The commencement of a passenger ferry service between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, which marks the fulfilment of a long-standing demand for the revival of a sea link. It highlights the historical disruptions caused by the civil war and cyclone, and the impact on transportation between the two countries.
A passenger ferry service has started between Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka's Northern Province and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu.
The service fulfills a long-standing demand for a sea link across the Palk Strait.
The civil war in Sri Lanka disrupted traditional maritime routes, leading to a lack of movement of people and goods.
Previous ferry services between Colombo and Thoothukudi did not last long due to a lack of patronage.
The cyclone in December 1964 and the civil war ended multiple transport links, forcing reliance on air services.
The Chennai-Jaffna air service resumed ten months ago, with an estimated 10,000 Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka over six months.
A private cruise service in Chennai has facilitated visits by 6,000 passengers to Sri Lanka.
The new ferry service will strengthen cultural, economic, and civilizational ties between the two countries.
It will also improve cooperation in disaster management and maritime security.
The service may enable the voluntary repatriation of thousands of Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu.
The Nagapattinam-Kankesanthurai ferry service is set to resume normal operations in January after a few days of operation this month.
Authorities in India need to take steps to ensure the sustainability of the ferry service, as the current fare of ₹7,670 is not competitive enough compared to air fares.
Increasing the baggage allowance of 50 kg would be beneficial for passengers.
Amenities at Nagapattinam port, such as a dormitory, and improving rail connectivity at Nagapattinam should be addressed to attract passengers from Sri Lanka who may want to visit Chennai.
Sri Lanka should consider promoting economic ties, including exports from the Northern Province, to balance the asymmetrical bilateral relationship.
Sustained policy attention is crucial for the success of the ferry service, as Nagapattinam is an economically backward area.
The governments of both countries need to ensure that the Nagapattinam-Kankesanthurai ferry service does not face the same fate as the Thoothukudi-Colombo service.
The importance of valuing and supporting women's work in India. It highlights the unpaid domestic services that women often engage in and the implications it has on their economic participation and well-being.
Women's work, especially care work, needs to be appropriately valued and supported for India to achieve its economic ambitions.
The first national Time Use Survey in India found that 81.2% of women are engaged in unpaid domestic services, compared to 26.1% of men.
Women spend significantly more time on household maintenance and care for children, the sick, and the elderly compared to men.
This leads to working women facing a "double burden" of working outside the home while still having household responsibilities.
Women's unpaid work contributes to 7.5% of GDP, according to an SBI report.
Despite their significant contributions, women's unpaid work is not counted in official economic estimates.
India should advocate for changes in the internationally defined System of National Accounts to incorporate the value of women's work.
Women's work is often unpaid and invisible, which has implications for labor and employment policies.
Women in India work 1.5 hours longer a day than men, mostly in
Low-income women often work without support and their work patterns are seasonal and irregular.
Domestic obligations and childcare responsibilities keep women from regular employment.
Children are often exposed to dangerous conditions at construction sites where their mothers work.
This endangers their lives and health, affecting their brain development.
Efforts and public funds directed towards education, health, and skilling are built on a weak base.
The Anganwadi system is the world's largest public system for child services, reaching 80 million children through 1.4 million centers.
The Anganwadi centers function best in rural areas where community members participate together.
However, the centers are only open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so additional care options are needed for women to work a full eight-hour day.
The National Creche Scheme operates nearly 6,500 creches across the country, providing a solution for working mothers.
Creches help mothers build stable careers and provide a safe environment for children.
The private sector recognizes the need for childcare services and the industry is estimated to be worth ₹31,256 crore, expected to grow at 11.2% CAGR till 2028.
There is a need for the public sector to increase its efforts to provide high-quality child services to all and counteract income inequality.
The women's labor force participation rate in India is 32.8% according to government sources and 24% according to the World Bank, compared to other countries like China, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan.
To empower women and increase the labor force participation rate, myths around women's work must be dispelled and appropriate support must be provided.