Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2016

Himachal tribals protest in Kinaur against Congress govt refusing to provide land under Forest Rights Act, 2006

By Our Representative
The tribal district Kinaur has witnessed a huge protest rally against the refusal of the Himachal Pradesh (HP) government for the implementation of Forest Right Act (FRA), 2006. The state government has taken the stand that there is no need to implement FRA, as the issue was “settled” decades ago by the British through the imperial settlement process.

India's fossil fuel, especially coal subsidy equaling 2.7% of GDP, main hurdle in climate change target: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, “Thermal Coal in Asia – Stopping the Juggernaut”, by top international energy consultants, Energy Transition Advisors Pty Ltd, has raised the alarm that India’s fossil fuel subsidies, especially those related with coal, remain a major hurdle in the country’s contribution to achieving climate change target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees centigrade.

Congress vice-president unhappy with Himachal chief minister over "refusal" to implement Forest Rights Act

By Our Representative
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is learnt to be unhappy with the party’s Himachal Pradesh (HP) government, led by chief minister Virbhadra Singh, for its “failure” to implement the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, in the state, even as declaring occupiers on forest land as encroachers.

Ranking India poor 130th for Ease of Doing Business, World Bank wants urgent steps to drop labour regulations

By Our Representative
The World Bank has created flutter by ranking India 130th for ease of doing business in its latest flagship report, “Doing Business Comparing Business Regulation for Domestic Firms in 190 Economies 2017”. This is in sharp contrast to the Narendra Modi government’s announcement two years ago to “improve” India’s rankings among the top 50 by 2018.

Adani accused of using Getty images instead of real jobseekers to gear up public opinion for Aussie coal project

By Our Representative
According to an Australian media report, the powerful Adani Group, which is in the midst of implementing one of the world's biggest mining projects in the Queensland state, has sough to “gear up public opinion in its favour with ads from the stock images" provided by Gerry Images Inc.

India's global gender gap ranking suffers due to hurdles of economic participation, health and survival: Report

By Our Representative
“The Global Gender Gap Report 2016”, released by the high-profile World Economic Forum, has found that while India may have improved its global gender gap ranking from 98th in 2006 to 87th in 2016, things have deteriorated on three of the four factors worked out for arriving at the gender gap index (GGI).

India has better rule of law than Pakistan, China, Russia, ranks 66th out of 113 countries: World Justice Project

By Our Representative
In the latest rule of law index (RLI), worked out by World Justice Project (WJP), a Washington-DC based independent, multidisciplinary organization, has ranked India 66th among 113 countries it has analyzed, far better than all neighouring countries except Nepal.

Internet shutdown: At Rs 6,583 crore, India's loss far outpace Pakistan's, is highest in world, says Brookings study

Counterview Desk
The prestigious Centre for Technology Innovation at Brookings, in a new research paper, has found that India has had the highest number of internet shutdowns across the world, which led to an economic loss of $968 million, again the highest among the countries which resorted to internet shutdown as a political tool.

Indian pharma cos export antibiotics having superbugs, world's biggest public health threat, UK govt warned

Counterview Desk
Would the British National Health Service (NHS), the publicly funded national healthcare system, ban import of specific antibiotic drugs produced by Indian pharmaceutical companies, because they allegedly lead to the growth of "superbugs" infection that is allegedly resistant to antibiotics?

Delhi Sarson Satyagraha meet warns: GM mustard has characteristics of male sterility, herbicide tolerance

By Our Representative
Fight against genetically modified (GM) mustard is all set to reach streets following a massive dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi under the banner of Sarson Satyagraha, in which farmer unions, farm workers unions, trade unions, industry representatives, scientists, women's organisations, right to food campaigners and other civil society organisations joined hands.

Attack on atheist meet: Vrindavan's German citizen seeks Embassy intervention to protect her right to live, think

By Our Representative
In an unusual move, Ramona Goswami, whose house was attacked in Vrindavan recently for calling a private meeting of atheists, has sought the urgent intervention of the German Embassy in Delhi for “support” and “protection” of her “human rights” to live in India, so that she is not not harassed by local administration and media on basis her “belief or non-belief.”

Kashmiri alienation: Just 7 FIRs filed in 100 days against security forces despite "continuing violence" in Valley

By Our Representative
A five-person People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) team, which visited the Kashmir Valley to assess the ground situation 100 days after the government "clampdown" and protests has found that, far from being normal, people's “alienation from India”, which has taken the form of “azadi” slogan, is all-pervasive both in cities and villages.

Netaji's Soviet mystery? Subhas Bose was in Stalin's Siberian labour camp, possibly died as Gumnami Baba: Nag

By Our Representative
Senior journalist Kingshuk Nag’s "investigation" into the mystery around Subash Chandra Bose’s death in his book “Netaji: Living Dangerously” – whose second edition was released in Ahmedabad on Monday – has revealed that “in all probability Bose was held in a gulag, the massive system of forced labour camps found in Siberia during the time of Stalin.”

Modi govt "increasingly interfering" in freedom of association, expression, assembly: Global civil society alliance

By Our Representative
Civicus Monitor, a global civil society alliance based in Johannesburg, South Africa, in its first-ever online tracking of 104 countries, has noted that the “civic space” in India is being “increasingly constrained because of government interference with the freedoms of association, expression, and peaceful assembly.”

Mumbai, New Delhi ranked worst among 50 top cities indexed for sustainable water harnessing for future success

By Our Representative
Arcadis, a leading global design and consultancy firm for natural and built assets, in a new report has ranked Mumbai and New Delhi lowest of the 50 cities it selected for sustainable cities water index in order to identify which cities are best placed to harness water for future success.

Opposing Universal Civil Code, 114 Muslim community academics, writers, activists want triple talaq abolished

By Our Representative
As many as 114 academics, lawyers, journalists, writers, artists and poets from the Muslim community have come together to insist that that they are against “instant arbitrary triple talaq as practiced in India”, even as opposing the BJP rulers’ effort to link it with the “need” to adopt a universal civil code (UCC).

Indian media "vied" to beat war drums the loudest, in sharp contrast to Pak's: Top British weekly The Economist

By Our Representative
In a scathing commentary on Indian media, the influential British weekly The Economist has said that India’s democracy may be “stronger than Pakistan’s”, and “less prone to coups and violence”, with its minorities “more secure” than Pakistan's.

Fighting polls on Hindutva agenda to garner votes is a "corrupt practice" under Indian law:Teesta Setalvad, others

By Our Representative
Three left-of-the-centre citizens, top social activist and anti-communal crusader Teesta Setalvad, well-known academic Shamsul Islam and senior journalist Dilip Mandal, have, through a civil application, sought the intervention of the seven judge constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court to look into the crucial issue whether garnering votes on the basis of Hindutva is against India’s basic Constitutional premises.

Confidential report on Alang shipbreaking yard, Gujarat, "lists" hazardous chemicals, heavy metals that ships leak

By Our Representative
A confidential report, paid for by the world’s renowned Copenhagen-based shipping giant Maersk, and prepared by one of the most respected consultancies in the shipping industry, Litehauz, has reportedly listed the heavy metals and hazardous chemicals that the ships leak and which can be measured in the environment around the Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat.

20,000 "hidden" leprosy cases detected in India, number of patients rise by 1.22 per cent in 2016: Report

By Our Representative
The Government of India has detected a whopping 20,000 “hidden cases of leprosy” during a massive door-to-door campaign conducted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from September 14 to October 4, says a well-researched report by a top environmental journal, insisting, this is a cause of great worry.

Modi "advised" ex-DGP to go soft on Sangh Parivar, said 2002 Gujarat violence was "natural, uncontrollable"

By Our Representative
In a glaring instance of how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, continued justifying the 2002 communal riots more than two months after they began, retired DGP RB Sreekumar has recalled, Modi told him in a one-to-one conversation in that violence by Hindus after the February 27 Godhra train burning was “a natural and uncontrollable reaction and no police could control and contain it.”

BRICS bank "ignores" transparency on environmental issues, refuses to involve civil society for policy framework

By Our Representative Amidst the high-profile BRICS summit entering the second day in Goa, two senior experts, Juana Kweitel, Programs Director of Conectas Human Rights in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Srinivas Krishnaswamy, CEO of Vasudha Foundation in New Delhi, have said that even a year after BRICS launched its New Development Bank (NDB) has failed to be a “tooled” as a “real engine for sustainable development.”

Refusal to allow UN team in Kashmir, release human rights defender part of larger design to crush dissent: PUCL

By Our Representative
India's premier human rights organization, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has asked the Government of India to allow the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to visit Jammu & Kashmir immediately, taking strong objection to blocking attempts by the top UN body to “intervene and inquire” into allegations of human rights abuses by Indian security forces in Kashmir.

BRICS civil society declaration refers to human rights violations in Brazil, India, South Africa, ignores China

By Our Representative
The People's Forum on BRICS, which took place in Goa on October 13-14 in Goa, ahead of the high profile summit meeting Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has urged in a declaration that the BRICS nations should “look at issues of social, economic and environmental justice”, something they have been consistently ignoring.

100 RTI pleas? Gujarat govt "evades" revealing Rs 1 lakh crore scam inquiry report, prepared in public interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat Information Commission (GIC), the state watchdog for right to information (RTI), has told the legal department of the Government of Gujarat must not lie, but admit, without mincing words, that a crucial report containing inquiry into 14 cases of corruption against the erstwhile Narendra Modi administration, is lying with it.

Civil society groups from 10 countries term scheduled BRICS summit in Goa imperialist, capitalist, anti-poor

By Our Representative
The People’s Forum on BRICS, held at the Xavier’s Centre for Historical Research, Alto Porvorim, Goa (October 13-14), has the governments of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa would come together for their 8th Summit in Goa on October 15-16 “increasingly aligning with capitalist and imperialists forces of the world.”

Workers at Alang in Gujarat "exposed" to toxic fumes, risk explosions when torch-cutting in T-shirts: Danish report

By Our Representative
An investigative report, claimed to be comprehensive, says that there are breaches of labour rights, workers exposed to grave risks for their health and safety, and severe environmental pollution caused by the breaking of ships in the intertidal zone of the Alang Shipbreaking Yard in Gujarat.

Adani coal project being implemented by "forcibly" acquiring land: Australian traditional owners tell UN official

By Our Representative
The traditional owners, fighting against the Adani Group's $15.95 billion mining project in Australia, have told United Nations (UN) Rapporteur Michel Forst that the Indian business giant and the government have used “coercive powers under Native Title and State Development legislation” to acquire their land.

Dalits, Adivasis disproportionately affected by poverty, pushing India's Global Hunger Index to 97th rank: Report

By Rajiv Shah
An India case study, supplementing the report “2016 Global Hunger Index (GHI)”, which ranks India 97th in GHI among 118 countries, has regretted that “by contrast, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, all of whom share the BRICS high table with India, have a single-digit score” in undernourishment.

Wither ban? China is already India's largest trading partner, with imports growing by 20% in last two years

By Our Representative
While efforts are underway to whip up national sentiment against China for its “support” to terrorists across the borders in Pakistan, facts have come to light suggesting that the boycott calls to ban on products from China, India’s largest trade partner, are unlikely to succeed.

7.6% Govt of India ministries, 17.4% depts comply by directive to submit, upload monthly progress reports

By Our Representative
A senior right to information (RTI) activist has revealed that his RTI interventions have showed majority of Government of India ministries and departments are refusing to comply with the rule 10 of the Rules of Procedure in Regard to Proceedings of the Cabinet, 1987, which requires them to send a report of the work done every month to the Cabinet Secretariat.

Ken-Betwa interlinking project "not implementable", would "destroy" Madhya Pradesh tiger reserve: Expert

By Our Representative
One of India's topmost conservationists and wildlife experts, Dr MK Ranjitsinh, has said that Phase 1 of the Rs 10,000-crore Ken-Betwa link project – which includes a 230-km canal and a series of barrages and dams linking the rivers – would mean end of the Panna Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh.

In biggest-ever "crackdown" in Kashmir, 8,000 civilians arrested, 450 for 6 months sans trial: Top US daily

By Our Representative
Top US daily “Washington Post” reports, against the backdrop of “suspected militants” taking refuge in government building off Pampore, the saffron rich town in the outskirts of Srinagar, that the latest round of the unrest in the Kashmir valley has prompted India go in for its “biggest crackdown” in decades in the state.

Execution is a terrorist's tool, stop cycle of violence: World Coalition Against Death Penalty

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
‘Execution is a terrorist's tool: Stop the cycle of violence’, screams a powerful poster brought out by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (www.worldcoalition.org) for the World Day against the Death Penalty , October 10, 2016! The focus this year is on ‘terrorism’ and whether the death penalty is actually a deterrent to an act of terrorism.
A handout by the Coalition states that, “Since the 1980’s, there has been a global trend towards abolition of the death penalty which continues to this day. Today two-thirds of countries (140) are now abolitionist in law or in practice. However, despite this global trend towards abolition, many governments have in recent years resorted to use of the death penalty following terrorist attacks on their countries, in the name of protecting their countries and peoples.”
India has the dubious distinction of being among those countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria that have adopted laws that expanded the scop…

Chhattisgarh tribals hold rally against "coal law", get support from 14 states for Coal Satyagraha in Raigarh

By Ashok Shrimali*
Chhattisarh tribals’ resistance to coalmining has found strong support from 14 states, whose representatives gathered in Gare village of Tamnar block of Raigarh district to protest against what they described as “corporate loot” of the natural resources. The meeting was organized by Mines, Minerals and People (MM&P), a well-known advocacy group, in association with Jan Chetna, a grassroots organization.

French govt-funded report praises Gujarat's affluent Juhapura Muslims for "favouring" economic integration, Modi

Counterview Desk
A French government-sponsored report has said that one of India’s biggest Muslim ghettos, Juhapura in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is witnessing a unique development: The absence of public infrastructure here has forced affluent Muslims to come up with private initiatives to develop the ghetto, thus privatizing “public action”.

Mission accomplished? 80% of adarsh villages selected by 702 MPs 2 yrs ago still practice open defecation

By RK Misra*
Cleanliness germinates in the mind and spreads to the streets.
Last Sunday marked the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (Oct. 2,1869) and one of his most unassuming disciples, former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri (Oct 2,1904). It also marked the completion of two years of a national cleanliness crusade.

Is Ahmedabad open defecation free? Evidence suggests otherwise, wide prevalence of manual scavenging

By Our Representative
Amidst Gujarat's business capital, Ahmedabad, all set to be “officially” declared open defecation free (ODF) on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's arrival in the city on October 17 for the World Kabaddi Festival, the Gujarat Safai Kaamdar Adhikar Andolan (GSKAA) has collected 50-odd video footages and hundreds of photographs across the city to call it a bluff. 

Gujarat front-runner in "copying" Govt of India's effort to dilute Land Acquisition Act, 2013: Researchers

By Our Representative
A comparison of the “amendments” carried out by different Indian states for diluting the UPA-adopted Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RFCLARR) Act, 2013 suggests that Gujarat is the frontrunner in “copying” the changes, as proposed in the Act by the NDA after it came to power in 2014.

India's 21.1% children live in poverty, as against China's 2%, South Asia's 19.5%: World Bank-UNICEF report

By Our Representative
A new report, jointly prepared by the World Bank and the UNICEF, has estimated that the “children headcount poverty rate in India is 22.1 per cent, as against the Adults headcount poverty rate of 14.3 per cent. Interestingly, the report finds that overall for the entire South Asia, both for children and for adults, is less than that of India.

Lack of RTI-related data blamed on "poor inputs" from public authorities of Central ministries, state departments

Counterview Desk
As India's Right to Information Act (RTI Act) will enter the 12th year of implementation on October 12, a new study by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has said that “not all Information Commissions come out with their Annual Reports in a timely manner.”

Nitish Kumar-Medha Patkar prohibition campaign fails to address social reform need, may "criminalize" social drinkers

Counterview Desk
Even as well-known social activist Medha Patkar's Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is running a full-blown anti-liquor campaign in the Narmada valley, eliciting the support of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (click HERE), at least two of her top supports, both activist-experts, have suggested that there is something fundamentally wrong with the new prohibition fad which has gripped parts of India.

India's poverty estimate would go down to 12.4% from 21.2% if new methodology is adopted: World Bank report

By Rajiv Shah
The World Bank wants India to urgently rework its methodology of estimating poverty, more "compatible" with international estimates, saying if it does so, it “would eventually lead to a substantial downward revision of the poverty numbers in India” – from 21.2 per cent to nearly half of it, about 12.4 per cent, as worked out for the period 2011-12.

Gujarat's controversial internal security bill is copy of similar law Maharashtra government withdrew in August

By Our Representative
Knowledgeable circles in Gujarat have revealed that the state government-proposed Gujarat Protection of Internal Security (GISP) Bill, whose contents have not yet been made public yet, is a “poor copy” of the similar Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Bill, 2016, which was “withdrawn” under public pressure on August 26 (click HERE).

Above 100 tribals "killed" in fake encounter in 7 months in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, claims Delhi civil rights group

By Our Representative
A little-known Delhi-based activists’ group, Bastar Solidarity Network (BSN), is being widely cited on prominent left-wing civil rights leaders on the social media to point that so far “more than 100 adivasis” have been killed in fake encounters in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, in the last 7 months, all to “facilitate the biggest land grab after Columbus.”

Indian Army "meekly submitted" to govt direction of NIA investigation in Uri disaster: Reliance defence expert

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded commentary in a top defence journal, a Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) thinktank consultant has said that the Uri terrorist attack, in which 18 Indian soldiers were martyred, shows “it needs little intuition or professional knowledge to conclude that there were serious lapses in following Standard Operating Procedures.”

On Gandhi Jayanti, Gujarat governor launches book praising Modi non-violence, following Mahatma's footseps

By Our Representative
In a controversial move, Gujarat governor OP Kohli on the Gandhi Jayanti Day unveiled a book which claims to highlight "ideological parallels” between Mahatma Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on “key themes” of non-violence, nationalism, poverty and inclusive development.

5 die, 12 seriously injured in Jharkhand, as cops "open fire" on protesting tribals; Medha Patkar writes to NHRC

By Our Representative
In a gruesome incident, early morning on Saturday, the Jharkhand police is said to have left five persons dead and many injured as it opened fire on the villagers protesting “forcible land acquisition” for a thermal power plant being built by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in district Hazaribagh, Chirdudih area.

World Economic Form ranks India 112th in labour market. Reason? "Failure" to deregulate protected workers

By Our Representative
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) latest report may have found that India has “climbed” its score to the 39th position in Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) among 138 countries, a whopping 16-place improvement in a year, thanks to what it calls “goods market efficiency, business sophistication, and innovation.”

Gujarat Dalit rail roko canceled "for now" following high alert in state: Govt allegedly "goes soft" on demands

By Our Representative
In a late night development, top Gujarat Dalit rights leader Jignesh declared he was “canceling” his highly-publicized rail roko (block the trains) agitation, which was to begin on October 1 at 10 am, at Maninagar, former state assembly constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad. Chain pulling was going to be one of the programmes of the rail roko.