1. China’s border law and India
- It is called the law for the “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas”.
- It allows the state to “take measures to safeguard territorial integrity and land boundaries and guard against and combat any act that undermines these”.
- The law encourages the development of villages for civilians in the border areas.
- The law lays down four conditions under which the state can impose emergency measures, including border shutdown.
- The new law also prohibits construction of permanent infrastructure close to the border without China’s permission.
Rationale behind the law:
- It underscores the imperative for Beijing to exert greater control over its somewhat porous land border.
- The withdrawal of the US forces and Taliban takeover has “aggravated Beijing’s concerns that Afghanistan may become a hotbed for terrorism and extremism that could spread to Xinjiang”. The law is an attempt for stability of its hinterland bordering Central Asia.
Impact on India-China relations:
- China and India share a disputed 3,488-km boundary, third longest after Mongolia and Russia. There is a growing suspicion that China may have been stalling further negotiations on the standoff in eastern Ladakh for this new law to come into force.
- China has renamed several places in Arunachal Pradesh as part of its claim on the Indian state. The law is seen as an attempt by China to unilaterally delineate and demarcate territorial boundaries with India and Bhutan.
- The broader aim of the land border law is to give legal cover to Chinese military’s transgressions across the LAC.
- There is also the possibility of limiting the water flow in the Brahmaputra River which flows from China into India as the law calls for “measures to protect the stability of cross-border Rivers and lakes”. China might cite this provision in case of hydropower projects which may cause ecological disaster in India and call it a lawful action on its part.
Restoring relations, as well as the status quo along the borders, will require mutual sensitivity and an adherence to past agreements that helped keep the peace, rather than needless provocations that expand an already long list of differences.
2. State schemes can cast a lifeline to this welfare plan
India accounts for a fifth of the total childbirths in the world, with a maternal mortality rate of 113 per 1 lakh live births.
Performance of PMMVY:
- Since its inception it has covered 2 crore women.
- Total amount disbursed till now 8700 crore.
- The target of the scheme has remained unchanged over the years. The estimated eligible population of pregnant and lactating mothers in India was 128.7 lakh for 2017-18, but the scheme covers only 40% of the eligible population.
- In 2020-21, more than 50% of registered beneficiaries did not receive all three instalments.
- Budget allocation for the PMMVY has also been reduced as it has been clubbed under SAMARTHYA along with multiple other schemes such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.
- Extend the maternity benefit under the PMMVY to the second live birth. This would be more imperative for women in the unorganized sector, who are more vulnerable to economic shocks and nutrition loss for all childbirths.
- States’ schemes had relatively increased coverage and higher maternity benefits. For instance, Odisha’s MAMATA, has been offering a conditional cash transfer of ₹5,000 as maternity benefit for up to two live births. There should be coordination between centre and states.
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 mandates 12 weeks of maternity leave for women with two or more children. Thus, pregnant and lactating mothers should receive 12 weeks of wage compensation amounting to ₹15,000.
- Simplification of the process can result in increased registration of beneficiaries. The current registration form requires a mother and child protection (MPC) card, Aadhaar card, bank passbook, and registration form for each of the three instalments. This results in delayed, rejected or pending applications.