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Will India finally allow power corridor to Bangladesh to import electricity from Nepal?

By Samara Ashrat*  Bangladesh needs transition from conventional energy sources to ensure its energy security and long-term sustainability in the near future. Given the supply chain disruption followed by the Ukraine crisis, energy security has become a major concern for developing and least-developed countries. As the sources are becoming scarce and prices are becoming volatile, these countries are finding it difficult to navigate without cooperation. In this context, cross-border energy cooperation and revitalizing the idea of the power corridor can help Bangladesh to mitigate energy shortage. During Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India on September 2022, Bangladesh requested that it be allowed to import power from Nepal and Bhutan via India. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) sought approval from the Indian authorities to export 40-50 MW of electricity to Bangladesh through India’s existing transmission infrastructure. In August 2022, Bangladesh and Nepal
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Human rights leader blames BSF for migrant worker's death off Assam-Bangladesh border

Family members of the deceased By Our Representative  A senior human rights defender has complained of "barbaric, illegitimate and unjustified killing" of a young migrants worker, Musa Miah, at the Indo-Bangladesh border district of Dhubri in Assam, allegedly by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, claiming, "This incident again proves our stand that the BSF resorted in reign of terror and systematic killing of innocents at Indo-Bangladesh border and enjoying full impunity."

Demand to lift ban on Modi documentary 'not blanket endorsement' of BBC, British rule

Counterview Desk  In a public statement on censorship of the BBC documentary “India: the Modi Question”, a group of Indian scientists and academics, expressing dismay at the government's decision to censor the documentary and the actions taken by University administrations to stop its screening, has said, “Our criticism of censorship should not be interpreted as a blanket endorsement of the BBC or of the British establishment.”

Tughlaqabad demolitions can devastate poor families, 'probably even cause' deaths

By Bharat Dogra*  Thousands of people in Tughlaqabad, Delhi, will become homeless if the demolition notices served by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are carried out within the next few days. These are working class poor people who pooled their savings and incurred debts in order to be able to somehow arrange their present shelter here. The threatened demolition is likely to take place in cold weather at a time when exams of children are close by.

Modi govt 'assaults' on rural workers' rights, moves towards 'killing' NREGA programme

Counterview Desk  Advocacy groups Peoples' Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG) and NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM) have said that considering the estimated pending liabilities of this current year, only Rs 50,600 crore will be remaining for expenditure for implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Consequently, they note, only 16.64 days of work per active household can be generated for FY 23-24. “If we consider all 16 crore registered households (HHs), the days will further decrease to just 10 days. Additionally, the allocation for FY 2023-24 as a percentage of the GDP is around 0.198% which is the lowest ever in the history of NREGA. This unjust allocation by the Modi government is an assault on rights of rural workers and is a step towards killing the programme”, they said in a statement. “NREGA workers and their supporters from across the country will gather in Delhi to protest for 100 days starting from February 6 under the banner of NREGA Sangharsh

'Worrying': Share of health in total Union budget declines further from 2.26% to 2.06%

Counterview Desk  The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), a network of various peoples organisations across India working on people’s health issues, has regretted that not only the Union Health Budget 2023-24 continues to fall, the National Health Mission (NHM) and health research have been neglected, while the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) continues to be promoted despite low utilisation. In a statement, it said, the health budget falls flat “because it has completely overlooked the lessons of the Covid-19 epidemic and fails to allocate much-needed increases in allocations for public health system strengthening”, even as neglecting services for women and children and the mental health programme. Text: While the Central Government claims that “India has emerged a shining star”, “showing signs of robust viability”, we find that the Union Budget allocations for the health sector have declined further, making it the second year in a row to have witnessed sharp budgetary cuts in crucia

Nothing further needs be done: Sardar Patel on Nehru allowing UN to settle Kashmir issue

Ram Puniyani*  There has been overwhelming response to the Bharat Jodo Yatra in its final phase in Kashmir. At the same time, some writers and commentators have used the occasion for Nehru bashing, blaming him for the difficult situation created there. Some have used this to create a binary between Nehru and Patel yet again, stating that had Patel handled the issue it would have been ‘solved’. This understanding is not only na├»ve, accusatory but also far from truth. This only aims to further the BJP-RSS narrative on the troubled past and painful present. As India was to gain Independence from colonial rule, the princely states were given the option to either merge with India or Pakistan or even to remain Independent. Most of the princely states could be merged with ease. The problem remained with Hyderabad and Kashmir. Hyderabad was merged to India through the police action (Operation Polo), while issue of J&K became more complicated due to its geographical proximity with Pakistan

'Numbers gamble': Why no one should be thrilled with 12%, 33% rise in SC, ST budget

By Sanjeev Kumar*  The Union Budget 2023-24 is Rs 45,05,097 crore, an increase of 14% over the budget estimate of 2022-23, Rs 39,44,909 crore For Scheduled Castes, it is around a 12% increase; in the year 2023-24, it is Rs 1,59,126 crore compared to Rs 1,42,342 crore in the year 2022-23. For Scheduled Tribes, it is about 33%; in 2023-24, it is Rs 1,19,510 crore compared to Rs 89,265 crore in the year 2022-23.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

Civil rights fact-finding team seeking probe in aerial bombing detained in Chhattisgarh

Counterview Desk In a sharply worded statement, the civil rights group Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), New Delhi, has objected to the fact finding team of the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) comprising of 25 members from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Delhi being stopped at Dobbatota town in Sukma District of Chhattisgarh at midday 1st Feb, 2023.