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Showing posts from June, 2016

World Bank, India together "working" to weaken environmental, social safeguard policies: Indian groups

By Our Representative
As World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, on a two day visit to India, meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 24 groups working on environmental, labour and human rights have asked the executive directors of the World Bank ensure that the Bank should ensure that “environmental and social safeguards are not diluted”, as desired by the Government of India.

Chinese Communist paper: India's bid for NSG "thwarted" as it hasn't signed nuclear non-proliferation treaty

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, “Global Times” (June 28), a Chinese newspaper published under the auspices of the country’s Communist Party daily “People’s Daily”, has said that failure of India to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the plenary meeting in Seoul last week was mainly caused by the fact that New Delhi did not go according to the “rules.”

India's public sector banks' bad loans or NPAs may cross 10%: RBI. A "troublesome pressure" on economy?

By Our Representative
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that risks to India’s banking sector have sharply gone up since December 2015, with the gross non-performing assets (GNPAs), or bad loans, rising “sharply to 7.6 per cent of gross advances in March 2016 from 5.1 per cent in September 2015”, adding, GNPAs may see a further deterioration over the next one year.

Top Dalit rights activist to Xavier's NGO: Annihilation of caste "can't be fought" by invoking caste names

By Our Representative
In a controversial commentary on St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, in the eye of storm for a recent “saffron” attack on an NGO run on its campus (click HERE), a well-known Dalit rights activist has recalled how those running the college decades ago were responsible for perpetuating caste discrimination, yet the discriminatory mindset has not disappeared even today.

Modi handed over written answers to questions Gulf News never asked, Times Now "followed" similar pattern

By Our Representative
Amidst raging controversy on how "tame" was Times Now interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was, especially when it was taken by its aggressive editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, a well-known Dubai-based journalist has revealed that arranging an interview with Modi is a "long drawn and cumbersome process", ending up with a "handshake" and  "a written script" prepared in advance.

Land acquisition: Govt of India told to divulge details of reasons for coming up with "regressive" ordinance

By Our Representative
After dilly dallying for about a year, the Narendra Modi government will have to divulge all the materials, such as the Cabinet note and file notings, on the basis of which it had decided to come up with the now abandoned ordinance amending the controversial the Land Acquisition Act (LAA), 2013.

Victim of feudal oppression in Gujarat, displaced Dalit saltpan workers neglected by government machinery

By Pankti Jog*
“Pankhi eno malo mukine ave to eney vasamu lage chhe…ame to amara ghar-bar chhodine aavyahiie.. amne vasamu nahi lagtu hoy?” (Birds too miss their nests when they fly off… We had to leave our houses, our village... Imagine how much we must be missing it.)

Modi adopted use and abandon policy towards Gujarat's "lower caste" encounter cops: 'Gujarat Files' sting

By Our Representative
Gujarat's top “encounter” cops never trusted their political leadership, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his chief minister in the state, even though they had to “fall in line” of the system, and carried out the “fake encounters”, allegedly to “save the country”.

Himachal slum demolition sans rehab plan: Oustees warned they can't live in rented houses, left to live in open

By Our Representative
There is flutter in Himachal Pradesh over the manner in which Municipal Corporation Dharamsala (MCD) forcefully eviction around1,500 people -- 300 families -- from well-known hill station Dharmasala's 35-year-old slum area, Charan Khad. Not only the families were ousted, they were "refused" even rented accommodation.

Industry body FICCI seeks stringent laws to deal with labour unrest, says it's No 1 risk to Indian economy

Counterview Desk
The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (FICCI's) annual study, “India Risk Survey 2016”, has ranked strikes, closures and unrest as the most important risk affecting the Indian economy, even as ironically declaring at one place that “industrial strikes and lockouts showed a waning trend this year."

Gujarat politician-builder-babu nexus "eyes" Rs 38,000 crore land, plans to shift Surat small industries location

By Sagar Rabari*
The Gujarat government decision to merge, through a Development Plan (DP), 104 villages of five talukas, Olpad, Choryasi, Kamrej, Palsana and Mangrol of Surat district, into the Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) is being seen as a murky move in which the politician-builder-bureaucrat syndicate would make huge real estate gains to the tune of Rs 38,000 crore.

Acute water shortage in South Gujarat district 100 km from Narmada: High Court seeks reply from state govt

By Our Representative
Taking serious note of acute water shortage in South Gujarat’s Chhotaudepur district, which is less than 100 km from the Narmada dam-reservoir, and the high-profile Narmada canal passing by less than 50 km away, the Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the Gujarat government to reply back by July 20 on what is being done to mitigate the situation.

Gujarat Congress student activists "part of" saffron attackers on Ahmedabad NGO in Xavier's College campus

By Our Representative
Are Congress student cadres in Gujarat operating as “B” team of the Sangh Parivar? Amidst accusing fingers being leveled on saffron outfits “attached” with RSS for the recent attack on a well-known NGO, operating from the premises of the St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, a senior Dalit rights leader has told Counterview that the leadership of the attack was “provided by an active member of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), student-wing of the Congress.”

Top activists fighting 2002 Gujarat riots cases fear "extra-legal" move by Modi govt ahead of Supreme Court hearing

By Our Representative
Top human rights activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, whose NGO Sabrang Trust’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license was cancelled on June 16, apprehend that the powerful Modi government might use “extra-legal means” to suppress their activities.

Gujarat's saffron brigade "attacks" NGO, files FIR for offering sweeper's job to dominant castes, unreserved

By Our Representative
An advertisement issued on April 6, 2016 by Ahmedabad-based NGO, Human Development and Resource Centre (HDRC), has turned into a full-blown controversy in Gujarat, with persons alleged to be owing allegiance to the Sangh Parivar forcing their way into the HDRC building, pelting stones, breaking its windows, and damaging flower pots.

Oust Modi's chief economic adviser Subramanian: BJP hawk Subramaniam Swamy fires another missile

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's top hardline supporter Subramaniam Swamy, who has gone stronger after his “successful” mission of ensuring the ouster of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan, has now fired yet another missile – this time against Modi's chief economic advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian, wanting the latter to be “sacked” forthwith.

Ahmedabad govt schools' class one enrolment goes down by "more than 50%", alleges activist-turned-politician

By Our Representative
Making a scathing attack on the BJP government in Gujarat, a well-known activist-turned-politician has said the recent state-sponsored child enrolment drive, kanya kelavni, is a “complete failure”, with more than 50 per cent drop in in the total number of children admitted in state government schools in Ahmedabad alone.

Environmental battle: British NGO singles out India as one of 16 countries where activists died globally

By Our Representative
India is one of the 16 countries which a British non-profit organization, Global Witness, has identified where environmental activists were killed in the year 2015. In its latest report, titled “On Dangerous Ground”, the top advocacy group has said, of the 117 non-indigenous people who died fighting for environmental rights worldwide, six were Indian.

RTI plea: It took Govt of India 16 months to disclose report recommending new coastal regulation norms

By Our Representative
Sixteen months after a Right to Information (RTI) application was filed, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has disclosed a copy of the “Report of the Committee to Review the Issues relating to the Coastal Regulation Zone, 2011” to Kanchi Kohli, a well-known expert with the Centre for Policy Research (CPR)-Namati Environment Justice Programme.

Allow limestone mining in Gujarat, relax environmental norms in coastal zone: High level Govt of India report

By Rajiv Shah
A high-level committee seeking, appointed by the Government of India soon after Narendra Modi took over reins of power in 2014, has recommended that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) should “relax” mining coastal environmental norms for “developmental purposes.”

Chicago University backs RBI governor, says Rajan fought crony capitalism, bad debt, hence under attack

By Our Representative
The University of Chicago, from where Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan has been on leave for three years, has warned through a blog that the decision of the “highly regarded central banker” to leave his job in September this year following “attack by politicians” is likely to “reverberate throughout India’s political system and financial sector”.

2002 Gujarat riots: Ex-Cong MP Jafri fired in "self-defence", SIT closure report on Modi role had asserted

By Our Representative
While CBI judge PB Desai's verdict on Gulberg Society trial has courted controversy for the assertion that former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri's gun fire triggered the gruesome mob attack, which led to the massacre of 69 persons, a recent human rights report has revealed that even the special investigation team (SIT) in its closure report called the firing an act of “self-defence”.

Farmers to lose 35% land: Gujarat govt decision to implement of "sub judice" Surat urban development plan

By Our Representative
The Khedut Samaj – Gujarat (KSG), the apex body of farmers' organizations across the state, has estimated that thousands of farmers of 104 villages of Olpad, Choryasi, Kamrej, Palsana and Mangrol talukas of Surat district are likely to lose 35 per cent of their land owing to the declaration that these villages will be inducted into Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA).

Raghuram Rajan declares he will quit RBI in September, says he has decided this after "consulting" government

By Our Representative
In what may turn out to a major upheaval in India’s economic governance, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan has declared that he will not continue with his job after his term ends on September 4, and will return to the University of Chicago, from where he has been on “leave”, setting aside all speculation around him.

Industry friendly move?: Govt of India to provide green nod to projects begun without environmental nod

By Our Representative
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, is all set to go even more industry-friendly. A draft notification, uploaded by the MoEFCC for “feedback”, on its website has said that industrial projects which have gone ahead with implementation without environmental clearance would be provided green nod under certain "conditions".

Gujarat govt had complained: Teesta met junior UN officials for "anti-India" propaganda abroad, used foreign funds

By Our Representative
Top social activist Teesta Setalvad has described the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order to cancel Foreign Currency Regulation Act (FCRA) license of her NGO Sabrang Trust as a clear case of vendetta. Setalvad, it is well-known, has been fighting 2002 Gujarat riots cases, including the Gulberg Society case, whose final verdict was pronounced on Friday.

NYT "advises" Modi not to patent cow urine, calls it dangerous move stemming from obsession with the animal

By Our Representative
In an unusual Opinion article (June 16), titled “Mr Modi, Don't Patent Cow Urine”, the New York Times (NYT) has wondered why the BJP government, which released India’s first National Intellectual Property Rights Policy last month, is calling for “protecting traditional remedies like cow urine.”

UN experts ask Govt of India to repeal "obstructive" foreign currency regulation Act, as it's "against" global norms

By Our Representative
Three top United Nations human rights experts have called on the Government of India to repeal the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which they say is being “increasingly used to obstruct civil society’s access to foreign funding”. They have said in a statement, the FCRA contradicts “international human rights norms and standards.”

Rohith Vemula suicide: National SC commission "wants" anti-atroticies law imposed on Modi ministers, others

By Our Representative
The declaration by Guntur district collector Kantilal Dande that Hyderabad Central University  (HCU) research scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide allegedly because of intense political pressure, was indeed a Dalit, is all set to create a fresh flutter across India, with demands being raised tot take action against those who were responsible for it.

Power surplus gas, coal plants, state boards' erratic cuts responsible for drop in hydro power supply: Modi aide

By Our Representative
Top technocrat Babubhai Navalawala, currently heading a Government of India panel on inter-linking of rivers, has said that the real reason behind a huge drop in India's hydro power generation is the problem of surplus generating capacity in thermal and gas-based power projects.

Chhattisgarh "rape, fake encounter" of tribal woman: Cops stop AAP team under Soni Sori seeking to visit village

By Our Representative
Soni Sori, Chhattisgarh adivasi woman leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has begun an indefinite fast outside Sukma collectorate because she and her team have been prevented from visiting a village where a young woman was killed in an encounter that villagers say is fake.

Smart city Ahmedabad? Ranking worst in India, 101st globally, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore "perform" far better

By Rajiv Shah
A recent report by top British consultants, AT Kearney, with branches all over the world, has suggested that Indian cities have far to go in case they wish to become smart. Titled “Global Cities 2016 ”, the consultants seek to answer the question: “Which global cities are performing best today, which have the best long-term potential, and what makes a smart city?”

Top Hindutva theorist declares against caste-based reservation, opines it leads to votebank politics

By Our Representative
Hindutva offensive against India’s reservation policy continues unabated, despite BJP and RSS making frantic attempts to deny they are against caste-based reservation. A well-known US-based Hindutva theorist and businessman, Rajiv Malhotra, hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “glorifying our priceless heritage”, has now declared that there should not be any caste-based reservation in India.

India rated one of the worst 10 countries, workers "exposed" to unfair labour practices: Global Rights Index

By Our Representative
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the apex body of national trade union centres across the world, has characterized India as one of the worst countries from the angle of workers’ rights in its latest Global Rights Index (GRI), which seeks to rank 141 countries across the world on the basis of "97 internationally recognised" indicators.

Hindutva votaries criticize Ramdev, support LGBT rights, say Hinduism "never opposed" homosexuality

By Our Representative
Baba Ramdev calling homosexuality a "disease" and a “mental disorder” against the backdrop of the gruesome killings in Orlando, in which 49 were killed. has sparked a row among some of the most well-known votaries of Hindutva joining those who stand by LGBT rights.

Impact of climate change: India's hydropower generation drops by 20%, by 45% in western region: SANDRP

By Our Representative
Well-known civil rights organization, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), in a recent scrutiny, has said that “India’s hydropower generation has dropped by up to close to 20% compared to previous year in some of the months this year, even as installed capacity of hydropower projects keeps climbing relentlessly.”

Maharashtra govt "unwillng" to build 124 community shelters for 60,000 homeless in Mumbai: GBGBA

By Our Representative
The most awaited monsoon may have knocked the doors of Mumbai, bringing cheers on the face of the city dwellers. But the rains are proving to be a curse to nearly 60,000 homeless persons, especially infants, the sick and the aged. A right to information (RTI) reply has revealed that, despite clearcut official guidelines, the government has not cared to build 124 community shelters to protect them.

Gujarat's Bharuch suffers drought, as Madhya Pradesh industries offtake 172 crore litres Narmada water per day

Counterview Desk
Top anti-Narmada dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has estimated that about eight lakh rural people are in the grip of severe drought in Bharuch district of Gujarat stretching in a 41 kilometres area up to the spot where Narmada river merges in the sea, thanks to lack of fresh water inflows in the river from the upstream.

Builder-politician nexus in Ahmedabad for land named after Morarji behind tension in minority area: NGO team

By Our Representative
A fact-finding team led by volunteers of the civil rights organization Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), Ahmedabad, has said that the recent tension in a Muslim neighbourhood of old Bapunagar area, where the Gujarat Housing Board wants to construct an affordable housing scheme, is the direct result of the nexus between local politicians and builders.

Indian mission told to follow Aussie laws: Sydney consulate fined $10,620 for "unfair" dismissal of employee

By Our Representative
In what is being interpreted by the Indian diaspora across Australia as “not a very bright event” for the community, the Indian consulate in Sydney has been fined $10,620 over “unfair dismissal” of an employee, who claims to be a whistleblower, Hitendra Kumar, an immigrant working with it as a driver.

Govt of India's child budget down by 29% to "respect" states' autonomy undermines regional imbalance: Report

By Our Representative
Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA), a civil society initiative, has taken strong hold exception to the Government of India’s fund sharing pattern in centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) between the Union and state governments, set at 60:40 (as against 75:25 previously) for child-related schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Mid-Day Meal (MDM), and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

20,000 Narmada dam oustee families "not calculated" as project affected, just 50 resettled in Madhya Pradesh

By Our Representative
Top social activist Medha Patkar has accused the Madhya Pradesh government of “constantly fudging” the backwater level data (click HERE) of the submergence zone of the Narmada dam, thereby keeping approximately 20,000 project affected families (PAFs) out of the number of beneficiaries.

Ford Foundation formally conveyed ahead of Modi visit to US: All restrictions on foreign funding "removed"

By Rajiv Shah
Knowledgeable sources in the Gujarat government, citing information they had received from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), have said that the US-based philanthropic organization, Ford Foundation, has been formally conveyed that all restrictions placed on it under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the Government of India have been “removed”, and it could freely operate as a registered NGO in India.

Indo-US agreement would "free" N-technology suppliers from being held liable for nuclear accidents: CNDP

By Our Representative
Strongly reacting on the nuclear deal between India with the US during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest visit to Washington, the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), India’s national network of over 200 voluntary and individuals, has said that it effectively “celebrates the undermining of India’s sovereign Nuclear Liability Act, passed by Parliament in 2010.”

India one of the five countries having half of $1 trillion illicit financial flows, has poor World Peace Index: Report

By Our Representative
A new international report has noted a worrying trend for India. Titled “World Peace Index 2016”, the report says, India is one of the five countries in the world – alongside China, Russia, Mexico and Malaysia – which are involved in most of the illicit financial flows to other countries.

Ghettoisation in Gujarat: There's "no discrimination" on grounds of religion, race, caste, claims Venkaiah Naidu

By Our Representative
Suggesting that there is no ghettoisation in Gujarat cities, including in the state's cultural capital, Vadodara, Union urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu believes that the Constitution – especially the right to equality before law and prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race and caste – “takes care of these things.”

Sushma Swaraj blocks Twitter accounts critiquing her, becomes "most popular female leader" on social media

By Our Representative
India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has begun blocking individual twitter accounts, which give a negative feedback about all that she does or believes. The last to be blocked is well-known Ahmedabad-based young academic Pravin Mishra after he made a scathing reply to her suggestion that, next time when fellow Indians meet an African, they should shake hands and say “I love you.”

Modi vs Trump? Prime Minister gives enough indication to NRIs on which side of political divide they should move

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to the US, appears to have given enough indication to the non-resident Indian (NRI) community that he has no love lost for Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump, many of whose Indian critics often refer him as “American Modi.”

Pro-MNC consultant praises Modi for opening up India's $1 trillion retail market for foreigners, ranks India No 2

By Our Representative
Top international consultant, Chicago-based AT Kearney, known to take care of the interests of multinational corporations around the globe, has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's governance for ensuring what it calls “foreign retailers’ increased optimism in the $1 trillion retail market and its vast potential” in India.

As Modi visits US, geospatial Bill targetted by activists, academics, digital industry protagonists

By Our Representative
The Government of India may have reacted sharply to Pakistan's objections to the proposed Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 but now sharp objections to the Bill have come from within the country, with senior academics, activists and digital industry protagonists usually joining hands. The objections have come just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US.