Posts

Showing posts from March, 2015

Gujarat agriculture ‘failed’ disadvantaged sections

Image
By Rajiv Shah
Fresh data in the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) report, ‘Household Consumer Expenditure across Socio-Economic Groups,’ make an important revelation. Released in February 2015, the figures provided in the report suggest that the purchasing power of the three socially disadvantaged groups in Gujarat – scheduled tribes (STs), scheduled castes (SCs) and other backward classes (OBCs) – is considerably less than in most of the Indian states, especially in the rural areas. But this is not the case with the dominant sections in the rural areas, identified as ‘Others’.
Calculated as monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE), the purchasing power figures are based on NSSO’s survey in 2011-12. The data speak for themselves, and need little comment. In Gujarat’s rural areas, the STs’ average MPCE is Rs 1,155, which is less than 12 out of 20 major Indian states (Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Tamil…

A school in Gujarat seeks to fight caste, plastics

Image
By Rajiv ShahA decade-long experiment, taking shape 100 kilometres from Ahmedabad, halfway to Rajkot, the business hub of Saurashtra region of Gujarat, appears have largely gone unnoticed. Just next to the National Highway 8A, not very far from the sleepy Katariya village, the premier Dalit rights NGO of Gujarat, Navsarjan Trust, is running a higher primary school, for classes 5 to 8, seeking to turn it into a “model” for other schools to follow. It is one of the three schools run by Navsarjan — the other two being near the Rayka village in Ahmedabad district and Sami village in Patan district.
As we entered the campus the other day, nobody seemed to be around. An eerie quiet prevailed, as if. Suddenly, a child spotted us, and declared “Martinbhai!” And, all of a sudden, a horde of children began peeping through a window, and many of them came out, welcoming us, smiling, eager to shake hands with their Martinbhai — and me. What a striking contrast it was from other primary schools, I t…

Arvind Kejriwal's propensity to negate greys and see everything in stark black or white

Image
By Vistasp Hodiwala*
People who we thought should have known better have failed us. There is no other way to put this. Nothing has been so bloody disillusioning in a long, long time. My insides are churning as I write this with a sense of disquiet and disillusionment. From the time this mid-spring madness has been unleashed upon us, there is just one question which has bothered me the most: Arvind Kejriwal's absolute refusal to say a word on this episode.

Not so well-informed on Narmada

Image
By Rajiv Shah
I have in my hand yet another book on advantages of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP). “Supported” by the Gujarat government, and seemingly well researched on a quick scan, what intrigued me after going through it was, it seemed to fail to answer some of contentious questions that remain unanswered ever since the SSP was initiated full-scale in late 1980s. A closer look at the book, which has just been published by Sage, suggests that it fails to address critical issues affecting the project despite its declared aim to have a “well-informed debate” on the project. The term “well-informed”, quoted by the authors, also seemed intriguing — especially because it heavily relies on official sources of information, without referring even once to the sources which have questioned the some of the SSP’s benchmarks.
In fact, the reliance on official information is so high that the final manuscript became “ready for publication” only after the managing-director of the Sardar Sarovar Na…