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Terming Modi's effort to rival China difficult and slim, FT cites closure of Nokia plant in Chennai as example

By Our Representative In an year-end commentary, premier British business daily, “Financial Times”, has termed prime minister Narendra Modi's dream to redouble “India’s efforts to rival China by turning into a global manufacturing hub” as “important to his country’s future” but insists, it is “difficult to achieve”. Written by James Crabtree in the column “Inside Business” and titled “Modi faces uphill battle in mission to see India rival China”, the commentary arrives at this conclusion by saying that “India’s manufacturing frailty is well documented.”

Action Aid-supported Gujarat study says, despite 10-year campaign one-fourth of widows get govt pension

Participants at the conference on single women in Ahmedabad Counterview Desk Representing single women, mainly widows and divorced poor women, Ekal Nari Shakti Manch (ENSM), a Gujarat-based non-government organization (NGO), has said that despite its decade-old campaign, just about 27 per cent eligible widows are able to get pension they are eligible to get. Results of a survey of single women in Gujarat by the ENMS – which is supported by high-profile NGO Action Act that has its head office in Johannesburg and branches all over the world – say that of the 1,714 widows it interviewed just 465 get pension.

Govt "indifferent" towards suffering farmers: Modi refused to meet Gujarat ministers on cotton price issue

Saurashtra farmers' leaders discussion plan of action By Our Representative Three non-political farmers’ organizations, Saurashtra Khedut Ladat Samiti, Khedut Samaj Gujarat, and Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha, have come together to ask the Gujarat government to add “bonus package” to the minimum support price (MSP) being offered to farmers by the Government of India for different farmers’ products, especially cotton, in order to protect them from being ruined. They have declared, if this is not done, they would be forced to "disrupt" the Vibrant Gujarat Business Summit, to take place on January 11-12 in Gandhinagar to attract foreign investment.

Ordinance meant to forcibly acquire 3.9 lakh hectares of land for Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor: NAPM

By Our Representative The Cabinet decision approving the Ordinance amending the land acquisition Act 2013, even before the law has been actually implemented on the ground, has been described as “completely unacceptable”, reminding one of “the anti-democratic and authoritarian streak of the NDA government”. In a statement, the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), the apex body of several mass organisations operating across India, wondered what was the “emergency” for the NDA to take the Ordinance route.

Even eyes can reveal a lot: When village women read the intent of lustful man

By Gagan Sethi*  This was my first experience in sexual harassment at workplace. It happened in 1983 at Golana, which shot into prominence in 1986 because of the brutal attack on our Dalit colleagues leading to the death of four. The issues were getting land for housing, minimum wages, and refusal to accept insult and humiliation suffered by them for generations. But more about this later. In 1983 we set up a cooperative in Golana. Situated in the Bhal region of Anand district in Central Gujarat, it is here that river Sabarmati meets the Gulf of Khambhat. The land allocated to us for running the cooperative was along the river. It was part saline and part productive. We decided to grow vegetables, and also some fodder, and get women to take control of the initiative . The target group was Dalits of the village. After much discussion, we agreed that women were more capable in growing and taking care of vegetables. It was a difficult challenge for us to bring in substantial number of D

Militants attack cinema halls in Gujarat's business capital Ahmedabad for showing Aamir Khan starrer "PK"

By Satyakam Mehta Despite recent outcry against “militant” Hindu groups becoming increasingly aggressive after the BJP-led coming to power, and sharp criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to act from international media, there is virtually no let down in aggressive stance of Sangh Parivar factions. In a new development, a group of activists said to belong to the Bajrang Dal violently attacked two cinema halls in heart of Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s business capital, to “protest” against Aamir Khan starrer “PK”.

Higher marginalization of Gujarat Dalit rural households compared to other sections

By Rajiv Shah  The National Sample Survey Organization’s (NSSO’s) report, “Key Indicators of Situation of Agricultural Households in India”, released in December 2014, has indicated that there is much incidence of marginalization of the scheduled caste (SC) households in rural Gujarat in comparison to other social groups – scheduled tribes (STs), other backward classes (OBCs), and those falling under the “Others” category. The data put out by the NSSO show that there are in all 4,55,300 SC households in Gujarat, out of which 1,52,700, or 33.54 per cent, are involved agricultural activities. This is compared to 66.9 per cent of out of a total 58,71,900 Gujarat all rural households involved in agricultural activities. A social category-wise breakup, interestingly, reveals that there are 68.07 per cent of 28,73,800 OBC households and 71.15 per cent of 14,48,000 ST households who are involved in agriculture. As for whose falling in the “Others” category, mainly upper castes, there are 72.3

Modi govt has created climate to amend land Act as a developmental need: Medha Patkar-led NAPM

Medha Patkar By Our Representative The apex body of tens of people’s organizations across India, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has termed the Narendra Modi government’s reported decision to come up with an amendment to water down the Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Transparency in Land Acquisition Act, 2013 in the form of an ordinance as nothing but an effort push an “anti-poor corporate agenda”. NAPM is led by top social activist Medha Patkar.

Regretting impact of 2002 riots, Tata Institute report talks of high incidence of sexual abuse of Gujarat girls

By Rajiv Shah In a shocking revelation, a new report by high-profile NGO Save the Children, Wings 2014: The World of India’s Girls” has said that Gujarat’s 63.1 per cent girls may be subjected to sexual abuse, which is apparently, the highest in India. Pointing out that in the country as a whole there are 47.06 per cent such girls, the report, which has been prepared by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, says that most of these girls suffer silently, and “don’t report to anyone”. The report, significantly, carries a congratulatory message from Najma Heptulla, minorities minister under the Narendra Modi government, among others.

Usurious moneylending prevails more in Gujarat than in other Indian states, suggests latest NSSO report

By Rajiv Shah In a remarkable revelation, a new National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) report, released early this month, has found that Gujarat has a higher proportion of indebted households which reported taking loan at very high interest rate – 25 per cent or more. Calculations, based on the data released by the NSSO, suggest that 64.6 per cent of the state’s indebted households took loan at such high rate – which can easily be interpreted to mean usurious moneylenders. Titled “Key Indicators of Debt and Investment in India”, the report has found that there is just one state of 21 whose indebted households may be depending so heavily on moneylenders – Jammu & Kashmir (69.3 per cent).

New York Times blames Modi for failing to rein in Hindu "militants" seeking to reconvert Christians, Muslims

By Our Representative In one of the sharpest comments in the recent past on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the powerful American daily, "The New York Times," has chose the Christmas (December 25) to editorially declare its opposition to the way in which he has been dealing with the whole issue of conversion. The daily’s editorial has said, “Hope is in danger of crumbling that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would rein in the divisive agenda of his militant Hindu-nationalist supporters and allow India to concentrate on the important work of economic reform.”

Indebted in Gujarat: Rural households depend more on moneylenders than other states

By Rajiv Shah The new National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) report, released in December 2014, has suggested that Gujarat has one of the highest proportions rural households reporting outstanding cash loan at a very high interest rate compared to most Indian states. Titled “Key Indicators of Debt and Investment in India”, the report, based on NSSO’s 70th survey round, has suggested that, in all, there are 260 rural households in Gujarat out of every 1000 which reported outstanding cash loans. A large majority of these households, around 64.6 per cent — 30.8 per cent at the interest rate between 25 to 30 per cent, and per 33.8 per cent at the interest rate 30 per cent and above — have taken loan at more than 25 per cent rate of interest. There is just one state out of the 21 major ones, selected for the sake of analysis, which has a higher proportion of rural households reporting cash loans at the high rate of 25 per cent or more than Gujarat – Jammu & Kashmir (69.3 per cent).

Modi govt questioned: Researcher calls Malaviya "fringe player" in formation of Banaras Hindu University

By Our Representative Controversy over the choice of Madan Mohan Malaviya by the Narendra Modi government for the Bharat Ratna award was further intensified when a researcher on Banaras Hindu University (BHU) made it clear, in an interview , that Malaviya was only peripherally involved in the formation of the BHU. Researcher Tejkar Jha, who is finalizing his book the history of the BHU, has said that Malaviya was “at the most a fringe player in the movement that led to the foundation of BHU.” Jha added, Malaviya had “neither had the means to establish a university, nor had the clout to obtain a sanction from the government. He was also not in a position to sell the idea to zamindars and ruling chiefs.”

Gujarat growth rate story busted: Cultivators' net earning less than national average, say NSSO data

By Our Representative In an important revelation, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), India's most authoritative data collection centre amidst decadal censuses, has said that Gujarat farmers' net income from cultivation is lower than 11 other major states out of a total of 21. The figures, released this month, say, the average net income per household from cultivation was Rs 2,933 per month during the agricultural year July 2012 to June 2013, which was not just drastically lower than some of the agriculturally advanced states like Punjab and Haryana, but also so-called backward states Assam, Chhattigarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Gujarat: Dilemma of low income from agriculture

By Rajiv Shah There have been loud claims, which continue to be made till date, that agricultural growth in Gujarat has been a “success story”, which other states must emulate. It is also suggested that Gujarat’s agricultural growth rose from 3.3 per cent per annum in the 1990s to nearly 9 per cent over the last one decade – notwithstanding claims by some experts who say the problem is with the choice of a wrong base year. The argument runs of following lines: Gujarat has written the success story despite facing challenges like depletion of water tables, deterioration of soil and water conditions due to salinity ingress along the sea coast, irregularity of rainfall, and recurrent drought. However, few have sought to see what impact has it made on the actual income of the agriculturists of Gujarat, and how much they have gained vis-à-vis other states. Now, new figures released this month by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) in its report, “Key Indicators of Situation of

NSSO suggests Gujarat cultivators’ income is worse than national average

By Rajiv Shah  There have been loud claims, which continue to be made till date, that agricultural growth in Gujarat has been a “success story”, which other states must follow. It is also suggested that Gujarat’s agricultural growth rose from 3.3 per cent per annum in the 1990s to nearly 9 per cent over the last one decade. The argument goes on: Gujarat has written the success story despite facing challenges like depletion of water tables, deterioration of soil and water conditions due to salinity ingress along the sea coast, irregularity of rainfall, and recurrent drought. However, few have sought to see what impact has it made on the actual income of the agriculturists of Gujarat, and how much they have gained vis-à-vis other states. Now, new figures released in December 2014 by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) in its report, “Key Indicators of Situation of Agricultural Households in India”, suggest that, notwithstanding claims of “big” agricultural growth (something wh

Top saffron ideologue says Modi helpless, cannot control "autonomous" extreme Hindu groups' ghar vapsi

By Our Representative Top Narendra Modi man Swapan Dasgupta, long known a powerful right-wing ideologue, has asked the BJP and the Modi government to “discover” effective ways of dealing with what he terms as “Hindu fringe” within the saffron family, but believes it may not be an easy task as they act independently of Modi and RSS. Taking strong exception to the way Hindu Mahasabha, a mere “letterhead that can be used or misused by anyone”, has been behaving, Dasgupta in a significant commentary has said that it was an “outrageous demand by one of its more obscure functionaries to install a bust of Nathuram Godse”.

Slum demolition in Vadodara: Gujarat's cultural capital "fails" Right to Education law for displaced children

Counterview Desk A recent survey of 118 families, who were “shifted” to Yamuna Mill Pratap Nagar area of Gujarat's cultural capital, Vadodara, after their houses were razed to the ground as part of the city's biggest slum clearance operation, has revealed how the devastation has adversely affected school going children. More than 2,000 slum houses, mainly belonging to Muslim and Dalit communities, were bulldozed in the operation, which took place in the third week of November. While about one third of those whose houses were shifted to alternative housing sites under construction more than 10 kilometres away, others began found solace with their relatives or are just living by the roadside even today, braving winter.

Gujarat recipe to acquire land cheap for industry: Town planning law "overrides" new land acquisition Act

A replica of Dholera "smart city" By Our Representative The Gujarat government is all set to make it official now. A top state document in Gujarati, prepared by the state revenue department, has made it clear that the new land acquisition law – the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR, 2013) – will not be application in areas where a town planning scheme is floated. The document, still in its draft form, and floated as "rules" for LARR Act, 2013, makes it clear, “Wherever a town planning scheme is finalised, there will not be any land acquisition under any other law.”

Father of Assam's floating boats advises Gujarat activists not to accept govt interference in day-to-day work

Sanjoy Hazarika interacting with NGOs By Our Representative Sanjoy Hazarika, brain behind “floating clinics” of Assam, has advised Gujarat-based non-government organizations (NGOs) not to accept any government interference while working for the welfare of the people. Answering a flurry of questions from top Gujarat NGO representatives on “success” of his experiment and relations with Assam government, Hazarika, who currently runs as many as 16 boat clinics in Brahmaputra river in a dozen districts in order to reach farthest of the areas, said, “When the state health minister offered support, my condition was, we would accept government funds only one condition: No interference in our work.”

Recalling his role in 2002 riots, Economist says Modi is follower of Savarkar, an "immensely divisive" figure

By Our Representative In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a gap of about six months, top British journal, The Economist’s latest issue (December 20) has once again reminded its readers that Modi remains a controversial leader for his “failure” in 2002, when as chief minister of Gujarat, he failed to “avert a massacre of Muslims.” Insisting that the hostility is born of the ideology that militant freedom fighter Vinayak Savarkar "spawned”, the influential British journal says, Modi “has never apologised for the massacre.” Taking a dig at Modi, the journal recalls how he sought to “regret” the riots once – telling a news agency interviewer that he is as sorry for the killings as he is while “seeing a puppy run over in the street”.

The clever ploy of conversion: Hunting with the hound and running with the hare

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj* No one can deny that Narendra Modi is very adept with ‘hunting with the hound and running with the hare’ - the latest being the ‘bogey of conversion’ which is raising plenty of heat and kicking plenty of dust all over. A clever ploy indeed! A peep at some of the actions and utterances done in very strategic ways will provide one with an inkling of their meticulous plans to defocus from the real issues which grip the country and simultaneously target the minorities through systematic denigration.

Spirit of leadership vs bondage: Of empowered chairman of 100-acre social forestry coop

By Gagan Sethi*  This is about Khoda Sava, a young Dalit belonging to the Vankar sub-caste, who worked as a bonded labourer in a village near Vadgam in Banskantha district of North Gujarat. The year was 1982. Khoda had taken a loan of Rs 7,000 from the village sarpanch, a powerful landlord doing money-lending as his side business. Khoda, who had taken the loan for marriage, was landless. Normally, villagers would mortgage their land if they took loan from the sarpanch. But Khoda had no land. He had no option but to enter into a bondage agreement with the sarpanch in order to repay the loan. Working in bondage on the sarpanch’s field meant that he would be paid Rs 1,200 per annum, from which his loan amount with interest would be deducted. He was also obliged not to leave the sarpanch’s field and work as daily wager somewhere else. At the same time, Khoda was offered meal once a day, and his wife job as agricultural worker on a “priority basis”. That year, I was working as secretary of

Kundu committee asks Modi govt to extend reservation to backward Muslims, help them through Jan Dhan

By Rajiv Shah In a significant recommendation, the Amitabh Kundu committee, which submitted its “final report” on the status of minorities in India to the Narendra Modi government in early October, wants that the recently launched Jan Dhan scheme should go a long way in helping financial exclusion of the minorities. Even as risking of being dubbed for “appeasing minorities”, it wants the programmes launched by the previous UPA government for minorities to be further intensified, going so far to ask the Modi government to extend reservation to the most backward sections of Muslims, identifying them as “Dalit Muslims.”

Mysterious death of Gujarat woman tribal cop: Top activist alleges effort to push the case under the carpet

Vasanti Vasava By Our Representative Senior Gujarat human rights activist Manjula Pradeep has alleged that frantic efforts are underway to ensure that those responsible for the mysterious death of Vasanti Amarsinh Vasava, 28-years-old tribal woman police constable between November 24 and 26 in South Gujarat go scot-free. In a statement, Pradeep, who heads NGO Navsarjan Trust and was the chief campaigner for the arrest of the main accused in the mysterious death of Vasava, said, “It seems that caste factor is ruling in the Gujarat police department”, and hence one is “not sure that the family members of the deceased tribal woman constable would be able to get any justice.”

Chunibhai Vaidya, veteran Sarvodaya leader and a known critic of Modi-style governance, passes away

By Our Representative Gujarat’s most well-known Gandhian Chunibhai Vaidya passed away on Friday at his residence in Gandhi Ashram premises in Ahmedabad. Born on September 2, 1918 in a small village in Patan district of North Gujarat, Sander, he lived in Gandhi Ashram during the later days of his life. A freedom fighter and variously described as an "old-style" Sarvodaya activist, who participated in Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement asking landlords to “selflessly” give away land to the tiller, Vaidya was one of the foremost supporters of Jay Prakash Narayan’s total revolution and was opposed the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government.

Turning a blind eye to discrimination towards impoverished people in schools

By Venkatesh Nayak* The print media has been reporting serious lapses in the implementation of the Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) over the last few months. A major problem is the reluctance of some State Governments and elite schools to fulfill the obligations towards students belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) of society. Pls see detailed articles on this subject published in “Outlook” and The Economic and Political Weekly (EPW): 1) http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Colour-Coded-Discrimination/291806 . A copy of this article was attached to my RTI application as proof of information available in the public domain about discrimination against economically weaker sections (EWS) children. 2) http://www.epw.in/system/files/pdf/2014_49/38/Quotas_under_the_Right_to_Education.pdf . After reading these articles I filed a right to information (RTI) application with the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MoHRD). Initially the MoHRD transferred my RTI application in

Corporate fraud: 87% Indian CEOs warn of uncertainty amidst Modi's clean governance "promise"

By Our Representative A top international consulting firm, Deloitte, involved in “a multi-skilled, multi-disciplined firm, offering clients a wide range of industry-focused business solutions”, has warned of sharp rise in fraud cases over the coming years. Suggesting that, with the rise of new business models backed by new technology, fraud has spawned new variants, a Deloitte report, “India Fraud Survey”, has said, around 56 per cent of 400-odd survey respondents, all of them chief executive officers from across India, believe that “fraud will continue to increase” in the two years, and another 31 per cent said they were “uncertain” about what may happen.

TSR Subramanian panel not interested in protection of environment

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant* The BJP’s Election 2014 Manifesto categorically assured the industrialists that policies to promote industrial growth will take precedence over those that ensure environmental protection. This is consistent with the “Gujarat Model of Development,” which led Gujarat State to become number one in pollution. To make operational this commitment to industrialists, on 29 August 2014 the Modi Government appointed the T.S.R. Subramanian committee to review six environmental laws. Officially known as the “High-Level Committee constituted for review of Environment and Forests Laws,” the committee was tasked with submitting an exhaustive appraisal of six environmental laws to the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) within two months, with subsequent a one month extension. The specific laws were: [1] The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, [2] The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; [3] The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; [4] The Water

Corporate social responsibility: Behind diamond tycoon Savji Dholakia's success when top honchos failed

Savjibhai Dholakia By Satyakam Mehta Meet Savjibhai Dholakia, son of a humble agriculturist from Amreli district of Saurashtra region of Gujarat, now heading an industrial trading empire worth Rs 6,000 crore. At a time when top Indian industry captains are still trying to work out modalities of corporate social responsibility (CSR), seeking consultants' and NGOs' "help" for a job which they think has thrust upon them by law , Dholakia has done it without perhaps having heard about it: He has “gifted” his 1,200 employees cars, houses and jewellery to their wives as Diwali bonus!

A war won & a battle lost… When police treated complaint as dispute, not criminal act

By Gagan Sethi* The ingenious means of exploitation in tradition-bound villages of Bhal of Cambay taluka could well remind you of the feudal system. One such tradition was of members of so-called upper caste in the area — the Durbars— paying money to members of another caste — Bharwads —to steal bullock carts of any Vankar who had acquired this asset (also a sign of economic and social mobility). After the initial shock, he would get the message via community elders (called mahetars) that if he needed his cart back, he should visit the durbar who would ask him to pay Rs1,500 to Rs3,000 in return for the cart. We heard of such an incident on one of our visits to Pandad village where we were to train a youth group in 1980. We told the group they should file a police complaint. The nearest police station being Cambay (now Khambhat), we asked if there isn’t a rule of law. There is, we were told. One has to seek permission of the durbar to go to the police station. After a lot of cajoling a

Demand for rights of non-tribal forest dwellers in Indian forests picks up: Memorandum submitted in Odisha

By Our Representative The demand for recognition of forest rights, as per the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, is starting to take a new turn in India’s tribal important tribal regions: Apart from the need to ensure tribals their rights over the forest land, human rights organizations have begun to increasingly insist on the need to recognize the rights of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) by “converting” forest and unsurveyed villages into revenue villages. This came to light in a list of demands put forward by Odisha rights bodies on the world human rights day, December 10. In a memorandum it prepared for submission to government officials also put forward several other demands which pertained both for tribal and non-tribal dwellers.

Water supply privatization: Madhya Pradesh govt forced to step back ahead of local polls; but doubts exist

BJP poster promising no privatization of water By Our Representative In a clear example of why privatisation of a basic service such as water supply is not an easy option, the Madhya Pradesh government has been forced to take a step backward from its ambitious plan to privatize water supply in different towns and cities of the state, with a top NGO claiming credit for the success. The voluntary organization working in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, which has been in the forefront of advocacy against water privatization, has suggested in a statement, things reached a flashpoint only during the municipal elections held in November 2014.

Special apex court bench hears petition against Central decision on Narmada dam; next hearing on Jan 9

Medha Patkar By Our Representative In an important development, the newly-constituted social justice bench of the Supreme Court has heard the powerful anti-dam body, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA’s) petition challenging the decision of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) in June 2014 to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam by 17 metres. NBA leader Medha Patkar, calling the NCA decision “unlawful”, in a statement said the constitution of the special social justice bench was a welcome move, adding, “2.5 lakh Narmada dam oustees await justice and guarantee of no submergence without lawful rehabilitation.”

Saffron outfits' religious conversion is very clumsy, crude, says Madhu Kishwar, feminist-turned-Modi 'bhakt'

By Our Representative Prominent feminist-turned-Modi 'bhakt', who showed clear signs of getting disillusioned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi by declaring he is under some sort of “black magic”, Madhu Kishwar has now taken strong exception to the recent RSS-Sangh Parivar move to re-convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism. Commenting on the so-called “ghar vapsi” move being planned by the Sangh on Christmas, December 25, Kishwar, has sharply attacked Hindu groups for being “very clumsy and crude in conversion drives”.

Revealed: In 1974, LK Advani had accused "Garm Hawa" director MS Sathyu of receiving funds from Pakistan!

MS Sathyu By Our Representative “Garm Hawa”, one of the best known films made on the theme of Partition, was characterized by veteran BJP leader LK Advani way back in 1974 as having been funded by Pakistan. Revealing this on the occasion of the re-release of the film last week, its director MS Sathyu said, how political leaders could be “so irresponsible to make such statements without even seeing the film.” Snapped in the backdrop of travails of a Muslim family caught in the midst of Partition, Sathyu also revealed how Shiv Sena pressured him not to release of the film.

India-Australia N-deal under cloud: Ex-Aussie chief nuclear watchdog "warns" agreement lacks safeguards

By Our Representative The International Business Times (IBT), Australia, has reported that Australia's uranium deal with India has come under severe scrutiny following warning of a former Aussie chief atomic watchdog that the treaty “did not have all the safeguards necessary to prevent India from fuelling its nuclear bombs." The top business paper said, while the treaties committee of the Australian Parliament was "urged" to endorse the deal signed by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September, enabling exports of uranium to begin, things seem to be changing now.

Gujarat slum policy in action: No toilet, water, power, ration card, voter ID card to Valmiki slumdwellers

The slumdwellers named it Bapa Sitaram Kamdar Nagar By Our Representative While Gujarat government put in place what it called a “policy for in-situ rehabilitation of slums situated on public land” through a government resolution (GR) on July 18, 2013, latest indications from Ahmedabad reveal that it remains on paper for large sections of slum-dwellers for one-and-a-half years after it was promulgated by the state urban development department. In a glaring instance, as many as 69 Valmiki Dalit households, living in makeshift accommodations for nearly 15 years in the midst of posh Jodhpur area of western Ahmedabad, have been threatened that either they clear the area, or they would forcibly removed, the cost of which would be charged from them.

Narmada project's heavy toll: Canal network breached at 22 spots; shoddy release destroys 450 salt cultivators

A breach in the Narmada canal By Our Representative Livelihood of as many as 450 salt-cultivating farmers of the Little Rann of Kutch has been gravely hampered following a “roughshod decision” of Gujarat government officials to release water from Narmada canal --more than its carrying capacity, leading to major breaches -- into Banas river in North Gujarat. Well-informed sources have told Counterview, the the salt cultivating fields got “totally destroyed”, their diesel pumps used for sucking out saline water from underground got “burned-out”, and the temporary shelters they had put up to look after the farms “simply fell apart”, as Narmada waters entered the Little Rann.