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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.”

44% of those employed in organized manufacturing are on contract, leading to slow 1.7% per annum wage rise

By Our Representative
Even as claiming that between 2000 and 2015, real wages in India grew in every sector, including in agriculture and in unorganised manufacturing and services, at the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 3 per cent, a recent study finds a variation across sectors: Thus, from 2010 to 2015, real wages grew faster, at a CAGR of 4 per cent for unorganised manufacturing, 5 per cent for unorganised services, and 7 per cent for agriculture.
Titled “State of Working India 2018”, carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Empoyment at the Azim Premji University, Bengalaru, the study, however, regrets, that the “wage growth in organised manufacturing has been slower than that in the unorganised sector – at 0.8 per cent over the whole period since 1999, and 1.7 per cent in the most recent period.”
A major factor “contributing to keeping wages down in this sector is the rise in the proportion of contract workers”, the study says, adding, “Field studies reveal that contract workers are paid a fraction of permanent worker wages, often for similar work.”
In fact, according to the study, the “contract workers' wages lie somewhere between the wages of direct workers and their unorganised sector counterparts”, underlining, “The rise in the proportion of workers employed via third-party contractors, reported earlier, together with the lower wage rates for these workers, has important implications for both quality of work as well as the share of labour in value added.” 
The study states, “There is a slowdown in the replacement of workers by machines but work is becoming more precarious in the organised manufacturing sector. Number of jobs supported by one crore rupees of fixed capital in organised manufacturing has leveled at around 10. In the early 1980s, one crore rupees of real fixed capital (in 2015 prices) supported around 90 jobs in the organised manufacturing sector.”
“Contract workers are nearly 30 per cent of all workers in organised manufacturing”, the study says, adding, “Contract workers accounted for 44 per cent of the additional employment between 2000 and 2014. Firms use non-permanent workers to stay below the threshold size and thereby avoid costs attributed to larger firm size. The intensity in the use of contract workers is highest for firms in the 50-99 size group.” 
It adds, “Field studies reveal many categories of contract, trainee, and apprentice workers who perform the work of permanent workers at a fraction of their wages. This is one way in which labour laws are being circumvented by manufacturing firms.”
“For example”, the study says, “As per contract, workers have to be paid Provident Fund (PF) and gratuity. However, workers reported that the employers encouraged them to terminate their current contract and claim PF benefits just before completing five years”, a period after which the PF and graduity would become applicable.
Thus, “workers rejoin the same factory within a week or so on a new contract. This significantly reduces the labour bill for employers. The authors also found that the law mandating public holidays is being flouted. Workers are required to work on Sundays to compensate for a public holiday.”
The study further states, “Contrary to popular perception, it appears that capital intensive industries are more reliant on contract workers than labour intensive industries. Contract workers constituted 37 per cent of total workers in chemicals and 47 per cent of total workers in motor vehicles, while in textiles and apparel the corresponding figures were 20 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.”

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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.

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.

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…

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.”