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29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

To favour corporates, rich, Govt of India "allowed" 3-fold increase in forgone taxes in a decade: Oxfam report

By Our Representative
A new report published by the top international advocacy group Oxfam has estimated that the total revenue forgone in India as stated in the budget increased from Rs 2,06,700 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 5,89,285 crore in 2014-15, an increase by almost three times in just ten years, adding, most of this “forgone revenue” has gone in favour of the corporate sector.
Titled “India Inequality Report 2018: Widening Gaps”, the report has been authored by Himanshu, who is associate professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and is visiting fellow at Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi, and has worked as fellow at Asia Research Centre of the London School of Economics.
Pointing out that, this mean, for every rupee of tax collected, the government was losing 56 paise of taxes, which could have been collected by the government, the report states, “Most of these exemptions benefitted the rich and the corporate sector. Within the corporate sector, it was the largest corporate groups which benefited the most.”
The report notes, though “as against the statutory tax rate of 33.66%, the effective tax rate in 2005-06 was 19.26% which increased to 23.22% by 2014-15”, what is of significance is, “Most of this increase was due to the increase in effective tax paid by the smaller companies that are above Rs 10 crore and below Rs 100 crore.”
It underlines, “The effective tax rate of companies with more than Rs 500 crore increased only marginally from 19.1% in 2005-06 to 20.7% in 2014-15”, adding, “By 2014-15, the effective tax rate of companies with lowest profits was the highest and companies in the highest tax bracket paid the least effective tax rate.”
“During the same year”, the report states, “The total subsidy on all schemes meant for the poor was Rs 2,53,913 crore and excluding the petroleum subsidy, it was only Rs 1,93,642 crore. That is, the benefits given to the rich and the corporates were almost three times the subsidy provided to the poor.”
The report estimates, “This amount was more than 15 times the allocation to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the rural employment scheme. These exemptions, to the rich and the corporate sector, were accompanied by cut backs on social-sector and development spending.”
The report further says, that the trends in India’s development expenditure as a percentage of GDP suggest that the ratio fell continuously during 1985-1995, and while it did increase during 1996-2009, it has stagnated since.
A comparison of India’s spending on education and healthcare to some other countries, says the report, shows that, if calculated as expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP, “India fares poorly not only in comparison to poorer countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Bhutan but also vis-à-vis developing countries like Brazil.” 
“In terms of health expenditure, India is among the worst in the world”, the report says, adding,
“India’s public health expenditure stands around a paltry 1.4% of its GDP, lower than Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Brazil.”
The result of government policy of helping the rich, the report suggests, is that India is currently among the countries with the highest levels of inequality, lower only to the Middle-Eastern countries. “The income share of the top 10% of the Indian population at 55% in 2016 is only second to the group of countries along with Brazil, second only to Middle-Eastern countries.”
“However”, the report underscores, “Unlike Middle-Eastern countries and Brazil which have had historically high levels of inequality but have seen a decline in the share of the top 10% in total income, India has seen a secular rise in the share of income accruing to the top 10% and top 1% of the population”.
It adds, “The top 1% of Indian population accounted for 22% of income in 2016, lower only to middle-eastern countries and Brazil. Here again, the trend in Brazil and the middle-eastern countries has been a secular decline as against a secular rise in the case of India in the last three decades.”

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India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”