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Bollywood screen-on time for females is a meagre 31.5 %, compared to 68.5 % for male characters: Study

By Rajiv Shah
A new study of gender bias in India’s Bollywood movies suggests that whether it is plots, posters or trailers, a male is mentioned around 30 times in a plot while a female is mentioned only around 15 times, adding, “There is a consistency of this ratio from 1970 to 2017(for almost 50 years).”
Second study on the subject (click HERE for a previous study by Oxfam India) this year, it is based on data extracted from 4,000 movies with cast, soundtracks and plot text since 1970, and data from 880 movie trailers since 2008, is titled “Analyzing Gender Stereotyping in Bollywood Movies”, and has been carried out by a group of researchers from IBM Research-India, IIIT-Delhi, and DTU-Delhi.
Referring to how male cast and female cast have been addressed, the study says, “Verbs like kills, shoots occur with males while verbs like marries, loves are associated with females”. Further, “Males are often represented as rich and wealthy while females are represented as beautiful and attract…

"Model" Gujarat agricultural wages one of the lowest in India, gender gap is market driven: Union ministry report

By Rajiv Shah
A top Government of India document has said that, in “model” Gujarat, the real wages of both male and female agricultural workers in 2016-17 were worse than most major Indian states. At Rs 223 per day, Gujarat’s male agricultural wages were lower than all but three of 15 major Indian states; and for females agricultural workers, Rs 202, they were worse than all but five of 15 major Indian states.
The document, “Report of the Committee on Alignment of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) Wages with Minimum Agricultural Wages: July 2017”, released by the Ministry of Rural Development, quotes the Labour Bureau, Shimla, based on the data obtained during July-May 2016-17.
While Gujarat's agricultural wages for both male and female workers is are lower than those in Bihar, Assam and West Bengal, the highest per day agricultural wages during the year were being paid in Kerala, Rs 661 for males and Rs 494 for females. The all-India average of the real agricultural w…

Congress presence in Gujarat's urban areas remains in margins, as Rahul "pulls" huge crowd in rural, semi-urban areas

By Rajiv Shah
Even as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi this week completed the second leg of his whirlwind visit to Gujarat ahead of the state assembly polls, to be held in December, all eyes are set on whether the party, which got 38.9% votes in the 2012 polls as against the BJP’s 47.9%, would be able win over the huge crowds Gujarat's Congress leaders had mobilized for him.
Despite Congress being upbeat, as seen in their postings on the social media, especially the photographs of Gandhi amidst thousands of people on streets, and on atop two sides of buildings, senior party leaders doubt that the "tide" would, if at all, turn for the Congress.
The reason, they opine, is simple: Despite discontentment among city middle classes, traders and small entrepreneurs, who have been the BJP's traditional base, the Congress' presence in the urban areas remains in the margins.
In fact, a senior Congress leader, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, and is said to be close to par…

No compelling reason why NREGA workers should get minimum wages as stipulated by Act: Govt of India panel

By Rajiv Shah
In a move that has shocked farm workers’ activists, a high-level Government of India committee headed by a senior bureaucrat has recommended that the wages paid under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) cannot be on par with minimum agricultural wages law for rural farm workers.
In its report, the Committee on Alignment of NREGA Wages with Minimum Agricultural Wages, set up by the Ministry of Rural Development, has said a major reason why there should be divergence is, “There is a major difference in the work done by the agricultural labourers and the work performed by NREGA workers.”
Headed by additional secretary Nagesh Singh, the committee, which has given its recommendations in July 2017, believes, this is necessary, as “the wage rate for agricultural labourer is basically a time rate”, while “wages under NREGA are for piece rate work with fixed schedule of rates for work which is measured and only then payment is made.”
Even otherwise, says the committ…