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Showing posts from August, 2018

India's trade union density lower than Brazil, South Africa; there is tendency to victimize unionized workers: ILO

By Rajiv Shah
In what might sound as music to India's corporate honchos and their political supporters, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has calculated that the trade union (TU) density in India among wage workers, both casual and regular/salaried, has fallen since 1993–94, by 3 percentage points to 13.4 per cent. Worse, the top Union Nations (UN) body, headquartered in Geneva, has further notes, the “density among regular/salaried workers has fallen precipitously since 1993–94, by 17.7 percentage points to 28.8 per cent.”
Pointing out that, on the other hand, the density of self-employed workers “has increased to around 8 per cent, ILO, in its just-released India Wage Report: Wage policies for decent work and inclusive growth, regrets, “Overall, trade union density in India is relatively low compared to other emerging economies such as Brazil and South Africa, which indicates the limited scope unions have to bargain for improvements in working conditions.”
The report sa…

Indian nation should forget supremacy of Vedas, Puranas: Savarkar quoted by Dabholkar, victim of "Hindu terror"

By Rajiv Shah
What Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the BJP's Hindutva icon, said about religious books should completely shake those who think that scriptures are a gospel truth and shouldn't be criticized, and there is nothing beyond them. Quoted by Narendra Dabholkar, a Pune-based rationalist who was shot dead allegedly by a Hindu fanatic on August 20, 2013, Savarkar had said, “The Vedas, the Avesta, the Bible and the Koran are but man-made tomes and should be studied accordingly...”
Quoted in yet-to-be-released English translation of his original book in Marathi, “The Case for Reason: Understanding the Anti-superstition Movement”, according to Savarkar, “The man who does not want to become just a telephone of religion and wants to possess a mind and intellect of his own, should overcome his belief in the 'word'” and should “nurture the opinion” opinion that these “respectable 'Books'” should not be judged on the basis of whether these are “useful” today or not.”
As…

Ahmedabad metro: No salary slip to 82% workers, 65% paid less than Rs 350 a day, no social security to 98%

By Rajiv Shah
A new study carried out by the Bandhkam Mazdoor Sangathan (BMS), Gujarat’s biggest non-government organization (NGO) working for the welfare of construction workers in the state, has found that none of the workers working for the high profile Ahmedabad metro project, currently being implemented across the city, has been registered with the Gujarat Building and Other Construction Workers’ Board.
The board is supposed to look after various social welfare schemes for the benefit of construction workers, ranging from providing assistance for children’s education, maternity assistance and medical health aid, to death compensation if a worker suffer from fatal accident at a construction site. However, they avail of the facilities only in case they are registered with the board. While the registration on paper is mandatory, ironically, so far only 30% of about 12 lakh construction workers in Gujarat have been registered with the board. The result is that, while the Gujarat gover…

Rise in US border arrests of Indians: Detainees seeking asylum "cite" politico-religious persecution in India

By Rajiv Shah
An explosive report by the US newspaper “Los Angles Times” (LAT) has revealed, quoting Federal Bureau of Prisons figures, that of the 680 migrants detained in early August at the federal prison in Victorville, California, a state in south-western US, a whopping 380 were Indian nationals. LAT adds, about 40% of the detainees at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Imperial Valley facility, also in California, are Indians, and nearly 20% of detainees at ICE Adelanto processing centre, again in California, too, are Indians.
Visiting the Victorville prison, says the report, US Representative Mark Takano was also surprised to find that, of hundreds of immigrants detained there, possibly 40% had traveled from India seeking asylum.
“From fiscal years 2012 to 2017, about 42% of asylum cases from India were rejected, clearinghouse records show”, says the report, adding, “Asylum seekers are not being granted asylum as easily as they were before.”
“So far during the 2018 fiscal year, …

Modi may "barter away" Tibetan cause in exchange of China giving up some of its territorial claims: Report

By Rajiv Shah
Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to "barter" the Tibetan cause in exchange of China giving up some of its territorial claims? It would seem so, if a top report published in one of Japan's most powerful media outfits, Nikkei, is any indication.
In a sensational report, Nekkei quotes Indian government sources to say that Modi used rumours of terminal cancer, from which the Dalai Lama is said to be suffering, "to build a more conciliatory relationship with China."
According to this report, in April, during an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, China, Modi tried to portray the India-China relationship as "improved." During the meeting, "Modi apprised President Xi of the Dalai Lama's health and the Indian position on Tibet after his death."
"This information from Modi took Xi by surprise, and the two discussed the issue for a long time at the Wuhan summit", the report adds.
Based on anonym…

Attempt to whip up tension around Bangladeshis, Rohingiyas shows Govt of India's "insensitive" approach

By Adv Masood Peshimam*
Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju recently said that the Rohingayas living in India don’t have the status of refugees but are illegal migrants, who would be deported once their details have been prepared. The statement shows how insensitive has Government of India become towards a community, bulk of whose population is of Indian origin.
Rohingiyas are descendants of the plantation workers, taken by the Britishers to Burma during the colonial rule. This can also be illustrated by a visit to some of the Khoja Muslim households, many of whom have returned from Burma and settled down in Karimabad, Bhendi Bazar, Mumbai. Some of these Burmese Khoja females even today wear typical Burmese lungees, and carry with them imprints of Burmese ethos and culture.
Rohingayas fled from Myanmar or Burma due to extreme persecution they were subjected to by the Myanmar army and the government. Violence against them was so brutal that the US Holocaust Museum, whi…

Gujarat "replaces" Karnataka on India's map in Gujarat govt-controlled site seeking reactions for CZMP

By Rajiv Shah
How very roughshod could Gujarat government be in offering consultation with stakeholders for preparing the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for the state could be seen from what has been called “CZMP predraft maps” for eight coastal districts – Bhavnagar, Probandar, Devbhumi Dwarka, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Junagadh, Ahmedabad and Anand – for comments and suggestions before finalizing them.
In all, the state government has released 97 maps for each slot, all of them downloadable in a 47.7mb pdf file (click HERE to download), and in each of these maps, in a separate inset, Gujarat has been identified in the Indian map as Karnataka! First noted by social activist Mudita Vidrohi on her Facebook timeline, she comments, following her visit to several of Gujarat’s coastal districts, “Given the fact that the map of Gujarat has been shown as Karnataka, one may well imagine what kind of final maps would be created.”
The CZMP maps, interestingly, have been published on the state gove…

Gandhi too was close to tycoons whose practices were under question: Activist-researcher to Modi critics

By Rajiv Shah
Even as stating that Gandhi’s association with industrialists can’t be compared with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s because “Gandhi was not in the government”, well-known activist-researcher Nandini Oza has, in a controversial article, taking issue with Modi critics, said that the Mahatma’s relations with India’s tycoons wasn’t just limited to accepting donations.
Pointing out Gandhi kept supporting at least two of the top industrial houses – Tatas Birlas – during the freedom movement despite their repressive ways, Oza insists, “Gandhi was close to even those industrialists whose practices were under question.”
Oza says this in response to the critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is known to have compared his relations with industrialists with that of Gandhi’s closeness with GD Birla. One of them, MK Venu, wondered if Gandhi would have ever “endorsed the use of violence on the people by the state apparatus to bulldoze a mining project by GD Birla.”
Another, Rajni Ba…