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Showing posts from June, 2021

Migrants, unorganised labour: With 23 crore 'pushed' to poverty, SC seeks food security

By Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj, Jagdeep Chhokar*  We welcome the important judgment by the Supreme Court in the migrant workers case (Suo Motu 6 of 2020). The judgment by Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah will provide much need relief to migrant workers and unorganised sector workers who have been reeling under the double crisis of health and economic distress. The SC had taken suo motu cognizance of the suffering of lakhs of migrant workers in the country due to the lockdown last year.

Amid Covid-19, Odisha’s Koraput girl helps underprivileged children 'bridge' learning gaps

By Our Representative  As it was almost a year into the school closure, concern among parents emerged as to how their children will be back to education. The situation of Kaliaguda, a remote village of Kundura block in Odisha’s Koraput district was no different as parents and villagers were dwindling over the prolonged school closure and non-availability of alternative learning facilities in their locality.

WednesdaysForWater#: Pollution, climate change 'impacting' oceanic life, livelihood

By Megha Gupta, Dr Fawzia Tarannum, Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava* Our oceans drive all other systems making the earth inhabitable for humankind. Throughout history, oceans (and other waterbodies like seas, rivers and even large lakes) have been crucial source of livelihood for the coastal communities besides connecting lands for trade through transportation. In the last century of rapid industrialisation and allied urbanisation process, the oceans life is impacted negatively further impacting the lives and livelihoods of the people dependent on them directly.

Part of Indian ethos? No, Christ 'wasn't introduced' to India by European colonizers

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Since several years, July 3 has been a significant day for the Christians of India. It is the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle - one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He came to India after the Resurrection of Jesus, around 52 AD. It is historically accepted that St Thomas was martyred near Chennai in 72AD; July 3 commemorates his martyrdom.

Will rural people be insured, insulated from the 'risks' that make their life vulnerable?

By RR Prasad*  There have been several major transitions in our thinking about the way Indian villages can be made vibrant laboratories for innovations, entrepreneurship and social and economic change. Historically, policies in relation to rural development in India have been sectorally based. The emphasis has been on the development of a particular sector of the economy, rather than on the development of a particular area.

West Bengal: 54,000 workers from Duncans gardens file 'claims' worth Rs 1,538 crore

By Our Representative  A West Bengal labour rights organisation has said that with the Duncans Industries Limited, on reportedly going bankrupt, has put the future of 54,250 workers of the nine tea gardens in “doldrums”, claiming, whopping Rs 1,538 crore would need to be paid as workers’ dues, which include wages, fringe benefits, over-time, extra leaf payment, rations and gratuity and provident fund.

Modi's tap water scheme implemented 'only on paper' in Gujarat's backward tribal district

By Our Representative  Is the backward Dang district of Gujarat deprived of Nal Se Jal scheme, a flagship programme of the Union government to provide potable water to all 18 lakh villages, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day in 2019? Under the scheme villagers will themselves decide how much to pay for the water they consume, it seeks to provide a minimum of 55 litres of water per person per day.

NREGA workers: 7.35 million lost job in 2 months, unravel enhanced package, Modi told

Counterview Desk  The civil rights organisation, NREGA Sansgharsh Morcha, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with a copy to Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Narendra Singh Tomar, has insisted that the Government of India should immediately begin implementing 50 days special package for each NREGA worker over and above the current provisions. as enabled by the the NREGA Master Circular 2019-20 of the Ministry Of Rural Development (MoRD).

Not considered job-seekers? Indian data do not capture workers in informal sector

By Arjun Kumar, Ritika Gupta, Anshula Mehta, Sunidhi Agarwal, Sakshi Sharda, Mahima Kapoor*  The issue of unemployment remains a prominent topic for political and social discussion, exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown. With this in mind, Centre for Work and Welfare (CWW) at the Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ) and Centre for Development, Communication and Studies ( CDECS ), Jaipur organized a panel discussion on 'State of Development Discourses – #CohesiveDevelopment on How to Resolve Unemployment Problem in India'.

When Deoras said, RSS has 'no relation' with JP stir, supported Indira's 'plans of progress'

Modi paying respect to Deoras By Shamsul Islam*  On the 46th anniversary of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi [June 25, 1975] we once again witnessed the farce of RSS claiming that it had opposed the Emergency with full might. It is laughable to find it is boasting that it fought against the Emergency not due to any compulsion but as article of faith in democracy.

Government has paid little heed to 'worsening' service conditions in PSU banks

By Moin Qazi*  Public sector banks have played a historically stellar role in financial inclusion and the development of the social sector. They have been the backbone of the government’s socio-economic agenda and have made a transformative impact on the country’s development landscape. But sadly, the contribution of theri employees has not been adequately recognised.

Vaccination policy: Modi’s One Earth One Health only for international consumption?

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey*  When India was reeling under the severest impact of the Covid pandemic, and the peak of around 450,000 new cases was reported in 24 hours around mid April 2021, then an interesting chronology of events were taking place regarding the Covid vaccination programme (along with Kumbh in Uttarakhand and elections in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh).

Second wave: Disruption in health services 'exacerbated' gender inequalities

By Ritika Gupta, Anshula Mehta, Ishika Chaudhary, Sakshi Sharda, Arjun Kumar* The second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities to a great extent affecting every sector of life deeply. To understand its effect on women, the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organized a panel discussion on Gendered Impact of the Catastrophic Second Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic: Way Forward towards Combating the Third Wave in India.

Punjab's Mansa-Bathinda: 'Untouched' by crass individualism, acute materialism?

By Dr Gian Singh* While conducting a field survey for a research study titled “Socio-Economic Conditions and Political Participation of Woman Households in Rural Punjab”, as a team of four, Dr Gurinder Kaur, Dr Dharmapal, and Dr Rashmi and I went to the villages of Mansa district.

Model Gujarat India's 'worst performer' in sex ratio at birth: Union home ministry report

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise development, a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) report titled ‘Vital Statistics of India based on the Civil Registration System’ has revealed that Gujarat is the worst performer insofar as Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) is concerned, raising concern whether female foeticide is rampant in a state touted as model by India’s top rulers.

Violence against Jharkhand tribals in guise of anti-Naxal operations 'continues unabated'

Fact-finding team members meet villagers Counterview Desk  On June 23, a delegation* of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising representatives of various organizations, journalists, activists and members of Piri village, met the Deputy Commissioner, Latehar, DIG, Palamu, and the DSP to discuss the findings of a fact-finding inquiry into the killing of Adivasi Bramhadev Singh by security forces.

From Aisha, Natasha, Devangana, Asif to Umar and Fr Stan: Nation 'cries' for justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Aisha Sultana, a native of Lakshadweep’s Chetlat island, is today one of India’s visible faces in the cry for justice! She is a well-known actor and director and an activist. Lakshadweep, a Union Territory, is an archipelago of 36 islands in the Arabian Sea: a paradise with pristine beauty.

Top ex-Gujarat babu tells Modi: Not yoga but solar system is our biggest source of energy

By Rajiv Shah  An email alert to Counterview from a top ex-IAS bureaucrat, termed as Gujarat’s turnaround man for revamping loss-making state public sector undertakings (PSUs), has sought to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on the Yoga day – that the ancient Indian exercise provides an “infinite solutions” within ourselves, offering “the biggest source of energy in the universe.”

G7 meet hides 'ugly side' of corporatisation of medicine, privatisation of vaccine production

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The recently concluded meetings of the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries in Cornwall from June 11 to 13, 2021, have reaffirmed their commitment to a post pandemic world based on twin planks; i) revive capitalism and ii) reinstate imperialism. These twin decaying and dangerous ideals are central to the Carbis Bay G7 Summit Communique by the White House on June 15, 2021.

Does our 'supreme' leader have courage to face media as Biden, Putin did in Geneva?

Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two leaders of two great nations met at a neutral venue known for its peaceful locales and absolute neutral position world over. President Joe Biden of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation came to Geneva for their first face to face meet after the United States saw a change in the government.

Rural Punjab, Haryana 'suffered' during second wave due to restrictions on NGOs

By IMPRI Team   As the second wave of Covid raged across the country and engulfed the rural spaces of India, a panel webinar organised by the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), New Delhi, on Rural Realities: Punjab and Haryana Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages was told that both the government and the people were accountable for not taking adequate precautions despite warnings.

Supreme Court 'shouldn't be adamant', reconsider eviction order of Haryana villagers

By Nirmal Gorana* The 50-year-old secular Khori village, near Suraj Kund tourist spot (Faridabad, Harayana), inhabited by various sections is on the verge of being uprooted because of the Supreme Court order. Despite the existence of various farmhouses and high rise hotel buildings , the government and the administration is only eyeing these 10,000 houses which house more than 1 lakh people.

North-East rural dwellers approached quacks, not medical practitioners, to tackle Covid

By IMPRI Team  Participating in a webinar on Rural Realities: North East Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in North-East Villages, organised by Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), Utpal De, professor and former head, Department of Economics, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong, Meghalaya, has said that the approach of the government in the second wave differed from the previous one. This time, he said, there was uneven imposition of lockdowns across the North-Eastern state, hampering market channels of agricultural and industrial sectors.

Bengal migrant workers 'stuck' in TN on roadside without food, shelter: Help sought

By Our Representative  A senior West Bengal-based civil rights leader has drawn the attention of the Tamil Nadu government towards 13 “helpless conditions of migrant labourers” stuck in the midst of the current pandemic in far away Tamil Nadu, pointing out, Apurba Biswas (mobile number 8388982951) and 12 others of different bordering villages of North 24 Pargana, West Bengal, who are the sole bread winners of their family and employees of Nahi Construction Private Ltd, are “stuck" in a roadside in Madurai.

Sahitya Akademi 'editorial' death knell for Gujarati writers' right to free expression

Parul Khakhar, Vishnu Pandya Counterview Desk  In a strongly-worded statement, more than 170 Gujarat cultural personalities, activists and academics have strongly protested against “threats" issued against Gujarati writers in the Gujarat Sahitya Academi journal “Shabdsrushti” through an anonymous writeup under the titled “No, This Is Not a Poem, It Is Misuse of a ‘Poem’ for Anarchy…”

Poor health infrastructure, vaccine hesitancy 'rampant' in rural West Bengal

By IMPRI Team  Participating in a webinar on Rural Realities -- West Bengal, organised the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies at the Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI) , New Delhi, senior activist Sankar Halder, who is founder president, Mukti, has said that while several cyclones that had devastated the South Bengal region since November 2019, the two Covid-19 waves had led to massive devastation of livelihoods of those who depended upon agriculture, fishing and government-aid to survive.

Why India needs to redefine management of third wave for children with chronic ailments

By Dr Palash Baruah, DL Wankhar*  The United Nations’ “Policy Brief: The impact of Covid-19 on children” dated April 15, 2020 was convinced that “Children are not the face of this pandemic.” This was also evident in India when the ‘first wave’ of Covid-19 hit the country. Scientists and experts were convinced that children were less susceptible as compared to adults of advanced age or those with co-morbid conditions.

Rural UP: Not just RTPCR, even antigen facility 'not available' in a radius of 20-25 km

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on the working experiences of various professionals especially in the wake of the second wave of Covid in Indian villages, organized by the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI) , New Delhi, and the Parmarth Sevi Sanstha focused on rural reality of Uttar Pradesh and related issues.

Apex Court order to evict ex-mine workers 'unjustified', violates housing right: NAPM

Counterview Desk  Condemning the “unjustifiable” order of the Supreme Court to evict around one lakh residents of Khori Gaon, Haryana, without rehabilitation in the middle of the pandemic, India’s civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said that right to housing of working class people living in precarious conditions is inalienable, and ‘environmental protection’ cannot be an excuse to deprive vulnerable people of shelter.

Maharashtra villagers wondered: Why actors and celebrities got beds, and not we?

By IMPRI Team  In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the rural realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), New Delhi, organized a panel discussion on Rural Realities: Maharashtra Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages.

Contempt? Silicosis deaths: Gujarat govt 'not executing' SC order on compensation

By Our Representative  In a strongly-worded letter to the State chief secretary, senior health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the Peoples Training And Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, has accused the Gujarat government of continuing to ignore the Supreme Court order dated April 11, 2017, which asked all State governments, including that of Gujarat, to compensate to tune of Rs 3 lakh to the next of kin (NoK) of those who have died of sthe deadly occupational health disease silicosis.

Hindutva politics has given new lease of life to neoliberal capitalism, initiated by Congress

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The BJP and Narendra Modi had promised “Achhe din” (good days) and “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” (with all, development for all, faith of all) to capture the political power in Delhi. The majority of corporate media and many liberal intellectuals have projected him as a reformer, popular and experienced leader, who can claim Indian century in the world stage.

Uncomfortable question: Is it a house of Narendra Modi or Prime Ministerial house?

Prime Ministerial House at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg as of today By Mansee Bal Bhargava* Why are the media and masses misguided about the Prime Minister’s House in the Rajpath as current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s House? For example, Geeta Pandey in bbc.com writes , ‘Central Vista: Does Indian PM Narendra Modi really need a new house?’ Another interesting example is when Sunil Prabhu and Deepshikha Ghosh write , ‘Government Sets Deadline For New PM House Amid Covid Crisis’. This almost sounds like a New PM, as many too may like this to happen soon.

Event on imprisoned Devangana, Natasha: UN official rues Govt of India's no response

Counterview Desk  Friends of Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, two incarcerated young activists in Delhi, who organised an online event to commemorate their year in prison, has seen a large number of academics, activists, journalists and others come together discuss what they called “heightened repression in India in a global context” by using “anti-democratic laws” in order to crackdown on dissent and marginalised communities.

Prepared by top economists, relief package sought for 80% rural, 70% urban households

Counterview Desk  A civil society statement, prepared by senior economists Amit Basole, Babu Mathews, Gautam Bhan, Jean Dreze, Rajendran Narayan and Ravi Srivastava after several rounds of discussion with trade unions, lawyers and grassroots organisation, and endorsed  by several civil society and workers’ organisations as also concerned citizens, has insisted that the Government of India come up with a national relief and recovery package immediately.

Second wave was 'disaster' for rural areas of Jharkhand, Bihar, impacted livelihood

By IMPRI Team  A recent panel discussion focusing upon the conditions of Jharkhand and Bihar villages to share the insights and experiences of the practitioners located in their respective locations highlighted the second wave of the Covid pandemic proved to be disastrous for the interior regions of the country, where people are less aware and the health infrastructure is very weak.

They suffer today in jail because they believed in the 'idea of India, in the Constitution'

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* It was the virtual ‘midnight knock'! The irony was that the knock took place in broad daylight, and expectedly in a blatantly unjust, uncivilised and unconstitutional manner. On 6 June 6, 2018, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson were arrested from their residences in various parts of the country.

India's 'lag'? How govt is making little effort to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

By Dr Gurinder Kaur*  According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Report released on 5 June 5, 2021, India slipped down by two ranks to 117 from 2020’s 115th rank in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The 193 countries of the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Rural Karnataka: Dependence on small time clinics, quacks; lack of trust in govt hospitals

By IMPRI Team To discuss the impact of  the spread of the second wave in rural areas, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organized a panel discussion on Rural Realities: Karnataka Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Some so-called experts ask: Are Islam and democracy compatible? Answer is, yes

By Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai*  First of all, let me clarify that not all Muslims rebel, but some do. Not all rebellions are about self-determination, but some are. Civilization and international peace and security will pay a steep price if the only answer to Muslim discontent is bloody fists, not democratic openings. A survey past and present edifies.

Incompetent testing in rural TN 'led to' 15% positive cases, 6.7% Covid deaths of India

By IMPRI Team  To discuss the pertinent topic of the time, measures to tackle the spread of the second wave in rural areas, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Department of Social Work, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli , and the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organized a panel discussion with eminent panelists on Rural Realities: Tamil Nadu Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave.

Ahmedabad: NGO-promoted park Muskaan, devoted to communal harmony, razed

By Our Representative  An Ahmedabad-based NGO, Society for Promoting Rationality (SPRAT) has taken strong exception to what it has called “saga of destruction” of “an innovative, much-admired and multipurpose park AUDA Muskaan , devoted to promoting communal harmony, healthy low-cost adventure, scientific temper and cultural exchanges.”

Why custodial death of Faisal Hussain in Unnao district, UP, stands apart in horror

By KM Yadav, Anil Mishra, Shiv Narayan Sharma, Venkatesh Narayanan*  It is a depressing fact that the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) has to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for dealing with after-the-fact custodial deaths and rapes. That such crimes are borne disproportionately by minorities, marginalised communities, Dalits and Adivasis is even more distressing.

Kerala’s Covid numbers 'realistic' unlike states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh

By IMPRI Team In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), New Delhi, and International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD), Kerala, organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities: Kerala Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages”, as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic was engulfing the length and breadth of India, and hitting its heartland, rural areas.

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Rural Gujarat was 'complacent' as second wave took urban cities by storm

By IMPRI Team  To discuss the ways to tackle the spread of the second wave in rural areas, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and the Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), New Delhi organized a panel discussion on Rural Realities: Gujarat Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages.

Modi's new 'universal' vaccine policy still favours urban elite, has no walk-in facility

Counterview Desk  Top international NGO, Oxfam, and health rights network, Forum for Medical Ethics Society, even as welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent announcement for partial free vaccines, have insisted on the need to for “a more inclusive vaccine policy”, pointing out, “Efforts are required on vaccine equity to speed up the vaccination process.”