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Showing posts from November, 2015

Ahead of Japanese PM's visit, 13 Jaitapur villages declare opposition to nuclear power plant in Maharashtra

By Our Representative
Ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s India visit in December second week, 13 villages in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, have declared their opposition to the proposed nuclear project by passing a unanimous resolution. While the plant is to be built by the French company Areva, the Japanese Mitsubishi is likely to supply crucial components for the nuclear reactor of the plant.

Just 1% meritorious,1% needy to gain from India's new education policy: Dr Sadgopal

By Our Representative
The new education policy (NEP), to be unleashed by the Government of India next year, is likely to provide free education only for one per cent of the so-called meritorious and one per cent of the needy, one of the most well-known educationists, Dr Anil Sadgopal, has alleged at a lecture he delivered at the Indian Institute of Management-Madras (IIT-M).

Govt of India "dilutes" sea pollution criterion, allows COD norms up to 500 mg/litre without any study

Counterview Desk
Top environmentalist Rohit Prajapati has strongly protested against the Government of India considering to “dilute” the chemical oxygen demand (COD) norms from 250 milligram per litre (mg/l) to 500 mg/l for discharging industrial water into the sea, saying “this is not based on study.”

"Worrying" signs: Private sector capex plans decline 11%, corporate profits down 0.05%: Reliance think-tank expert

By Our Representative
Painting a gloomy picture of the Indian economy, a Reliance Industries think-tank analysis has said that, despite the Make in India campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, statistics about domestic investment and capital formation are “not encouraging” and show a “decline in the second quarter of 2015”, with “India's saving rate down from a peak rate of 38 percent to 31 percent.”

India doesn't need new legal mechanism to "protect" human rights defenders, UN General Assembly told

By Our Representative
India has told the United Nations (UN) general assembly that it is in no mood to have any new mechanism for protecting human rights defenders or change the present legislative framework, which refuses to protect them. India’s view came even as human rights organizations across India have been feeling increasing signs of intolerance and attacks on human rights defenders under the Modi regime.

Adanis gain Australian support to get free hold over $16 billion coal mining project land: Natives say "we will fight"

By Our Representative
A proposal is reported to have been floated in Australia to “extinguish” native title over a leasehold property held by the powerful Indian business house Adanis in the Queensland province, where the top corporate is involved in coming up with a one of the world’s most ambitious $16 billion coal mining project in Carmichael.

Madhya Pradesh on displacement spree? Independent panel questions "corporate takeover" of natural resources

By Our Representative
More than 500 adivasis, farmers, workers and activists from various mass organizations and movements representing about 25 districts of Madhya Pradesh came together  in Bhopal to represent before a panel of experts on the “ongoing corporate loot and diversion of natural resources” as part of the national campaign begun by the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), a new apex body formed to raise grassroots level issues across India.

Coca-Cola must stop use of groundwater for its Mehdiganj plant in Varanasi district, demand 18 village panchayats

By Amit Srivastava*
Eighteen village panchayats (councils) in the immediate vicinity of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Mehdiganj in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh have come together to demand that the groundwater used by Coca-Cola be stopped immediately due to the growing water crisis in the area.

India has one of the largest fraud problems with 80% prevalence rate, says New York-based firm Kroll

By Our Representative
A top international survey, which is likely to create ripples in India’s corridors of power as well as the corporate world, has said that incidence of corporate fraud in India has taken a massive leap of 11 per cent, from 69 per cent in 2013-14 to 80 per cent in 2015-26, which is essentially the period when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been in power.

Ahmedabad polls: Demand for judicial investigation into "deliberate" attempt to distort voters' list

By Our Representative
The National Alliance f Peoples Movements (NAPM) has sought judicial investigation for what it has termed as “deliberate deletion of voters’ names in recent municipal corporation elections in Gujarat, especially in Ahmedabad. Seeking re-polling to be declared at booths of those voters whose names were marked “delete” in the voter list, it has said, this is necessary for “upholding” the spirit of “free and fair elections”.

Study blames NREGA for 2.4% rise in India's school dropout of adolescents, with girls pushed to domestic work

By Rajiv Shah
A new research work, which would which is likely to sound music to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chosen economic advisors, especially Niti Ayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, says that the former UPA government’s flagship programme National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), has had a negative impact on school going children, especially in the age-group 13-17.

Government of India interference in dairy cooperatives, begun when Modi was Gujarat CM, now turns blatant

By RK Misra*
To err is human but to really mess up you require a design committee of bureaucrats headed by a politician. How else would you account for the government’s approval to cheap import of butter oil that puts Indian dairy majors – largely it’s milk cooperatives – in an avoidable stranglehold at a time of glut conditions?
Indian dairy cooperatives have been shouting hoarse at the doorsteps of a government headed by a Prime Minister from Gujarat – the milk cradle of India – pointing out the hazards, but so far to no avail. According to a report, 1300 metric tons (MT) of butter oil (ghee) from New Zealand has already landed and another 2500 MT is on the way. And of course, there is more in queue. The glaring price difference tells it’s own story: Imported at Rs 170 per kg, it is ranged against a domestic product going at Rs 325 per kg in bulk packing.
The global milk market is ‘fermenting’ and the international dairy product prices are in free fall. There is a drop in currency rate…

Government of India interference in dairy cooperatives, begun when Modi was Gujarat CM, now turns blatant

By RK Misra*
To err is human but to really mess up you require a design committee of bureaucrats headed by a politician. How else would you account for the government’s approval to cheap import of butter oil that puts Indian dairy majors – largely it’s milk cooperatives – in an avoidable stranglehold at a time of glut conditions?

Public hearing in Delhi on Babri mosque demolition day on "efforts" to drop words secular, socialist from Preamble

By Our Representative
In an apparent move to go political, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), apex body of tens of mass organizations of India, has organized a hearing of representatives of civil society and grassroots organizations on whether the words “secular” and “socialist” in the Indian constitution are redundant, as projected in a Government of India advertisement a year ago.

Modi govt adding up to "sins" of past government, wants to be economic power sans educated, healthy labour force

By Our Representative
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, one of the world’s best-known economists, has sharply criticized the present and past governments of India for “trying to become a global economic power with an uneducated and unhealthy labour force.” Sen said, “It’s never been done before, and never will be done in the future either.”

Gujarat's deleted voter complains: State Election Commission helpline didn't work, voter feedback displayed error

By Our Representative
Suspecting wide-scale efforts to “rig” elections to the six municipal corporations, top human rights organization,  a senior activist with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has asked Gujarat’s State Election Commission (SEC) to announce “re-voting or make special arrangements for voters who are eligible but could not cast their voters due to negligence of the SEC.”

Gujarat metropolitan polls rigged? 1.03 lakh voters in Ahmedabad "deleted" in two days, mischief suspected

By Our Representative
Was there an attempt to rig elections to the six municipal corporations held in Gujarat on November 22? If available information with Counterview on Ahmedabad is any indication, it would seem so. In fact, indications have emerged that there was a meticulous planning to ensure that, at several places, voters are unable to cast their votes, and among the “victims” of this planning were not just ordinary voters but even persons like octogenarian ex-BJP chief minister Keshubhai Patel.

Gujarat whistleblower's murder: State government "created circumstances" for the gruesome incident

By Our Representative
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), India’s premier human rights organinization, has alleged the Gujarat government not only failed to protect the Banskantha district’s right to information (RTI) activist and whistleblower Ratansinh Chaudhary last month, but actually “created circumstances” that led to his murder.

India ranks No 24 in Free Expression Index among 38 countries: American think-tank Pew International survey

By Rajiv Shah
Well-known US-based think-tank, Pew Research Centre, in a new study has found that India ranks No 24 of 38 democratic countries it has surveyed for coming up with Free Expression Index (FEI). The United States ranks No 1 with an FEI of 5.73, followed by Poland (5.66), Spain (5.62), Mexico (5.4), Venezuela (5.17), and Canada (5.18).

Work out land use policy in India to "protect" farmers from corporate land transfer: Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan

By Our Representative
A two-day national meeting on November 19-20 at the Indian Social Institute, Delhi, with the participation of delegates from 22 states representing over 100 mass organisations has come for forward with the demand for a land use policy from the Government of India in order to “protect” farm land from large scale diversion to non-agricultural purposes like industry and infrastructure.

Greenpeace's sixth legal victory: Madras High Court "unconditionally" stays Tamil Nadu order canceling registration

By Our Representative
In a major relief to Greenpeace India, the Madras High Court has stayed a government order canceling the top environmental NGO’s registration. Staying the order, the High Court observed that the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies (RoS) did not follow principles of natural justice.

Ex-Gujarat farmer uses RTI to seek his land back decades after family migrated to Rajasthan fearing reprisal

By Pankti Jog*
Abdulla Akelbhai has crossed 70. Yet, he decided to travel all the way from a village called Faikaron Ka Nihaan, from the border areas of Barmer district of Rajasthan to our Saturday legal clinic in Ahmedabad. The Mahiti Adhikar Guajrat Pahel (MAGP) had just returned from its campaign, with Right to Information (RTI) On Wheels, in the area from where Abdulla hails.

India's solar prices may fall 10% lower than coal by 2020, yet capital costs for solar plants will remain high: KMPG

Counterview Desk
Even as the Government of India is all set to stick to its target of reducing emission levels by 35 per cent at Paris, where 190 countries meet later this month for a two-week climate change conference, a recent paper by a top international consultant suggests that Indian policy makers haven’t yet properly understand the implications of the possibility of solar power prices drastically coming down.

Gujarat government is "intransigent" in non-publication of 2002 riots commission report: Ex-DGP Sreekumar

Counterview Desk
RB Sreekumar, former director general of police (DGP), Gujarat, has asked chief minister Anandiben Patel to make public the Enquity Commission Report on 2002 Gujarat riots, prepared by Justices GT Nanavati and Akshay H Mehta, regretting, it is “painful” that no MLA of Gujarat has moved, at appropriate level, “for ensuring the release of the report by the state government.”

Gujarat election panel "failure" to upload candidates' affidavits: Petition seeks local body polls quashed

By Our Representative
The Gujarat Nagrik Sanghathan, a civil rights organization of Ahmedabad, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) with the Gujarat High Court, strongly objecting to the State Election Commission’s failure to make public details of candidates, fighting forthcoming local body poll, regarding their criminal antecedents, assets, debts, educational qualifications etc.

Gujarat slips to 15th rank among 20 states in child development index; Chhattisgarh, Assam, Odisha "perform" better

By Our Representative In an important exposure, Gujarat, touted till recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “model” state for others to follow, has been ranked No 15 among 20 major Indian states in child development index (CDI). The ranking has been calculated for 2013-14 by two top economists Reetika Khera and Jean Dreze on the basis of the Government of India’s recently released summary findings of the Rapid Survey On Children 2013-14 (RSOC).

Approach Supreme Court to "review" its June 2014 order on Narmada oustees, advises Independent Tribunal

By Our Representative
The final report of the Independent People’s Tribunal on Sardar Sarovar, “Claims and Realities of Development and Rehabilitation”, released in Delhi, says that “thousands of families, especially the tribals, fisher folk and landless poor” have not being given “any alternative place to live”, though the Gujarat government is going ahead with raising the height of the Narmada dam from 121.92 metres to 138.68 metres.

India's bank frauds under Modi rose by 90%; in Gujarat 177%; in Tamil Nadu 229%, in West Bengal 667%: RBI

By Our Representative
A Bangalore-based startup, which helps citizens file queries under the Right-to-Information (RTI) Act, OnlineRTI.com, has revealed in the year since Narendra Modi’s government took charge, there has been a whopping 90 per cent increase in bank frauds, as per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data obtained through RTI.

Women, old "neglected" by Indian healthcare system, which fails to take into account "societal needs": Lancet study

By By Rajiv Shah
Making a scathing critique of the prevailing social bias in collection of data on health in India, a recent study published in the well-known global health journal “Lancet” has said that “about 80% of patients visit a private practitioner, which they do at their own expense”, yet most “health-related data are obtained from public hospitals and public health-care service units.”

Upload affidavits of Gujarat local body poll candidates on State Election Commission website immediately, demands ADR

By Our Representative
In a move that might embarrass Gujarat’s State Election Commission (SEC) even further, the well-known national election watchdog, Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), has asked SEC chairman Dr Varesh Sinha to immediately upload the affidavits of the candidates contesting Gujarat local body elections on the SEC “for dissemination of information to voters.”

Farmers' activists "attacked" for protesting against Madhya Pradesh power plant: "Forcible" land acquisition?

By Our Representative
Five farmers’ activists, including secretary of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS), Sajje Chandravanshi, were reportedly “brutally attacked” in village Chaunsara of district Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. The incident, said National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), the apex body of tens of mass organizations across India, took place November 14, 2015 when the villagers of the area were protesting against the construction of Adani – Pench Power Project.

New groundwater guidelines "lack" measuring and monitoring mechanism, are "open to abuse" by Indian industry

By Our Representative
The India Resource Centre (IRC), which claims to have run a running campaign against the Coca Cola’s expansion plans for its bottling plant in Mehdigunj, Varanasi, for seeking to use groundwater in an area which was declared overexploited believes that the Government of India’s new guidelines for industrial use of groundwater in water stressed does have any “measuring and monitoring mechanisms for groundwater recharge, and the guidelines are open to abuse by industries.”

If BJP faces debacle in Gujarat local polls, Amit Shah may fulfill lifelong desire of becoming state chief minister

By RK Misra*
More often than not, victory walks in on a bicycle when vanity is sanguinely sailing the skies. The cymbals have ceased and the soldiers are back in their camps: the one to savour success and the other to debate the debacle. But India, after the battle of the ballot in Bihar will never be the same again. A national political realignment has begun. Two crushing blows in a row – Delhi and now Bihar – has the garrulous Narendra Modi government dumbstruck.

CII: Growth in sales down from 8.8% to 2.8% in a year, corporate profits go into negative, wither Make in India?

By Rajiv Shah
The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), India’s powerful organization of top corporate giants, has declared that the “corporate results at the end of first quarter of current fiscal (2015-16) painted a rather gloomy picture, as the financial performance of Indian companies, especially manufacturing sector firms, deteriorated.”

Gujarat has higher-than-average mortality rate of men in 15-69 age group, reveals "Lancet" study

Counterview Desk
A new study, published in well-known international health journal, “Lancet” (December 2015), has found that, in Gujarat, the mortality rate for men in the age-group 15-69 is 8.8 per 1000, which is higher than the national average (8.1), and for women it is 5.2 per 1000, lower than the national average (5.6).

Red carpet welcome to Modi not the most glorious event in British diplomacy, says Human Rights Watch

By Our Representative
Alongside Amnesty International, yet another top global human rights organization has sharply criticized the British government's welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on a three-day visit to London. In a scathing critique of the Britain's red carpet welcome of Modi, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that latest developments suggest it has “not been the most glorious of times for human rights in British diplomacy”.

British PM must raise issues of "fevered crackdown on critics in India" during talks with Modi: Amnesty International

By Our Representative
On the first day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to London, top human rights organization Amnesty International has said that his British counterpart David Cameron needs to do “more than unfurl the red carpet for yet another world leader.” Allan Hogarth, Head of Policy at Amnesty UK, said, “Cameron must raise some red flags on human rights concerns, too.”

UK report: India's rapidly expanding energy sector would turn it into world's No 2 carbon dioxide emitter by 2030

Counterview Desk
A fresh international alert has come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his first UK visit: A study carried out by three top scholars for the London School of Economics (LSE) has said that at 8.6 per cent rate of growth officially projected by the Government of india, the country is all set to emit 9,285 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum by 2030, next only to that of China.

Australian, US environmental groups come up with new "evidence" against Adani Group's coal mining project

By Our Representative
In a fresh attempt to target India’s powerful Adani Group, known to be closest to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Environmental Justice Australia and US-based Earthjustice have said they have found a new “evidence” calling into question “the Adani Group's suitability to run biggest coal mine in Australian history.” The coal mine was recently given environmental nod by the Australian government.

Monolithic, flattened view of India’s history "not supported" by sources, or by any serious historical inquiry

By Our Representative
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaches England, around 300 historians and social scientists around the world “expressed deep” concern over what they called “recent happenings in India, which are affecting freedom of artistic expression and historical and social science inquiry, and serving to produce a dangerously pervasive atmosphere of narrowness, intolerance and bigotry.”

Gujarat power project: World Bank's group seeks "legal immunity" from suit on environmental destruction

By Our Representative
In an interesting twist to the case filed by an international NGO on behalf of Gujarat’s fishermen and farmers against the World Bank’s private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which funded a mega power project in Kutch, has reportedly invoked the International Organisations Immunities Act, 1945 of the US for immunity from the “suit and every form of judicial process.”

Modi's Jan Dhan scheme "lacks" any explicit purpose; India's accounts penetration worst among BRICS nations: World Bank

By Rajiv Shah
A new report by the World Bank, “Global Findex Database 2014: Measuring Financial Inclusion Around the World”, has said that the Government of India’s high-profile Jan Dhan scheme, launched for bank transfer subsidies to the poorer sections of India’s population, has been lacking any “explicit purpose”, one reason why around 43 per cent of the country’s accounts are "dormant."

Indian authorities "allow" illegal mining on payment of a pittance fine, refuse protection to affected communities

By Our Representative
A recent estimate by the mines, minerals & People (mm&P), a national alliance of mining affected communities, has said that every year around 80,000-90,000 cases of illegal mining are reported by governments across India. While the MB Shah commission, which investigated into their operations, assessed that they cost a whopping Rs 60,000 crore to state coffers, the fine realized from them per year is just a pittance, about Rs 11 crore.

Upper caste bias in methodology behind wrong Bihar exit poll results on TV: Psephologist Yogendra Yadav

By Our Representative
Well-known psephologist Yogendra Yadav believes that a major reason why the TV channels have failed to properly predict what would happen in the Bihar elections was a “sampling bias built in the methodology of the exit polls” which failed take into account upper caste bias.

Gujarat's Narmada oustees begin protest dharna following eviction notice to 23 "resettled" families in Naswadi

By Our Representative
New facts have come to light suggesting that Gujarat’s Narmada dam oustees, who, it was claimed, had been given the best resettlement package than anywhere in India, are facing eviction. The result is, the oustees have begun protest moves at several places.

Bihar polls: Why desperate bid to impose fragmenting agenda after securing  a mandate for modern India?

By RK Misra*
Mindsets chasing mandates have a maudlin mentality. They put band-aid on a cut finger when seeking power but amputate from the elbow when safely settled. And, all in the name of public interest. Headed by a modern day prime minister elected on a landslide development mandate ,the BJP still needs to fall back on crass communal polarization in the Bihar State Assembly elections, brings out its total bankruptcy of ideas.
A party as old as Independent India which seeks to give a new vision to the country has even failed to clothe its age old polarization formula in more trendy wear. Many of us media persons had watched the polarization drama unfold in the 2002 Gujarat Assembly elections that followed the Godhra train carnage and the statewide communal riots thereafter.
It was then personally led and spread by Chief Minister Narendra Modi through his Gaurav Yatra launched from Phagvel in Central Gujarat on September 8,2002.His speech was all about the ‘daughter of Italy’ and how …

Gujarat's Dholera smart city area farmers protest "failure" to comply by land rights promise, submit memorandum

By Our Representative
The upcoming Gujarat farmers’ organization, Khedut Samaj - Gujarat (KSG), representing thousands of farmers of the prestigious Dholera special investment region (SIR) have, in a memorandum to Gujarat minister Anandiben Patel, said that despite promise made about two years ago, the Gujarat government has “failed” to settle the pending land rights issues of the farmers, who received agricultural plots during the land reforms days of the 1960s.

Bihar polls: Why desperate bid to impose fragmenting agenda after securing  a mandate for modern India?

By RK Misra*
Mindsets chasing mandates have a maudlin mentality. They put band-aid on a cut finger when seeking power but amputate from the elbow when safely settled. And, all in the name of public interest. Headed by a modern day prime minister elected on a landslide development mandate ,the BJP still needs to fall back on crass communal polarization in the Bihar State Assembly elections, brings out its total bankruptcy of ideas.

London School of Economics scholar predicts strong protests against Modi during his maiden visit to Britain next week

By Our Representative
In a clear signal that things may not be smooth for Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Britain next week, well-known expert Dr Kalpana Wilson, a visiting fellow in gender theory, globalization and development at the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE), has noted in a blog on the LSE website that several “campaign organisations, academics and individuals are coming together to protest increasing violence against minority groups” in India.

Modi's politics "alienating" minorities, liberal intelligentsia, domestic, foreign opinion, warns "The Economist"

By Our Representative
Less than a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming visit to Britain, the influential British weekly “The Economist” has said “it is puzzling that in a few short weeks” the government he heads has “alienated not just India’s non-Hindu minorities and its liberal intelligentsia, but broad swathes of domestic and foreign opinion”. It warned, “The ugliness of Indian politics threatens to scupper Narendra Modi’s grand visions.”