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Showing posts from May, 2020

'Modi praising Ayushman Bharat means he admits govt hospitals have failed'

By Our Representative
Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments during the Mann ki Baat radio broadcast, senior Gujarat environmentalist Mahesh Pandya has said while Modi did talk of minimizing the sufferings of the migrant workers, he decided to devote most of his time on his achievements.
Pandya, who heads the top environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra, said, Modi talked of nearly one crore Indians having benefit from the Ayushman Bharat project, which is a part of the Government of India’s National Health Policy that claims to provide free health coverage to the bottom 40% poor and vulnerable population.
Referring to the manner in which state hospitals are failing amidst Covid-19 crisis, Pandya said, “This means that Modi admitted that the government hospitals have turned into dungeons. Government hospitals are not being provided with necessary equipment, which is why they are unable treat complicated cases despite having competent doctors.”
Pointing out that the result is, the …

India's RTI watchdog asks Central govt to make public all data on stranded migrants

By Our Representative
The Central Information Commission (CIC), in an “out-of-turn” hearing of a complaint filed a senior activist Venkatesh Nayak has issued an advisory under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, to the Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC), Government of India, asking him upload all available information about stranded migrant workers on an official website within a week's time. This information should be updated from time to time, it added.

Covid-19 pandemic a golden opportunity to 'move away' from tobacco to marijuana

By Rit Nanda* 
Every year, on the last day of May, the United Nations member states observe the World No-Tobacco Day. It encourages people to give up tobacco and informs them of its health hazards. This day has been observed since 1987 and yet we find the ubiquity of chewing and smoking tobacco across our society. So, where has this push failed?

Denial of bail to 'public intellectuals': Will courts inquire into their writings, speeches?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
It is deeply disturbing that 81-year-old poet Varavara Rao has been denied bail and has now been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. Reports suggest that the prison in Taloja, Navi Mumbai, where he was lodged, has several Covid-19 patient. The family and friends of Varavara Rao have protested in Hyderabad, as they were not even allowed to visit him.

MP govt's power purchase agreement with Adanis at 'highest ever contracted rate'

By Our Representative
As many 28 civil rights and grassroots organizations, led by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) have opposed the Madhya Pradesh government for entering into an agreement with the Adani Group for setting up a 1,320 MW thermal plant in Madhya Pradesh, stating, this is being despite the fact that the state claims it has surplus electricity for the next 10 years.
Objecting to the power purchase agreement (PPA) by the Adani Power arm Pench Thermal Energy with the state government’s MP Power Management Company Ltd (MPPMCL) for procurement of 1,320 MW of electricity on a long-term basis (25 years), a statement by these organizations said, the agreement is “more expensive than the one entered into by the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP).”
“Reliance-controlled Sasan UMPP’s per unit rate is Rs 1.194, while Adanis’ per unit rate is four times higher, Rs 4.79 per unit, which is the highest ever contracted rate”, the statem…

Why Modi's Atma Nirbhar Abhiyaan looks more like Fend For Yourself campaign

By Anand K Sahay*
Now it is hard to find any classes of people, including among Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s followers, who believe that the PM has given leadership in the execution of the urgent twin tasks before the country -- of fighting the pandemic, and dealing with the economy- after the unknown virus struck, or even before.

New era globalisation post-Covid crisis? Moving away from protectionism, free trade

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Is globalisation over after the Covid-19 pandemic? There are three visible signs during the unending Coronavirus led health crisis, which substantiates the end of globalisation thesis. The first sign indicates reversal of capitalist globalisation led by market integrations. The people and their nation states are fighting the pandemic alone. As a result, there is growth of ultra nationalist and right-wing forces during this pandemic.

Covid-19: Just 5% Gujarat masons agree to take all precautions at work, home

By Our Representative
A new study, carried out by an organization that has been working for the advancement of the building artisan, mainly masons, for nearly two decades, has found that only 5% respondents are aware of taking the three necessary precautions amidst Covid-19 crisis while on work on site and at home -- use masks, physical distancing, and washing hands.

Gender disparity: Untold tale of menstrual health during Covid-19 pandemic

By Subhanshi Negi*
It is somewhat ironic that even when we are amidst a major national health crisis, one of the paramount health issues of ‘menstrual hygiene,’ which is recognized as global public health and human right by the United Nations, is being thrust aside by the Government of India. Many organizations have pointed out that India is suffering from ‘period poverty.’

'Concerned' citizens object to change in Gujarat HC bench hearing Covid-19 cases

By Our Representative
In a representation to Gujarat Chief Justice Vikramnath Singh, senior advocates, scholars and activists have come together to express their “serious concern” over his decision to replace the High Court bench comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and IJ Vora with a new bench comprising himself and Justice JB Pardiwala. Justices Pardiwala and Vora had passed strong strictures on the state BJP government for its “inept” handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

Gujarat street vendors 'worst affected': Plea for cash relief, protection from cop harassment

Counterview Desk
In a representation to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, My City Our City (MCOC), a civil society network of activists, academics and urban planners have said that nearly 1.91 lakh street vendors of the state need “immediate relief and consideration” from the government, especially because they are one of the most adversely affected sections due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Restore 700 beds for poor in Ahmedabad's VS Hospital: Representation to PM

By Our Representative
Pointing out that it is painful that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has “abandoned” Vadilal Sarabhai (VS) Hospital, which can treat 700 Covid-19 patients, even as showing interest in acquiring beds in private hospitals, the civil rights organization, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch (NSM), has regretted that the VS Hospital’s “excellent infrastructure”, owned by AMC. Is not being put to use for the poor patients.
In a representation to the Prime Minister, Jatin Sheth, convenor, NSM, said, the VS Hospital, set up by Seth Vadilal Sarabhai, a close friend of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, has been a real temple in the service of the humanity almost for 90 years. Appreciating that “another hospital has come up in the VS Hospital premises looking to increased needs of the time”, Sheth said, “Today, when Ahmedabad has become a national hotspot for Covid-19, there is an increasing need for more hospital beds rising each day”.
Noting that the Gujarat High Court has “also qu…

Advise to 20-yr-old for live-in relationship: Gujarat HC comes to rescue of advocate

By Our Representative
In a unique case, the Gujarat High Court came to the rescue of a Narmada-based lawyer against whom an FIR came to be registered on the ground that he advised a couple to enter into a live in agreement despite the fact that the boy was only 20 years and 6 months and not 21 years i.e. the legal age for a man to get married in India.
Justice RP Dholaria passed an order protecting the Petitioner Advocate from arrest and admitted the quashing petition.
Advocate Ronith Joy appearing for the Petitioner submitted that any person above the age of 18 can enter into an agreement/contract in India. A live-in agreement is very different from and cannot be tantamous to actual marriage. Advising a couple to enter into a live in agreement cannot attract punishment under Sections 10 & 11(1) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
The matter has now been posted on August 19, 2020

Caste 'discrimination' of Dalits, Adivasis in quarantine centres: Demand for inquiry

Counterview Desk
A civil rights organization, Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JMM), has taken strong exception to what it calls “contradictory statements by government officials in caste-based discrimination case in the Hazaribagh Banaso Panchayat quarantine centre, demanding the state authorities must seek clarification from officials concerned as to “why the dry ration was arranged in the quarantine centre and why confirmation regarding the incident was given to media.

Shramik Express? 'Harassed' migrants suspicious of govt orders, action, promise

Counterview Desk
Calling for coordinated and urgent actions for migrants in distress, a group of senior academics and social activists* in a statement, following a well-represented discussion on May 26 to understand the reasons behind their plight, have said that “no government authority, at the centre or in states, has any comprehensive understanding of scale and type of migrant workers, especially those who are in vulnerable, insecure and informal employment and occupations.”

CityMakers 'locked out': India's 80% casual, 60% salaried workers out of job: Survey

By Our Representative
Findings of a telephonic-survey by interviewing 3,121 households across 50 plus cities of the country from May 7 to May 17, 2020 by scholars of the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), Delhi, have suggested that eight out of 10 casual daily wage labourers and six out of 10 salaried workers reported unemployed or loss employment during lockdown due to closure of business/construction activities and inability to visit their workplaces.

Withdraw criminal cases against poor during lockdown: Gujarat minority rights leader

By Our Representative
Gujarat’s minority rights leader Mujahid Nafees has asked chief minister Vijay Rupani to withdraw cases against those who allegedly violated lockdown regime, saying, majority of them are poor people, who did not have enough stock of essential items, or were not left with any opportunity to earn a living.
While it was the responsibility of the police to stop people from coming out and violate lockdown, Nafees, in a letter to Rupani, with copy to the leader of the opposition and the state home minister, said, “This also created many difficulties for the people. People were forced to come out to find a living. Those who belong to other districts or states were even more vulnerable.”
Pointing out that as a result of this, there have been reports of clashes between police and people in many parts of the state, Nafees said, criminal cases, including under the Disaster Management Act, were registered who wanted seeking to their home but were stopped, as also those who went…

Ahmedabad's cleaning workers 'not paid full salary' in April: Senior economist-activist

By Our Representative
Gujarat economist Hemantkumar Shah, who is also a senior activist, has accused the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for refusing to pay full salary to sanitary workers for the month of April. Quoting Ketan Jadav, one of the workers who lives near Khamasa Char Rasta and cleans the road around Chandola Lake, Prof Shah said, his contractor paid him only Rs 5,000 for the month of April, when his monthly salary was fixed at Rs 7,000.
Pointing out that Jadav is not alone, Prof Shah said, Jadav is not alone, there are 30 other cleaners who have been working for almost two years, and each of them was paid Rs 1200 to Rs 5,000 by the contractor. “The contractor has been quoted as saying that their salaries had been cut because they did not work during the lockdown”, the economist said, adding, “Significantly, none of the workers was given the official pass to go to work during the lockdown.”
“Ketan Jadhav says he is not given any weekly leave”, Prof Shah said, “In additi…

Talc powder withdrawn in North America, why not in India? NGO plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk
In a representation to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Gopal Krishna, who is with the Toxics Watch Alliance (TWA) and Occupational Health India (OHI), has accused the top talcum powder producer, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) of “doublespeak”, stating that while the commodity has been withdrawn in North America, it continues to be a “cause of exposure of Indians to hazardous asbestos mineral fibers” which allegedly contaminate the powder.

Lockdown checkup: PDS improves, but MGNREGA work 'missing' in many villages

By Our Representative 
The second round of the Lockdown Checkup survey, conducted by members of the Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand  has found that while the public distribution system (PDS) has improved in the state, work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is still missing in many villages.

Arrest of Delhi's Pinjra Tod protesters of Feb a conspiracy against 'democratic' struggle

Counterview Desk
The Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), networking several civil rights, students’ and trade union organizations, sharply criticizing the Government of India for the recent arrests of Pinjra Tod members Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, has said that this is “not an isolated incident but part of a larger operation orchestrated by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and the Delhi Police” since mid-February.

As migrants return, Bihar likely to face crisis in child education: RTE Forum convenor

By Our Representative
The Right to Education (RTE) Forum convener Ambarish Rai has warned that following the in-migration of lakhs of people working in other states, Bihar faces a major crisis in the form of a sharp rise in child labour, child marriage, and child trafficking. The girl child education is likely to be affected the most, he added.
Participating in a video conference on the impact of Covid-19 on public education, Rai accused the Bihar government of “hiding serious issues” related to education arising out of the return of migrants amidst poor economic condition in the state. Pointing out that nearly one crore people go out of Bihar to work in other states, he said, out-of-school children is likely to go up drastically in the state.
State RTE Forum convenor Dr Anil Rai said that the state government lacks political will to implement the RTE Act, adding, in order to reverse this, all the children who are returning to Bihar from other states should be given admission. He added, …

Plea for free treatment to poor, restore multi-specialty status to Ahmedabad VS hospital

By Our Representative
Following Gujarat High Court stricture on the state government over high death rate of Covid-19 patients in Ahmedabad, especially in the Civil Hospital, independent board members of the second biggest hospital of the city controlled by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), Vadilal Sarabhai (VS), have asked the VS management and AMC “to decisively act in restarting the 1,155-bed VS, restoring its multi-speciality status, which existed prior to 2012”.
Even as welcoming the Gujarat High Court order, which also directs the state government to open up 700 beds in VS for Covid 19 patients, the independent board members -- Jay Sheth, Dr. Nishith Shah, Rupa Chinai and Brijesh Chinai – insisted, “As the VS has a capacity of 1,155 beds totally, we strongly urge AMC to open up additional 455 beds for management of general medical care of poor patients.”
Asking the VS management to “immediately move in restoring beds, equipment and staff so that poor patients receive free …

Whither safety gear for frontline cleaners? 'Caste-based' discrimination amidst Covid-19

By Sanghmitra S Acharya*
In this ‘war’ against Covid-19 a lot has been said about the ‘frontline workers -- the doctors, nurses, policemen, bankers, journalists. In the first place it would not have become a ‘war’ had the machinery for governance been a bit vigilant and considerate about the World Health Organization (WHO) announcement that the Covid-19 is a public health emergency and the governments need to gear up their resources especially PPE, way back on 30 Jan 2020- when India reported its first case.

J&K: A BJP 'recipe' for conditional, tamed, controlled political activity, like some charity

Counterview Desk
Counting Days – Kashmir, a Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) initiative, has released an article by chief editor of a top Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) media house Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, to respond to BJP's national general secretary Ram Madhav’s article ‘It is time to allow J&K full-fledged political activity’, published in the Indian Express (May 23, 2020).

Covid-19 crisis: Why states need to replicate Kerala model to 'empower' rural poor

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The spread of Covid-19-infused crisis has huge impact on all aspects of life and economy across India. It is particularly posing a serious challenge to the social and economic development of rural poor, migrants and farmers. The local businesses and communities are significantly affected by the pandemic.

Gujarat's 73% industries 'not paying' wages, govt must compensate 75% earnings

By Our Representative
Estimating that Gujarat's 73% of industrial units have not paid wages during the lockdown period, which began on March 24, three senior social activists, economist Hemantkumar Shah, environmentalist Mahesh Pandya and farmers' leader Sagar Rabari in a letter to the Gujarat government have said that the state government should pay 75% of their wages for three months, from April to June.
At the same time, the letter, written on behalf of the civil rights organization, Gujarat Social Watch, says that unorganized sections of society, including petty traders, construction workers, agricultural workers, and others, be paid Rs 3,000 for three months in order to help their families as monetary help.
Proposing a large number of measures to former IAS bureaucrat Hasmukh Adhia, who has been appointed as head of the committee to revive the state's economy, the eight-age letter said the government must abolish tax of those whose incomes are more than Rs 15,000, and in…

Labour 'reforms': ILO writes to Modi insisting India uphold international commitments

By Our Representative
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has intervened with the Indian authorities, urging them to take "necessary action" for the protection of workers' rights in the light of measures being taken by a number of state governments to "undermine" labour legistlations and international standards.
Said an ILO communication to Central trade unions, which had jointly represented to ILO about several state governments using the current Covid-19 crisis to undermine labour laws, "The director-general has immediately intervened, expressing his deep concern at these recent events, appealing to the Prime Minister to send a clear message to Central and state governments to uphold the country's international commitments and encourage effective social dialogue."
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has decided to withdraw its decision to increase the working hours from eight to 12 hours. In a statement, the All-India Trade Union Congress h…

Gujarat industry's puny understanding of pollution control: Plea to 'pardon' from laws

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to the Vapi Industries Association (VIA) letter dated May 18, 2020, addressed to the chairman, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) seeking exemption environmental laws, senior state environmentalists have said the VIA demand is “ludicrous”, adding, it shows “audacity and righteousness” to “pollute the environs.”

A new legacy? Folk artistes begin to 'sensitize' people about Covid-19 challenges

By Moin Qazi*
The current pandemic is an unprecedented calamity and its economic and social pain is immense. The worst affected are the populations who subsist on daily wage or seasonal income. Barring agriculture, which is still functional, the rural economy is groaning in distress.  Since the deeper behavioural changes and social restrictions that the pandemic has imposed are expected to become -- and remain -- the new normal for a long time, we will have to recalibrate our economic and social patterns so that the hardship of daily subsistence does not further compound problems created by the looming health crisis.
Almost 90 per cent of the workers in India are part of the informal economy and thrive on daily work, with little provision for employment protection. The pandemic has required governments around the world to introduce social distancing and lockdowns in unprecedented ways. These measures have impacted economies and jobs worldwide and in India, too.
One of the vulnerable c…

Fear of local storm amidst militancy in Kashmir: Why greater repression won’t do

By Anand K Sahay*
We will do well to recall that the fundamental reason cited last August for dissolving the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) – whose Maharaja acceded to India on terms that explicated a clearly enunciated autonomy – was that the existence of this autonomy engendered a “separatist” mind-set in the Valley.

Civil hospital condition pathetic, it's as good as dungeon: Gujarat High Court

By Our Representative
The Gujarat High Court has lashed out at the state government, saying the conditions at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad is “pathetic” and it is “as good as a dungeon, may be even worse”. The court’s observation, made on Friday, was made available on Saturday. The court had taken suo motu congnizance of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on Covid-19 pandemic.
Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital recorded 377 Covid-19 deaths till Friday.
The division bench of Justices JB Pardiwala and IJ Vora came down hard on the Vijay Rupani government on conditions prevailing at the hospital, and said it was “distressing and painful”. “It is very distressing and painful to note that the condition prevailing, as on date, in the Civil Hospital, is pathetic... We are very sorry to state that the Civil Hospital Ahmedabad, as on date, appears to be in an extremely bad shape,” the court observed.
“As we said earlier that the Civil Hospital is meant to treat the patients. However, it appears that as…

Covid-19 panic 'exposes' fallacy of Govt of India's affordable rental housing package

By Darshini Mahevia*  As a part of the second tranche of Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package taking care of severe criticism of the Central government’s sensitivity to the migrant labour fleeing the cities, a rental housing policy for the migrant workers was announced on May 14, 2020. The rental policy, much in line with the subsequent two economic stimulus packages (on agriculture and infrastructure), is medium to long term.

Neoliberal fallout? Greed of few billionaires has hijacked our democracy and state

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Democracy is a product of struggles and sacrifices of the working classes. The October revolution, French revolution  and anti-colonial struggles in Africa, Asia and Americas shaped democracy. The struggles for freedom, equality and justice, anti-capitalist struggles, and people’s movements against war and terrorism, social and political movements for livelihoods have helped to deepen democratic practices all over the world.

Has Church in India 'mainstreamed' Pope Francis' call on human rights violations?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
May 24, 2020 completes full five years of Pope Francis’ path-breaking and incisive Encyclical Letter ' Laudato Si ' -- On Care for Our Common Home. It was the first major Papal teaching on a subject of critical importance namely ‘the environment’. ‘Laudato Si' meaning “Praise be to you" are the first words of the celebrated ' Canticle of the Creatures' of St Francis of Assisi.

They're nationalists, not migrants: Crucial for GDP, workers don't care for regionalism

By Shamsul Islam*
As a student of political science we have been familiar with Samuel Johnson's amazing words on patriotism, an essential ingredient of nationalism. He wrote: 'Patriotism is last refuge of scoundrel.' History has been witness to the truthfulness of this dictum multiple times globally.

Post-Covid challenge for rural India: 12 crore migrants face 'bleak' future in cities

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has infected more than 5.1 million people out of which more than 330 thousand people died. Most of the countries are either under nation-wide or localised lockdown with more than half of the global population confined within their homes. Rest of the countries are also following many restrictive measures to avoid spreading of the virus.

Death of migrants amidst lockdown: Moral 'distancing' in time of social distancing

By Umang Kumar*
How should ordinary citizens understand the nature of responsibility in the case of the recurring deaths of migrant workers that they are witnessing? So many have died on the road, absolutely needlessly, in the process of trying to escape death by hunger which the Indian Covid-19 lockdown was making a reality. India has a very large number of (internal) migrant workers, especially from its more rural areas, who travel to more urban centers, looking for work. How does one even begin to view such instances, say, as a matter of ethics?

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Disaffection towards government constitutes offence of sedition: Gujarat govt tells HC

By Our Representative
Opposing the plea to quash sedition charges against the Gujarati online news portal “Face of Nation” editor Dhaval Patel, who was subsequently arrested in May second week, the Gujarat government has told the High Court that this is not possible since investigation is still going on, and such a step would be “premature”.

IIM-A rejects legal notice: Public authorities 'didn't arrange' trains for migrant workers

By Our Representative
In a rejoinder to the legal notice served on the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) director following unrest outside the IIM-A campus IIM-A, in a statement has asserted that the unrest of the workers from the construction site was not about wages and living conditions “but about the delay in obtaining travel permits and the arranging of transportation by the public authorities to take them back to their home states.”

Used to earn a living, Delhi's 'marginalised' communities now struggle to feed themselves

Counterview Desk
Volunteers of several civil society organizations*, providing financial assistance and food and sanitary kits (sanitizer, mask, towels and soap) to Delhi’s marginalised families, especially sewer workers, sanitation workers, daily wage labourers, denotified tribes and ragpickers, have found that while they used to earn a living till now, today they are "struggling to feed themselves”.

Will 'crisis-ridden' news industry regain credibility in post-Covid-19 pandemic era?

By Nava Thakuria*
Amidst myriad devastation created by the novel coronavirus around the world, the news industry might learn to survive only if it regains credibility, proves it authenticity and accountability in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era. Earlier if these principles were claimed to be necessary for the mainstream media, now it becomes an utmost priority for its survival.

Insurgency? Fresh cases of 'attack' on Naga villagers: NGO seeks UN intervention

By Our Representative
The Naga People's Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), a civil rights organization based in Nagaland, has accused security forces based in the state for allegedly waging war on “innocent” Naga civilians under the pretext launching operations against insurgents.

'Tears Fall in my Heart': Adnan's joy, sorrow, anguish amidst 'disruptions' in Kashmir

By Annette Nasser*
Adnan Shafi's poetry left me in deepest thought throughout his book, and I am quite sure, whoever will read at present time or in the future, will certainly feel the same way.
With pensive rumination, contemplative is each poem, descriptive and expressed fluently, his articulate and creative usage of words, the flowing of his verses, the intensities of emotion with both rhythm and inflection, the senses of everything he feels, whether it be of joy, sorrow, anguish or even his ardency of nature, life and love, the experiences of his own and that of others living in the valley, the close observations through the disruptions of Kashmir, he has written with excellence of sublimity, throughout his book.

Modi govt 'withdrew' 2014 World Heritage Site proposal for New Delhi Central Vista

Counterview Desk
India’s top civil rights network, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), in public statement, has demanded that the Government of India should immediately withdraw the “hasty” Environment Clearance (EC) granted to the Central Vista Project with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore, stating, today, such expenditure is required in public health, not in pompous infrastructure.

India's 21 of 29 RTI watchdogs didn't take up 'life and liberty' issues amidst lockdown

By Our Representative
A report on the status of the Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commissions (SICs) across India during the Covid-19 crisis, released by two civil rights organizations, Satark Nagrik Sangathan and Centre for Equity Studies, has said that of the 29 commissions set up under the Right to Information (RTI) Act , 21 have not held any hearings during during the lockdown period, currently in its fourth phase.

Why no 'pompous sounding' Vande Bharat programmes for stranded migrant workers?

By Vijaya Ramachandran, Sandeep Pandey*
Lockdown in the wake of coronavirus threat has seriously affected the livelihood options for the migrant workers and daily wage earners. While the government has announced that they will be given free ration, even if they are not linked with local Fair Price Shop (FPS) part of the Public Distribution System (PDS), which is the case with most migrant workers across India including the brick kiln workers in Kanpur and other places, the ground reality is very different.