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Showing posts from October, 2017

Death of infants in Ahmedabad Civil Hospital: Though grant is available children not provided fruit juice or any other liquid diet

By Shaktisinh Gohil*
Death of infants in the Civil Hospital of Ahmedabad was due to criminal negligence of the government. Facts and figures in the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has made it clear that civil hospital of Ahmedabad does not have basic facility for the health of children.
The 24 hour child care was needed in the Neo Natal ICU ward. A child cannot complain his problems like fever and vomiting. In view of this, through letters of 18/12/2013 and 12/06/2015, it was suggested that the ward must have high tech facility like 24 hour CCTV. But no such arrangements have been made. The video of the labour ward and neo natal ward clearly supports this claim.
In its report, CAG has noted, ICU and trauma care centre were very sensitive for the needs of serious patients. There should be right temperature and measures to ensure that infection does not spread. But the air conditioner of trauma centre is in repair most of the time and there are no dust /air filters which are v…

165 manhole deaths in Gujarat, 62 in Ahmedabad; govt "refusing" to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation: Widows

By Our Representative
Gitaben's husband, belonging to India's most marginalised Dalit community, Valmikis, died while cleaning up a gutter in Ahmedabad in 2006. Though she was given compensation of Rs 2 lakh and a job by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), she has still not received the Rs 10 lakh compensation she should get on the basis of the March 27, 2014 Supreme Court order. Same is the case with Hansaben, whose husband died died in the year 2000.

Senior women's leader in Delhi severely injured as police cracks down amidst Kathputli Colony demolition

By Sanjeev Kumar*
Amidst a sudden demolition drive undertaken by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in the heart of the country’s capital, a police cracked down on the protesting people of Kathputli Colony, leading to severe injury to a senior women's leader, National Federation of Indian Women’s (NFIW's) Annie Raja. She has been admitted in Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital.​

Modi doled out huge concessions to Gujarat tycoons by "creating" mechanism for legalised corruption: Ex-BJP CM

By Our Representative
Starting with 2005, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as Gujarat chef minister, created a well-oiled mechanism, under which he made top tycoons to fund, and also politically support, his well-publicized festivals and business meetings, including the biennial Vibrant Gujarat world business summits, and in return doled away huge concessions to them.

Mumbai slum demolition began 10 hrs before notice period was to end, sans any rehabilitation: GBGBA

By Our Representative
Why did hundreds of shanties go up in flames amidst the demolition drive undertaken by the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday? In a strongly-worded statement, the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), a Mumbai-based civil rights organization, has blamed it on accidents caused by gas cylinders getting exploded and a "response" to the surprise BMC more.

Charity leaders have a geographic bias: Companies fund projects closer to where they are based

By Moin Qazi*
The recent years have seen a growing realisation among countries for evolving a doctrine of social responsibility. Like individual citizens who have moral and social responsibilities, business houses are perceived as corporate citizens. Thus they too have r social responsibilies. Apart from the socialist countries which consider this doctrine as a vital element of their policies and programme, the capitalist countries also feel that industries, banks and business corporations should commit a part of their time, talent and resources for the welfare of the society from which they draw their sustenance.This idea has now been corporatized under the appellation, ‘Corporate social responsibility’ (CSR It ) is a way of managing a business by considering the impact of activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders, as well as the environment.
India has a unique law: It’s Companies Act, 2013, and the Corporate Social Responsib…

Union minister trying to undermine Pehlu Khan murder? US, UK, India joint "probe" alleges medical manipulation

By Our Representative
A civil society investigation by organizations working in US, UK and India has alleged that there was massive "medical manipulation" in the so-called final report and the charge-sheet filed by the police in the now famous Pehlu Khan lynching incident on April 1, underlining, this manipulation took place at the behest of a top minister in the Narendra Modi government.

Final battle lines are drawn: Why many Catalonians believe that staying with Spain anymore is counter-productive

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
The final battle lines appear to have been drawn between Catalonian independence and Spain’s resistance to it. The Catalonian regional parliament has opted for independence while the Spanish Republic has indicated that it will oppose Catalonian secession by all might.
The Spanish government is attempting to negate the Catalonian choice by trying to hold an election in Catalonia hoping for a people’s verdict against Catalonia’s session. Already the Spanish government is planning to seize control of Catalonia.
But this appears to be an uphill task as many Catalonians believe that staying with Spain anymore is counter-productive. The point is will Spain go for other means if the election verdict, if not boycotted by Catalonian people, will give a verdict in favour of Spain. It presumes that the people of Catalonia think differently than their own legislators.
In any case, this confrontation shows the degree of disillusion of Catalonian people with Spain in its 40-year h…

Bihar floods: Dalits, minorities "neglected" in relief and rescue, suffered huge livelihood setback, says report

By Our Representative
A recent fact-finding report on how the Bihar floods this year affected the marginalized communities in Araria and Kishanganj districts, jointly prepared by National Dalit Watch, National Campaign on Dalit human Rights, All-India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch and Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, has said that there was gross neglect of "huge population of Muslims and Dalits in giving them relief and rescue."

Bollywood screen-on time for females is a meagre 31.5 %, compared to 68.5 % for male characters: Study

By Rajiv Shah
A new study of gender bias in India’s Bollywood movies suggests that whether it is plots, posters or trailers, a male is mentioned around 30 times in a plot while a female is mentioned only around 15 times, adding, “There is a consistency of this ratio from 1970 to 2017(for almost 50 years).”

Major boost to $22 billion Adani coalmine venture? Australian govt seeks Chinese support for the project

By Our Representative
In a major boost to India's powerful industrial giant, Adani Goup's worth $22 billion Australian coalmining venture, the country's Turnbull government is said to have written to the Chinese government seeking the latter's support for the controversial project in the Queensland state, saying it would generate jobs and investment.

India remains a hazardous place for hardcore journalists irrespective of regime in power at the national or state level

By Nava Thakuria*For more than one reason, India remains a hazardous place for hardcore journalists irrespective of the regimes in power at the national or province capitals. The populous country witnesses the murder of around five media persons annually and that has not been improved for decades. The land of Bhagwan Vishnu, Mahamuni Buddha and Gandhi Mahatma has not succeeded in resolving any of those journo-murder cases legally or logically. The media fraternity of the world’s largest democracy observed an unusual Gandhi Jayanti as scores of scribes across the country organized protest demonstrations in different locations with sole demand for ensuring safety, security and justice to the working journalists.
Different press clubs, journo-media-bodies along with other institutions formed human chains, symbolic protests and also took out processions in support of the demand. The reason behind in demonstrating angers on the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2 October was the …

Gujarat's 10,000 Rann of Kutch saltpan families' voting right hangs fire as state assembly polls approach

By Pankti Jog*
Would Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch agariyas, or saltpan workers, who migrate, live and work on what has now come to be popularly known as Survey No Zero for six months starting with September, exercise their voting rights this December, when the state goes to polls?

One year of demonetization: Purpose was to create mayhem in political circles ahead of UP polls, manipulate unofficial cash

By Anil George*
Demonetization was a calculated scam.
The first purpose was to disable party's that were contesting the UP election by blocking their cash and creating mayhem in political circles.
The second purpose was to exchange unofficial cash through manipulation of the banking system. For this the governor was changed and direct new currency supply lines were established. Cash was exchanged at a discount ranging from 5% to as high as 50% and then eventually tapering to 5% towards the end of the program.
Temples and Trusts that receive cash also opened discount windows to exchange the money.
Midway during the program, Congress found some explosive material on Modi and threatened to expose him through an earthquake but this was prevented after a meeting between Rahul Gandhi and Modi and issuing of executive order that all political party's could deposit cash into their own bank accounts.
After this all political parties got busy with opening similar discount windows through whic…

Help from Election Commission was useful to Gujarat govt in making last minute lollipop announcements to win few votes

By Anand K. Sahay
The extent of devotion shown by the Election Commission to the ruling party in the run-up to the upcoming Gujarat Assembly election is quite extraordinary -- and many will have little difficulty classifying this sorry spectacle as a command performance.
How Gujarat voters view the skulduggery will be known only when we have the results, but it is reasonable to expect that, here on, the EC is likely to seek to confer on the party in power, through the permitting of irregular practices, as many advantages as possible over its rivals. This is because it seems to be under undue pressure from the powerful, and it has succumbed instead of standing up and showing itself to be a pillar of Indian democracy.
The conduct of the Gujarat poll -- and also of the election in Himachal Pradesh, which should have gone to the people simultaneously with Gujarat -- will therefore have to be placed under tight watch by the people as the very notion of fair play seems to be at a discount un…

Odisha tribal women start info centre to fight for individual, community forest rights, pending for several years

By Our Representative
In a unique move, women of Kaptapally village in Nuagaon block of Nayagarh district in Odisha have launched a new Forest Rights Information Centre, second in the region, as an an important resource hub in their long drawn out battle for community and individual forest rights, recognized under the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

The Wire: New York-based journalists' group objects to criminal defamation, criticizes Gujarat court move

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), one of the world's most prestigious associations of mediapersons, has come down heavily on the decision of "India's judiciary to proceed with a criminal defamation complaint against The Wire and issue an injunction preventing the news website from reporting about Jay Shah, the son of the ruling BJP party's president Amit Shah, while the defamation case is being heard."

Opposition to Modi's "pet" dam proposed in Uttarakhand gains momentum amidst "fake" environmental public hearing

By Our Representative
As the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on the for River Valley Projects, under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), deliberated on the proposed Pancheshwar project in Uttarakhand as the world's second highest dam on Tuesday, a group dissenting protestors outside insisted, they too should be heard.

"Failure" to link aadhaar with BPL ration card main reason for Karnataka Dalit family starvation deaths: PUCL report

By Our Representative
A People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Karnataka, investigation has revealed that Jharkhand is not alone where starvation deaths have taken due to lack of the aadhaar document. A report based on the investigation by Narasimhappa TV was prepared following a news story citing opposing claims of the reasons for three deaths in a Dalit family in a village in Gorkana district in July this year.

Australia's ex-Cabinet minister, influential pop star, environmentalist "backs" anti-Adani coalmine campaign

By Our Representative
Former environment minister and rock music icon Peter Garrett in a prestigious National Press Club address in Canberra, has sharply criticised the Australian government for supporting Adani’s coal mine which he says will accelerate climate change and threaten the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, reports South Asia Times (SAT) from Melbourne.

Why Rajasthan Raj Bhawan uploaded Karva Chauth greeting, not "sinister" anti-media Ordinance on its site?: PUCL

By Our Representative
In an interesting revelation, one-and-a-half months after it was promulgated, the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, has not been put up for public view on the website of the state's Home or the Law Department. Worse, even the Rajasthan Raj Bhawan (Governor’s) website, last updated on the September 11, has not listed the ordinance in its list of Acts and Ordinances.

India's 75% artisans don't know if GST is applicable to their handmade products: Jaya Jaitley's elite NGO

By Our Representative
A recent high-profile report on the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on handmade products has complained that the Government of India (GoI) has not shown any consideration for 90 million agricultural households, "who necessarily are connected to the artisan sector and sometimes overlap in activities."

Would Taj Mahal's splendor and glory meet the fate similar to the traumatic demolition of Babri Masjid?

By Adv Masood Peshimam
Former American President Bill Clinton while sighting the Taj Mahal erupted in joy and amazingly said that he has classified the world into two categories as those who have seen Taj Mahal and those who have not seen Taj Mahal. This was the statement of the most powerful President of the most powerful nation. Such was the statement of a person whose country has made the tremendous strides in science and technology.

Govt of India handicrafts policy riddled with neglect, loss, anxiety; sector employs 45% of workforce: Dr Chatterjee

By Our Representative
Amidst rising demand from civil society advocates for a zero tax regime for handmade products, placed under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), well-known scholar, Dr Ashoke Chatterjee, has said in a recent paper that the sector, which is the second biggest source of livelihood following agriculture, remains "characterised by a pervasive mood of neglect, loss and anxiety."

Sadhguru's Rally of Rivers is "meant to help" corporate interests; why is it silent on sea intrusion in Narmada?: NBA

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded statement, well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has accused the Rally of Rivers campaign, led by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev Maharaj, going on across India allegedly with the support of the establishment, of playing in the hands of India's corporate interests.

Prasanna’s Satyagraha is a reminder to the government that it should withdraw GST on hand made products

The National Alliance of People's Movements statement in support of the indefinite fast undertaken by Prasanna demanding "Zero Tax" on handmade products:
Noted theatre and social activist Prasanna has been on an indefinite fast from 14th October 2017 demanding “Zero Tax” on handmade products. He took the decision to launch the Satyagraha as several actions nation-wide making this just demand were not responded to by the GST Council of India. The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) stands in solidarity with Prasanna and the demand made in support of the millions of the working class people of this country.
The Satyagraha has captured the imaginations of millions nation-wide and brought in a new awakening in the consumer. There is a growing collective demand to ensure India's governance keeps the promises made in the Constitution of India and the Freedom Movement, when making products by hand was to resist the forces of colonisation, that there is active and…

Starvation death due to lack of aadhaar authentication: Why is govt completely apathetic to the entire situation?

By Aparajita Sharma*
Govt’s drive on making Aadhaar compulsory is excluding millions and killing many. Why is the Government silent? The Right to Education (RTE) Forum highly condemns the tragic death of 11 year old girl in Jharkhand. She was denied of her right to food and eventually died of starvation because her family’s ration card was not seeded with Aadhaar number. The process got further delayed because it got caught in a tech glitch over Aadhaar.
Serious questions are being raised on the government’s drive in making Aaadhar compulsory. Why is this unnecessary hurry which is excluding millions of poor and threatening life of many including women and children who are living on the margins? Several activists and researchers working in the field have warned the govt on several occasion and the govt have carelessly paid no heed and on the contrary acted against the Supreme Court guidelines.
In its haste to enroll all citizens - of which children form a large untapped population - un…

RBI hasn't yet issued instructions to link aadhaar with bank account, it's a GoI order, violates law, reveals RTI reply

By Our Representative
While the Government of India (GoI) made linking of aadhaar with bank accounts compulsory this June, ironically, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is supposed to control all financial operations of banks, has not issued any order to this effect. This has come to light even as all banks are on an overdrive to push customers to link aadhaar numbers to bank accounts, lest their accounts would be blocked.

53% Indians support military rule, 55% autocracy, one the highest among 38 countries surveyed: Pew

By Our Representative
A dangerous trend appears to have overtaken India. In a survey carried out by one of the world's most well-known US-based research institutes, Pew, as many as 55% Indians support an autocratic rule, which is the highest among the 38 countries from which samples were collected by interviewing 41,953 individuals, telephonically and face-to-face.

China’s Myanmar bonanza sans responsibility amidst gory clashes between majority Buddhists, Rohingiya Muslim settlers

By Nava Thakuria*
As the world media continues focusing on Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, its giant neighbour China is not just maintaining aloofness. It is utilizing, full scale, two fuel pipelines, originating in the trouble-torn Arakan (also known as Rakhine), province of western Burma (former name of Myanmar). The China-Myanmar gas and crude oil pipelines connect Kyaukphyu port of Rakhine – lately in news for the gory clashes between majority Buddhists and Rohingya Muslim settlers – with the Kunming city in south-western part of China. The pipelines are designed to shift crude oil from the Middle-East and Africa through Myanmar with the aim of feeding the world’s second-biggest oil consumer nation.
Thanks to these pipelines, the Chinese authorities no longer need to depend on the troublesome cargo shipping through South China Sea (around 5,000 km sailing) for its crude oil imports for the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) run refineries in Yunnan.
The 770 kilometre-long Ch…

"Model" Gujarat agricultural wages one of the lowest in India, gender gap is market driven: Union ministry report

By Rajiv Shah
A top Government of India document has said that, in “model” Gujarat, the real wages of both male and female agricultural workers in 2016-17 were worse than most major Indian states. At Rs 223 per day, Gujarat’s male agricultural wages were lower than all but three of 15 major Indian states; and for females agricultural workers, Rs 202, they were worse than all but five of 15 major Indian states.

When RSS-Jan Sangh leaders clandestinely apologized for opposing Emergency, called Gandhi murderer "patriot"

By Our Representative
The ninth edition of "Sarthak Jalso", a unique Gujarati half-yearly journal edited by well-known writer Urvish Kothari, has brought to light how RSS cadres and the BJP's parent organization, Jan Sangh, behaved as ultra-nationalists during the Emergency days (1975-77), talked high of patriotism, but were equally quick in apologizing to the authorities about their opposition to what is considered as a dark spot of Indian democracy.

Kerala BJP-RSS "distorting" history, Muslim family which helped Moplah rebels also "funded" India's freedom struggle

By Our Representative
Amidst an aggressive BJP and RSS in Kerala, especially state party chief Kummanam Rajasekharan, calling the famous farmers' Malabar rebellion of 1921, also known as Moplah rebellion, “the first jihadi massacre”, facts have come to light suggesting that a powerful Muslim family from Maharashtra which was helping the rebels was also funding the freedom struggle.

BJP begins showing signs of unease as Gujarat's non-party OBC, Patel, Dalit leaders move "closer" to Congress

By Our Representative
As the Gujarat state assembly elections draw nearer, all eyes are set on whether the BJP, which won 47.9% of votes in the 2012 polls as against the Congress’ 38.9%, would be able to successfully keep intact this huge 9% gap in order to again resoundingly “win” a state for another five years, which is ruled by the party for the last more than two decades.

RSS-BJP should know: Moplah Muslim family would donate Rs 100,000 annually to Maulana Azad for India’s freedom struggle

By Aleem Faizee*
In yet another instance to show how the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) distort history to suit their communal agenda and to gain political mileage, the party’s Kerala unit chief Kummanam Rajasekharan called the Malabar Rebellion of 1921, also known as Moplah Rebellion, “the first jihadi massacre” in Kerala.
As the BJP’s Jan Raksha Yatra entered Muslim-dominated Malappuram district last Monday, Kummanam Rajasekharan, said the Malabar rebellion of 1921 was the first jihadi massacre in Kerala.
Rajasekharan, who lead the yatra as it entered Muslim-dominated Malappuram district, said that depicting unprovoked massacre of Hindus as part of the independence struggle is an insult to history as well as the majority community in the state.
“If it were an agitation against British rule, why were thousands of people butchered and temples destroyed? It high time we stopped glorifying this massacre depicting it as freedom struggle. If anyone is given …

Under Modi pressure? Poll panel may wait for "auspicious" Labh Pancham, Oct 25, to announce Gujarat polls

By Our Representative
Senior Gujarat government officials are learnt to have been told by their counterparts in Delhi that, “in all likelihood”, the Election Commission of India (ECI) would announce state assembly polls on or after the auspicious Labh Pacham, October 25, which is the fifth day of the new Gujarati New Year.

Congress presence in Gujarat's urban areas remains in margins, as Rahul "pulls" huge crowd in rural, semi-urban areas

By Rajiv Shah
Even as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi this week completed the second leg of his whirlwind visit to Gujarat ahead of the state assembly polls, to be held in December, all eyes are set on whether the party, which got 38.9% votes in the 2012 polls as against the BJP’s 47.9%, would be able win over the huge crowds Gujarat's Congress leaders had mobilized for him.

Demonetization led to economic disruption in India, other "significant harms"; adult banking just 53%: Brookings

By Our Representative
A top Washington DC-based institute in its new report on financial and digital inclusion has sharply criticized the Government of India (GoI) for its demonetization move of November 8, 2016, underlining that the “abrupt announcement led to economic disruption and other significant harms.”

India's world hunger ranking slips by three points, worse among BRICS countries, all neighbours except Pakistan

By Our Representative
India has slipped in Global Hunger Index (GHI) by three points ranks – from 97th position to 100th among the 119 countries surveyed. Worked out by Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), what should be of particular concern for the country’s policy makers is, it ranks worse among its competing countries.

Gujarat witnessed 10 RTI-related murders, 43 serious attacks, as official denials for critical info pile up: MAGP

By Our Representative
Marking the 12th anniversary of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, Gujarat's independent RTI watchdog Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) has regretted that though 55% of those using RTI are from rural areas, and seek answers on issues related to panchayat functioning, rural jobs guarantee scheme NREGA, housing, pension schemes, land matters etc., women RTI users are less than 5%.

Black Money SIT is public authority under RTI: Govt of India told as officials refuse info on Falciani allegations

By Our Representative
In a significant ruling, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held the Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted by the Government of India to investigate all matters relating to black money in 2014 soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP won a resounding victory in Lok Sabha polls, is a public authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

BJP juggernaut in Gujarat has been steadily going down: It will use every means, fair or foul, to bust its opponent

By RK Misra*
Even as the Gujarat state assembly elections draw nearer, the Congress should not forget: The August Rajya Sabha polls, which saw Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political adviser Ahmed Patel victorious under extremely odd circumstances, has clearly brought out that the BJP will use everything at its command, every authority in its armoury, using means fair or foul, to bust its opponent. The ends justify the means. And there are reasons for it.
No doubt, the perception of the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election, which concluded on August 8, is that the brute might of the BJP-government and the party working in tandem, has been busted by the sheer grit of Ahmed Patel and the Gujarat Congress. Call it a conspiracy of colluding factors or just happenstance, but the BJP juggernaut in Gujarat, has been steadily going downhill, while the Congress graph is on the upswing.
One needs to finely go through the sequence of events leading to the victory of Patel if events that followed are t…