Women in Political Leadership Roles


  • It is necessary to get rid of inherent biases and perceptions about female effectiveness in leadership roles.

History of Women in decision-making roles in India

  • Women’s suffrage:
    • Independent India can rightly be proud of its achievement in so far as women’s suffrage is concerned. Women were allowed to vote from 1950 onwards and so could participate on an equal footing with men from the first general election of 1951-52.
      • In contrast, In the U.S., it took several decades of struggle before women were allowed to vote in 1920. Most countries in Europe also achieved universal suffrage during the inter-war period.
  • Women leaders in Politics:
    • India had and has charismatic female leaders like Indira Gandhi, Jayalalitha, Mayawati, Sushma Swaraj and Mamata Banerjee among several others. 

Issues & challenges

  • Data on women participation in Politics:
    • Ministerial position:
      • Female members make up only about 10% of the total ministerial strength. 
    • Chief Minister:
      • The underrepresentation of female Ministers in India is also reflected in the fact that Ms. Mamata Banerjee is currently the only female Chief Minister.
    • Strength in Legislature:
      • The underrepresentation of women in Indian legislatures is even more striking. 
      • For instance, the 2019 election sent the largest number of women to the Lok Sabha. 
      • Despite this, women constitute just over 14% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha. 
      • This gives us the dismal rank of 143 out of 192 countries for which data are reported by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. 
  • Women’s performance in the Legislature:
    • Token representatives:
      • The study draws attention to women’s performance in the Lok Sabha through a quantitative analysis of the questions posed by women leaders on the floor. 
      • It claims that they act as mere token representation in political spheres.
    • Question Hour:
      • Women’s performance during the Question Hour session becomes relevant as it is a space where legislators act free from party regulation
      • Study contests claim that women members act as silent dolls or ‘gungi gudiyas’ during the Question Hour in Parliament.
  • Access to power:
    • India has not had a single women’s movement that challenged patriarchal and gender norms in the last two decades.
    • Women have had to use alternate methods to come to power. 
    • Education and wealth have aided women in political participation.
  • Extending Quotas for women:
    • The establishment of quotas for women is one of the requirements to create a level playing field for women. 
    • Attempts have also been made to extend quotas for women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies through a Women’s Reservation Bill. 
    • Unfortunately, the fate of this Bill represents a blot on the functioning of the Indian Parliament. 
  • Politics as men’s profession:
    • Politics is often seen as a male bastion, and women are discouraged from entering it on the pretext that it is not a ‘feminine’ profession.
    • Female candidates were often made to contest in elections as “namesakes” for their husbands.

Government initiatives & international commitments

  • The Women’s Reservation Bill(2008)(108th amendment):
    • It has also been introduced in the national Parliament to reserve 33 percent of the Lok Sabha seats for women.
  • Gender-neutral procedures and language:
    • In 2014, under the leadership of the then Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha were made entirely gender neutral
    • Since then, each Lok Sabha Committee Head has been referred to as Chairperson (not chairman) in all documents.
      • This initiative is proof that amending legal documents to make them inclusive for all genders is an attainable goal if there is a will.
  • Convention for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women:
    • India is a signatory to the Convention for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
    • The convention obliges states to take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in political and public life and, in particular, to ensure that women are as eligible as men to contest elections to all public bodies.
    • They have the right to participate in contributing to government policy and its implementation.
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
    • Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is binding on signatory states including India
    • It says that “every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections.

Way Ahead

  • There is substantial evidence showing that increased female representation in policy making goes a long way in improving perceptions about female effectiveness in leadership roles. 
  • The problem of the under-representation of women is only superficial
  • What lies underneath is the problem of structural inequality, wherein women are marginalised at different levels.

The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022

In Context

  • Recently, The Rajya Sabha passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
    •  The Bill seeks to amend the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.   

More about the news

  • The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill mandates non-fossil sources of energy and establishes a domestic carbon market in India.
    • The bill was also amended in 2010.
  • Key provisions of the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill:
    • The bill seeks to mandate the use of non-fossil sources, including Green hydrogen, green ammonia, biomass, and Ethanol for energy and feedstock; 
  • Establish Carbon Markets
  • Bring large residential buildings within the fold of the Energy Conservation regime; 
  • Enhance the scope of the Energy Conservation Building Code
  • Amend penalty provisions
  • Increase members in the governing council of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
  • Empower the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions  to make regulations for smooth discharge of its functions 
  • To put in place enabling provisions to make the use of clean energy, including green hydrogen, mandatory and to establish carbon markets.

Details of the Bill

  • Carbon Credits:
    • Issuing credits:
      • According to Global Energy Monitor, the government will issue carbon credits to businesses or other institutions interested in the scheme. 
      • Industries could sell and buy credits to meet their carbon budget.
    • Selling Carbon Credits to other countries:
      • Carbon credits will not be sold to other countries. When we sell credits to other countries, we cannot add them to our NDCs. 
      • However, there is a provision to sell them to other countries when there is a surplus or a need to finance some cutting-edge technology.
  • Scope for Energy Conservation Building Code:
    • The amended bill aims to bring large residential buildings under the Energy Conservation regime which enhances the scope of the Energy Conservation Building Code.
    • Meaning of Energy Conservation Building Code:
      • According to the draft, “energy conservation building codes” means the norms and standards of energy consumption expressed per square metre of the area where energy is used. 
      • It also includes the location of the building.
  • Carbon Market:
    • The Bill empowers the central government to specify a carbon credit trading scheme.
    • The proposed amendments aims to encourage the development of a carbon market by laying the framework for issuance of carbon credits against deployment of clean technology.
      • Investment in clean technology will help corporations in greening their business profiles and the attached carbon credits will provide an additional revenue stream. 
    • Hence, the proposed amendments seek to address a prominent gap in the climate change narrative with respect to involvement of the private sector.
  • Reducing the connected loads of states:
    • Bill aimed to bring large residential buildings, with a minimum connected load of 100 kilowatt (kW) or contract demand of 120 Kilovolt Ampere (kVA), within the fold of the Energy Conservation regime. 
    • States, if they wished, could bring down the connected load and contract demand.
Carbon CreditsA carbon credit is a permit that allows the company that holds it to emit a certain amount of CO2 or other greenhouse gases.One credit permits the emission of a mass equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide.These were devised as a market-oriented mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Companies get a set number of credits, which decline over time. They can sell any excess to another company.


  • Ultra vires of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001:
    • While the Energy Conservation Act, of 2001 deals with saving energy, the present Bill deals with saving the environment and conserving climate change due to the usage of fossil and non-fossil fuels while generating electricity. 
    • The scope and objective of the principal Act do not take in the purpose and object of the present Bill. 
    • The Bill relates to monitoring and controlling of carbon emission and climate change which is an aspect of the environmental laws
  • Lack of coordinated approach:
    • There is the Central Government discharging one set of roles, there are the State Governments which have been authorised under the Act to discharge a different set of roles. 
    • What is missing is a coordinated approach between the Central Government and the State Government.
  • Inadequate opinion in BEE:
    • The Bill proposes only five representatives of the States and it means that a majority of the States would not be able to register their opinion in the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. 
  • Legal infirmities:
    • It is being criticised that the Bill has a lot of legal infirmities which required re-consideration and re-introduction.

Way Ahead

  • India is currently marching towards its target of reducing its carbon intensity by 45 per cent by 2030. This goal is a part of India’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
  • India needs to align public financial flows with announced targets on energy transition, to leverage private finance. This includes
    • Shifting subsidies to clean energy
    • Mandating SOE (state-owned enterprises) investments in clean energy and Increasing targets on public finance for clean energy.

Friction between the Government and the Judiciary

In News

  • There is always a conflict going on between the Government and the Judiciary over appointments in judiciary where the Government is supporting NJAC and judiciary supporting the collegium system.
    • The collegium system of making appointments to the higher judiciary has come under focus largely due to critical remarks made by the Union Law Minister. 


  • Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) 
    • The procedure for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts in accordance with the Collegium system was laid down in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) prepared in 1998. 
    • It states that the initiation of a proposal for appointment of Supreme Court judges vested with the CJI and that of High Court judges with the Chief Justice of the High Courts concerned.
      • The MoP required the Chief Justices of High Courts to initiate the proposals six months prior to vacancies.
  • The Constitution (99th Amendment) Act
    • It was passed by Parliament to provide for a National Judicial Commission, which was duly formed by the NJAC Act.
    • In 2015 the court struck down the NJAC Act and the Constitution Amendment which sought to give politicians and civil society a final say in the appointment of judges to the highest courts.
  • Revised MoP: The court directed the government to finalize a revised MoP in consultation with the CJI and the Collegium. 

What was the NJAC? How did it differ from the collegium system?

  • Parliament passed the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act 2014 along with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014, providing for the creation of an independent commission to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and high courts to replace the collegium system.
  • Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution deal with the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts of the country.
    • Article 124(2) states every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts as the President may deem necessary. 
    • While the collegium system itself does not figure in the Constitution, its legal basis is found in three Supreme Court judgments usually referred to as the ‘Judges Cases’ concerning the higher judiciary.
  • To replace the system, which received criticism over the years for its lack of transparency, the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, introduced three key Articles- 124 A, B, and C and amended clause 2 of Article 124.
    • Article 124A created the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), a constitutional body to replace the collegium system.
    • Article 124B vested in this NJAC the power to make appointments to both the Supreme Court and the various high courts.
    • Article 124C accorded express authority to Parliament to make laws regulating the NJAC’s functioning.
  • NJAC was to be composed of:
    • The Chief Justice of India as the ex officio Chairperson.
    • Two senior-most Supreme Court Judges as ex officio members.
    • The Union Minister of Law and Justice as ex officio member.
    • Two eminent persons from civil society (to be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister of India and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha; one of the eminent persons to be nominated from SC/ST/OBC/minorities or women).
  • The Chief Justice of India and Chief Justices of the high courts were to be recommended by the NJAC based on seniority while SC and HC judges were to be recommended based on ability, merit, and other criteria specified in the regulations.
    • The Act empowered any two members of the NJAC to veto a recommendation if they did not agree with it.
  • Collegium system: a group of the senior-most judges makes appointments to the higher judiciary. This system has been operational for nearly three decades.
Independence of Judiciary and the “basic structure” doctrineThe principle of the independence of the judiciary was derived from the theory of separation of powers, enshrined in Article 50. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the drafting committee, said in the Constituent Assembly: “There can be no difference of opinion in the House that our judiciary must both be independent of the executive and must also be competent in itself. “The “Basic Structure” doctrine meanwhile is a product of the Kesavananda Bharati judgment (1973). Article 368 grants Parliament a virtual plenary power to amend the Constitution but the Bench had held that the Constitution could not be read in a manner that destroyed or infringed the document’s basic structure.

Government’s View

  • Delay in appointments: 
    • The Centre argues that the Collegiums, both at the Supreme Court and High Court levels, are delaying judicial appointments. 
    • The NJAC was a good law thwarted by the court.
  • Breach of time:
    • It says that the High Courts are not making recommendations six months in advance of a vacancy.
    • There are 332 judicial vacancies in the High Courts out of a total sanctioned strength of 1,108 judges.
  • Dilution of Power:
    • The Centre argued that the Act in no way took away the primacy of the judiciary but diluted the power of the executive as only one member (Law Minister) was in the NJAC as opposed to three SC judges.
  • Basic structure doctrine:
    • The Amendment was perfectly consonant with the basic structure as it strengthened the independence of the judiciary, checks and balances and democracy, which were all part of the basic structure.
  • Lack of transparency:
    • Collegium was a failure and worked on a system of intra-dependence where there was no transparency.

Supreme Court’s View

  • Current Law:
    • The court says the Collegium system combined with the MoP is the law as it exists now. 
  • Delay by the Government: 
    • The government has either kept Collegium recommendations pending for no apparent reason or it has repeatedly sent back names reiterated by the Collegium. 
    • The court accused the government of not appointing persons who are not palatable to it.
  • Unconstitutional:
    • It is difficult to hold that the wisdom of appointment of judges can be shared with the political-executive.
  • Independence:
    • The expectation from the judiciary to safeguard the rights of the citizens of this country can only be ensured by keeping it insulated and independent from the other organs of governance..

Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana

In News

  • Recently, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has revamped the existing Scheme of Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Scheme (SCA to TSS) with Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojna for implementation during 2021-22 to 2025-26.

About Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana

  • Ministry:
    • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Objective:
    • To ensure integrated development of the selected villages with more than 50% SC population so that there is:
      • Adequate Infrastructure: All requisite infrastructure necessary for the socio-economic development needs are to be provided under the Scheme.
      • Improvement in Socio-Economic Indicators: The identified socio-economic indicators, known as Monitorable Indicators, are to be improved so that the disparity between SC and non-SC population is eliminated and the level of indicators is raised to at least that of the National average.
        • All BPL SC families should have food and livelihood security, all SC children should complete education at least up to the secondary level, all factors leading to maternal and infant mortality are addressed and incidence of malnutrition, especially amongst children and women, is eliminated.
  • There are 50 Monitorable Indicators under 10 domains:
    • Drinking water and Sanitation
    • Education
    • Health and Nutrition
    • Social Security
    • Rural Roads and Housing
    • Electricity and Clean Fuel 
    • Agricultural Practices etc.
    • Financial Inclusion
    • Digitization
    • Livelihood and Skill Development
  • Vision of an ‘Adarsh Gram’:
    • The Scheme provides for An ‘Adarsh Gram’ is one wherein people have access to various basic services so that the minimum needs of all the sections of the society are fully met and disparities are reduced to a minimum. 
    • These villages would have all such infrastructure and its residents will have access to all such basic services that are necessary for a dignified living, creating thereby an environment in which everyone is enabled to utilize her/his potential to the fullest.

ASEAN 5 Point Consensus

In News

  • Recently, the Indonesian Foreign Minister said that India and other countries should “respect” and follow ASEAN’s  “five point consensus” on Myanmar rather than adopting a “different” path. 

ASEAN “five point consensus”

  • An immediate end to violence in the country; 
  • Dialogue among all parties; 
  • The appointment of a special envoy
  • Humanitarian assistance by ASEAN; and 
  • The special envoy’s visit to Myanmar to meet with all parties.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • It is a political and economic organization.
  • Founded in: 1967 by the five South-East Asian nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Aim: Promoting economic growth and regional stability among its members.
  • 10 Members at Present:
    • Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • ASEAN Plus Three:
    • It is a forum that functions as a coordinator of co-operation between the ASEAN and the three East Asian nations of China, South Korea, and Japan.
  • ASEAN Plus Six:
    • The group includes ASEAN Plus Three as well as India, Australia, and New Zealand


In News

  • Recently, several countries across the world have reported a surge in cholera cases this year raising concerns about a global resurgence of the disease.
    • These include Kenya, Malawi, Haiti and the Philippines.


  • About:
    • Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and dehydration.
  • Symptoms:
    • Severe watery diarrhea accompanied by vomiting which can quickly lead to dehydration.
  • Spread:
    • The risk of a cholera epidemic is highest when poverty, war or natural disasters force people to live in crowded conditions without adequate sanitation.
  • Prevalence:
    • Modern sewage and water treatment have virtually eliminated cholera in industrialized countries. But cholera still exists in Africa, Southeast Asia and Haiti.
  • Prevention and control:
    • A multifaceted approach is key to control cholera, and to reduce deaths. A combination of surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene, social mobilization, treatment, and oral cholera vaccines are used.

Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM)

In News

  • Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment pulled up the Union government for the delay in approving the continuation of the Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM).


  • It provides financial assistance to madrasas and minority institutes. 
  • Ministry: It was transferred from the Ministry of Minority Affairs to the Ministry of Education in 2021. 
  • Two sub-schemes:
    • The Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) – seeks to bring about qualitative improvement in Madrasas to enable Muslim children attain standards of the National education system in formal education subjects. 
    • Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI) – to augment Infrastructure in Private Aided/Unaided Minority Schools/Institutions in order to enhance the quality of education to minority children.
  • The scheme is being implemented at the national level
  • Both the schemes are voluntary in nature. 

End-to-end Encryption

In News

  • As part of a privacy effort, Apple announced that it will now provide full end-to-end encryption.

More about the End-to-end encryption

  • About:
    • End-to-end encryption is a communication process that encrypts data being shared between two devices. 
    • It prevents third parties like cloud service providers, internet service providers (ISPs) and cybercriminals from accessing data while it is being transferred. 
  • Features:
    • The process of end-to-end encryption uses an algorithm that transforms standard text into an unreadable format. 
    • This format can only be unscrambled and read by those with the decryption keys, which are only stored on endpoints and not with any third parties including companies providing the service. 
  • Significance:
    • End-to-end encryption ensures that user data is protected from unwarranted parties including service providers, cloud storage providers, and companies that handle encrypted data.
  • Where is it used?
    • End-to-end encryption has long been used when transferring business documents, financial details, legal proceedings, and personal conversations
    • End-to-end encryption today is majorly used to secure communications.
      • Some of the popular instant-messaging apps that use it are Signal, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Google messages
    • It is also used to secure passwords, protect stored data and safeguard data on cloud storage.
  • Shortcomings:
    • However, end-to-end encryption does not protect metadata, which includes information like when a file was created, the date when a message is sent and the endpoints between which data was shared.
    • Cryptographers and cybersecurity experts argue that attempts by law enforcement to weaken encryption with backdoors are ill-advised and could compromise the reliability of the internet.

Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana

In News

  • The Union Health Ministry has launched the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana in 2018 as part of National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP).

More about the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana

  • About:
    • The scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme under National Health Mission (NHM). 
    • All notified TB patients are beneficiaries of the scheme. 
    • Financial incentive:
      • Scheme provides for the financial incentive of Rs.500/- per month for each notified TB patient for the duration for which the patient is on anti-TB treatment.
    • DBT component:
      • The scheme is registered under Direct Benefit Transfer. The incentives can be distributedin Cash (only via DBT preferably through Aadhaar enabled bank accounts) or in-kind.
  • Ni-kshay Mitras:
    • Ni-kshay Mitras can adopt and care for TB patients.They are volunteers who could be individuals, NGOs, co-operative societies, corporates, and even political parties.
    • They commit to help the TB patients through nutritional support, nutritional supplements, additional investigations and vocational support.
    • This public health initiative has already shown good uptake.
      • Within three months of its launch, more than 52,000  Ni-kshay Mitras have registered. 
  • E-Nikshay platform
    • It is developed and maintained by the Central TB Division (CTD), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre (NIC), and the World Health Organization.
    • It is the web-enabled patient management system for TB control under the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP). 
    • Each TB patient whether public or private sector notified must be notified on the Nikshay platform.


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