The Indian Government Should Incentivise The Rearing Of Girls
No introduction at present. Why not write one?
You can also add to the debate by leaving your comment at the end of the page.
Context and Our plan
Mr. Speaker, let me firstly start the debate with a real context of today’s issue. For a long time in the country of India, we have witnessed a son preference and a neglect of girls. Women conceive female babies through selective abortion and hereby cause an imbalanced sex ratio of boys to girls 100: 80. Though laws have been passed to prohibit abortions, the problem of gender preference still remains due to the strong social practice.
Given the status quo, we believe, more effective approaches should be taken in order to alter the situation. By our definition, to incentivize the rearing of girls means the government financially supports families who raise girls through enhanced education subsidy, state welfare for babies and new mothers and cash reward. Namely we offer free education at a high school level for all the female students. We provide free medical cares for baby girls and new mothers. We also transfer cash as a reward to the bank accounts of those families who raise girls.
We feel that the framework presented by the Proposition is balanced and debatable, but uncomfortably vague.
Several critical elements are missing from the Proposition's plan of free schooling for girls and financial incentives for families. Namely, how does this plan offer advantages to the families of girls in excess of what is already available? The Indian parliament's most recent budget includes several programs designed to increase the resources, specifically including medical and educational resources, available to women and children. Programs exist to provide education to women [[http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2010-11/bh/bh1.pdf]]. Proposition has failed to describe anything more than a vague outline of a proposal, and does not appear to consider how the proposal would interact with existing policy.
Secondly, we would ask the Government at what point do the cash transfers to families of girls occur? Does it happen at birth or a given age? At the age of maturity? Are families required to provide evidence that they have raised the children?
Thirdly, we would ask where the money coming from. This is important because India is projected to run a 5.5% deficit of GDP, a result of dramatic cuts which brought the deficit down from 6.9% the previous year, and has committed itself to reducing the deficit to around 4% by 2012. Taxes, including income taxes have been raised. [[(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/indias-vow-to-tighten-budget-deficit-lift-markets-2010-02-26%5D%5D With the government aware of budget cuts and having raised taxes, money to finance the Prop plan will likely be taken from other social welfare programs. This is important since any new plans would be at the expense of concrete plans in place we can prove are working.
Lastly we would note the question in the debate is not about whether gender equality is good. It is about how to change societal norms. The prop believes direct money gifts can solve, we think organic change and other programs are needed
Defense for Gender Equality
Mr. Speaker, it’s universally accepted that gender equality is one of the fundamental principles that every human being should proudly propose and the neglect of the rearing of girls enhances the discrimination against women.
Gender equality means that everyone is equally entitled to all the rights and freedoms without distinction of sex.
We defend the gender equality, on most occasions, in order to protect women’s rights. Because the female are often disempowered due to the weaker physical condition, negative social practices and religious doctrines, particularly in the developing countries like India.
Why do we defend gender equality? Because we believe in modern time when the prosperity of a country or the happiness of a household is mostly linked people’s knowledge but not the labor, women are no less capable than men and play an equally important role in the society.Furthermore, in certain perspectives, women even play a crucial role that can’t be substituted by men, for example pregnancy.
If we let along the prevailing of son preference, it severely enhances the discrimination against the female in the following ways:
Firstly, it’s a full recognition that girls are actually at a disadvantaged position. It’s a simple logic: we prefer sons, for girls are disempowered. For instance, we want sons, for we assume that sons are more likely to provide financial and emotional care when we’re getting old.
Secondly, it kills the chances for any improvements. If we don’t incentivize the rearing of girls, children grow in an environment in which they witness, feel and even conduct the discrimination. Brothers have good foods, wear fancy clothes and go to better schools, while sisters are often neglected by their parents. When they become parents, they tend to pass along the discrimination.
To tackle the discrimination, we have to do it at the first place. That is to say, there’s no gender preference when you want a baby.
The proposition has taken a bold stance in favor of gender equality. We on the opposition are also in favor of gender equality. The problem with the Proposition's arguments is not so much that they seek poor goals but rather they offer little substance in their plans to get there. If the Proposition truly seeks gender equity then we suggest they actually engage with the issue rather than throwing some money in its general direction. We would have preferred to see the passage of a law, codifying the rights of women to inherit property or engage in business, or perhaps some educational efforts targeted at the patriarchal social structures that too often consign women to second-class citizenship. Unfortunately neither of these was forthcoming and as a result, we have little other than good wishes coming from the Proposition.
Side prop fails to explain why monetary gifts are necessary in order to recognize a disadvantaged position. In fact, the Indian government has acknowledged the problem and attempted to solve it through other means (as we describe in our constructive).
Regarding Prop's second rationale: They seem to be under the impression that the circumstances of women in India have not improved over the last few decades and that the government is standing idly by. Neither of these assertions are true. India has generally been on a positive trajectory in regards to gender equality and has done so by fostering organic change. Proposition has an obligation to tell us why their policies are superior to those already in place.
In order to end gender discrimination the problem must be tackled at the root. However, the root of the problem is largely cultural, not economic. We on side Opposition feel that the arguments we will submit in our independent points offer a more substantial analysis about how the goals expressed by both teams in this debate could be achieved.
A balance sex ratio is esential to social stability
In a genetic perspective, the sex ratio of human population should be 1:1 and this is also a balanced ratio applying with the law of nature.
Obviously, a balanced sex ratio makes it happen that theoretically every man can find a woman for marriage. In a biological perspective, this ensures the human reproduction and furthermore satisfies each side’s sexual desire. In a social perspective, most individual is included in the basic units of the society ---- nuclear families. Through mutual-assistance, every family member is guaranteed with psychological, financial care and thus works and rests normally. With every individual enjoys a normal life within a family, the goal of social stability and sustainable development is reached. A balanced sex ratio lays foundation for all these above.
A serious imblanced sex ratio certainly harms India.
First of all, it contributes to an increase in crime. As an emerging power, Indian society is a highly-competitive in which people live under much pressure along with so many negative emotions. Therefore people are very to feel lonely and helpless without mental and financial care from family. It’s quite possible for people of this sort to conduct crimes when they find that there’s no way out.
Secondly, it incentivizes the human trafficking. For the continuation of family linage which is quite crucial in the Indian culture, people make every effort to form a family. When there’s actually no chance to form a family in common way, they do it by buying a wife. It does happen in China, Indian’s neighboring country which shares with it similar oriental culture, economic situation and imbalanced sex ratio.
Thirdly, it demands for prostitution and thus further weakens women’s social status. Men’s social desires can’t be eradicated. A large number of bachelors are sure to raise the demand for prostitution, for they don’t have wives as regular sexual companion. Prostitution that treats women as sexual tools violates women
Side Prop has restated their goals and their commitment to gender equality. Again, we on side Opp do not argue with the commitment to gender equality so much as we argue with the means by which Prop wants to achieve it. Prop argues that unequal gender ratios lead to crime and prostitution. We feel that the situation is more complicated than this. Many nations, developed and otherwise, with nearly equal sex ratios struggle with crime and prostitution. These problems have roots deeper than gender ratios and we have nothing beyond an assertion from Prop that their plan will solve these problems.
We are somewhat concerned, however, about Prop’s single-minded obsession with making the numbers of women and men line up, in order to achieve the ideal of a nuclear family. To start with, we don’t feel that every man desires a woman for marriage, or vice versa. Some prefer not to be married at all, and Prop’s single minded focus on perpetuating the nuclear family is troubling. More importantly, we on side Opp believe that the terminal goal of the policies under debate should be to protect the rights and freedoms of all people, including women. We worry that policies designed to promote a certain ideal of social structure often trade one form of oppression for another. Governments should not be defining and placing a monetary value on particular models of family. This denies personal autonomy and does nothing to elevate the cause of women, in particular those who choose not to become part of a traditional nuclear family.
If the problem in Indian society, as Prop sees it, is that women are not fully valued as individuals in parts of Indian society, the solution is not to simply pay families to accept the inconvenience of raising a woman. You do not promote rights by attaching a financial value to them, a more direct engagement is necessary. We believe a ground-up approach with limited government intervention like the status quo is a better path to rights promotion
Effectiveness of our policy
We believe our policy is an effective solution to both gender inequality and imbalanced sex ratio.
We empower women by enhanced education subsidy. Women that have gone through high school education or even above, are undoubtedly more financially capable and economically independent. Thus it directly solves the problem that girls can’t support for the aged and girls shrink the family property by dowries. Highly-educated women play more important political and social role in the society, their influence alter the traditional discrimination against the female, for they’re the vivid example that women are no less capable than men. We appreciate the previous success of Indian policies that targeted the education for women, but we also recognize that more actions are in need because of the special meaning of education.
We change imbalanced sex ratio by direct cash reward and social welfare for new mothers. Because we notice that 42% of Indian population is under the international poverty line and it is they that contribute the most to imbalanced sex ratio due to economic concerns (more elaboration please refer to my first two rebuttals). For the state welfare and the cash reward, they’re most likely to raise girls. For they most need the money and welfare. Furthermore, the government funds their daughters education up to a high school level, which means their educated daughters are more likely to financially capable and thus provide care to them.
We witnessed that the opposition are concentrated on attacking the feasibility issue. We believe there’s no need to give too much detail on the policy, for 1. it should be a principle debate. Principle arguments are more convincing. 2. Neither of us are Indian people. Without knowledge of Indian situation, any assumption of details is questionable and we should offer suggestions on the general direction of policy making.
Again the Prop restates its principles and asserts that their plan will work, without clearly explaining how. Please see Opposition argument 5 for a discussion of what cash transfers will really do for female empowerment.
Interestingly, they claim that this should be an argument of principle as opposed to practice. We find this quite interesting since Prop has decided to uphold the principle of gender equality. Does this mean that we on side Opp are obligated to stand on inequality and subservience of women? We would argue that this is hardly fair ground, nor a debate that advances the level of discourse or engages people in bettering the world.
A debate purely on principles does not have much value, especially when its about implementing a policy. A noble principle can lead to an ineffective policy, or even an unjust one. Tyrants over the world claim noble principles as they oppress their people. The key difference lies in how the principle is translated into policy. We feel that it is not too much to ask for a team that has 24 hours and access to the internet to do a bit of research about the subject of their debate (as has side Opp) and provide a modicum of explanation about how the proposed policies are likely to function in the real world. We think that it’s entirely reasonable for a team that seeks to commit India to a major new spending program (several of them in fact) to be able to explain how these programs will interact with India’s concrete commitment to cut budget deficits to 4% of GDP by 2012. A team that proposes changes to education should have a rough idea what educational systems are already in place.
The fact that many of the recipients of aid are poor makes little difference in this round when the Indian government, in order to meet its aggressive deficit targets will likely fund these new programs from existing, more effective ones. Moreover, Prop's mandate is to resolve child gender disparities, not engage in a general poverty-reduction
A good debate contains an mutually-agreed CONTEXT and clashes happening about PLAN, JUSTIFICATION, CONSEQUENCE AND EFFECTIVENESS.In this debate, the proposition side fulfilled their role by providing a debatable context agreed by the opposition, plan, justification, consequence and effectiveness, while the opposition side merely provides an all-ready-existed plan and questions on feasibility.
Context: son preference in India. This is agreed by the opposition.
Plan: incentivizing the rearing of girls by 1.enhanced education subsidy, 2.state welfare (for baby girls and new mothers) and 3. Cash reward. This is justifiable, feasible and furthermore, brings great benefits as is proved in the following part of the speech.
The opposition provides a counter policy: legislation on gender equality and no incentive plans. However there is already a mature legislation on gender equality both domestically in India and internationally, but currently it’s unfeasible to enforce the law.
Justification: Defense for Gender Equality. The last two approaches let more people to give birth to baby girls, thus eradicate people’s recognition of discrimination against girl at the first place. The First approach changes girl’s life by free education up to a high school level, for high level education makes them more economically independent and play a more important social or political role.
At this most crucial point of the debate, we didn’t see any opposition engagement. They may say something on equal right to education. But there was just no rebuttal on this.
Consequence: A Balanced Sex Ratio. By conducting our plan, people in India, especially that 42% under the international poverty line, will be greatly incentivized to give birth to girls and raising them, because they originally prefer sons due to economic concerns (namely, son marries a girl with dowries thus adds up to family property and now they get money and welfare by raising a girl. This greatly balance the sex ratio and contributes to social stability, for more and more individuals live in families which satisfy their biological needs (reproduction, sexual desires) and social needs.
On this point, the opposition side just asserts that because the prostitution is profitable, so it’s impossible to solve it by a balanced sex ratio. But we want to remind you, the prostitution is profitable due the demand for it. More bachelors, stronger demand. What we’re doing is greatly reducing this demand and thus solves the prostitution problem.
The proposition has fully elaborated the feasibility of our plan at the summary above. There’re several flaws about questions on effectiveness from the opposition:
1. Germany is different from India: Financial incentives attract poor Indian people
2. Son preference has an economic root, not a cultural one: Financial incentive solves the poor’s economic concern
3. We improve and enhance the original incentives and it doesn't overlap,
Financial Incentives vs. Cultural Values
Financial incentives to change people's reproductive behavior have been attempted in Europe with little success. Germany Kindergeld policy is particularly generous, giving 184€/month for 1 child and 558€/month for 3 until the children are at least 18 (regardless of gender). This is very similar to the Proposition plan (as children already receive free schooling and medical care in Germany), but the birthrate has declined.
The Germany Ministry of Statistics reported that the birthrate in 1970, 5 years before Kindergeld began, the birthrate per woman was 2.0. In 2005, despite ever increasing Kindergeld, the rate had dropped to 1.35. This trend is mirrored across all other European nations. [[http://www.destatis.de/jetspeed/portal/cms/Sites/destatis/Internet/DE/Content/Publikationen/Fachveroeffentlichungen/Bevoelkerung/BroschuereGeburtenDeutschland,property=file.pdf]]
Of incredible significance is that the decline in birth rates is relatively even across all socioeconomic groups in Germany, indicating that even people with a low or no income do not have children for the sole purpose of receiving more money!
This example is significant in relation to the Proposition's plan because simply throwing money at a problem does not change the underlying causes of it. Just as parents do not want to extra responsibility in their already busy lives in Europe, parents in India have cultural reasons for avoiding female children that have roots far deeper than a simple economic calculus.
When women get married in areas with gender disparities, they become a part of their husband's family, enforcing their patriarchal society. As one Hindu saying goes, "Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbors’ garden." Changing such entrenched beliefs will not happen through a few years of extra money from the Government.
First of all, we say, German case does not apply for India.
Germany is a developed country with GDP per capita 40,874 US dollar and a “luxury” state welfare system. High education, no financial worries about the life after retirement and some other typical elements of a developed society all contribute to a low birth rate. Comparing with the burden of rearing a child, incentive programs are not attractive at all to a German with average Income.
India, on the other hand is a developing country with only GDP per capita 2,941 US dollar and poor state welfare system. Moreover, 42 percent of the Indian population is under the international poverty line. Apparently incentive programs in terms of education, medical care and cash transfer are highly-attractive to them.
Secondly, we say, the problem is India is completely different from that in Germany. Here in India, there’s a strong willingness of reproduction, for they need son to provide financial care when they’re old, in the absence of a good state welfare system. By incentivize the girl rearing, we reduce the initial burden of the rearing of girls and thus more money are saved for the aged. In addition, we will have more educated girls who are also capable of caring for the aged.
Thirdly, son preference is seemingly cultural, but essentially economic. India, the social practice coercively requires the girl’s family to provide dowries when they are married away. The social practice coercively requires the woman to completely become a member of his husband’s family and contribute to them, so the wives cant’ provide financial care to their own parents. This is the primary reason accounting for the son preference according to an report published by International Center for Women Research.(1) Both dowries and financial care are economic issues and we’re targeting their financial concerns.
This Plan Overlaps and Conflicts with Existing, Successful Indian Policies
Prop's plan is not only redundant with some current government programs but is also wasteful of worthwhile government funds. For example, the plan pays for the education of young girls up through the high school level. This is targeting a problem that has been addressed with significant success. Currently, the rates for primary school enrollment among young girls and young boys are 88% and 91% respectively in 2007. This is a drastic change from the year 2000 when it was 72% and 86%, a 14% disparity. Furthermore, in 1998 only 61% of girls enrolled finished primary school, compared to 77% of boys. This gap has also closed to 92% and 95% respectively[[http://databank.worldbank.org/ddp/home.do]]. Additional policies in the same area are inefficient and the additional bureaucracy risks disrupting this positive trend.
Prop proposes creating a new government program which pays for education up through high school regardless of the actual need of the family. There are currently at least 27 ministries in the Indian government (account for almost 5% of total budget expenditure) that are allocated to providing programs for female empowerment, and of these most are taking a targeted approach that identifies actual needs within communities. [[http://wcd.nic.in/gbman/powerpoint/third.ppt]] Side Prop does not tell us how their plan will be different than any of these existing plans.
At best, Prop's plan is likely to be redundant when combined with existing policy and therefore a waste of money. At worst, it will work against established, valuable programs and actively cause harm.
This plan does not overlap. The opposition has provided us with statistics indicating high enrolment in primary education, but when it comes to high school education there’s no evidence for success. Our education subsidy provides, but not limited to, free high school education for girls. We feel that current primary education subsidy is not strong enough to tackle the discrimination against girl, therefore we propose an “enhanced education subsidy for girls”.
Our plan further improves the existing polices. It’s education that we provide as empowerment of women. Women that have gone through high school education or even above, are undoubtedly more financially capable and economically independent. Thus it directly solves the problem that girls can’t support for the aged and girls shrink the family property by dowries. Highly-educated women play more important political and social role in the society, their influence alter the traditional discrimination against the female, for they’re the vivid example that women are no less capable than men.
Our plan is comprehensive. It also provides medical care and cash reward for new mothers. This is a direct and strong incentive that makes people to give birth to baby girls. Because 42%(1) percent of the Indian population is under international poverty line, it’s those people who have strong son preference because of financial concerns and it’s those people who are desperately in need of money and state welfare. Our policy directly targets the problem.
1.^ ."New Global Poverty Estimates — What it means for India". World Bank. http://www.worldbank.org.in/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/SOUTHASIAEXT/INDIAEXTN/0,,contentMDK:21880725~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:295584,00.html.
Plan Replaces Self-Reliance with Reliance on the Government
One of the goals of the 2010-2011 budget is to have over 50% of rural women enrolled in Women's Self Help Groups by offering incentives to banks and individuals who join. The groups are usually made up of 10-20 women who come together to pool resources and make small interest loans to others of the group based on need. These groups have grown to form larger SHG Federations, which have become popular and are financially backed by large banks. These groups have even become involved in dispute resolution, arbitration, and political offices/campaigns, roles that were historically assumed by men. [[http://www.aptsource.in/admin/resources/1273818040_SHGs-keystone-paper.pdf]] We feel that this sort of development better advances the cause of gender equality because it attempts to empower women to take collective action within their community as opposed to simply setting them up to receive handouts.
Prop's plan may undercut these efforts or compete against them for scarce resources (recall that India is attempting to drastically reduce budget deficits). If girls and women believe their needs are met by the government safety net, then they, and their communities, have little incentive to form these collectives. We feel these programs have a track record of success. At best, the shuffling of resources will result in no net gain for the people of India. At worst, this could derail some of the successful social and educational programs within the country.
The two plans are not mutually exclusive. They share the same ultimate goal of gender equality, but they do it in different ways. Women’s Self-help Group promotes gender equality by poverty reduction, while we do it by altering son preference. Furthermore, besides gender equality, our plan also changes the imbalanced gender ratio. We see that both problems worth our efforts.
In term of scarce financial resources, the two plans do not conflict with each other. The Women’s Self-Help Group programs are conducted in the way that a certain Banks provide small interests loans to the rural women. For those non-state-owned banks, like Grammeen Banks which designed this model of poverty reduction, their loans are not included by the national budget. Even if the majority of the loans come from the national banks, they’re just loans. The Rural women just borrow them and will pay back with interest. So we still got spare money for our plan.
India Should Prefer Gender-Neutral Policies
The position of the side Prop is an overall detriment to female upward mobility in India. If a government seeks to break down discriminatory barriers, then it should not actively engage in discrimination. Prop’s plan does not level the playing field, it simply changes the angle of its tilt.
We understand that some extent of financial or social benefits are necessary to redress historical oppression, but whenever possible, governments should seek to end gender-inequality by utilizing gender-neutral policies rather than picking sides. The plan proposed by Prop will simply exacerbate resentment of women by men who see taxpayer funds preferentially directed towards women. Those who seek to continue the oppression of women will use it as a rallying cry to preserve the traditional norms that deny women full freedoms. It’s possible that in some cases, female children will be more valued for the money they bring in from the government than for their own personhood.
On side Opp, we support the existing Indian female empowerment proposals as a necessary transition step, but seek to begin moving towards a non-discriminatory policy. We would suggest that laws be passed to guarantee all people’s rights, including women, to run business, inherit property, perpetuate family names and make all life decisions autonomously. We support educational programs that seek to spread this concept of rights throughout India and we support strong enforcement of anti-discrimination policies. If India truly seeks to improve the cause of gender equality, then we feel that it should start by rejecting further laws that make boys and girls unequal.
The key difference is that Prop inadvertently increases the social divide between men and women by increasing the preferential treatment for one side. We on side Opp seek to move beyond this inherently oppositional concept of rights and move towards a future in which expression of rights by one group does not disadvantage another.
First of all, a self-contradiction is witnessed in this opposition argument. They on one hand regard our women empowerment plan as a discriminatory police that biasedly benefits women too much. On the other, they have recognized the success of some other women empowerment plans in their previous argument, like Women’s Self-Help Group.
Secondly, we believe there’s a necessity for the state to pass this motion as an affirmative action for the female. Because women are at a disadvantaged position, in reality they don’t enjoy the same right as men in terms of education, employment and social recognition. Furthermore, it’s absolutely necessary to defend gender equality as is elaborated by our second argument and agreed by the opposition. Therefore, we take this affirmative action as an effective solution. This is also why in some western parliaments, we make sure there’s a certain minimum proportion of female member.
Thirdly, they propose to settle the discrimination problem by legislation. We say, the current obstacle is not about the absence of law that defends gender equality, it’s that there’s no effective enforcement of law. India is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As a democratic country, India’s constitution and laws guarantees that both men and women are equally entitled to run business, inherit property, perpetuate family names and make all life decisions autonomously. However, there’s no effective enforcement of these laws due to the strong social practice. Therefore, we provide financial solutions.
The Plan Will Actually Increase Trafficking and Exploitation of Women
Side Prop is concerned about the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women, as are we. These atrocities take root when a society finds more value in women as economic objects than as people. The cash transfer scheme does little to increase women’s value as people but explicitly and dramatically increases their value as economic objects. This plan does not reduce or create any disincentive for exploitation of women or girls, but it does guarantee a revenue stream from doing so.
We have seen examples of false charities taking in “orphans” and subsequently selling them into the sex or domestic labor trade [[http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/India.htm]] [[http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/CBI_goes_after__foster_parents_in_child_racket/articleshow/3037980.cms]] . The cash transfers now make this business more lucrative; female children would net their captors or abusive families a government stipend in addition to their earnings as a laborer or prostitute. Families in many parts of India have already shown themselves to be more interested in economics than the lives of their daughters (hence, the current problems). The plan does not cause families to be any more concerned about their daughters as people but rather now increases their worth as an asset.
In some traditional cultures, women are used as tender to settle debts, through forced marriages, or worse. Prop specifically states that the cash transfers are to the families, not the girls themselves (Prop did not respond to a POI requesting clarification). This reinforces the powerlessness of women relative to their families and only reinforces their families' potential gain from economic exploitation. With the addition of cash, there would be an increased incentive reason to exploit this renewable resource. We on side Opp feel that this behavior is dehumanizing and deplorable and the risk of increased objectification and exploitation is, by itself, sufficient reason to side with the Opposition.
The opposition asserts that by giving money as a support of the rearing of girls, is actually increasing women’s value as objective. We don’t see any link between these.
We believe, it’s just like we provide the state welfare to the homeless and the aged. It’s an justifiable affirmative action in order to defend the gender equality and balance the sex ratio.
Moreover, the opposition asserts that prostitution can’t be reduced by a balanced sex ratio. We say, the prostitution exist because there’s a demand for it. More bachelors, stronger the demand. Our plan reduces the demand by reducing the number of bachelors
Prop's Plan Consists Largely of Measures That Are Already in Place, But Have Failed to Solve the Problem;
The measures suggested by Prop, for the most part, have already been enacted. While they accomplish some valuable objectives, they have failed to resolve the problem of gender disparities among children.
Their health care initiative for baby girls, for example, is already covered by the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme, which provides health care and nutrition services to children aged 0-6 [[http://wcd.nic.in/icds.htm]].
Prop's plan to give free High School to females has also already been tried. School through age 16 has been provided free of charge to all children since 2009 [[http://education.nic.in/Elementary/free%20and%20compulsory.pdf]] Other programs provide even more years of education to disadvantaged groups and many girls. The gender gap in high school is closing as well [[http://databank.worldbank.org/ddp/home.do]]. At this point, lack of access to schools and a shortage of qualified teachers is a more likely cause of lower enrollment, and the current system is absorbing all that it can. Government's policy does not do anything that has not already been done and certainly does not help the immediate problem of disproportionate gender division.
While these plans are unlikely to provide positive results they will definitely come with a high price tag. The cash grants to families of girls in particular, will be ruinously expensive. There are tens, perhaps even hundreds of millions of families that could qualify for cash. The subsidy must be substantial enough to convince families to raise a daughter they might not otherwise want. Even at a comparatively low level, say $20 per month, this quickly sums to tens of billions of dollars per year, or over 1% of Indian GDP [[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/in.html]]. Prop has ducked the issue of India's firm commitment to deficit reduction. Where will the money come from? We feel that it will likely come from other social programs, at great harm to the Indian people.
Here again we witnessed the opposition’s meaningless question
feasibility and a severe neglect on principle issues.
Firstly, even if there is already free education up to a high school level in India,(We strong doubt that), the policy was adopted last year. We believe it’s too early to judge whether it’s successful or not within only one-year time.
Secondly, they provide a very ridiculous logic, because in the short-term the government wants to reduce the budget deficit, so it’s justifiable for them to neglect gender inequality and unbalance sex ratio.
Proposition's arguments boil down to three main points that we will address in detail below. The arguments presented by the Opposition have clearly demonstrated that none of their points are strong enough to win this round and that Prop's plan will likely lead to reduced social services for the poor and an increase in the exploitation of women. Beyond that, the stronger analysis and research is solidly on side Opposition.
Prop's first argument was that their principles were noble. They (like Opp) stand solidly in favor of gender equality. Our arguments have made clear that high principles alone are neither sufficient to cause social change nor worthy of winning a debate round. If principle alone were sufficient to win rounds then every debate on global warming would be won by the first team to say "We should put less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." The question of how to achieve these principles cannot be separated from the principle itself when government action is concerned. Prop has been unwilling, or unable, to engage on the critical issue of implementation.
Second, Prop proposes a generic mix of education and health benefits to families. Most, if not all, of these measures have already been enacted by India and while quite effective at raising school enrollment and helping the poor, they have failed to resolve the problem of gender disparity. Side Prop has also declined to address the issue of funding, despite evidence of severe budget pressure. This leaves us with Prop's assurance that funding won't come from other social programs. We argue such a system of increased subsidies and cash transfers cannot exist given current financial constraints in India. Taxes are increasing and programs being cut; new funding will likely come from programs we have proven to be effective.
Finally, we have one novel element of Prop’s plan, the cash transfers. There are two problems here: First, Prop has not demonstrated whether cash transfers are actually an incentive to raise children. Our evidence from Germany, an imperfect but still useful analog, says they are not. The second problem is that giving monetary value to women also increases the incentive to exploit them. We worry about false orphanages taking in girls, claiming subsidies for child support and ultimately exploiting them for prostitution or domestic labor. Such schemes already occur and become even more profitable under Prop's plan. Families in cultures that use women to pay debts, through forced marriage or slavery, now find even more value to exploit. The incentive created by cash transfers ultimately harms the cause of women's empowerment.
In this round, the Proposition took on the burden of solving the issue of gender disparity. They have proposed a mix of existing policies that have already failed to solve the plight of women and financial incentives that will be counterproductive. With little potential benefit and so much risk, a vote for the Opposition is the clear choice.
What do you think?