1.Subjected to psychiatric, medical exams for ID cards: transpersons
Self-identification is enough for certification, says official
Transgender persons are reportedly being subjected to medical and psychiatric examination for the purpose of issuing identity cards in some parts of the State. This goes against the prevailing rules that made self-identification a right of transgender persons.
Several transgender persons turned to government assistance following the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. However, most of them did not possess transgender identity cards to avail themselves of the assistance.
An official source in the Health Department said that in a number of districts, the social welfare offices organised camps for medical and psychiatric evaluation of transgender persons for the purpose of being certified to issue the ID cards. Such camps were organised in districts such as Thanjavur, Salem, Vellore and Chennai, and transgender persons were sent to government medical college hospitals and affiliated institutions.
This, he said, was against the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020, and ruling by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
“Self-identification is all that is required for certification. Instead, there have been issues where transgender persons were made to undergo medical examination and psychiatric evaluation to establish their identity at government hospitals,” the officer said.
A transgender activist, who did not want to be named, said, “Some transgender persons from a few districts told me that they were subjected to physical examination. This was not the case in Chennai. But there were instances in which some had to get certified by a psychiatrist. This happened across government hospitals in Chennai. This was basically to check their mental state, and one of them told me the question was ‘What is the day today?’ This shows that the existing rules have not reached the enforcers.”
“For many transgender persons, the past year has been a tough one owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of employment. The ₹2,000 assistance given by the government is extremely important and they cannot choose to avoid this psychiatric evaluation for getting their identity cards,” said a transwoman. She questioned the need for them to be subject to such unnecessary questions during the evaluation. However, another transgender person denied that they were subjected to psychiatric evaluation but were only sent to get an “opinion” from a psychiatrist. “It was only earlier that we were subjected to physical examination, and to check whether we had undergone sex reassignment surgeries,” she said.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020, has outlined that there should be no medical or physical examination for procedures for issue of certificate of identity/change of gender.
In its ruling, NALSA upheld the right of all persons to self-identify their gender.
Gopi Shankar, Madurai, south regional representative, National Council for Transgender Persons, said the State government should immediately implement the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, and rules notified in 2020, and also re-constitute the Transgender Welfare Board. It should issue guidelines on the documents needed and appropriate officials to approach. “Screening should be done in an affirmative way. In some cases, medical examination could benefit transgender persons. Some may have intersex conditions and may need medical attention,” Mr. Gopi said.
A senior official from the Department of Social Welfare and Women Empowerment said there were clear instructions as to how transgender persons could get registered for applying for an identity card. “They do not need to go to a hospital and can instead meet a committee set up by the department, which will also have a doctor. The committee will give them the necessary document,” he added.
NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide free legal services to weaker sections of society.
The aim is to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities.
‘Nyaya Deep’ is the official newsletter of NALSA.
As per section 3(2) of Legal Service Authorities Act, the Chief Justice of India shall be the Patron-in-Chief.
Second senior-most judge of Supreme Court of India is the Executive-Chairman.
Important functions performed by NALSA:
- Organise Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
- Identify specific categories of the marginalised and excluded groups and formulates various schemes for the implementation of preventive and strategic legal service programmes.
- Provide free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for the poor and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer in any court or tribunal.
State and district legal services authorities:
In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court who is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal Services Authority.
In every District, District Legal Services Authority has been constituted to implement Legal Services Programmes in the District. The District Legal Services Authority is situated in the District Courts Complex in every District and chaired by the District Judge of the respective district.
Need- Constitutional basis:
Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all. Legal aid strives to ensure that constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and spirit and equal justice is made available to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society.
2.The problem now with the military synergy plan
The Indian military must note that consultative strategising is a prerequisite before a concrete structure is put in place
It is indisputable that the Indian military continues to work in silos, like all governmental agencies in India, and a need was rightly felt and directions issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring about jointness, leaving the task to the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of India. It is also indisputable that the aim is to bring about a synergy in operations while economising through the elimination of duplication and wasteful practices or processes. At the outset, it also needs to be clearly stated that, contrary to the recent media reports, debates and some opinions, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is not playing ‘dog in the manger’ and resisting the formation of theatre/functional commands. With my 40 years in uniform, as I understand the doctrine and philosophy of the IAF, it is keen to bring in the requisite reforms to improve the war-fighting capabilities of the Indian military as a whole while also economising.
Nuances of air power
The statement that the IAF wants to fight its own private war thus comes from people who do not understand the nuances and capabilities of air power and lack the expertise in its effective utilisation. In the current formulation of theatres, the objections from the IAF have essentially been due to air power being seen as an adjunct to the two surface forces, the Indian Army and the Indian Navy, and being divided into penny packets which would seriously degrade the effectiveness of air operations in any future conflict or contingency. It is better that such objections and dissenting opinions come out now before the structure is formalised than once it is set in stone and the use of air power is found to be sub-optimal under the military ethos of “an order is an order”. We must remember that in war there is no prize for the runner-up. The nation would then end up paying a heavy price, with the Air Force carrying the burden and blame for the failures.
If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then it is essential to first define the political objectives flowing into a national security strategy before any effective use of force can be truly contemplated. The failures of the mightiest militaries in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and even our own Indian misadventure in Sri Lanka bear testimony to the lack of clear political objectives and appropriate military strategies.
It is, therefore, unfortunate that even after over seven decades after Independence, India still does not have a clearly articulated national security strategy. Only such a strategy can define the types of contingencies the military is expected to address, leading to appropriate military strategies, doctrines and required capabilities. That would define the structures required for the conduct of synergised operations with the requisite communications and training requirements. Concurrently, such an intellectual exercise would identify duplication, wasteful resources and practices. This is what the CDS should have been pursuing before first freezing the structure and then trying to glue the pieces together or hammer square pegs in round holes.
As argued elsewhere earlier, such an exercise may well result in identifying air power as the lead element, particularly since the Indian political aim, even in the foreseeable future, is unlikely to be occupation of new territories. A large, manpower-intensive army with unusable armour formations would then also come into focus. Even the proposed air defence command conflicts with the domain commands in seamless employment of air power. It is due to the absence of such an intellectual exercise that the IAF does not wish to see its limited resources frittered away in fighting frontal defensive battles by a land force commander with little expertise in employment of air power. The Army fails to realise that offensive air power is best not seen, busy keeping the enemy air force pinned down elsewhere while giving own surface forces the freedom to manoeuvre and operate with impunity, as shown in 1971.
The Army-Air Force silo
Historically, the Indian Army has always kept the IAF out of the information loop and demonstrated a penchant to ‘go it alone’. The charge that the IAF joined the party late during Kargil (1999) is also totally baseless and shows a lack of knowledge of events and a failure to learn from historical facts. Recorded facts and a dispassionate view would clearly show that the IAF began conducting reconnaissance missions on May 10 as soon as the Indian Army just made a request for attack helicopters, without sharing full information. It is also surprising that a request for photo-reconnaissance of the entire area was not made to first gather essential intelligence on what the Army was facing, before launching foot patrols which were mostly ambushed with unnecessary casualties, instead of asking for armed helicopters. This despite the IAF pointing out the unsuitability of armed helicopters at these altitudes and their vulnerability.
The use of offensive air power close to the Line of Control also required that the political leadership be kept informed due to possibilities of escalation, something that the Army was unwilling to do. Even the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) initially threatened to go it alone on his return from his visit abroad. As for silos, the CoAS himself admitted later that information was not shared even between the Director General of Military Operation (DGMO) and the Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) within Army headquarters, much less with the IAF. All this was despite the fact that the Defence Programme post-1962 was based on the assumption that China posed the major threat and that the IAF be made capable of assuming some of the Army’s deterrence capability.
Echoes from Kargil
Seen in this light, the Chinese incursion into Eastern Ladakh last year is reminiscent of Kargil. While the response has been swift, it is evident that a clear intent to use combat air power, as against 1962, has significantly contributed in deterring China. However, such intent and a joint strategy would have been forcefully signalled by the presence of air force representatives in the ongoing negotiations to restore status quo ante. The continuing build-up of the infrastructure for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in Tibet further emphasises the need for an air-land strategy, with air power as the lead element to deter or defeat the Chinese designs at coercion.
Address the structural gaps
Finally, theatre or any lower structure requires an institutionalised higher defence organisation, which has been sadly missing since the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) became defunct in the 1950s, leading to little regular dialogue between the political and military leadership, except in crises resulting in knee-jerk responses. This led to a remark from a scholar-warrior that, “it is ironic that the Cabinet has an Accommodation Committee but not a Defence Committee”. In the current proposal, it appears that the CDS, as the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), would also exercise operational control of the theatre/functional commands, a move that is unlikely to be palatable to the politico-bureaucratic leadership and which has, perhaps, called for further deliberations.
Prudence demands that instead of ramming down such structures without adequate deliberations and discussions with all stakeholders, we first evolve appropriate military strategies in a nuclear backdrop in concert with the political objectives. Thereafter, joint planning and training for all foreseen contingencies, with war-gaming, would automatically indicate the required structures with suitable command, control and communications.
Air Marshal Harish Masand is a retired fighter pilot from the Indian Air Force and a Vir Chakra awardee from the 1971 war
3.CPI(M), CPI for JPC probe into Rafale deal, PM’s role
Demand follows France’s appointment of a judge in the case
A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) must be formed to investigate the truth behind the Rafale deal and look into the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said on Sunday. The demand follows a French judge’s appointment to investigate the multi-million dollar deal.
The CPI(M)’s highest body discussed the issue at its meeting on Saturday. “The Polit Bureau reiterates its demand raised in September 2018 for the constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate the role of the Prime Minister and the government in this whole episode and establish the truth of the deal,” said a statement.
It noted that France’s public prosecution services had ordered an investigation by a French judge into the 2016 deal following a decision by its financial branch. Judicial investigation was formally opened into the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on June 14. The statement pointed to a French investigative website’s expose of official papers that allegedly show that Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation entered into an agreement with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group on March 26, 2015, which was 15 days before PM Modi’s announcement of the new deal that excluded state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
This reconfirms the apprehensions raised by the CPI(M) that the turnaround from the earlier purchase agreement is mired in deep corruption and money laundering, said the statement.
It also condemned the Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021, claiming that it aimed to prohibit “legitimate protests” in ordnance factories against the “naked loot of national assets”.
Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary D. Raja told The Hindu that a Joint Parliamentary Committee is a must to reveal the truth. “It’s not a new demand but we are merely renewing our old demand to probe the issue. We have always said that the deal bypassed our public sector undertaking and patronised and promoted a corporate house. When an investigation has been ordered in France, why is the Modi government mysteriously silent,” Mr. Raja asked.
Raking in revenue
The CPI(M) accused the Centre of “raking in revenue at the expense of ruining people’s lives” by hiking excise duties on petrol and diesel and demanded that these duties be scrapped.
Noting that the price hikes have led to an inflationary spiral in the prices of essential commodities, it urged the Centre to give a direct cash transfer of ₹7,500 to all families outside the income tax-paying bracket and distribute free food kits.
What is a JPC?
A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is set up to examine a particular bill presented before the Parliament, or for the purpose of investigating cases of financial irregularities in any government activity.
- The JPC is an ad-hoc body.
- It is set up for a given period of time and is aimed at addressing a specific issue.
- In order to set up a JPC, a motion is passed in one House and supported by the other House.
- The committee’s members are decided by Parliament.
- The number of members can vary. There are twice as many Lok Sabha members as the Rajya Sabha.
Powers and Functions:
- A JPC is authorised to collect evidence in oral or written form or demand documents in connection with the matter.
- The proceedings and findings of the committee are confidential, except in matters of public interest.
- The government can take the decision to withhold a document if it is considered prejudicial to the safety or interest of the State.
- The Speaker has the final word in case of a dispute over calling for evidence.
- The committee can invite interested parties for inquiry and summon people to appear before it.
- The committee gets disbanded following the submission of its report to Parliament.
4.Liquidity can impact financial well-being
An investor must achieve a fine balance between immediate cash needs and life goals
It is important to avoid decisions that can harm your life goals. Consider the desire to invest in highly-liquid investments. Liquidity refers to your ability to sell an investment at a price that is not significantly affected by the urgency with which the investment is sold.
You can sell your real estate at a distress price if you need to raise cash urgently, but you may have to wait for a while if you want a fair price. Liquidity also refers to your inability to sell your investment because of its lock-in feature.
In this article, we discuss the impact of highly liquid investments on your financial well-being.
When lock-in is good
True, we all need liquidity to meet unforeseen expenses. But the desire for high liquidity also depends on your emotional state.
Typically, those who are financially insecure are more likely to prefer liquid investments than others.
Note that you may have a comfortable lifestyle and reasonable income and yet be financially insecure.
Nonetheless, it is important to give up liquidity for your goal-based bond investments. Why? Instead of keeping too much money in your savings account or short-term deposits, invest in fixed deposits that align with your life goals.
That is, if you must achieve a life goal five years hence, then invest in a five-year deposit.
This may seem obvious, but many invest in short-term deposits despite having long-term goals for two reasons.
One, the feeling of insecurity drives them to make investments that can be quickly converted to cash. And two, long-term deposit rates may not be adequately high compared to short-term rates.
For instance, the difference between a one-year deposit and a five-year deposit offered by a large bank is just 0.50 percentage point. Yet, aligning deposits with life goals denies easy access to money, and therefore, prevents you from spending it for other purposes.
Also, you do not have to look for reinvestment opportunities till you need the money to meet your goal.
When lock-in is harmful
For goal-based equity investments, you should avoid products that force you to lock in your money for a specified period. Why? For one, you are exposed to the risk of heavy losses as the market could decline during the lock-in period.
For another, you need liquidity to sell (rebalance) some of your investments annually so that the proportion of equity in your portfolio is not high because of unrealised gains. However, the lack of a lock-in feature could tempt you to liquidate your investments before the end of the time horizon for a life goal! You typically set up a systematic investment plan (SIP) on an equity fund. You can be tempted to stop the SIP if you feel financially insecure. Worse, you may liquidate the entire investment to meet other expenses that may seemingly financial well-being as they could jeopardise the originally intended life goal.
So, how should you do this? Set up the SIP in your spouse’s name. Importantly, your spouse should keep the login credentials. If you are unmarried, the login credentials can be managed by your parent or your sibling. This process locks you into the investment because stopping the SIP or liquidating the investment requires the other person’s authentication. You should create an emergency fund to take care of reasonably foreseeable liquidity needs. That way, it will be emotionally less stressful to lock in bond investments through the time horizon for a life goal and to avoid liquidating your equity investments to meet other expenses.
The saying “[w]e have met the enemy and he is us,” popularly attributed to Pogo, the comic character created by Walt Kelly, could just as well refer to our personal finance! Moderating our biases improves our financial well-being. An unreasonable desire for high liquidity is one such bias.