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Showing posts from June, 2016

Allow limestone mining in Gujarat, relax environmental norms in coastal zone: High level Govt of India report

By Rajiv Shah
A high-level committee seeking, appointed by the Government of India soon after Narendra Modi took over reins of power in 2014, has recommended that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) should “relax” mining coastal environmental norms for “developmental purposes.”
The drastic recommendation of the committee has been made on the basis of the Gujarat government’s “request seeking relaxation in mining of limestone in the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) area”, the committee, headed by Dr Shailesh Nayak, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, says in its report. The report was submitted in January 2015.
The committee, in its report titled “Report of the Committee to Review the Issues relating to the Coastal Regulation Zone, 2011”, obtained through a right to information (RTI) plea filed way back on February 22, 2015 by well-known environmental expert Kanchi Kohli, says, Gujarat’s “limestone reserves” found in the coastal region “are valuable and shoul…

Smart city Ahmedabad? Ranking worst in India, 101st globally, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore "perform" far better

By Rajiv Shah
A recent report by top British consultants, AT Kearney, with branches all over the world, has suggested that Indian cities have far to go in case they wish to become smart. Titled “Global Cities 2016 ”, the consultants seek to answer the question: “Which global cities are performing best today, which have the best long-term potential, and what makes a smart city?”

Seeking an answer to the question, in Global Cities Index, which examines a city’s current performance based on business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement, Mumbai ranks 44th of the 125 cities selected across the world, followed by New Delhi 61st, Bangalore 75th, Chennai 77th, Hyderabad 78th, Kolkata 84th, and Ahmedabad worst, 101st.
The report states, “The Index is designed to provide insights into the global reach, performance, and level of development of the world’s largest cities. It allows for the comparison of diverse cities to help draw uni…

Top Hindutva theorist declares against caste-based reservation, opinesit leads to votebank politics

By Rajiv Shah
Hindutva offensive against India’s reservation policy continues unabated, despite BJP and RSS making frantic attempts to deny they are against caste-based reservation. A well-known US-based Hindutva theorist and businessman, Rajiv Malhotra, hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “glorifying our priceless heritage”, has now declared that there should not be any caste-based reservation in India.
In a video he has posted on Facebook, Malhotra is heard telling an interviewer that reservation should be given “on individual, merit basis, on individual economic basis”, adding, he “does not like” the idea that people in groups, caste, religion, or whatever, are “clubbed” and are considered “victims”, and are given “special quota.”
Last year, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat came in for criticism for his suggestion for to “review” the reservation policy. Coming ahead of Bihar elections, Bhagwat had to retract his statement, saying, reservation is needed as long as social discrimination e…

Ford Foundation formally conveyed ahead of Modi visit to US: All restrictions on foreign funding "removed"

By Rajiv Shah
Knowledgeable sources in the Gujarat government, citing information they had received from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), have said that the US-based philanthropic organization, Ford Foundation, has been formally conveyed that all restrictions placed on it under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the Government of India have been “removed”, and it could freely operate as a registered NGO in India.
“This happened just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US”, the sources said, adding, “Under intense pressure from powerful lobbies in the US, Modi, apparently, wanted to convey it to President Barack Obama that he is not against foreign funding of NGOs, as it is being interpreted by some in India.”
This happened because, said the sources, strong lobbies were operating in the US, putting pressure on the White House to raise human rights issues with Modi, who landed in the US on June 7. “Had this happened, it would have meant a major embarrassm…

An "unhealthy" trend? Indian youth's working hours are longest in the world, says Manpower Group study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent study, “Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision - Facts, Figures and Practical Advice from Workforce Experts”, has found that, among those who had achieved adulthood around the year 2000, Indians top the list of doing work for the longest hours than all other countries surveyed.
The study, carried out by the Manpower Group, says, “Indian Millennials claim the longest working week and Australians the shortest – on average 52 and 41 hours a week respectively. It adds, “Seventy-three percent report working more than 40 hours a week, and nearly a quarter work over 50 hours.”
While the Manpower Group’s study does not pass judgment on whether working longer hours increases productivity, researchers have found, it is “a cruel twist of fate” , that people who regularly put in more hour work of work “can often end up less productive than staff members who head home at 5pm every day.”
A Harvard Business Review article based on a published research on the subject says, that “not only…