Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2014

Known for impeccable reputation, Gujarat IAS babu SR Rao may join AAP, fight Lok Sabha polls from Surat

By Rajiv Shah SR Rao, the 1978 batch Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat who retired from the service in January 2014, is being considered as the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) Lok Sabha poll candidate from Surat, where he shot into prominence after boldly cleaning the city of plague in mid-1990s. Known for his impeccable reputation, Rao once again gained confidence of the people of the South Gujarat city after he fought to clean up the city, engulfed in its worst-ever flood in 2006. A top official in the chief minister’s office (CMO) told Counterview that in case Rao, who won Padma Shri for his Surat feat against plague, agrees to become the AAP’s candidate from Surat, he is “sure to win.” Considered a sure seat of the BJP, the official said, “Rao’s reputation in Surat is enough to defeat to the BJP in the city. Two decades later, Rao remains invincible in Surat.” Former principal secretary, urban development, Gujarat government, Rao retired as commerce secretary of the Government of India. There i…

Gujarat has nearly 4.2 lakh child workers, one of the highest in India, up from 3.9 lakh in 2004-05

By Rajiv Shah
Latest information, calculated on the basis of the worker-population ratio (WPR) provided by the top statistical collection body of the Government of India, National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), has revealed that Gujarat has nearly 4.2 lakh child workers – 3.18 lakh in the rural areas and a little above 1 lakh in the urban areas. The calculation is based on the NSSO’s revelation in its latest report, “Employment and Unemployment Situation in India, 2011-12”, released in January 2014. It points towards the fact that Gujarat has 2.2 per cent child workers in the urban areas and 4.3 per cent child workers in the rural areas in the age-group 5-14, which happens to be one of the highest in India.
What should be of particular concern for the state’s powerful policy makers is that the percentage of child workers in Gujarat is higher than 20 major most Indian states, except Jharkhand (6.7 per cent), in the rural areas. As for urban areas, only three states have higher pe…

Impact of Vibrant Gujarat business summits: A 225 per cent rise in most pollution industries in five years

By Rajiv Shah
A top Gujarat government insider has disclosed to Counterview that biennial Vibrant Gujarat business summits, sponsored by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, has mainly attracted industries which are in the “most polluted” category. Quoting sources in the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), the state government’s official anti-pollution watchdog, the insider has revealed there has been a massive around 2.5 times rise in “highly polluting” category between 2007 and 2012.
The insider said, for the sake of “internal analysis”, the state government’s environment and forests department has categorized industries into three different categories. There are red industries, which are “high polluting”; then there are orange industries, which are “moderately polluting”; and finally there are industries which are “non-polluting industries.
“In 2007, in all, there were in all 8,013 registered industries in Gujarat, out of which 5,163 industries were in the highly polluting sect…

Kejriwal-Modi meeting in 2010: "Reason" behind secularists' lukewarm response towards AAP in Gujarat?

By Rajiv Shah
Does Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal have soft-corner for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi? Though AAP’s unit in Gujarat vehemently denies this, the question is being widely debated among political circles and senior Gujarat activists, who have known Kejriwal ever since he was more of a right to information (RTI) activist about five years ago. The confusion is particularly worst confounded because they are privy to a little-known fact about Kejriwal – he had a two-and-a-half-hour long meeting, which, they recall, took place with Modi in 2010.
Informed sources have told Counterview that Kejriwal was “desperate” to have a meeting with Modi as part of his effort to gather support for India Against Corruption, which he wanted to form with Anna Hazare as the main face. “He contacted a few social activists in Gujarat for a tie up with Modi, but he failed, as the activists did not want to identify themselves with Modi. Then h…

Modi tax?

By Rajiv Shah
BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi was in Goa in January second week. He took a jibe at former Union environment and forests minister Jayanthi Natarajan – saying there was a “Jayanthi tax” when she was in charge of the ministry. Modi alleged many files in the ministry were pending only because of a new tax in Delhi called “Jayanthi tax”, and unless it was “paid” no file would move. "We've heard of income tax, sales tax, commercial tax in the past, but this is the first time we are hearing of a Jayanthi tax!" he declared. When he made the remark, I humbly thought, what’s new about it. Politicians of all hues are alike. They all charge a “tax” for all that they do. My experience in Gandhinagar as correspondent wasn’t any different.
Indeed, I wasn’t wrong. My friend Mahesh Pandya, who, as environmental engineer (he calls himself environmental expert; “I am not an environmentalist”, he says), moves around Gujarat campaigning on environmental issues wi…