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Showing posts from July, 2017

Organic farming in India wll be jeopardised with commercialisation of GM mustar: Senior economists write to Modi

Counterview Desk
Following an open letter by Dr Vallabh Kathiria, former Union minister under AB Vajpayee and BJP leader from Rajkot, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to allow environmental clearance to genetically modified (GM) mustard seed, several top economists have asked Modi to stop its commercial cultivation.

Top US-based academic supports "sacked" EPW editor, insists, journal's main job was investigative reporting

By Our Representative
One of the topmost intellectuals, Partha Chatterjee, professor of anthropology at the Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies in the Columbia University, has thrown his weight behind Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who was forced to quit as editor of the well-known  journal "Economic and Political Weekly" (EPW) a fortnight ago for publishing a controversial article on the top business house Adani Group.

"Deep concern" over rapidly changing socio-political atmosphere after coming to power of majoritarian government in India

The all India Milli Council, which held its national convention on July 30, at Talkatora Stadium, came up with the following resolution:
At a time when there are counter efforts to mar the Indian Constitution’s basic components like pluralism, diversity, equality, justice and tolerance and those responsible for this feel sure that nothing would happen to them as if they have got sanction from the highest authorities in the government, the Constitution faces threats to its very existence. This extraordinary situation has perturbed the citizens of the country.
Realising the concerns of the citizens, All India Milli Council (AIMC) has called the national convention “Save the Constitution and Build the Nation” so that the issue is pondered over in detail and remedies are suggested. Following is the resolution passed by the national convention held at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi on July 30, 2017.
1. This gathering demands a total ban on hate speech which is against our ethos and the constitu…

As a consequence of chasing funds, NGOs shift their focus from their core mission, change their objectives to suit donor needs

By Moin Qazi*
India is now all set to frame a law to curb the wild growth of NGOs following a series of strict observations of the Supreme Court. The CBI has informed the Supreme Court that it has detected 32.97 lakh registered NGOs and voluntary organizations but less than 10% of them, 3.07 lakh, filed their audited accounts.
India has tens of thousands of NGOs, including local arms of global charities and homegrown groups, working on a wide range of issues, including poverty, gender rights, urban safety, human rights, microfinance, environmental protection, healthcare, agriculture and clean energy. They form the bulwark of India’s vibrant civil society, which is crucial to developing an effective interface of the government and the community.
But sadly not all NGOs are necessarily formed for altruistic reasons, and in a number of cases NGOs are promoted because they make good economic logic to the founders.
There is a growing tribe of NGOs which exists, metaphorically or lit…

Tank in JNU campus: Vice chancellor should rightfully claim credit, patent the concept and process of Wargasm

By Anand Mazgaonkar*
The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice Chancellor’s (VC's) suggestion of installing a tank at a prominent place on campus is not only a brilliant, but also an honest idea. Just as we never found out the source of the demonetisation idea -- whether it was the Reserve Bank of India's (RBIs) own idea or whether the Government gave it to the RBI to give it back to the Government to implement -- we will never figure out where this one came from.
It may have come from the JNU VC’s own fertile brain, or from Nagpur, or Delhi or it may have done the merry-go-round like demonetisation, i.e., from Nagpur to Delhi to VC and back to Delhi for implementation.
Unquestionably, following due procedure, creating lot of smoke does indeed cover up the source, intent and purpose. We must indeed be a stupid people. The only problem is that some of their motormouths betray their true designs.
Mr Rajiv Malhotra, is reported to have said he was “glad we’re capturing JNU” and h…

Noam Chomsky seeks justice from Modi as Medha Patkar's hunger strike off Narmada river enters fourth day

By Our Representative
World renowned veteran American linguist, social critic and political activist Noam Chomsky has extended his support to the project affected people of the Narmada valley when the indefinite fast and dharna of hundreds of people are underway in Narmada valley.

Reliance thinktank report: Low calorific coal "required" for India's high economic growth, energy security

By Rajiv Shah
A top-ranking think tank attached with one of India's foremost business houses has warned that, despite the Government of India target have ensure that 40% of the energy needs would be fulfilled by renewable sources in about a decade, this is not going to happen over the next two decades or more.

Andhra Pradesh sitting judge "indicted" in preliminary report, yet no further process undertaken to proceed against him

Text of the letter dated 27th July 2017 by prominent advocate, Supreme Court, Prashant Bhushan, as convenor of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) to the Chief Justice of India:
On 30th August, 2016, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) had sent a representation to the former Chief Justice of India, Justice TS Thakur, against Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy, sitting Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, seeking initiation of in-house inquiry into the allegations in the representation. The allegations involved abuse of office, particularly nepotism and physical assault against a dalit junior civil judge and interference in the course of judicial process.
Thereafter Chief Justice Thakur had appointed Justice Gogoi to scrutinise the case for his preliminary view. It has been reported that Justice Gogoi submitted his report, indicting Justice Nagarjuna Reddy and has suggested that a more thorough three member inquiry committee be put in place to …

Narmada valley villagers hold jal satyargaha to protest dam gates closure, AAP to launch yatra from August 1

By Our Representative
On the third day of indefinite fast in the Narmada Valley, hundreds of villagers entered the Narmada waters and observed jal satyagraha, "challenging" the Madhya Pradesh government’s "plan" to displace 40,000 families by closing gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam allegedly without any rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley.

Whither ideology in power politics? Nitish Kumar "feared" Lalu Prasad Yadav would diminish his stature in the eyes of Bihar masses

By Faraz Ahmad* I don’t claim a copy right to this Urdu couplet: “Pahunchi wahin pe khaak jahan ka khameer thha.” Actually I don’t even know the poet who composed this one. But I recall when Jamaate Islami chief Maulana Abul Aala Maudooodi died in New York, the Urdu daily ‘Masawat’ the party organ of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) , had a screaming eight column banner headline in red ink announcing Maulana Maudoodi’s death in United States of America (USA) with this couplet.
Ironically for all the supposed anti-US and anti-imperialist vituperation and rhetoric Mauddoodi indulged in in his Friday (khutba) congregations, he like many others of our sub-continent men suffered from typical racial inferiority complex besotten by fair skin and therefore took a white American as his wife.
It comes back to me in the context of Bihar strong man and chief minister Nitish Kumar’s latest, though much anticipated somersault discarding the secular Mahagathbandhan and embracing back his alma mater th…

Sonia adviser Ahmed Patel unlikely to win Gujarat Rajya Sabha seat, BJP needs to "buy" one MLA: Congress insider

By Our Representative
The Congress leadership may have flown 44 of its Gujarat MLAs to Karnataka to “safeguard” the Rajya Sabha seat of Ahmed Patel, political adviser to party chief Sonia Gandhi. But Congress insiders doubt if this this make Patel’s seat fully secure. The MLAs were flown by late evening Indigo flight to Bengaluru on Friday.

Top journal EPW staff raise pitch, accuse ex-editor Thakurta of compromising egalitarian culture

By Our Representative
A letter purportedly written by the prestigious Economic and Political Weekly's (EPW's) editorial staff, claimed to be authentic, and taking rounds in the social media, has sharply criticized its former editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who controversially resigned from his post, for compromising "the egalitarian culture of the office".

Demolition of Gandhi Samadhi in Badwani, use force on fasting NBA activists: Protests held in Delhi, Karnataka

By Our Representative
Even as Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, accompanied by Sardar Sarovar dam affected communities, started indefinite mass fast against the alleged Madhya Pradesh government attempt at "drowning and forcefully evicting people from Narmada Valley without complete and Just rehabilitation", her supporters gathered at Jantar Mantar in Delhi in solidarity protest.

Victim of human trafficking: Hundreds of children brought from Rajasthan to work in cotton fields of North Gujarat

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
In 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, urging Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat this scourge. The Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programmes in order to boost development and strengthen security worldwide. Three years later in 2013, the   General Assembly held a high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action and through a resolution designated July 30th as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. The resolution declared that such a day was necessary to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”
The world body states, “human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are vict…

GM will insert dangerous chemical in our Sarson da Saag, don't give eco-clearance: BJP leader writes to Modi

By Our Representative
In a surprise move, Vallabh Kathiria, who once belonged to the anti-Narendra Modi camp in the BJP during the latter's chief ministership of Gujarat, has written to the Prime Minister asking him to reject an application by the Delhi University with the Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change for “environmental release” or commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) mustard hybrid seed.

Govt of India: Right to privacy is too amorphous in developing countries, overrides food, clothing, shelter

By Our Representative
The Government of India has said that privacy is not a fundamental right, amd that it is too vague to qualify it as such. Appearing for the Centre in the Supreme Court, Attorney-General KK Venugopal argued that there can be "no independent right called right to privacy, and that privacy is only a sociological notion, not a legal concept."

Narayanan not India's first Dalit president? Kin take strong exception to "false communal propaganda"

By Our Representative
Well-known Kerala-based academic Meera Velyudhan has taken strong exception to what she calls "false communal propaganda" being spread that India's first Dalit president  KR Narayanan wasn't actually a "Hindu Dalit" but a Christian. The propaganda, according to her, is aimed at giving Ramanth Kovind, known for RSS leanings, the status of first Dalit President of India.

Malaria free India by 2027? 300% rise in chikungunya, 157% dengue, 124% Japanese encephalitis cases

By Our Representative
India may be wanting to eliminate malaria by 2030, but available details suggest that not only India is far from achieving the aim, "between 2012 and 2016, there has been a 300% rise in the cases of chikungunya, dengue followed at 157% and Japanese encephalitis at 124%."

Narmada dam oustees threaten indefinite protest fast starting July 27 ahead of month-end eviction deadline

By Our Representative
Following the “deadline” for resettling Narmada dam oustees, July 31, nearing, anti-dam oustees, backed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), have threatened to begin an indefinite collective fast on July 27 till their demand not to be uprooted from their houses is fulfilled. The fast will be led by NBA leader Medha Patkar.

London ex-Muslim world meet seeks right to criticize Islamism, as it's "same" as criticizing Hindu or Christian right

By Our Representative
In what is being described by its organizers as “the largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history”, an International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression, held in London on July 22-24 was participation of delegates as “Islam's apostates, many from countries where the legal penalty for apostasy is death.”

Govt of India report: Skill development centres promoted crony capitalism, wasted away Rs 2,500 crore

By Our Representative
A recent Government of India report  has said that its skill development programmes have actually promoted “hotbed of crony capitalism”, with what were supposed to be “industry-run” centres having actually extracted “maximum benefit from public funds.”

Even media mogul Murdoch wouldn't act the way EPW trustees moved against editor Thakutra: Ex-editor Reddy

By Our Representative
Former “Economic and Political Weekly” (EPW) editor C Rammanohar Reddy has warned through a series of controversial Facebook posts on his timeline that if the “rapid slide in EPW after the current crisis” is not checked, the world-class journal, known for some of the best research and scholarly articles, will fade away.

Indian authorities not effective in curbing terror funding, nor coordinating with US agencies: US State Dept report

By Our Representative
A just-released US State Department report has suggested that despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to de-monetize Rs 500 and 1,000 notes in November last year, the Indian authorities have failed to achieve one of its state objectives, to curb suspicious sources of funding terrorist activities.

It's bizarre to discredit Dilip Kumar, K Asif, Bimal Roy, Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, the spine of contemporary film business

Counterview Desk
Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut has written an open letter in reply to a an open letter by Saif Ali Khan on the nepotism debate currently rocking Bollywood following his apology that the "nepotism rocks" joke at the recent International Indian Film Academy awards function by him and along with Karan Johar and Varun Dhawan was not directed her. Text: 

Lingayat rally in Karnataka: A deliberate attempt to whip up frenzy, a motivated effort to twist history

By Deepak Parvatiyar*
It is very unusual of me to get into religious matters. I always try to keep myself away from matters of faith and religion for the simple reason that I respect one's faith and religious beliefs. But this post is quite interesting, and is more political than about religion and faith... So equally interesting is the presence of opportunist politicians in the melee.
I can say that a deliberate attempt is being made to whip up frenzy and this is very dangerous. I read the statements made by the so called Lingayat leaders with great interest and can only laugh at their claims. The way they are twisting their own history is nothing but motivated. And there is no insinuation.
Consider their arguments to prove that they are not Hindus – that they are the followers of Basavanna's Vachan; that the Vaidic religion is polytheistic and that Hindus have 33 crore gods and goddesses while Lingayats are monotheists... so on. They compare their religion with Buddhism too..…

Image of Modi as militant modernist is built on a strategy of violence against region’s most vulnerable communities

By Gargi Bhattacharya*
The rise to power of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has been built on a paradigm of development and anti-corruption that has enabled him to develop sustained electoral support among the Indian middle classes and rehabilitate his image as a statesman on the international stage.

Legal notices to journalists meant as intimidation tactic, way to harass reporters through legal fees, time spent to respond

By Aayush Soni, CPJ India Correspondent
On July 5, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who recently resigned as editor of the Economic and Political Weekly, and his colleagues Advait Rao Palepu and Shinzani Jain, received a notice from Thaker and co., a law firm representing Adani Power Ltd, that threatened legal action over a story published the month before.
While legal notices can result in civil or criminal defamation cases, journalists in India say companies are increasingly using them as part of a tactic known as Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or SLAPP, in an effort to intimidate or censor them.
Thakurta told CPJ that the point of the legal notices isn't to take journalists to court, but to serve as an intimidation tactic and way to harass reporters through legal fees and time spent responding to notices and appearing in courts sometimes hundreds of miles from where their newspapers are based.
This isn't the first time that lawyers acting on behalf of large corporations…

Inequality index: India ranks 132nd among 152 countries because of "woefully low" health, education spending

By Rajiv Shah
A top international report has said that India fares “very badly, ranking 132 out of 152 countries in its commitment to reducing inequality – a very worrying situation given that the country is home to 1.2 billion people, many of whom live in extreme poverty.”

Rajasthan authorities destroy shanties in Jaipur taking advantage of heavy rains, denotified tribes suffer

By Kavita Srivastava*
A Rajasthan People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) team, which has been surveying the implementation of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay patta vitaran yojana, for giving housing plots to the homeless, has found that the rains in Jaipur on July 21 would be remembered by very poor sections as the day when their homes were destroyed and the life completely disrupted.

India's public spending on education less than 3% of GDP, Kothari Commission wanted it to be 6%

By Our Representative
A recent Right to Education (RTE) Forum consultation in Delhi has revealed that the Government of India’s and state governments’ allocation for education is not even half of what well-known the Kothari Commission had recommended way back in 1964. The commission wanted it to be 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an amount endorsed by the National Policy on Education more than two decades later (1986).

The wavering Vaghela: A spent force, who failed to manage elections when faced with formidable political enemies

By Rajiv Shah
It was April-end 2009. As part of a journalists’ group taken to “cover” Lok Sabha elections on the polling day, we visited Vasania, known more as Shankirsinh Vaghela’s village, about 20 km north of Gujarat capital Gandhinagar. Brisk polling was on. Talking to the villagers, we were pretty impressed: While Vaghela himself was fighting from a constituency which is about 150 km away, here everyone seemed to vote Congress, the party he quit his 77th birthday, July 21. A local scribe rushed out of the polling booth and told me: “Do you know? There is no BJP polling agent in the booth! All are Vaghela men. So no vote for the BJP!”
His “information” made me curious. I began inquiring from the Congress people, mostly youth, sitting a little way from the polling booth on what the reality was. One of them, whose main job was to provide slips to those going to the polling booth, told me quietly: “BJP people wouldn’t dare enter the polling booth. They dare not put up their tables out…

Complaint against Rakesh Sinha: Having silenced her critics within Bengal, Mamata is spreading her tentacles outside the state

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
It left me aghast when I heard that at the Shakespeare Sarani Police Station, Kolkata, an FIR, at the behest of Mamata Bannerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, based on very flimsy and unfounded grounds was filed against my old time friend, Delhi University Political Science professor and RSS think tank/ spokesperson, Rakesh Sinha — truly, a man of letters and clear understanding on matters pertaining Hindu-Muslims relations, India’s secular credentials and communal harmony.
Why it actually traumatised me, was the fact that I have known Rakesh for almost two decades, even while he wasn’t the spokesperson of the RSS, as an erudite scholar and a very well-read intellectual. We have often sparred on the umpteen TV channels on a variety of topics ranging on a varied variety of topics, sometime on the opposing sides of the table and at others, on the same side! What impressed me was his deep-rooted knowledge of history and a holistic approach towards all aspects of pol…

EPW has earned its reputation as independent, impartial journal for publishing scholarly articles - research-based academic

Full text of the statement issued by the Sameeksha Trust on the circumstances leading to the resignation of Paranjoy Guha Thakurta as the Editor of the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW):
A legal notice was served on the Sameeksha Trust, the editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and his co-authors, in connection with an article published in Economic and Political Weekly (EPW). Mr Guha Thakurta initiated a legal process ostensibly on behalf of the Sameeksha Trust without informing, let alone obtaining approval of, the Trust although such a decision was not in the domain of the Editor to make.
The legal reply (sent on the instruction of Mr Guha Thakurta) falsely began with a statement that it was at the instruction of the Sameeksha Trust. This reply and the legal notice were placed on the EPW website, even before the Chairman and Managing Trustee were informed, so that the Trustees were completely unaware of these developments.
On hearing about the matter, a special meeting of the Sameeksha Tr…

India's gender wage gap at non-supervisory level grew by 5%, though dropped by 8% among supervisors: Report

By Our Representative
In an important revelation, Monster India, claiming to the country’s “leading online career and recruitment resource with its cutting edge technology”, has said that while the supervisory gender wage gap may have dropped has last year by 8.1 percentage points (from 28.1% to 20%), at the non-supervisory level it has “grown by 5 percentage points.”