Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2016

Demonetization: Gujarat farmers "reveal" how they are suffering, yet say they are scared to talk about it

By Pankti Jog*
Ben majoor manasoni daya nathi avti sarkarne” (sister, government does not even pity for these daily labourers). A farmer from Surendranagar district of Gujarat told me on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline number, 9924085000. He continued telling me about the status of agricultural workers in the area.

It's mischievous, Gujarat govt "closed down" Narmada dam gates disregarding plight of 20,000 outees: Medha Patkar

Well-known social activist Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan tells Rajiv Shah, editor, www.counterview.net, that the Gujarat government cannot close down Narmada dam’s gates, as it would risk the life and property of at least 20,000 oustees of Madhya Pradesh living in 192 villages. Text of the interview: 

Project Remonetisation: Apogee of divisiveness amidst effort to paint Dubaiesque picture of India Rising

By Shantanu Basu*
In the myth-making, politics and economics of Project Remonetisation, all cash outside the banking system have earned the dubious moniker of being ‘black’. Nowhere in sight of discussion are fundamental issues of the future control of citizens’ moneys and their security, costs of currency replacement, legality and necessity, even constitutionality and limitations. Instead Indians are beamed TV images of Chief Vitalstatistix astride his throne, carried aloft by his minions, while holding the Roman Empire (of evil) at bay.
Are ‘black’ and ‘white’ moneys as distinct from Rudyard Kipling’s East and the West? Can the twain ever meet? If a housewife saves a precious Rs. 500 over a decade or more from her family’s household expenses and tucks it away in her pillow, her surrendered notes cannot be treated as ‘black’ money. Her spouse cannot be forced to preserve old bank pass books for his monthly household expenses for decades together to prove to the taxman the bona fide of …

Calling Vibrant Gujarat business meet anti-farmer, top leader to hold foot march against "pro-industry" land laws

By Our Representative
Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG), the state's non-political farmers' organization which has successfully fought few major battles against land acquisition in special investment regions (SIRs) formed to speed up industrialization across the state, has announced that it would take out what it called “vedna yatra” (pain march) from Somnath to Gandhinagar from December 11 to January 2 to “highlight” farmers' plight.

RBI in spot? Allegations fly high, it tied up with "blacklisted" British co to supply note printing equipment

By Our Representative
In the wake of the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, a portal run by well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad has wondered as to why Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave away contract  supply machinery for printing notes to a British company, which it alleges was “black-listed”previously.

Not consulted for demonetization, economists are "hamstrung" as there's no precedence: Top pro-Modi scribe

By Our Representative
A top pro-Narendra Modi scribe has revealed it all. In a recent blog, he has said, there was no expert economic advise which drove Modi to demonetize Rs 500 and 1000 notes on November 8; in fact, he suggests, virtually giving credence to former finance minister P Chidambaram, that Modi did not consult any economist.

Indore-Patna Express train accident seen as opportune time to switchover to "safer" stainless steel coaches

By Our Representative
India's stainless steel industry sector, which constitutes about 4 per cent of the total steel production in the country, sees the recent tragic train accident involving the Indore-Patna Express that took about 150 lives, as a turning point, requiring urgent move over to “safer” stainless steel coaches for “passenger safety.”

In late 19th century, traders left India because of colonial oppression, "weren't aware" of racist South Africa

By Our Representative Mohamed M Keshavjee’s book, “Into that Heaven of Freedom”, to be launched in Ahmedabad on Saturday, captures some of the rare historical moments of how Indians were discriminated against in South Africa around the time when Mohandas  Karamchand Gandhi, as Gujarati lawyer, arrived in the country in 1893.

Britain's secular minority women reject as "discriminatory" Home Affairs hearing of those using Shariat arbitration

By Our Representative
A secular coalition of British minority women, representing organizations having a decades of experience of working with marginalized sections, have rejected the country’s Home Affairs Select Committee seeking a hearing of women who have “personally used” community arbitration of Sharia Councils, saying these women are subject to the vagaries of a “discriminatory system.”

Subverting MGNREGA, Odisha govt imposes commercial plantation on land allocated under Forest Rights Act

By Sanghamitra Dubey*
Sukanti Kanhar, president of a women's cooperative in Katitara village of Kandhamal, sounds nostalgic. She says, “When I came in this village after my marriage I used to go to forest with my mother-in-law to do cultivation in the uplands which used to grow 68 types of crops providing food sufficiency throughout the year.”

Modi's currency ban qualified an "ivory tower move", coming from government living in a "parallel universe"

By Our Representative
A senior economist of influential US economics organization, HIS Global Insight, has termed the decision to demonetize Rs 500 and 1000 notes as reflecting "a vast disconnect between the ivory tower of Modi's government in Delhi run by urban middle class bureaucrats and the reality of life for the rural poor in India".

Gujarat CM to "discuss" lifting ban on investment in most polluted clusters with industrial associations

Counterview Desk
A senior Gujarat-based environmentalist has alleged that the state government and Government of India have begun a fresh move to lift the moratorium imposed Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva, which were characterized in 2010 some of the most polluted industrial clusters of India.

300 children die of Japanese encephalitis in Odisha's Malkangiri, govt "undermining" depth of disease: Top doctor

By Our Representative
Dr Sylvia Karpagam, a well-known Karnataka-based public health doctor who works with marginalised communities, has claimed, quoting local activists, that more than 300 adivasi children have died in Malkangiri, Odisha, in the past two months due to the deadly Japanese Encephalitis (JE), as against just 32 deaths claimed by the state government.

Gujarat govt: Jha Commission report on corruption in resettling Narmada dam oustees "poorly prepared"

By Rajiv Shah
Setting aside fears of large-scale submergence in Madhya Pradesh, top Gujarat government insiders have authoritatively stated that the crucial permission to close down the gates of the Narmada dam will surely be obtained by June 2017, ahead of the monsoon season, in order to store as much water as possible during the rainy season up to the full reservoir level, 138.64 metres.

To these professionals, Modi is a "nation builder", as if this is happening for the first time in independent India

By Sanjiv Bhatt*
There’s something to be said about Narendra Modi. Though he is a photoshopped demagogue, he has been able to dumb down the minds of people who I (mistakenly) thought would be able to have a more discerning sense of what’s going on. What I see now is a shocking case of brain meltdown. These people are not the street ruffians of the VHP.
They are also, at least ostensibly not, RSS brown shirts. They are professionally qualified people, with good life skills, and also reasonably honest in what they do with some sense of what constitutes ethical behaviour and practice In their respective professions. What beats me is the way in which these people have swallowed Modi’s hogwash hook, line, and sinker.
They believe, like incredulous infants, that whatever Modi is doing is happening for the first time in this country. From surgical strikes to currency demonetisation, everything is descending from the grace of Narendra Modi. The fact that every such action has been done in the pa…

54% Facebook users support BJP to rule Gujarat, as against 41% favouring Congress in a unique social media poll

By Our Representative
Amidst Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to make a powerful political impact across India by withdrawing Rs 500 and 1000 notes, ostensibly to fight black money, one Parthesh Patel undertook an interesting Facebook poll, revealing that 54.48% social media users continue to want BJP to rule Gujarat.

Docs treating Kashmir violence victims being routinely harassed, hospitals, women's wards raided: Report

By Our Representative
Twenty-five Indian citizens, mainly representing civil rights organizations, on a fact-finding mission in Kashmir, have alleged in a report prepared following their visit, that doctors, treating victims of the recent violence in Kashmir Valley, are now being routinely harassed by "government intelligence.'

Foolhardy to assume demonetization would extinguish black money, warns Finance Ministry research paper

By Rajiv Shah
Did Prime Minister Narendra Modi go ahead with demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1000 notes without allowing any expert analysis of the impact it might have on the economy? It would seem so, if a recent paper by a research team attached with a Union finance ministry outfit is any indication.

Drop Sagarmala project, it would lead to eco-devastation, displacement along Indian coast: Civil society meet

By Our Representative
A civil society consultation on Sagarmala, a Government of India project conceived under former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and modified by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to turn coastal areas into “gateways to India's prosperity”, has reached the conclusion that it would mean large-scale ecological devastation and displacement along the coastal areas.

Gujarat manhole deaths: High Court seeks details of what state govt has done to compensate kin by Dec 7

By Our Representative
The Gujarat High Court has asked the state government pleader to obtain details of the “follow up action” taken, pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court for ending the despicable practice of manual scavenging, including manual cleaning of gutters, and reveal what it has done for implementing it in Gujarat by the next hearing scheduled for December 7, 2016.

Demonetization: South Gujarat farmers protest, warn Modi, it will lead to failure of winter crop due to cash crunch

By Our Representative
The farmers of South Gujarat have taken up cudgel against the Government of India's controversial decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, saying it has led to severe cash crunch, leading to complete failure on their part to begin farming for the winder season and sell their agricultural produce, especially vegetables.

Cancel BJP politician's appointment to NHRC, you have powers to do it: PUCL writes to President of India

By Our Representative
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), India’s premier human rights organization, has asked President Pranab Mukherjee to cancel the proposed appointment of Avinash Rai Khanna, a BJP vice-president, as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), insisting, he “not ineligible” for the post, telling him, NHRC's function is to protect and promote human rights.

India's under-5 pneumonia-diarrhea deaths go up in 2015-16, albeit marginally; action plan far off target: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A high-profile report prepared to mark the World Pneumonia Day (November 12) by a well-known US-based institute has revealed that, over the last year, there is an increase, albeit marginal, in the number of under-five deaths among children because of pneumonia and diarrhea.

Demonetization: Foreign missions seek removal of restriction on embassy accounts, it "violates" Vienna accord

By Our Representative
Faced with currency crunch following the Modi government's demonetization move, top New Delhi-based diplomats are learned to have conveyed it to the Government of India to urgently remove the limits on withdrawal from diplomatic bank accounts.

Demonetization a miscalculation, puts economy in chaos, Modi's ways becoming bizarre: Top US media house

By Our Representative
A influential international business news giant, based in New York, avidly followed by the corporate world across the world, has said that India’s “sudden” decision to demonetize 500- and 1,000-rupee notes on November 8, initially seemed a “masterstroke”, is proving to be a “grave miscalculation.”

Ex-Modi confidante: Top Ahmedabad tycoon knew of demonetization in advance, transferred black to white

By Our Representative
Widely considered in Gujarat as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's one-time confidante, Yatin Oza, a senior Gujarat High Court advocate, has claimed, on the basis of “evidence” he has gathered, that Modi had leaked his decision to demonetize Rs 500 and 1000 notes to a top industrialist of Ahmedabad.

Fresh eviction notices to Himachal's forest-dwelling Dalits "despite" Rahul Gandhi assurance to implement FRA

By Our Representative
Despite assurance (click HERE) by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi that the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 would be implemented in Himachal Pradesh, a state governed by his party, latest incidents suggest that the state government is going ahead withwith fresh eviction notices to forest dwellers, allegedly in violation of FRA.

Online abuse "affects" 50% plus Indian women using social media, 36% don't respond due to "lack of support"

By Our Representative
A new research report, “Cyber Violence Against Women In India”, has said that online abuse is a serious issue in India, claiming to affect more than half of the country's women using online platforms. It regrets, however, “Women and other targets lack support and understanding to respond effectively.” The report is based on a survey of 500 women and separate interviews with 10 of them.

British archives document "links" Godse with RSS, is quoted as saying, RSS "welcomed" the assissination

By Our Representative
Fresh evidence is claimed to have surfaced on links between Nathuram Godse, the man responsible for murdering Mahatma Gandhi, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), this time from the from the London archives of India Office Library & Records.

Modi intention questioned: Just 0.028% of demonetized currency is fake, Rs 1.14 lakh crore bad debts waived

Counterview Desk
A group of prominent citizens has doubted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intention to fight black money by demonetizing Rs 1000 and 500 notes, saying, instead of punishing those responsible for Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debts, the Government of India has “waived” these over the last 3 years.

Jharkhand villagers live under constant "trauma, fear", don't stay at night following Oct 1 Hazaribagh police firing

By Our Representative
A high-profile civil society fact-finding team (FFT), set up by the Delhi Solidarity Group, has said in a report that more than a month after the gruesome death of four persons in police firing at Badkagaon, Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, villagers are under “constant trauma and fear”, with cops threatening them to “cause further killings if they do not part with their land.”

Demonetization "cost" would reach Rs 40,000 crore, loss to working days 300 million, plus GDP loss: CARE

By Our Representative
One of India’s topmost rating agencies, Credit Analysis and Research (CARE) Ltd, has predicted that the total cost of the Narendra Modi government move to demonetize Rs 500 and 1000 notes would go up to Rs 40,000 crore, wondering whether the pain it is causing to the common people worth it.

Rs 2000 note has radio frequency tracking mechanism: IIM-Bangalore don who advised Modi to demonetize

By Our Representative
While Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has denied as rumours that every Rs 2000 note has a GPS-chip in it, which would be able to tap its movement from a satellite, a top Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore professor, R Vaidyanathan, who was the main brain behind the demonetization move, has said that the new notes do have radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in them.

Demonetization: India's economic growth unlikely to improve till second half of 2018, predicts Motilal Oswal

By Rajiv Shah
Motilal Oswal, one of India’s topmost financial services firms, has predicted that the economic growth of the economy is likely to slow down in the second half of 2017, and is unlikely to improve in the next one year because of demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. In a sector update, it says, “Overall, while economic growth in the second half of 2017 could be lower than expected, fundamentals of the economy should improve from the second half of 2018.”

Fake registries scam: Cops pick up Narmada dam oustees in wee hours, no action against officials, says NBA

By Our Representative
In a bizarre incident in Madhya Pradesh's Nisarpur village of Kukshi block in Dhar district, Kanhaiya Prajapati, one of the thousands of poor farmers displaced by the high-profile Narmada dam in Gujarat, was “picked up” early in the morning 5:00 am last week by the local police for allegedly signing up a fake registry for “receiving” cash instead of land as part of the resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) package of the state government.

Delhi Univ professor charged with murder in Chhattisgarh as she exposed atrocities in Bastar: Civil rights bodies

By Our Representative
The Chhattisgarh police's controversial move to file FIR charging Nandini Sundar, Professor of Sociology, Delhi University and Prof Archana Prasad of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, of murder of a tribal in Bastar is all set to become a major human rights concern across India.

Delhi anti-war show equates Hindutva "war mongering" with Pak jehadi onslaught, questions military actions

By Our Representative
In an interesting development against the backdrop of increasing military and diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan, over 40 civil rights organizations and individuals held what they called “a citizens’ joint action against was mongering” on November 9 afternoon. Expressing “deep concern” about what they considered was “the toxic climate of war-mongering that has dawned on India and Pakistan after the Uri attack”, the programme sought broad people’s support to “pause and think about the consequences for India and South Asia, of such militarism, war and hate-mongering.”

Replace India's US ambassador with ex-military man for "strategic" relations with Trump: Modi's NRI protege

By Our Representative
A top Hindutva ideologue settled in the US has advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national security adviser Ajit Doval to replace the present ambassador to the US, Arun Kumar Singh, with a top military personnel in order to deal with president-elect Donald Trump.

Chidambaram: new series notes to cost Rs 20,000 crore; top economist: does govt know what's black money?

By Our Representative
In a strong reaction to Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing that the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 would no longer be legal tender, former finance minister P Chidambaram has said that the introduction of “new series of notes” of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denomination is estimated to cost Rs 15,000-20,000 crore", wondering if the economic gains of demonetization would be "at least equal to that amount.”

PUCL to challenge appointment of BJP politician as NHRC member in Supreme Court, calls move "sinister"

By Our Representative
People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), India’s premier human rights organization, has threatened to approach the Supreme Court against the appointment of BJP vice president Avinash Rai Khanna as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), for a post that was “kept vacant” for the last two years.

Jharkhand violence: Following 7 deaths, 80 injuries, agitating people being picked up "randomly": NGO network

By Our Representative
The Right to Food Campaign (RFC), which is the apex body of tens of NGOs working on livelihood issues, has said that so far seven persons have died and 80 injured because of the “continued violence” and “repeated firing” by Jharkhand police on local people’s opposition to displacement in the villages of Gola, Badkagaon and the town of Khunti.

Demonetizing Rs 500 and 1,000 notes will lead to decrease in purchases, profits, investment, income

By Hemantkumar Shah*
The decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from currency is a macho decision by the government which will have no positive impact on Indian economy.
(1) In 1978, a similar decision was taken by the Morarji Desai government. But the black money volume increased. It did not reduce. A same result will be there this time, too.
(2) In 1978, hardly 10% of people were using these notes. At present, almost all people use these notes. So they will be harassed for exchange.
(3) Poor people will be exploited, as they mostly don't have bank accounts. Private people will get undue benefits from exchanges.
(4) Recently more than Rs 60,000 crore black money was unearthed under the income tax (IT) scheme. No positive impact has been seen in the short run. Nothing will happen in the long run.
(5) As a result of this decision, perhaps another Rs. 50,000 crore will be destroyed by people. It will hardly have any positive impact on income, employment, prices and investment.
(6…

Govt of India "cancels" foreign funding license of 25 NGOs sans valid reason: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch

By Our Representative
In a joint statement, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, two of the topmost human rights NGOs with global presence, have strongly reacted to the Government of India’s reported refusal to renew foreign funding licenses of 25 NGOs “without valid reasons.”

UK's trade deal with India would amount to "endorsing" enslaved work, warns Britain's Anti-Slavery International

By Our Representative
Amidst British Prime Minister Theresa May’s on-going India visit, Britain’s well-known human rights organization, Anti-Slavery International (ASI), has apprehended that “the world trade deal Britain signs with India would open it up as a major market for slavery-tainted goods India.”

Modi "promised" Kanu Ramdas Gandhi help which never came, Mahatma's grandson died in Surat as a loner

By Darshan Desai
Amidst reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the “lead” in paying tribute to Kanu Ramdas Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and a former NASA scientist, who breathed his last in a private hospital in Surat on Monday evening, facts have come to light suggesting Modi's promise to “help” Gandhi never materialized.

India's air pollution problem is "being discussed in post-Diwali Delhi terms", lacks perspective: Greenpeace

By Our Representative
Top international NGO Greenpeace has said that there is a need for an urgent nation-wide, systemic solution for pollution crisis response, and the Delhi government's announcement of “emergency measures” to help citizens cope with the public health crisis of hazardous air pollution levels lack a national perspective.

Modi must see Fukushima firsthand to experience 2011 nuke disaster, shouldn't sign deal: Japanese women

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded statement addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to visit Japan on November 11-12, Japanese women from Fukushima have asked him to “come and see Fukushima before signing India-Japan Nuclear Agreement.” Issued by Fukushima Women Against Nukes, the statement comes amidst news that the two countries have “completed the internal procedures for the much-awaited agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.”

Dismantling democracy: Today it’s not merely writing on the wall; freedoms are curtailed, dissidence quashed

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
The way Fatima, the mother of Najeeb Ahmed (#najeebahmed) the missing JNU student was treated on November 6, 2016 evening by the Delhi Police was just appalling. She was at a rally peacefully protesting with several others about the mysterious disappearance of her son. They were demanding that the Police and the Central Government need to do much more to trace Najeeb. The rally was disbanded by the police. There is enough of evidence (viral on social media) to show how Fatima was dragged, manhandled and detained by the police. Several other protestors (including students) were also detained.
This is not the first incident happening this past week. Some opposition political leaders who were protesting the death of a retired soldier were also arrested and were made to stop their protests. The son of the soldier who had gone to meet these leaders was beaten up by the police.
The popular TV Channel NDTV, will be taken off the air on November 9th for 24 hours because…

Govt of India "reveals": It was quite lenient on NDTV, imposing just 24 hour ban despite the plea for 30 days

By Our Representative
The Government of India has sought to to make out that the the 24 hour ban it imposed on the NDTV India news channel is “quite lenient” compared to what the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), which looked into the channel's “violation” of the Programming and Adverising Code, 1995, amended in 2015, while covering the January 2016 Pathankot terror attack.

Govt of India decision to ban NDTV "untenable", continuation of efforts to muzzle dissent, NGOs: PUCL

By Our Representative
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), condemning the decision of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to “punish” Hindi news channel, NDTV India, for allegedly revealing “strategically-sensitive” information while covering the Pathankot attack in January 2016, has said the order is “legally untenable, ethically unacceptable and factually fallacious.”