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Showing posts from May, 2014

Flutter in NGO circle... What's changing?

By Rajiv Shah
There is a flutter among voluntary organisations in Gujarat, as elsewhere. With the change of guards at the Centre, there is a rising apprehension about what would be the government's new policy towards civil society, in Gujarat as well as in India. Would the NGOs’ space shrink? Would they have to make political compromises with the powers-that-be for the sake of survival? What kind of structural changes they might have to undergo in case they have to survive in the new atmosphere?
What would happen to sources of foreign funding, on which many NGOs depend? These are some of the most common questions currently being asked by several leading members of civil society, which have involved themselves in different types of activities, developmental or rights-based, across Gujarat. Informal meetings have been held. Despite their differences in approach, all of them agree: That there is a need to find fresh ways to work in the new situation.
Without any doubt, the situation in …

Gujarat authorities "encouraged" communal segregation while resettling Sabarmati riverfront oustees

By Rajiv Shah
Gujarat's powerful officialdom is learnt to have encouraged Hindu-Muslim divide as a deliberate policy while resettling Ahmedabad’s around 10,000 slum-dwellers, affected by the Sabarmati riverfront project, begun being implemented in 2005 to “beautify” the city. Bringing this to light in her latest research paper, “Municipal Politics, Court Sympathy and Housing Rights: A Post-Mortem of Displacement and Resettlement under the Sabarmati Riverfront Project, Ahmedabad” (May 2014), Renu Desai of the CEPT University has said, the “policy” was instrumental in resettling Hindu and Muslim slum-dwellers in segregated localities, far from the city.
Quoting official documents to prove her point, Desai suggests this came to light in reply to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Thus, minutes of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd’s (SRDCL’s) resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) consultants, dated January 25, 2010 specifically say that “communal sa…

Environmental clearance major hurdle in Gujarat: UK consultants' report to Planning Commission

By Rajiv Shah
Top UK-based consultants Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu’s Indian professionals’ report, “Survey on Business Regulatory Environment for Manufacturing – State Level Assessment”, prepared for the Planning Commission, may have rated Gujarat as No 2 state – next to Haryana – on important industry-related yardsticks which attract investment (read HERE). However, a study of detailed inter-state comparison of the report suggests that Gujarat ranks 16th among 20 major states in obtaining environmental compliance for establishing enterprises, and 15th in getting environmental compliance to them to kick-start operation.
Gujarat’s entrepreneurs, who have been surveyed, have reportedly told Deloitte that it takes 100 days, on an average, to get consent to establish an enterprise, and 106 days to get consent to operate. This is against 29 days in taken to get consent to establish in Kerala, 55 days in Punjab, 60 days in Maharashtra and Chhattigarh, 70 days in Odisha, 78 days in Karnataka, 74 …

New data reveal Gujarat has worst enrolment rate of girls in secondary and higher secondary schools

By Rajiv Shah
There is fresh evidence of neglect of the girl child in Gujarat. Latest data released by the Government of India have suggested that Gujarat has one of the worst sex ratios in secondary and higher secondary schools as compared almost all states. Just about 70 girls study in Gujarat’s secondary schools for every 100 boys, while at the higher secondary level, there are 76 girls as against 100 boys. This is worst than nearly all 20 major states of India. The data were released by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), which operates under the Ministry of Human Resources Development, and have been published in “Secondary Education in India, Thematic Maps: 2012-13” (February 2014).
Claiming authenticity, NUEPA has said, “The Secondary Education in India, Thematic Maps: 2012-13 is based on the data received from as many as 228,000 schools spread over 662 districts across 35 states and union territories.” It adds, “In no way, NUEPA is involved…