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Showing posts from June, 2019

Nitish Kumar's office refuses to accept 3,800 farmers' plea for rehabilitation

By Our Representative
In a letter to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, top National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) activists led by Medha Patkar have regretted that an official from his department refused to take the plea of 3800 applicant-farmers, who are affected by frequent flooding of the Kosi river.
NAPM said, Manoj Kumar, deputy secretary in his office, returned the pleas to the Kisan Navnirman Manch (KNM), who had come to deliver these saying nothing would come of this even if they ran around for 3800 years, calling the representatives brokers, and insisting that each of the applicants should come individually.
Reminding Kumar that he calls himself a socialist and a Gandhian, NAPM said, it was tragic that despite this the farmers' pleas were not received, which goes against the spirit of democracy, adding, this is contrary to his own stance of showing sensitivity towards the farmers affected by the problem of silt because of the Farakka barrage.
The problem has…

Fresh FIR? Rajasthan govt isn't enquiring into 'false' lynching deaths since 2015: PUCL

Counterview Desk
People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), one of India's top human rights organizations, taking strong exception to "false FIRs" and "fabricated charge-sheets" against late Pehlu Khan and all other dairy farmers booked for cow smuggling, has said latest FIRs show, the present government, led by senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, has still not bothered to enquire into false cases or in any of the lynchings that took place since 2015.

Under attack from Govt of India, Greenpeace praises Gujarat solar 'model'

By Rajiv Shah
In a surprise move, a new report by Greenpeace India, the environmental NGO whose Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) license was controversially cancelled in December 2016, followed by an Enforcement Directorate (ED) freezing its bank accounts in October 2018, has showered praise on a scheme to solarize agriculture launched in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, Gujarat.

Religious freedom? US seeks to 'nail' India on anti-conversion, foreign funding laws

Counterview Desk
Is the United States all set to make the alleged lack of religious freedom in India a major plank during future negotiations? Not only has US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touched upon this  during his recent visit to New Delhi, insisting upon the need to "speak out strongly" in favour religious freedom.

Tarbez Ansari murder: US freedom of religion body seeks concrete action from authorities

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) chair Tony Perkins, responding to the "reported murder" of Tabrez Ansari by a mob in Jharkhand, has called upon the Government of India to take "concrete actions that will prevent this kind of violence and intimidation by a thorough investigation of Ansari’s murder as well as the local police’s handling of the case."
Insiting that "lack of accountability will only encourage those who believe they can target religious minorities with impunity", the top USCIRF official recalled that the perpetrators of the brutal murder "forced Ansari to say Hindu chants as they beat him for hours. Ansari later died from the injuries he suffered due to this horrific attack."
USCIRF said, the statement comes close on the heels of its recent Annual Report, released in April, criticising https://www.uscirf.gov/reports-briefs/annual-report/2019-annual-report India "for engaging in or tolerating r…

Triple talaq Bill: Will Modi, his govt 'address' the plight of Tabrez Ansari's widow?

By Adv Masood Peshimam
Those on campaign trail to justify persecution and atrocities never want any opposition to arise against them. Efforts are made to ensure that any murmur of protest against those who unleash incidents of violence against the weak and the feeble is nipped in the bud. Not without reason, Muslims find themselves as political orphans in India today. Today, they are tasting the bitter fruits of a hostile social and political climate.

Indian Railways 'plans' privatisation amidst lackadaisical attitude towards general class

By Sandeep Pandey, B Ramakrishna Raju*
It appears that finally it is here. Soon after Union minister for railways Piyush Goyal said in a press conference that there are no plans to privatise Railways, either now or ever, it has been revealed that government is thinking of inviting private operators to run passenger trains on low congestion and tourist routes.

Limestone mining in Bhavnagar to 'impact' livelihood, water bodies, Asiatic lions

By Our Representative
The Khedut Ekta Manch – Gujarat (KEMG), a non-profit farmers’ organization based in Ahmedabad, in a representation to the High Court-appointed committee to study the impact of limestone mining in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat, has that there are “very serious issues" would emerge in the wake of the decision to sanction of mining lease in the area "without the prior informed consent of thousands of families and people, who are to be divested of their livelihoods.”

Fresh 'onslaught' on Bengali migrants: Another 1 lakh declared foreigners in Assam

By Our Representative
A whopping additional 1,02,462 people have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), released on June 26. Explaining the exclusion, the NRC authority said, “The persons whose names appear in the Additional Draft Exclusion list are those persons whose names were included in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018, but have been subsequently found ineligible."
The reasons, according to NCR, are, (1) they were found to be "Declared Foreigner (DF) or Doubtful Voter(DV) or persons with cases pending at Foreigners Tribunals (PFT), or (2) they were found to be "ineligible while appearing as witnesses in hearings held for disposal of Claims and Objections", or (3) they were found to be ineligible "during the process of verification carried out by the Local Registrars of Citizen Registration."
The human rights site, Sabrang India regrets, many of the additional people excluded are over and above the names appearing in the NR…

Narmada dam stands like statue, not satiating Kutch-Saurashtra thirst: Medha to Modi

Counterview Desk
Commenting on the Prime Minister's recent speech in Parliament, top Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and her colleagues* have said that Narendra Modi's statement on Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) on Narmada river is "rootless and proofless", insisting, the Madhya Pradesh government’s stand on the issue, of inability to provide more water to the dam, is "rational and realistic".

Gujarat govt wants to fill up Sardar Sarovar dam to supply water to 481 companies: NBA

By Our Representative
The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has said that the statement given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament on Sardar Sarovar dam is “false”, pointing out, though the Sardar Sarovar Dam was meant to provide drinking and irrigation water to farmers, especially in the dry areas of Kutch, Saurashtra and Rajasthan, this is not happening.
Blaming the Congress for the delay in building the Sardar Sarovar dam, Modi had said, “Sardar Sarovar Dam was the brainchild of Sardar Patel. But, work on this dam kept getting delayed. As Gujarat chief minister, I had to sit on hunger strike for this project. After the NDA came to power, the pace of work increased significantly and it is benefiting many people."
Refusing to buy the argument, NBA said, instead of farmers, as many as 481 companies are being supplied water and will be future beneficiaries. In the name of satisfying farmers’ needs, the Gujarat government wants to fill up the dam up to 139 meters, which is the …

Foreign funding law 'misused' to target civil society: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch

Counterview Desk
Two top rights groups with presence in several countries, including India, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have said that the “criminal case” against the Lawyers Collective, a Delhi-based high profile NGO with some of the most well-known Supreme Court advocates as its office bearers, is the latest example of how the foreign funding law is being used by the Indian authorities to “harass outspoken rights groups”.

The monster Indira Gandhi 'unleashed' in June 1975 plagues us even today, unabated

By Shantanu Basu*
June 25, 1975, 1400 hours: St Columba’s, Delhi, was on summer vacation. Its swimming pool was however, open, and I had the 1400-1600 hours slot. I would cycle from Shahjahan Road to school (GPO), about 5 km away. Traffic was far lower those days and cycling was very safe. As I wound my way down India Gate, Ashok Road, Windsor Circle, et al, traffic seemed to have disappeared from roads altogether.

What is to be done? 'Elected' authoritarian regimes replace 'kings' as rulers

By Sheshu Babu
"People have always been and they always will be stupid victims of deceit and self- deception in politics", wrote VI Lenin in "State and Revolution", a treatise leader of the Russian Revolution wrote in 1917. With the spread of authoritarian tendencies of rulers almost in every part of the world, a revision of Lenin's approach may give some idea of how to deal with the situation.

Draft Education Policy 'undermines' RTE, will 'close down' schools meant for poor

By Our Representative
An Ahmedabad discussion on the New Education Policy (NEP), the draft of which recently released by the Government of India, reached the drastic conclusion that, if implemented, it will “reduce” the number of schools in villages and towns, directly impact minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections.
Asserting that it seeks to hand over eduction to capitalists, participants in the discussion – who included representatives from the Right to Education (RTE) Forum Gujarat, Students’ Federation of India (SFI), and Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) – the discussion ended with burning of copies of the draft NEP.
MCC convener Mujahid Nafees, who also represented the RTE Forum, said that the government has failed to implement the RTE Act, and the draft NEP talk of doubling the budgetary allocation for education is an “eyewash.”
Pointing towards the draft mentioning the need to relax RTE norms in private schools, Nafees said, the overall quality of ed…

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Planned effort to 'wind down' Mumbai's BEST bus service step by step: Report

Counterview Desk
The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST), a civic transport and electricity provider public body based in Mumbai, was originally set up in 1873 as a tramway company called Bombay Tramway Company Limited. The company set up a captive thermal power station at Wadi Bunder in November 1905 to generate electricity for its trams and supply electricity to the city, and re-branded itself to Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways (BEST) Company.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

Officers not supporting Sanjiv Bhatt working for extremist political regime: Shweta Bhatt

By Our Representative
In an open Facebook post addressed to police officials, Shweta Bhatt, wife of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in a three decades old alleged custodial death by the Jamnagar sessions court, has warned that what has happened to her husband today may happen to them tomorrow.
Even as thanking all the officers who “individually reached out” to her to support the fight for Sanjiv Bhatt, Shweta Bhatt says, as for those “who are either too afraid to take a stand or who are working at the pleasure and the behest of this extremist political regime”, their “silence and inaction is permitting the establishment of a very dangerous precedent.”
She adds, “If you think by staying silent or by working at their behest, either under pressure or fear, you are safe… then think again. You are some of the finest and brightest minds of the country, you know more than anyone; today it’s Sanjiv and his family, tomorrow it can be you and your f…

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Despite NDA gaining 5%, geography of its votes only 'marginally' changed in five yrs

By Christophe Z Guilmoto*
Much ink has already been spilled on the 2019 general elections in India. The sheer scale of the triumph of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the defeat of the Indian National Congress (INC) has impressed commentators as the NDA, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), gained 353 seats among the total of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha (the Indian parliament). The NDA has secured seats in almost all Indian state and the BJP clearly ceased to be the strictly north Indian party it once was.

National consultation on danger of eviction of lakhs of forest dwellers after July 10

By Our Representative
Several civil rights organizations have decided to hold a day-long consultation on forest rights movements and the way forward in New Delhi July 2, 2019 against the backdrop of the fear that lakhs of forest dwellers may again be on the verge of an “existential crisis” after July 10, the date till which the Supreme Court gave a reprieve on February 23 for its controversial February 13 order, directing state governments to evict them if their claims under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) have been rejected.
The consultation will be held to press upon Central and state governments to implement FRA “effectively and unconditionally” in all forest regions, including Critical Forest Areas, even as working out a plan for a united struggle with the “collective initiative” of diverse forest rights organisations/groups and supporters in different walks of life, including journalists, lawyers, researchers, social action groups and others.
The consultation proposes to begin a dia…

FIR against Lawyers’ Collective a ‘witch-hunt’ of outspoken human rights defenders

Counterview Desk
In a statement, Ravi Kiran Jain* and Dr V Suresh** of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have said the CBI’s FIR against the Lawyers’ Collective and senior advocate Anand Grover is an undisguised attempt to silence not just the top human rights organization but is also meant to “serve as a lesson to all others who dare to challenge the Central Government.”
Calling the FIR “motivated, vengeful and vituperative act”, PUCL said the Lawyers’ Collective, which has for 38 years of its existence has taken up cases related with domestic violence, human rights, labour and womens’ rights, adding, among the important ones are the “Naz case on rights of the LGBTQ community, the Novartis case, the Sabarimala case, the triple talaaq case and the Sohrabuddin case, in which current Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah was involved.”
Demanding immediate withdrawal of the FIR, PUCL said, “The case lodged against the organization smacks of vendetta for its exceptional …

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

'Failure' to pay pension led to starvation death of two more persons in Jharkhand

By Our Representative
Two more starvation deaths have occurred in Jharkhand recently, one in Jama (Dumka district) and one in Mahuadanr (Latehar district). In both cases, the victims were pensioners but did not receive any pension payment since January 2019. Had pensions been paid on time, Motka Manjhi and Ramachandra Munda would perhaps be alive today, says a fact-finding report by the Right to Food Campaign (RFC), Jharkhand.
Enquiries from the welfare office in Latehar district revealed that no pensions have been paid in the entire district after January 2019. The reason, the fact-finding team was told, is that the required financial allotments had not been made by the state government. “Reports from other districts suggest that this is the situation in many other districts as well, if not in the entire state”, RFC said in a statement.
“On November 28, 2001, the Supreme Court directed the central and state governments to ensure that social security pensions are promptly paid by the…

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

80% applicants for pre-matric scholarship approved in 2018-19: Hyderabad NGO

By Our Representative
The Confederation of Voluntary Association (COVA) a Hyderabad-bases NGO, has claimed major success in the sanction of pre-matric scholarships for the year 2018-19, pointing out, of the 3,557 students from 32 schools assisted by COVA that applied, 2,828 applications were approved (80.25% success).
"Together they received Rs 1,20,45,161 from the government as scholarships at an average of Rs 4,259 per student. COVA had spent a total of Rs 2,28,652 received as donations for this programme", COVA director Mazhar Husain said in an email alert.
"The results detailed above show that for every rupee donated and used for the scholarships program!e, COVA was able to generate Rs. 52 as scholarships", he asserted. "For 2019-20 the scholarship programme of the government starts from July 1, 2019 and COVA plans to support 15,000 students to access Rs 4.5 crore", he added.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

Gujarat Dalit teen's murder: 'Riddled' with bureaucratic bungling, NHRC registers case

By Our Representative
Will the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) go in for a “thorough inquiry” into the recent murder of 19-year old Rajesh Sondharva a resident of Manekwada village in Rajkot district of Gujarat? As claimed by well-known right to information (RTI) activist Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Commission (CHRI), following his complaint, NHRC has decided “register a case” in the matter.

Encephalitis deaths: Civil rights activists protest against Bihar, Union govt "inaction"

By Our Representative
Several social movements, community organisations, child rights and women groups and students protested at Bihar Bhawan in New Delhi on June 17 afternoon against the “inaction and incompetence” of the Bihar and Union governments, which allegedly led the death over of 100 children due to encephalitis in Muzaffarpur district.
Calling the protest as part of the “national outrage against the lackadaisical attitude and complete collapse of the health system in Bihar”, those who took part in the demonstration included National Federation of Indian Women, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Delhi Solidarity Group, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Mancha, Right to Food Campaign, others.
The protest also witnessed presence of students from IIT Delhi, Panjab University and general public who sympathized with the cause. The protesters raised slogans against the government, demanding chief minister Nitish Kumar’s resignation. They handed over their demands in a memorandum…

Custodial violence, torture continue to be 'rampant' in the land of Buddha and Gandhi

By Stan Swamy* 
"Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him information or a confession, punishing him for an act he has committed or is suspected of having committed“ -- Association for the Prevention of Torture
***

Ex-CEA is 'right': India's new GDP growth data didn't pass the smell test. They still don't

Counterview Desk
In a hard-hitting defence of former chief economic adviser (CEA), Government of India (GoI), Arvind Subramanian, who created a major flutter by arguing in a recent paper that India's growth rate has been inflated by 2.5%, prominent academic Dr V Anantha Nageswaran wonders why is GoI not making available the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) data and methodology to independent statisticians for verification.

The new ‘Emergency': A grip that throttles the essence of Indian democracy

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
The country will never forget that infamous night of June 25/26, 1975, when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had a state of emergency declared all over the country. During that dark chapter of the country’s history which lasted for a 21-month period till March 21, 1977, civil liberties were suspended, freedom of speech and expression was totally muzzled, political opponents of the Government and those who protested the emergency were imprisoned and human rights violations by those in power were the order of the day!

Ensure Gujarat urban water bodies receive clean monsoon water: Chief Secretary told

By Our Representative
Ahmedabad environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra director Mahesh Pandya, in a letter to Gujarat chief secretary JN Singh has sought the latter's urgent intervention to ensure that wastewater in gutters and storm water during monsoon don't get mixed up and flow into water bodies.
Pointing out that this would create major environmental issues, Pandya said, during the recent cyclonic conditions in some parts of Gujarat, this reportedly became a major menace, adding, one should take care this does not happen in major cities.
According to Pandya, the situation has deteriorated, especially with regard to ponds and lakes in big cities, because the effluent treatment plants are not working in accordance with their requisite standards.
Insisting they should be treating effluent discharged into gutters by observing Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) norms, he added, this would go a long way in keeping urban areas' water bodies clean.
At the same time, Pandya…

Bullet train impact on Gujarat farmers: Japanese funders asked to provide report

Counterview Desk
In a letter, Gujarat's environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti's (PSS') Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai have asked Katsuo Matsumoto, chief representative, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to share the copy of the report it has prepared, on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, submitted to the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the Government of India Japan after a JICA team's visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra.

India's solar installation down by 49%, targets 30% lower than those set by govt

By Our Representative
While India's solar installations in Q1 2019 may have "increased slightly" at 1,737 MW, 4% growth compared to 1,638 MW installed in Q4 2018, installations were down by 49% year-over-year (YoY) compared to 3,377 MW installed in Q1 2018, says Mercom Communications India is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Mercom Capital Group, a leading clean energy communications and consulting firm.
In its new report, Mercom says, "Rooftop installations fell by 33% (YoY) with capacity additions of over 260 MW in Q1 2019 compared to 390 MW in Q1 2018. The slowdown was largely due to ongoing elections which made it difficult to get government approvals", adding, "The large-scale solar project development pipeline for India stands at 19.4 gigawatts (GW) with 31.7 GW tendered and pending auctions at the end of Q1 2019."
Mercom’s report estimates solar installations in India would reach 71 GW by the end of 2022, almost 30% lower than the 100 GW target set b…

Riddled with rickety management, India 'doing little' to conserve water for off-season

By Moin Qazi*
Water is the driving force of all nature. – Leonardo Da Vinci
India has long undervalued one of its most precious resources—water. The country’s chronic mismanagement of water is staring at it now. Over 600 million Indians rely on the monsoon to replenish their water sources and the unpredictable nature of rain leaves them vulnerable.

A Gujarati initiative to break stereotypes of Kashmiris created by mainstream politics

By Sandeep Pandey*
Sanjay Tula and his wife Tula Sanjay are products of Jayaprakash Narayan’s total revolution movement in the 1970s. They live in Mehsana, Gujarat, and run a small organization called Vishwagram which hosts less than 20 children picked up from railway platforms.

Congress' developmental plank, NYAY, 'failed to reach' vulnerable voters: Survey

By Rajiv Shah
A recent study of how social media users and non-users behaved during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has sought to suggests that the Congress’ main development plank, NYAY (Nyunatam Aay Yojana) scheme, promising a minimum income to poor households, announced allegedly to “wrest the post-Balakot momentum back from the BJP”, failed to achieve the desired goal, particularly among those for whom the proposed scheme was targeted.

Value of women's 'unpaid' labour in India 40% vs global 13%, can add 27% to GDP

By Sheshu Babu*
In analyzing economic data, various sectors like industry, agriculture, services, etc. are taken into account. But domestic work done by women is rarely 'measured' by analysts. A woman getting up early to make ready food for working husbands is very valuable but it does not figure in the estimates relating to economic figures.

PUCL regrets: It failed to start national campaign against "menace of fascism"

By Our Representative
Ravi Kiran Jain, national president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), even as coming down heavily on India’s opposition parties, saying they have “no will or capability to face the ugly situation which has emerged on unprecedented political victory of Narendra Modi”, has regretted, it too has failed start any campaigns against the "menace of fascism".
Even as insisting in a statement in the PUCL Bulletin (June 2019) that in the current scenario "the role of PUCL becomes extremely important”, he said, it failed to launch anti-BJP campaigns, as decided at its National Council meet in Allahabad in September 2015.
The three campaigners it was to launch starting with 2016 were a nationwide campaign for securing the dignity of the individual in practice, a campaign against great threat posed by the divisive and fascist politics of the RSS and BJP, and a meaningful and effective reform of the criminal justice system.
Pointing out that “u…

As social media picks up, newspaper readers "decline" from 29 to 18% in 5 yrs: Report

By Our Representative
A new report, “Social Media & Political Behaviour” by Lokniti – Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, has revealed that the rise of social media platforms in India in the recent past “has been accompanied by a steady decline of traditional media over the years”, including newspapers and TV.
According to the report, “In 2014, 29 percent of voters had said that they read newspapers daily. In 2019, this figure declined to 18 percent in our survey. Similarly, the proportion of those watching TV news daily has declined from 46 percent in 2014 to 35 percent now.”
On the other hand, the report states, “The use of social media among voters in India has grown by leaps and bounds”, pointing out, “Back in 2014, merely one of every ten voters (9%) was found to be using Facebook”, but this figure doubled “to 20 percent by 2017, and then increasing further to 32 percent during the recent 2019 Lok Sabha elections”.
Similarly, the usage of WhatsAp…

Impact of Himachal's hydropower projects: Half of local sources of water have "dried up"

By Our Representative
A just-released report, “The Hidden Cost of Hydropower” by a Himachal Pradesh-based civil rights group, Himadhara, has warned that the market for hydropower has been “dwindling over the last few years”, as evident from "falling revenues from the hydropower sector" in the state, where “the installed capacity has risen from around 6000 MW to 10,547 MW in the last ten years”, but “the annual revenue from the sector which was around Rs 1300 crores a decade ago is at around Rs 908 crores in the last financial year.”

Mamata playing tired old game, voluble counter-aggression, which has 'no relevance' in Modi era

By Ajit Sahi*
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is headed towards failure in her pitched battle against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is no stopping Modi’s aggressive, no-holds-barred political play. And Mamata has neither a strategy nor any tactics to fend it off.

Ensure 20% of budgetary allocation for education: Finance minister told

By Our Representative
In a representation to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Right to Education (RTE) Forum national convener Ambarish Rai has said that the forthcoming Union budget must put into effect the draft New Education Policy 2019 view that 6% of GDP and 20% of the budget should be allocates as public investment in education.
Deliberating at a pre-budget consultation with the minister, Rai said, an incremental increase on education over a period of 10 years will not address the immediate crisis in terms of quality and equity in education, underling, financial crunch was thr reason why the RTE Act couldn’t be realized on ground.
Pointing out that only 12 per cent schools of the country adhere to the minimal norms of RTE Act, Rai said, “The investment for learning outcomes (soft and numeracy skills) cannot be looked at in isolation from the framework of quality and equitable education as laid down in the RTE Act 2009."
Noting that 38 million children of 6-13 age…

Lawless law? Detained at 14 under PSA, J&K authorities recorded his age as 22...

Counterview Desk
The Amnesty International India’s controversial report “Tyranny of a ‘Lawless Law’: Detention without Charge or Trial Under the J&K Public Safety Act”, released after the top international NGO was refused permission to hold a media conference in Srinagar, hasn’t just confined itself to analyzing 210 case studies, reportedly about the plight of the people who had been detained under  PSA between 2012 and 2018. It also documents how the Act is "misused" to detain minors.