state government, he said it is significant that the state government has chosen this day to launch “Swavalamban” initiatives. 

The Prime Minister said three things are important for the shram-yogi: self reliance (swavalamban), self independence (swashray) and self-dignity (swabhimaan). He said no “shram yogi” likes to be dependent. Gujarat Government has launched these pro-poor initiatives for the benefit of shram yogis, especially women and youth, so that they are empowered to fight poverty, he added. This is in keeping with the spirit of “Shrameva Jayate,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that women in Gujarat are at the forefront of animal husbandry and milk production, and they will be benefited and empowered through this scheme. He also said ITIs in the state are focusing on soft skill development, so that the students can communicate their skills and abilities.

The Prime Minister said the neo-middle class will also receive protection through the Swavalamban initiative of Ma-Vatsalya Yojana.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Second National Commission on Labour

 The Central Government set up the second National Commission on Labour in 1999 under the Chairmanship of Sh. Ravindra Varma. The Commission was entrusted to suggest, among other things, rationalization of the existing labour laws in the organised sector so as to make them more relevant in the changing economic conditions under the impact of globalisation.

 The Second National Commission on Labour was expected to formulate an umbrella law to ensure protection to workers in the unorganized sector which, in the absence of growth in job opportunities in the organised sector, is expanding at a rapid pace, absorbing school dropouts, women and children. It submitted its report to the Government in June 2002.