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How accurate are GoI's annual RTI receipt figures? Need to initiate fact finding inquiry

By Venkatesh Nayak*  There appears to be strong evidence of a unique RTI application being counted multiple times by public authorities while reporting statistics to the Central Information Commission (CIC) periodically. I make this claim based on my own portfolio of RTI applications registered on the Union Government's RTI Online Facility after comparing it with the data that I maintain privately. For several years now, I have circulated preliminary analysis of the data with regard to RTI applications, first appeals and rejections published by the Central Information Commission in its reports showing trends in receipts and disposals. Readers may click here to access a detailed report of the most recent edition of such analysis for the year 2020-21. In recent years, while analysing the CIC's claims about the total number of RTI applications received across public authorities, in any given year, I have had a nagging doubt which I did not express publicly due to lack of suppor
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Disaster risk reduction in India: Recent lessons and strategies for future

By IMPRI Team  According to the Report of UNICEF, India is among the world’s most disaster-prone countries, with 27 of its 29 states and 7 union territories exposed to recurrent natural hazards such as cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, floods and droughts. Climate change and environmental degradation have further compounded the frequency and intensity of disasters along with increasing the vulnerability of key assets, including people. In addition, almost 1/3 of the country is also affected by civil strife. To Discuss further, on April 27th, 2022 special lecture on the topic, disaster risk reduction in India: recent lessons and strategies for the future was conducted by IMPRI Center for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (CECCSD) and IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi. The deliberation was the part of The State of the Environment – #PlanetTalks with the guest speaker, Prof Anil K. Gupta who is Head of Division, International Cooperation, Adv

To be strong and effective, peace movement must be continuing process among people

By Bharat Dogra All those who are committed to peace are once again passing through a sad phase of introspection regarding why they cannot be effective enough to check what is very clearly a very alarming phase of further drift towards militarization, that too at a time when the world can least afford it due to very serious worries relating to pandemic and climate change. The fact that we are sad does not mean that we are not active, in fact several people in the peace movement are extremely busy doing what they can, but realistically they realize, or must realize, that what they can do just now is not strong and effective enough to check the more powerful forces driving the drift towards militarization. Didn’t we feel the same at the time of the Iraq invasion? In fact some of the veterans of the peace movement even had the sad realization then that the peace movement had become weaker than at the time of some of the Vietnam protests, having moved more towards one-day protest gathering

Simplistic assumption: a global power grid can solve all our energy problems

By Shankar Sharma*  This has reference to an opinion piece on international power grid to optimise our solar power use, “How an International Power Grid Will Help Optimise Our Solar Power Use" . This article seems to have been based on the simplistic assumption that a global power grid can solve all our problems. It has looked at only the different international time zones as the solution, but has ignored the economics, logistics, environmental costs, credible risk of failure of such long transmission corridors, over-dependence on energy from far off places, the dilution of security/ self reliance etc. Through the extension of such an assumption, the article seems to advocate for a global power grid, which means connecting nooks and corners of the globe to a common international grid; which basically means an enormously big and hugely complex power grid, which can witness collapse of power supply to many countries at the same time because of power outage in one country or region.

Workshop to help understand sexual harassment, report questionable behavior

Atmashakti Trust’s 3-day training on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013 (POSH)  held in Bhubaneswar: To stop sexual harrassment at workplace and to sensitise people on equality for men and women by allowing men and women to view what is stereotypical of and reasonable for their gender, a 3-day training has been launched in Bhubaneswar where 40 members across the state have joined. Organized by Atmashakti Trust, Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha, the training is being conducted by Eminent social activist, gender expert and Secretary of Aaina Ms Sneha Mishra who will train participants on what constitutes a sexual harassment, myths and realities of sexual harrassment, national and state level landmarks in the Prevention of Sexual Harassment, role of Internal Complaint Committee and effects of sexual harassment on organizations. “This will help employees to understand sexual harassment, encourage them to report any questionable behavior that m

People’s campaigns raise objections to rice fortification scheme for tribal communities

By Bharat Dogra At a time when the plans of the Government of India to hurriedly spread rice fortification have already become highly controversial with several serious objections being raised by several experts, leading food rights campaigns have prepared a detailed report in the specific context of Jharkhand and particularly its tribal communities which carries the debate and its objections further with very important inputs. At the end of a 3-day fact-finding visit in Jharkhand by Right To Food Campaign (RTFC) and Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA-Kisan Swaraj), team members urged Jharkhand Government to stop distribution of fortified rice in the state immediately. The Fact Finding Report was released at a press conference organized in Ranchi on May 11. The report points to the many serious concerns with regard to indiscriminate distribution of fortified rice to poor households in the state, and in Anganwadis and schools. The fact-finding team has emphasized

Define Dalit not by caste but action, belief; include all who oppose inequality

By Ajaz Ashraf* Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan’s endeavour has been to redefine the term Dalit and delink it from caste, best exemplified by the headline to this interview. An academician of repute, he financed his studies by working as wage labour. During his college days, he joined a group of non-Dalit intellectuals, comprising a professor each from the Christian, Parsi, Muslim and upper caste Hindu communities, to work with Dalits. Their work invited a backlash. On 25 January 1986, the reactionary landlords of the Darbar community in Golana village, Anand district, gunned down four of his colleagues, wounded another 18 and set houses on fire. This prompted Macwan to establish the Navsarjan Trust, which aims to skill Dalits and expand their consciousness regarding the systemic oppression of which they are principal victims. On 25 January 2002, on the anniversary of the Golana massacre , he led a march through rural Gujarat. His experience of the march had him write a book wherein

Basti Netas: Communities need leaders who are related to urban local bodies

By IMPRI Team  According to the Registrar General of India (2001), slum areas broadly constitute “A compact area of at least 300 populations or about 60-70 households of poorly built congested tenements, in an unhygienic environment with inadequate infrastructure and lacking in proper sanitary and drinking water facilities”. Urbanization in India, like any other widespread phenomenon in a country with a population of over a billion people, poses significant planning and policy challenges. Slums are one of India’s significant concerns, owing to the country’s rapid urbanisation. Poor living conditions, such as those prevalent in urban slums, are likely to have an impact on productivity and human capital development. To further discuss the topic, #IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi hosted a #WebPolicyTalk conducted by the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) on the topic “Informal Leadership and Development in India’s Urban Slums” under the series, The

Urgently desilt Sardar Sarovar, other dams, stop illegal river sand mining, protect wetland

Paryavaran Mitra director Mahesh Pandya’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on urgent need to desilt Sardar Sarovar and other dams, stop illegal river sand mining, and protection of ponds/wetlands in Gujarat: *** First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of 75th anniversary of India’s Independence. On the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav, we welcome your suggestion of constructing at least 75 water reservoirs in each district for the celebration of Amrut Mahotsav. In the Mann Ki Baat sessions of March 27, 2022, June 29, 2021, November 25, 2021 and June 29, 2019, the emphasis on water reservoirs was taken forward on Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav. Within 17 days of your becoming Prime Minister, the decision to increase the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam to 138 meters with an objective of abating scarcity of drinking and irrigation water. This would also contribute to Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) launched during your chief ministership in the sta

Human mobility and migration conceived as inherent dimension of human life

By IMPRI Team #IMPRI Center for Work and Welfare (CWW) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi , organized a book discussion on “Home, Belonging and Memory in Migration: Leaving and Living” – #WebPolicyTalk . Dr Sadan Jha (Associate Professor), Centre for Social Studies, Surat and Prof Pushpendra (Professor), Mumbai Campus, and, Chairperson, Centre for Development Practice and Research, Patna, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) were the editor and speaker for the discussion. The distinguished panel included Prof Anjali Gera Roy (Professor), Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur; Dr Deepra Dandekar (Research Fellow), India, Indian Ocean, Contested Religion, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin and Prof Dilip Menon (Director), Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, and, Mellon Chair in Indian Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The discussants included Dr Asha Singh (Assistant Professor in Gender