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जुलाई, 2015 की पोस्ट दिखाई जा रही हैं

Ministries acquire land under their own laws as GoI amends acquisition law

By Venkatesh Nayak* Parliament enacted the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (RFCTLARR Act) in September 2013. The Government of India (GoI) enforced this Act fully on January 1, 2014. This law repealed the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 under which the Central and State Governments acquired land for public purpose. By an Ordinance issued on December 31, 2014, GoI made several amendments to the RFCTLARR Act. One major aspect of these amendments was the inclusion of all 13 laws listed in the 4th Schedule within the RFCTLARR Act for the twin purposes of calculating and paying compensating persons whose lands are acquired for “public purpose” as defined in the Act, and also for ensuring their rehabilitation and resettlement (if they are displaced as a result of the land acquisition). The earlier chapters such as conducting Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and preparing a mitigation plan required under RFCTLARR Act do not apply

Police officials must be trained to identify attacks on activists, whistleblowers

By Venkatesh Nayak* While in one Central Indian State the art of getting rid of whistleblowers is dangerously progressing towards becoming a science, the Government of India has initiated the exercise of collecting data on attacks on Whistleblowers, mediapersons, social activists and RTI activists from across the country. Parliamentarians have frequently sought information from the Government about the number of attacks on RTI activists and the Government has often replied that it does not maintain such a database centrally. Meanwhile, RTI users, activists, organisations and people’s movements for transparency and accountability have frequently highlighted how unsafe it is to seek information in the public interest under the RTI Act. Thanks to a sensitive mass media, instances of attacks- often murderous- on RTI activists and social activists and whistleblowers have received wide coverage. News stories of such attacks are publicised prominently and followed up on in terms of the progre

SECC data show Gujarat is a poor performer at higher levels of learning

By Rajiv Shah  An inter-state comparison of 21 major states of the highest level of education attained by India’s rural populace, as reflected in the recently-released Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC), reveals an interesting picture. The data suggest that Gujarat, touted as the “model state” for education, may have the sixth lowest per cent of illiterates in the country (31.01 per cent) – following Kerala (11.38 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (22.05 per cent), Uttaranchal (25.41 per cent), Tamil Nadu (26.38 per cent) and Maharashtra (26.96 per cent). At the same time, Gujarat has 13 per cent of rural people who are literates but have not completed primary education, as they may have dropped-out. This is higher than as many as 10 other states with a lower proportion of such literates in this category. The data, which further provide the highest education level completed at primary, middle, secondary, higher secondary and graduate and above levels, suggest that rural Gujarat’s perform

No spurt in death sentences in states with history of conflict with militant groups

A new report , “Award of Death Sentences and Commutations to Life Imprisonment: Analysis of Statistical Trends in India Based on Prison Statistics Published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for the years 1998-2013”, studies trends relating to the award of death sentence and commutation of such sentences to life imprisonment across India during the period 1998-2013. Data was also sought for the period 2013 and 2014 by filing right to information (RTI) application. However, the data could not be obtained because they are still being compiled. Prepared by Venkatesh Nayak, Programme Coordinator, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Delhi, the report has been prepared on the eve of the Round Table on Death Penalty, organized by the Law Commission of India in New Delhi on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Excerpts: *** India is in a minority group of countries on the planet that retain capital punishment on their statute books. According to a compil

Despite SC ruling, govts prefer retired babus to head information commissions

Excerpts from the report “State of Information Commissions and the Use of RTI Laws in India: Rapid Study 3.0 Based on the Annual Reports of Information Commissions (2012-14)”, prepared by research team headed by Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Delhi: *** On June 20, 2015, the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) completed a decade of existence. The text of this law was published in the Official Gazette June 21, 2005 and several provisions such as the appointment of Public Information Officers, First Appellate Authorities and Information Commissions and the requirement of improving records management, preparing for the proactive disclosure of a deal of information [Section 4(1)(b)] and the exemption for 18 security and intelligence organisations became operational immediately. Other provisions detailing the procedures through which people can access information or file appeals and complaints against delays in and denials of access became operational 125 days l

Dalit rural households dependent on casual labour: Gujarat percentage is very high

By Rajiv Shah  The latest Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) released recently by the Government of India suggests what is by now a well-known fact, reiterated over and over again by different survey — that there are more landless among the Dalits (scheduled castes or SCs) and Adivasis (scheduled tribes or STs) in India’s rural areas than those identified as “Others”, consisting of upper caste Hindus, other backward castes (OBCs) and minorities. Coming to Gujarat, which is touted as a developed state, the charts below, prepared on the basis of the SECC data, further suggest, there are more landless among the state’s Dalits in the rural areas compared to most of the 21 major states selected for the sake of analysis. In fact, an analysis of the data suggests that there are 63.24 per cent Dalit landless households dependent on casual manual labour to earn livelihood, as against 35.62 per cent Adivasis and 35.04 per cent Others. The charts below are self-explanatory: 1. Gujarat has o

There are greater proportion of tribal households earning less than Rs 5000

By Rajiv Shah The income criterion is one of the main factors in the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) in identifying how well do different sections of India’s rural households live, or do not live. While the erstwhile Planning Commission rejected the income factor, saying it did not provide sufficient understanding of the well being of rural households, the Niti Ayog appears to take a different view. Niti Ayog vice-chairman Prof Arvind Panagariya believes, he does not think that the “conventional poverty analysis based on the expenditure surveys loses its significance”, adding, it might additionally help identify “a separate official poverty line based on expenditure.” While identifying the earning capacity in rural households, the SECC data represent only the income of the highest earner, which means the household as a whole may have higher earnings. However, there is little reason to believe, says expert M Vijayabaskar, assistant professor at the Madras Institute of Development S

Gujarat average performer in providing means of livelihood to rural households

By Rajiv Shah Data of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 for Rural India, released recently by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, gives a unique opportunity to scholars and policy makers to make inter-state comparisons, suggesting how different rural areas of the country are performing across India. Based on household data taken from the National Population Register along with the Temporary Identification Number (TIN), the survey, say policy makers, can be used in evidence based planning for rural development and poverty reduction. Dealing with different aspects of their socio-economic status, some of the more prominent indicators suggest, given in the form of charts below, the level of prosperity and deprivation in selected fields in different states. They also suggest where does rural Gujarat, touted as a “model” by the powers that be for other states to follow, stands vis-à-vis other states. Collected in 2012-13, despite claimed double digit agricultural growth, which many expe