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Dismantling Rights Through Systematic Policy Dilutions: Tracking Legislative Changes in India 2014-2019

Human rights are sought to be guaranteed in India through a combination of the safeguards enshrined in the Constitution of India and several laws, protected by a complex machinery of Courts, Tribunals and Commissions and aided by an alert and vibrant civil society committed to working on human rights issues. It is this combination that empowers human rights organizations to use the law to prevent and protect against human rights abuses.

The abuses are many. Human rights violations have spiraled in the recent past - whether socio, economic and cultural rights or civil and political rights. As of 2016 in India, 44 per cent children below the age of five years are malnourished; 72 per cent infants have anemia; 33.6 per cent women are undernourished and 55 per cent women are anemic.

Annually, thousands of farmers commit suicide in India. Youth are either unemployed or underpaid and working for the unorganized sector, beyond the pale of effective protection of labor laws. There are approximately 4.5 lakhs of people in prisons in India, of which 53 per cent are Dalits, tribals and Muslims. At least 67 per cent of these prisoners are undertrials and an overwhelming 70 percent convicts are either illiterate or have studied only up to the 10th standard. This, even as the autonomy of higher education is being speedily eroded.

India’s ranking has fallen 36 points in just 2 years to the fourth last position globally in the Environmental Performance Index 2018, at 177/180. Meanwhile, India has jumped up 30 spots in the World Bank formulated ranking released on October 31, 2017 in the list of countries assessed according to their ease of doing business, a feat attributed mainly to the changes in country’s regulatory laws, approval process, difficulty in starting business.

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