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29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

Modi's Make in India campaign will help trigger greater migration from rural to urban areas: Arvind Panagariya

Counterview Desk
Well-known pro-Narendra Modi economist Arvind Panagariya, whom critics label a "neo-liberal", has said that Government of India's (GoI's) latest policy changes -- ranging from Make in India campaign, to land and labour "reforms" -- are meant to trigger migration of people from rural to urban areas in search of jobs. Quoting a representative study, he says, "Indian farmers and their children recognize the superior prospects that faster-growing industry and services can potentially offer."
"According to a recent survey conducted by the NGO Lokniti, 62 percent of all farmers say that they would quit farming if they could get a job in the city. As for their children, 76 percent say that they would like to take a profession other than farming", Panagariya, who is vice-chairman of the new Narendra Modi avatar of Planning Commission, has said.
Panagariya in his maiden blog, "Job Creation in Industry and Services and Shared Prosperity", on the commission's new website, http://niti.gov.in/, says that while agriculture employs half of the workforce, which is "also significantly poorer than the other half, employed in industry and services", it contributes just 15 per cent of India's gross domestic product (GDP).
Pointing out that, in the long run, it is impossible to depend on agriculture for faster growth, Panagariya says, "Over long periods, experiences such as that of Madhya Pradesh during 2011-12 to 2013-14, whereby agriculture grew in excess of 20 percent, annually are rare."
He adds, "In the recorded Indian history, the fastest that agriculture has grown nationally over a continuous ten-year period has been under 5 percent. Put another way, in countries experiencing growth rates of 6 percent or more over long periods, overwhelmingly, industry and services have grown substantially faster than agriculture."
Giving examples of international experience how migrations have helped economies grow, Panagariya says, "Prosperity was widely shared in South Korea and Taiwan during the 1960s and 1970s because workers in agriculture could migrate to good jobs in industry and services."
He adds, "The share of industry and services in employment in South Korea rose from 41.4 percent in 1965 to 66 percent in 1980 and further to 81.7 percent in 1990. Correspondingly, the employment share of agriculture fell. A similar pattern was observed in Taiwan during the 1960s and 1970s and more recently China."
Insisting that this is exactly what Modi's Make in India campaign is seeking to aim at, Panagariya says, while "public investment in agriculture toward productivity-enhancing items such as micro irrigation, soil cards, effective extension services and improved seeds" is all right, the GoI's special attention has been towards industry and services for creating jobs outside the agricultural sector.
Panagariya claims, "labour law reforms" -- such as those undertaken in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which allow entrepreneurs to hire and fire workers at will -- too have been undertaken with this aim in view. Even the recently proposed land acquisition law is aimed at a similar purpose, he adds.
"A common fear aired is that the expansion of industry and services would divert land away from agriculture thereby undermining food security", Panagariya says, adding, "These views are aired without attention to the some key facts."
He says, "Area under non-agricultural use, which includes housing, industry, offices, roads, railways and other similar items, was only 8 percent in 2011-12, the latest year for which data are available. Fifteen years earlier, in 1997-98, this proportion was 7 percent."
"Even this 1 percentage point increase did not come at the expense of agriculture", Panagariya contends, adding, "Increased multiple cropping allowed the gross area sown to rise from 57.8 to 59.4 percent of the total land area between 1997-98 and 2011-12. And, of course, productivity increases allowed agricultural output to rise proportionately much more."

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India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.