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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.”

India's wealth differences between top and bottom are huge, middle class wealth share is shrinking: Credit Suisse report

By Our Representative
A new report, “Global Wealth Databook 2015” by top a global financial services firm based in Zurich, Credit Suisse, has found the existence of huge wealth differences in India. The report says that 755,563,000, or 95.4 per cent of adults in India, own wealth less than $10,000, while a minuscule 185,000, or 0.023 per cent of Indian adults, own more than $1 million.
The report has two other categories falling in between – those owning wealth between $10,000 and $100,000, and those owning between $100,000 and $1 million. While India’s 33,867,000 adults, or 4.28 per cent, fall in the former category, another 2,413,000 adults, or 0.3 per cent adults, fall in the latter category. In all, there are 790,022,000 adults in the country.
The report, which gives a new definition of the middle class by making wealth as the basic criterion, says that “to be a member of the middle class in 2015, according to our methodology, an adult needs at least USD 28,000 in Brazil, Chile and China; USD 22,000 in South Africa and Turkey; USD 18,000 in Malaysia, Russia and Thailand; and just USD 13,700 in India.”
Those with USD of 13,700 in India, or Rs 9.04 lakh under the present rupee-dollar rate or Rs 66 per dollar, form only 3% of adults having wealth above the middle class minimum, saying the “situation in Africa as a whole is almost identical.”
The report sharply disagrees with those who define middle class on the basis of income or consumption pattern. Based on the income method, in 2005, the World Bank had estimated middle class population at 264 million, using the median poverty line in 70 countries at the lower extreme ($2 per day), and the United States poverty line ($13 per day) as an upper extreme.
The other method, of using the consumption-based, criterion, (ownership of car or scooter, colour television, or telephone in households), found that India 20 per cent of population, or slightly over 200 million, belonged to the middle class.
Basing its calculation of the middle class on the basis of the ownership of wealth ($13,700 or more), the report finds that in India its share is 22.6% ($780 billion) of the country’s wealth. However, it finds that this share is declining over the last 15 years – it was 26.8 per cent in the year 2000, remained almost constant till 2007 at 26.4 per cent, but began declining to reach 24.9 per cent in 2008, 23.2 per cent in 2013, 23 per cent in 2014, and 22.6 per cent in 2015.
“Across regions, the middle class is most prevalent in North America, where 39 per cent of adults qualify, followed by Europe, where the proportion is one third. The share then drops sharply, to 15 per cent for the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China and India), around 11 per cent in China and Latin America, and just 3 per cent in Africa and India”, it says. 
Wealth per capita overtime in India
“The size and wealth of the middle class varies greatly across countries, ranging from 3% of the adult population in India to 66% of adults in Australia”, the report says, adding, “Surprisingly, only 38 per cent of adults in the United States qualify as middle class according to our criterion, a much lower percentage than the 50% to 60% figure found in most high income countries.”
Comparing China’s middle class with that of India, the report says, “In China the number of middle class adults grew by 38 million between 2000 and 2015, and their wealth rose by $5.6 trillion. As a consequence, there are now more global middle class members in China (109 million) than there are in the United States (92 million). In contrast, India added only 6.7 million adults to the middle class, and middle class wealth rose by just $1.2 trillion.”
It adds, “This divergence in experiences is partly due to faster overall wealth growth in China, and partly because the populous mid-portion of the Chinese wealth distribution is moving into the global middle class, whereas it is still far from doing so in India.”

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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.

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…

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.

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".

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.

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.”