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Showing posts from May, 2015

Hindus 25% more likely to defecate in open than Muslims, says US research study

By Rajiv Shah
A controversial study, carried out by a prominent US-based research organization, has said that “despite relative economic advantage, India’s majority Hindu population is 25 percentage points more likely to defecate in the open than the minority Muslim population.” The study quotes Manusmriti (Chapter 4 verse 151) to suggest why it may be more prevalent among Hindus, “Far from his dwelling let him remove urine and excreta”.
Carried out by Michael Geruso and Dean Spears for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the US’s leading nonprofit economic research organization, where 24 Nobel prize winning economics have worked, the study says, there appears to be a direct correlation between infant mortality rate (IMR) and sanitation.
Quoting several studies, the study, titled "Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality", says that IMR among Muslims “is 17 per cent lower than among Hindus, with an additional 1.1 infants per 100 surviving.” The authors believe …

India's failed model?: Urban Gujarat is poor performer in solid wastemanagement

By Rajiv Shah
Despite big talk about Gujarat being a model state of urban development, latest figures, made available at a workshop organized by Paryavaran Mitra, an Ahmedabad-based environmental NGO, has said that just about 14.67 per cent of the solid waste collected in the state’s eight municipal corporations and 159 municipalities, is processed. This puts Gujarat way behind the national average of 27.94 per cent of the solid waste being processed, with seven out of 20 selected states performing better.
Revealed during a presentation by Shailendrasinh Jadeja of Seva Foundation Trust, Rajkot, in the presence of senior experts, consultants and a Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) official, the figures suggest that there has been slight improvement of less than two per cent since 2010, when 12.94 per cent of the solid waste was being processed. However, the progress vis-à-vis the all-India average was dismal – in 2010, 17.78 per cent of the solid waste was being processed, suggestin…

Gujarat's "fully protected" Gir National Park has just 22 Asiatic lions: A detail state Chief Minister refused to divulge

By Rajiv Shah
Well-informed sources in Gujarat government have told Counterview that the latest lion census enumerators could find just 22 lions in Gir National Park, the no-man’s “fully protected” territory within the Gir forest area to “preserve” the rare species. Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, while making an announcement of 523 lions in Gujarat, up from 411 in 2010, refused to give any breakup of the number of lions found in the National Park.
When contacted, former Gujarat’s chief wildlife warden GA Patel confirmed the existence of so few lions in the Gujarat National Park, saying, this is a matter of “serious concern” for India’s conservationists. “I have repeatedly drawn the attention of the state forest officials about the need to something urgently to stop dwindling of the number of lions in the Gir National Park”, he said, adding, “The result is now there for all to see.”
According to Patel, “The forests have gone very thick in the Gir National Park, which is of 258 sq…

State of courts in Gujarat: One of the highest pending cases, highest vacancies in district, subordinate courts

By Rajiv Shah
A recent analysis by a non-profit institute, IndiaSpend, has suggested that Gujarat has one of the highest number of pending cases in the district and subordinate courts. With 2,251,122 pending cases, Gujarat's pending cases are higher than all other states except for Uttar Pradesh (5,714,695), Maharashtra 2,937,846, and West Bengal (2,583,685). The figures are as of April 1, 2014.
Alongside the pending cases, the analysis says, Gujarat has the highest number of vacancies of judges in its lower courts compared all other states -- 728. It comments, India needs "more judges", pointing out, "India has 15 judges for every million people, one of the world’s lowest ratios."
Titled "Indians Under Trial Exceed Dutch Population", carried out by policy researcher with IndiaSpend, Prachi Salve, with the help of two other researchers, Aadya Sharma and Pratiksha Wadekar, the analysis says, "For the 13 years the Salman Khan hit-and-run case was in t…

Letter to Modi seeks cancellation of "coercive" anti-NGO orders, amendment of "opaque" foreign funding rules

By Rajiv Shah
Around 70 civil rights organizations have come together to strategize “a collective response to the stifling of civil society space” in the wake of the recent Government of India clampdown on NGOs, telling Prime Minister Narendra Modi that government steps are “coercive” in nature, are “without reasonable cause or due process”, and seek to “cripple” the ability of NGOs to “carry on their legitimate and sanctioned work.”
Asking Modi to “urgently review” all orders placing restraints on NGOs and “revoke” orders where due process has not been followed, the letter says, this should be particularly done in the case of INSAF, Peoples’ Watch, Sabrang Trust, Greenpeace India, Ford Foundation, HIVOS and ICCO, whose activities were sought to be stifled because of “vague, subjective or flimsy” grounds, without being offered any redressal mechanism.
The letter -- likely to be released on Tuesday -- comes close on the heels of the US State Department taking a serious view of the Governm…