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Showing posts from September, 2023

Why is green revolution harmful for nutrition, food safety, environment, climate change

By Bharat Dogra*  A lie repeated a hundred times will not turn a lie into a truth. The big media should realize this and stop perpetuating the lie of the green revolution saving India from hunger, long after the world has awakened to the reality of how harmful the green revolution has been from the point of nutrition, food safety, environment and climate change.

Shift in policy? In 2015 Modi-led Central govt 'rejected' need for renaming the country

By Gajanan Khergamker*  The roots of “Bharat”, “Bharata”, or “Bharatvarsha” are traced back to Puranic literature, and to the epic Mahabharata. The Puranas describe Bharata as the land between the “sea in the south and the abode of snow in the north”.

Uneasy calm in Manipur amidst query: Who paved way for 'potential' ethnic cleansing?

By Saurav Sarkar  The ethnoreligious violence in the Indian state of Manipur between Meiteis and Kukis has been ongoing since May, but it was only in July 2023 when a video went viral in India showing two women being paraded naked that the world began to pay attention to the situation in earnest. One of the women was reportedly sexually assaulted after the conclusion of the video. Calls for accountability came from all quarters, including the Indian Supreme Court, and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was forced to break his conspicuous silence on the conflict in the northeastern state.

Busy in political event, Gujarat govt 'evaded' plans to reduce massive Narmada floods

Counterview Desk  Farmer rights group Khedut Ekta Manch Gujarat in a letter to Bhupendrabhai Patel, chief minister, with copies sent to the officials concerned, has asked the Gujarat government to form an independent committee to investigate the recent massive flooding in Narmada, even as seeking proper compensation to those affected by the disaster, many of whom are farmers.

Himalayan States' farmers seek 'significant increase' in tariffs on imported apples

By Bharat Dogra*  Recently, several fruit growers from Himalayan states, particularly from Kashmir, expressed their serious concern and resentment at the slashing of additional duties on imports of apples, walnuts and almonds from the USA. As is well-known, the fruit growers in the USA have the benefit of several government subsidies and it is difficult to compete against them.

Link India's 'deteriorating' religious conditions with trade relations: US policymakers told

By Our Representative  In a significant move, Commissioners on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) have raised concerns about the “sophisticated, systematic persecution” of religious minorities by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a hearing on India in Washington DC.

Modi govt intimidating US citizens critical of abuses in India: NY Christian group to Biden

Counterview Desk  the New York Council of Churches for its release of an open letter calling on the Biden administration to “speak out forcefully” against rising Hindu extremist violence targeting Christians and other minorities in India. In the letter addressed to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other major elected officials, the NY Council of Churches expressed "grave concern regarding escalating anti-Christian violence" throughout India, particularly in Manipur, where predominantly Christian Kuki-Zo tribals have faced hundreds of violent attacks on their villages, churches, and homes at the hands of predominantly Hindu Meitei mobs.

Alarming Odisha arrests, 'illegal' detentions ahead of Vedanta bauxite public hearing

Counterview Desk  More than 80 lawyers, legal academics and researchers have written to the Governor of Odisha raising concerns about the “alarming arrests and illegal detentions” of about two dozen persons from Rayagada district in Odisha in anticipation of the upcoming public hearing for the Sijimali bauxite mine proposed by M/s Vedanta Ltd.

Where does Catholic journalism stand in the wake of 'onslaught' on media in India?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  These are critical times in India’s history: in fact, whether we would like to accept it or not, it is a break or make moment! At stake is the future of Indian democracy based on the visionary Constitution of India, rooted in the four non-negotiables of justice, liberty equality and fraternity.  At the stake is the sanctity of the pluralistic fabric of a nation ensconced in the inviolable dignity of every Indian: child, woman and man; at stake are the fundamental rights protected and guaranteed to every single citizen of India; at stake is the very idea, wealth and beauty of India!

Critical: Promotion of contraception choice, knowledge, use, safety for eligible individuals

By Srinivas Goli, Md Juel Rana*  The international community has been celebrating World Contraception Day on September 26 every year for the past 15 years. On this day, a number of regional and international healthcare organizations get together to promote contraception among the general public. The theme for World Contraception Day 2023 is "The Power of Options," emphasizing the critical role that contraceptive options play in empowering people to take charge of reproductive and sexual health.

Assam 'in search of roots'? Pragjyotishpur literary fete to focus on rich history, culture

By Nava J Thakuria*  An intellectual and interactive treat for the literary enthusiasts, cultural connoisseurs and budding writers is waiting to emerge as Pragjyotishpur Literature Festival 2023 (PLF) which will unfold a series of literary activities for three days in the virtual capital of northeast India. 

Astonishing? Violating its own policy, Barclays 'refinanced' Adani Group's $8 billion bonds

By Rajiv Shah  A new report released by two global NGOs, BankTrack and the Toxic Bonds Network, has claimed to have come up with “a disquieting truth”: that Barclays, a financial heavyweight with a “controversial” track record, is deeply entrenched in a “disturbing” alliance with “the Indian conglomerate and coal miner Adani Group.”

Jharkhand: Attempt to create red scare for 'brutal crackdown', increase loot of resources

Counterview Desk  The civil rights group Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization in a statement on plans to crackdown on “64 democratic progressive organisations” in Jharkhand under the pretext of the need to investigate their Maoist link, has alleged that this an attempt to suppress dissent against corporate loot and create an authoritarian state.

Junk food push causing severe public health crisis of obesity, diabetes in India: Report

By Rajiv Shah  A new report , “The Junk Push: Rising Consumption of Ultra-processed foods in India- Policy, Politics and Reality”, public health experts, consumers groups, lawyers, youth and patient groups, has called upon the Government of India to check the soaring consumption of High Fat Sugar or Salt (HFSS) foods or ultra-processed foods (UPF), popularly called junk food.

In the 'right' spirit? Agribusiness MNC receives powerful backing from Govt of India

By Bharat Dogra*  It is not too long ago that a prolonged farmers’ movement in India to resist three new laws aimed at increasing corporate control over Indian farming had captured the imagination of the country. The widespread support and sympathy for this movement eventually led to the three controversial farm laws being scrapped by the government, a move that was appreciated.

Why delay in implementing Rajasthan health rights law?, asks Jan Swasthya Abhiyan

By Our Representative  The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) Rajasthan chapter, in a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, endorsed by more than 70 organisations and networks, has demanded framing and notification of rules to the Rajasthan Right to Health Act 2022, wondering why the law has not yet begun being implemented.

Victim of 'hazardous' jobs, Delhi sanitary workers get two thirds of minimum wages

By Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, the Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) organized a Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop for sewer workers and waste pickers from all across Delhi NCR. The workshop focused on bringing sanitation workers from different parts of Delhi to train them for organization building and to discuss their issues of minimum wage, contractual labour, regular jobs and social security.

Bajrang Dal not linked with RSS? Archives say: 'worshippable' Golwalkar had blessed it

By Shamsul Islam* Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, true to his training at RSS ‘boudhik shivirs’ (ideological training camps), has said that the “Bajrang Dal is not associated in any way with the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.”

Not supporting Khalistan, but probe Nijjar's 'extrajudicial' killing: Muslim diaspora group

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), claiming to represent Muslim diaspora, said, it "supports" the US Department of State in urging India to cooperate with “ a full and open investigation ” into Indian government agents’ alleged assassination of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar on the Canadian soil.

Narmada floods: Why no output at 1200 MW dam power house for 10 days? asks SANDRP

Counterview Desk  Continuing its analysis* of unprecedented floods of the Narmada river both upstream and downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam, the advocacy group South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has said that the “avoidable” disaster, caused by “unaccountable” Sardar Sarovar operators could have been minimised if the River Bed Power House at the dam site had continued its operations by releasing 1200 cumecs or, 42000 cusecs of water over ten days.

Women’s Reservation Bill 'unfavourable' to women going to State assembly polls till 2029

Counterview Desk  Responding to the Women’s Reservation Bill, introduced in Parliament on September 19, the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) has said that, when passed, it will be implemented after a census and electoral delimitation exercise in 2029, adversely affecting women "as there will be elections to many States Assemblies before 2029."

From 'Naatu-Naatu' to 'Nipah-Nipah': Dancing to the tune of western pipers?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Some critics have commented that the ecstatic response of most Indians to the Oscar for the racy Indian song, “Naatu-Naatu” from the film, “RRR” reeks of sheer racism, insulting visuals and a colonial hangover. It was perhaps these ingredients that impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one critic says.

Asset managers hold '2.8 times more equity' in fossil fuel cos than in green investments

By Deepanwita Gita Niyogi*  The world’s largest asset managers are far off track to meet the  2050 net zero commitments , a new study  released by InfluenceMap , a London-based think tank working on climate change and sustainability, says. Released on August 1, the Asset Managers and Climate Change 2023 report by FinanceMap, a work stream of InfluenceMap, finds that the world’s largest asset managers have not improved on their climate performance in the past two years.

Failing to stand up for human rights, NHRC trying to gain 'backdoor credibility': AiNNI

Counterview Desk  Henri Tiphagne, national working secretary, All India Network of NGOs and Individuals working with National and State Human Rights Institutions (AiNNI) -- releasing a statement condemning the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) move to hold the Asia Pacific Form’s (APF’s) 28th Biannual Conference in New Delhi on 20th and 21st September -- has suggested, NHRC is desperately attempting to gain credibility after failing to be accredited with an A grade by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in March 2023.

'State-sanctioned terror': Stop drone attack on Adivasis, urge over 80 world academics

Counterview Desk  A joint statement, “Indigenous Peoples’ Un-Freedoms and Our Academic Freedom: A Call for Solidarity”, endorsed by over 80 signatories, including international academics, activists and civil society organizations, as well as diasporic Indian academics and researchers, working with Adivasi (indigenous) communities in India, has made an urgent appeal to prevent future drone bomb attacks by the Indian state on Adivasi villages.

Evading primary responsibility, ONGC decides to invest Rs 15,000 crore in sick subsidiary

By NS Venkataraman*  It is reported that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will infuse about Rs 15,000 crore in ONGC Petro-additions Ltd (OPaL) as part of a financial restructuring exercise. ONGC currently holds 49.36 per cent stake in (OPaL), which operates a mega petrochemical plant at Dahej in Gujarat. GAIL (India) Ltd has 49.21 per cent interest and Gujarat State Petrochemical Corporation (GSPC) has the remaining 1.43 per cent.

Sales, profits of Indian firms 'deteriorate', yet no significant increase in cost pressures

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad's (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), a monthly exercise, has said that while cost perceptions data does not indicate significant increase of cost pressures, sales and profits of the Indian firms have deteriorated.

Avoidable Narmada floods: Modi birthday fete caused long wait for release of dam waters

Counterview Desk  Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has accused the Sardar Sarovar dam operators for once again acting in an "unaccountable" manner, bringing "avoidable floods in downstream Gujarat."  In a detailed analysis, SANDRP has said that the water level at the Golden Bridge in Bharuch approached the highest flood level on September 17, 2023, but these "could have been significantly lower and much less disastrous" both for the upstream and downstream areas of the dam, if the authorities had taken action earlier based on available actionable information.

Subsequent to Karnataka debacle, one nation, one election move 'undermines' federalism

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  On 31 August, the Government called for a special session of Parliament for five days beginning on 18 September. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi tweeted, “Special Session of Parliament (13th Session of 17th Lok Sabha and 261st Session of Rajya Sabha) is being called from 18th to 22nd September having five sittings. Amid Amrit Kaal looking forward to having fruitful discussions and debate in Parliament." 

Biden urged to warn Modi: US can declare India as worst religious freedom offender

By Our Representative  During a Congressional Briefing held on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, Nadine Maenza, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), has wondered why the Biden administration should raise issues of mass anti-minority mob violence  -- particularly in Haryana and Manipur -- with Modi. Modi should be told that if such violence continues, the US will be “compelled by law” to designate India as one of the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom, she urged.

Why iconic Urdu book stall, publishing house Maktaba Jamia died an 'unnatural' death

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*  We have all grown through the fragrant flavours and flairs of our childhood, one of them being our childhood mother-tongue historic magazines like, “Thakurmar Jhuli” (Bengali), “Khilauna”, Payam-e-Taleem" (Urdu), “Hans” (Marathi), “Parag” (Hindi), “Chitralekha” (Gujarati), “Chandamama” (Telugu), etc. I “drank” Urdu while suckling his mother and learnt the language not from any madrasa, school or college but from these publications only — my treasure trove!

Demolishing building 'won’t end' Gandhian legacy: Varanasi marches for justice

By Rosamma Thomas*  Gandhians and followers of Acharya Vinobha Bhave took out a march through Varanasi, stopping at different spots and raising slogans, protesting the demolition of the Sarva Sewa Sangh at Rajghat on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi.

RSS ideologues 'wrong'; Sati wasn't product of 'Muslim' rule, it existed in ancient India too

Golwalkar By Shamsul Islam*  The biggest ‘Hindu’ organization in the world, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also functions as an exclusive Gurukul where Hindutva cadres are known to be trained in specialised propaganda against minorities, which often turns into sectarian violence. Not without reason, the most prominent ideologue of the RSS, Guru MS Golwalkar who also was the 2nd supremo of the organization, is considered the “guru of hate”.

Amazing? India's legal system has 'no interest' in deliberating on existential nuclear threat

By Shankar Sharma*  An article by Dr MV Ramana, "The global footprint of nuclear fallout - We are all Hibakusha", should leave no one under the wrong impression that most sections of the global society, which are not in the geographical proximity of nuclear explosions/ weapon test sites/ nuclear facilities, are safe from nuclear contamination threats. It should not be difficult for any one with a modest understanding of radiation related threats to appreciate the overall message of this article.

Cow shelters established by Yogi govt causing animal deaths: FIR sought against CM

By Rosamma Thomas*  A calf was found dead in Bharawan village of Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh on August 7. A team of members of the Socialist Party (India) has toured parts of the state and found cows in cow shelters set up by the state government in moribund state, close to death and poorly fed, since many of these shelters run with little or no government funds. 

Gyanvapi, Mathura: Apex Court order not to entertain Mughal rulers' 'actions' ignored

By Vishnu Bandarupalli, Ayush Bajpai, Sandeep Pandey*  In the tapestry of India's history, certain events stand as stark reminders of the intersection between religion, politics, and the law. The controversy surrounding the Gyanvapi Mosque, is one such intricate thread woven into the nation's fabric. To understand the origins of this dispute and its resonance in modern times, we must first retrace our steps to the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya and the tumultuous legal judgment that followed.

Why is new economic policy pioneer ratifying Modi's ‘blind move' towards neo-liberalism

By Prem Singh*  An interview of former finance minister and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has been published in the English daily ‘The Indian Express’ (8 September 2023). Information about the journalist/journalists who took this particular interview has not been given. It has been told to the readers that 'The Indian Express' has done this interview of Dr Singh on the eve of G20 Summit.

'A hurdle in sustainable peace': Armyman calls local Manipur media partisan, unethical

Counterview Desk  Alleging unethical and ‘ex parte’ reporting of incidents of Manipur by the local media, Col Anurag Pandey, Colenal General Staff (Information Warfare), for General Officer Commanding, in a letter* to Seema Mustafa, President, Editors Guild of India, has said that this has been a major hurdle in allowing "sustainable peace" to usher in in the State.

Called Ganga Maiyya, walk along this river in UP reveals 'expanding scale' of exploitation

By Poorva Goel*  At Pachnada, the river in Uttar Pradesh, the Sindh River meets four other rivers -- Yamuna, Chambal, Kunwari and Pahuj -- in a rare spectacle. Over time, the gentle currents of these rivers have meandered and unloaded their sediment on the floodplains. The floodplains are lush with mustard and wheat fields, and the scrub slopes are dotted with grazing cattle.

Pashu sakhis enhance goat-based livelihoods making 'better use' of govt schemes

By Bharat Dogra*  Bharti Aharwar, a dalit woman of Nadia village in Jatara bock of Tikamgarh district, was finding it difficult to cope with increasing economic difficulties. Her husband had even gone to Delhi in search of better earning opportunities but no durable solution had emerged.

Long way to go for clean energy, 'premature' G20 move for Global Biofuels Alliance

By NS Venkataraman*  The G20 Meet has launched Global Biofuels Alliance with participation of more than 30 countries and several international institutions to facilitate adoption and production of biofuels in a massive way. Formation of Global Biofuels Alliance is justifiably claimed to be a watershed movement in forging ahead towards clean energy and in overcoming the climate crisis.

Indo-Bangla border area killings 'continue': Demand to make public 'illegal actions'

By Our Representative  Commenting on a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina at G20 summit, two West Bengal-based non-government organisations, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) and Odhikar, have recalled that exactly a year ago, on 7 September, 2022, a joint statement released by both the Prime Ministers, had expressed satisfaction that the “number of killings along the Indo-Bangladesh border had been reduced significantly.”

Upholding 'neoliberal' agenda of corporates, G20 an elite, anti-poor club: We20 NGOs

Counterview Desk  As the leaders of the world’s powerful nations come together for the 18th G20 Summit, what is missing on their agenda are the issues which are paramount to people and the planet, says a civil society declaration issued the NGO network We20, with over 70 organisations as its members.

India facing challenge of high utilization and low levels of renewable water per capita

By Jag Jivan  Levels of water scarcity are soaring in India and other major economies, including the US and China, as annual water use has risen by around 3,500 billion m3 globally over the last century. Action to increase water circularity through global collaboration and innovation could help tackle this. Doing so will bring wider benefits -- including reducing drought risk, supporting climate goals, and advancing social development to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals - according to new research by British Standards Institute (BSI) and Waterwise.

Palm oil: Amidst tycoon onslaught, North-East farmers discuss impact on biodiversity

By Rosamma Thomas*  The northeastern states of India account for about three per cent of the total 1.4 billion population of India. In 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the National Mission on Edible Oils – Palm Oil, with a total outlay of Rs11,040 crore. The plan is to bring 6.5 lakh hectares under oil palm cultivation, of which 3.2 lakh hectares would be in the northeast. Brands such as Godrej’s Agrovet , Patanjali’s Ruchi Soya and 3F have been planning entry into oil palm cultivation in the northeast. The push for acquiring land for oil palm cultivation is also seen as the backdrop to the ongoing violence in Manipur .

Will G20 leaders address global issues and help India in its development journey?

By Sandeep Chachra* Like most international bodies, the G20 carries with it both hope and cause for concern. While member countries represent 85% of the global GDP and two-thirds of the world population, the G7 nations remain influential. 

China's expansionist dreams riding on 'big leap forward' in economic, industrial growth

By NS Venkataraman*  China has recently released China’s new “standard map” for 2023,including the territory of nearby countries as it’s own, which does not conceal China’s territorial greed. On the other hand, it reinforces the widespread view that the present leadership in China would pursue it’s territorial expansion schemes with determination. No one can accuse China of implementing it’s territorial expansion strategies in a veiled manner, as it has clearly announced it’s intentions to the neighbouring and nearby countries.

Cows on Ahmedabad roads? Reason: Amul, other dairies 'neglected' city cattle rearers

By Rajiv Shah  A new study has blamed Gujarat’s powerful milk cooperative sector, known across the country as Amul, for failing to take into cognisance the need to place under its wings urban area pastoralists, popularly known as Rabaris, involved mainly in selling cow milk to individual consumers. The study insists, that this, coupled with the lack of any policy on the part of the Gujarat government to “rehabilitate and modernise” the Rabaris’ business, has pushed the pastoralists to the margins of urban society.

Why are villagers protesting against sand mining in Bundelkhand’s lifeline Ken river

By Bharat Dogra*  While the famous Ganga and Yamuna rivers have at least received some attention regarding their protection, several of their important tributaries have been badly neglected even at a time when their protection needs urgent attention. Ultimately of course this neglect of tributaries will prove very harmful for the Ganga-Yamuna river system as well.

Disruptive impact of ‘unviable’ Ken-Betwa River Link Project for Bundelkhand region

By Bharat Dogra*  During a recent visit to Bundelkhand region I came across a report which said, “Villagers protesting against the Ken-Betwa River Link Project have submitted a protest petition written with their blood. Their leaders have alleged that 3 to 4 million trees are likely to be cut and people of 21 villages will be displaced by the dams and canal of the project.”