Trust between Indian Couples reduces

The number of joint housing loans taken by men and women for purchase of property have fallen by over a staggering 99% in the period of 2009 – 2012, an RTI by Vaastav Foundation has revealed. Typically, an investment in a house is a long term investment and consists of a major portion of the total household investment. Over the past few years, the joint loans taken by men and women to purchase a house has seen a drastic reduction, signifying an erosion of mutual trust between them. The percentage reduction in the number of joint housing loans between men and women is shown below in the graph –

Reduction of Joint Housing Loans by 99% during 209-2012 period

The drastic reduction of mutual trust between couples is a matter of concern and should be investigated into. ‘Family’ is the very fabric of our social existence. The family bond is a bond of trust and erosion of this trust is erosion of the very essence of the family bond. We must introspect on the reasons of this erosion of trust between couples sooner than later to ensure family peace and harmony and continuity of our social fabric of existence.

 Let us all Stand Up for a Cause ….

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Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act (Short Update)

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Photo credit: alvaro tapia hidalgo

This is a short update to the detailed analysis of the Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Act. As per news reports, the Act was notified on December 9, 2013 and has come into effect.

Recently there were many debates in the media that this law could be misused by women to settle scores as there were hardly any punishments prescribed in the act in case of false allegations. A new rule has been stipulated which states that in case of false allegations or an allegation with a malicious intent by the woman; she stands to lose her job. This is seen as putting a safeguard in the act against misuse.

Let us delve deeper into the clause of the Act. Firstly, as per section 14 of the Act, a false complaint is one which is backed by ‘forged documents’ or by ‘malicious intent’.

Forged Documents: Sexual Harassment complaints are typically accusations, and generally would not have any documentary evidence. Hence, the false complaint backed by forged documents will hardly ever be the case.

Malicious Intent: The complaint may also be termed as false if there is a malicious intent in filing the same. For proving malicious intent, the defendant (ie. Man/accused) has to prove that the women had no ‘reasonable and probable cause’ and ‘instituted the complaint without a just cause’. Proving a malicious intent is many times challenging.

Further, if the woman is unable to substantiate her accusation, it would not be termed as a false compliant and would not be a ground to initiate an action against the women. In essence, to show that the complaint was false, the accused person has to prove either of the 2 ingredients above, mere acquittal from the accusation is not enough.

Further, as per section 16, this Act is specially kept outside the purview of RTI Act. The details of false / fabricated cases will not be available and cannot be made public. The identity of the woman is protected even if she has filed a false case.

Therefore, the punishment prescribed for false cases is not a deterrent, due to the following reasons –

• Proving that the accusation was false is very difficult, as it can be done only if complaint is filed on the back of forged documents or with malicious intent. Both these ingredients are difficult to prove. Further, if the woman is unable to substantiate her complaint it does not amount to a false allegation.

• The identity of the woman is protected even if she files a false case. Hence, even if she loses her job due to a false allegation, her identity cannot be disclosed to the public and there is no backlash for her. She may move further and take up employment easily at another organization. The situation is completely different for the man, his identity is made public and he is open to media trials (even in case of false complaints). In case he loses his job, finding another one will be almost impossible.

In essence, just an accusation by the woman will destroy a man’s life with hardly any consequences whatsoever for the woman in case of fabricated / false complaints.

How can we say that this law is Just and Fair and not open to misuse?

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

IrBM Arguments in Media (Part 3)

Picture of the "Gingerbread House" i...

This is the third part to the series of Irretrievable Break-down of Marriage (IrBM) Arguments in the media[i]. The Part 1 and Part 2 of the article can be found here and here.

Another interesting argument promulgated in the media for passing the Marriage Law Amendment is that women donot own any assets and post a divorce are on the streets to fend for themselves.

The argument seems to state that women donot own any assets and hence should get an equal share in an asset which the husband has created. This share is to ensure the safety of women.

Let us analyse this statement in-depth based on the assets majorly owned by Men and Women in India.

Men

Women

  1. Own a House
  1. Own Jewellery (Also classified as Stree Dhan)
  2. Also own a House
  • Jewellery: The jewellery in India can typically be classified as
    • Gold Jewellery: India is the largest consumer of gold for jewellery purposes and it is estimated consumed roughly 745.7 metric tonnes of gold in 2010 for jewellery manufacturing[ii]. (ie. Approximately 7,45,700 kgs of gold). This amounts to approximately Rs. 2.23 lakh crores (ie. ~US$ 37.3 bn)[iii]
    • Diamond Jewellery: As per a Bain & Co. report, India consumes approximately US$ 8.5 bn of Diamond Jewellery annually[iv].
    • Silver Jewellery: It is estimated that India consumes approximately 3,700 metric tonnes of silver annually for ornamental items such as jewellery, utensils and gift items[v].  (ie. Approximately 37,00,000 kgs of gold). This amount to approximately 16.6 thousand crores (ie. ~US$ 2.8 bn)[vi]

Therefore, gold, silver and diamond consumption in India for ornamental purposes totals to US$ 48.6 bn on an annual basis.

  • Houses: The real estate sector which consists of residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and SEZs was about US$ 50.7 bn for FY 2011[vii]. Of the total real estate sector, women do hold a decent share of housing stock. This data can be estimated from the housing loans given to women as a percentage of total housing loans. As per an RTI[viii] by Vaastav Foundation on Union Bank of India, on an average 19.6% of the women were given housing loans as a percentage of total loans disbursed. As houses are typically purchased by way of housing loans, it can be said that approximately 19.6% of the houses are held by women.

Therefore of the total real estate sector of US$ 50.7 bn about US$ 9.9 bn is consumed by women and US$ 40.8 bn by men.

The Summary of the yearly consumption of assets between men and women for India is given below:

Particulars

Men

(US$ Bn)

Women

(US$ Bn)

Real Estate

40.8

9.9

Gold

37.3

Diamonds

8.5

Silver

2.8

Total

40.8

58.5

As can be seen in the above table, on a yearly basis, women acquire approximately US$ 58.5 bn of assets as compared to approximately US$ 40.8 bn of assets by men. Therefore, the idea that women donot hold ‘any’ assets does not seem to be backed by data, instead the data shows that substantial assets are held by women of India.

In developed nations of the world such as Sweden and Germany, the properties of husband and wife are treated separately and only joint contributed property is treated as marital property. Hence, only the marital property is divided in the case of separation. This comes from the tenet that all able bodied persons should be liable for their own upkeep[ix].

Do you still support IrBM?


[i] IrBM is a marriage amendment law currently being proposed in the parliament

[iii] At Gold Price of Rs. 30,000 /10 gms and an exchange rate of 1 US$=Rs.60

[v] India’s Consuming Interest in Silver by Rajan Venkatesh, http://www.lbma.org.uk/assets/alch28_india.pdf

[vi] Silver prices of Rs. 45,000 /1 kg and an exchange rate of 1US$ = Rs. 60

[vii] IBEF- Real Estate, August 2013, page 6 and 36, http://www.ibef.org/download/real-estate-august-2013.pdf (adjusted for exchange rate of 1 US$ = Rs. 60)

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