If you are a man living in India then chances are very soon you will be sterilized by the government to ensure reproductive rights of your (or would be) wife. There are chances that the government hospital will not treat you or charge additional money if you suffer from heart disease, AIDS or cancer simply because they need to extend that subsidized benefit to a woman patient. There are also chances that you are deprived of quality and nutritious food because those are reserved for women. So if you are a man living alone in India, very soon your life will be made miserable by this government because currently, all focus of this government is on giving benefits only to women.
All these will soon be a reality as Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is now drafted a national policy on women that will take away your basic rights in the name of empowering women. Women empowerment per this policy –
“is a process that will make women realize their full potential in terms of access to opportunities, resources and freedom of choices both at home and outside. “
This policy is drafted with a view to achieving what it says –
“advancement is accompanied by women’s ability to influence the direction of social change”. In this context the policy also mentions that the Constitution of India has mandate for equality and rights of women and gives examples of global treaties to end all discrimination against women.
The draft bill also mentions UN convention CEDAW and Beijing Declaration and Convention on Rights of the Child are also mentioned as the pretext for creating this new policy. In the draft policy document (available on the WCD ministry website) it is mentioned that in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address challenges like poverty, inequality etc. this policy was inevitable.
While in one hand this policy agrees that National Policy for Empowerment of Women (NEPW) 2001 was successful in achieving women empowerment and making them participate in India’s growth rather than being mere recipients of benefits, on the other hand, this policy states that advancement of technology and information systems created new areas of empowerment. One would definitely wonder if there are new areas that have emerged in last decade then how that had generated any form of bias against women in the first place unless the government wanted to give advantages to women over Indian males.
To justify this new policy ministry in one hand claimed that there is increased reporting of crimes against women (without mentioning the equal increase in false cases), emerging job markets and women labour force but on the contrary mentioned the low bargaining power of women. This mixes many parameters such as Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), malnutrition, anemia etc. with the advancement of telephony and internet technologies and preventing cybercrimes against women.
To justify this new policy, the ministry also claims that women’s legal rights for life and freedom from all forms of violence are still needs to be ensured. While this policy claims to ensure socially inclusive right based approach, it promises women to have control over resources and formulation of strategic choices as two major goals of this policy.
The objectives mentioned in the policy include ensuring affordable and quality health care, incentivizing universal and quality education, incentivizing quality workforce participation, developing a gender-sensitive legal – judicial system etc.
Health and Food security as a priority area–
Health and Food security and nutrition are two major areas that come first in this elaborate policy document.
Through this national policy for women, Maneka Gandhi’s Ministry is also planning a bouquet of benefits only for Indian women and girls. This draft has a bouquet of benefits for pregnant and lactating women. However while trying to ensure women’s reproductive rights, the ministry is planning to take away reproductive rights from Indian males. This policy states that the family planning focus will be shifted to sterilization of males from females from now on.
Now women suffering from cancer, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS will be given prioritized attention with appropriate strategies and interventions, meaning Indian males suffering from similar ailments will be discriminated against by the government. Two patients seeking such help will be given attention based on their gender. This is even more dangerous when we know it is the males who suffer from cardiovascular diseases more than the females.
Health interventions will also include women population of over 60 years of age for geriatric health care will have special attention for women. So men even in their golden ages will continue to be discriminated against.
This policy not only talks about attention in physical care for women but also on their psychological care and bringing inappropriate insurance covers for women.
Other than these discriminatory policies to take away reproductive rights from males by sterilization and depriving elderly male senior citizens of their rightful protection from various ailments, this policy has plenty of healthcare benefits for women at the expense of men and the taxes paid by them.
An alarming addition to this proposal is making nutritious and safe food available only for women and children in unreached areas through National Food Security Act, 2013. These food banks will be managed by Women Self Help Groups (SHGs). This will in a way deny access to quality and nutritious food for men. Men living alone will be completely deprived of these benefits.
What this policy clearly states that once implemented government will not only take away reproductive rights from Indian males by selectively sterilizing them but will also deprive them of quality healthcare and food through different gender-discriminatory policies controlled by feminist groups. All because there is no ministry that talks about needs of men and boys in India.
If you are concerned about the policy please let the government know your concerns here. Your future is in your hands.