Skip to main content

India's "low" caste women live 15 years less than "upper" caste counterparts: Oxfam

By Our Representative
In India, a so-called low-caste woman can expect to live almost 15 years less than a so-called upper-caste woman. Suggesting that this is an international phenomenon, a just-released Oxfam report says, Life expectancy in one of the poorest parts of London is six years less than it is in one of the capital’s richest neighbourhoods, just a few miles away. Life expectancy in the richest parts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is 79 years. In one of the poorest areas of the city it is 54 years.
Titled “Public good or private wealth?”, and asserting that “universal health, education and other public services reduce the gap between rich and poor, and between women and men”, the report , however, regrets, “In India, the highest-quality medical care is only available to those who have the money to pay for it.”
By way of comparison, the report says, if Mukesh Ambani, who ranks 19th in the Forbes 2018 billionaire list, and is the richest Indian, and his residence in Mumbai, a towering 570-foot building, is worth $1bn and is the most expensive private house in the world”, Pratima, who lives in a slum in Patna, eastern India, “lost both her twins due to delays and scarce resources in her nearest clinic.”
Underscoring that "poor women like Pratima have to give birth without proper maternal healthcare, leaving them vulnerable to complications, neglect and stillbirth as a result”, the report says, the “country is a top destination for medical tourism”, but at the same time, "levels of public spending on health are some of the lowest in the world.” It adds, “The poorest Indian states have infant mortality rates higher than those in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Noting that in India, “government neglect of public healthcare means the private sector dominates”, the report says, “In South Asia, including India, poor-quality care kills more people than lack of access to treatment and care. The poorest patients either have to cope with very poor public providers or take their chances with an array of unregulated quacks and other private providers, often bankrupting themselves in the process.”
The report continues, “Powerful private health corporations have escalated the cost of government-paid health insurance premiums three and a half times in some states, and threaten to withdraw services if governments do not comply”, adding, “In major cities like Delhi, many private hospital corporations have received free or heavily subsidized land from the government in return for providing free care for poor patients, which they consistently fail to deliver.”
Lamenting that “a number of these same hospital corporations have received substantial financial backing from the private sector investment arm of the World Bank”, the report says, “Eighty percent of payments to the government health insurance scheme go to private providers.”
According to the report, “Evidence across different states confirms unethical and corrupt practices by private providers, include charging the government for bogus patients, refusing free treatment to poor patients, and delivering unnecessary interventions and medication. Perhaps the most horrific example of the latter is that thousands of young Indian women have their uteruses needlessly removed by private healthcare providers because hysterectomies are among the most profitable procedures.”
According to the report, “India is home to the largest number of people pushed into poverty by health expenses; paying for medicines is the chief cause”, adding, “One study in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh found that even low-cost private schools are unaffordable for the poorest 40% of families, with girls and children from lower castes or religious minorities less likely to attend.”

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Tussle between Modi-led BJP govt, Young India 'key to political battle': NAPM

Counterview Desk  In its month-long campaign, civil rights network National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) carried out what it called Young People's Political Persecution and Resistance in “solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy…”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.