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Showing posts from November, 2018

Forced child labour rampant in Uttar Pradesh sugarcane fields: Oxfam study

By Rajiv Shah
A 14-year-old boy and his older brother were hired by an agent from Bihar under the pretext of getting them a job in a shoe factory in Uttar Pradesh. The agent brought with him a dozen-odd to Uttar Pradesh under the pretext of offering work to them in a factory. Only upon arrival in Muzaffarnagar, the boys were told that they would be working in a sugarcane field.
The farmer who hired the two brothers upon knowing that they have been cheated agreed to release both of them if their families could pay back Rs 10,000, which he had already paid as commission to the agent. Since the family did not have the resources to return this money, the younger sibling was left behind to work and compensate for the commission paid to the agent.
The boy had to agree to work at a meagre salary of Rs 2000 per month, with a total of five months of unpaid work, to repay the commission, says a study, which cites the incident as an example of prevalence of child labour in Uttar Pradesh.
Released …

80% school children are beaten up, 91% parents "approve" of it: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A recent report, prepared by researchers with the civil rights group, Agrasar, has revealed that of the 521 children from marginalized groups surveyed in Gurugram, Haryana, 80% said they are punished at school. Based on data collected from semi-urban communities in Gurugram, the report’s conclusions also take into account survey 100 parents, personal interviews with 26 children, three focus group discussions and one seasonal calendar exercise with 29 parents.
According to the report, titled “Choking Childhood: School Corporal Punishment - Everyday Violence Faced by Disadvantaged Children in India”, responses in the interview sample suggest that the number of children experiencing punishment might be as high as 100%”, regretting, “The large majority of parents (91%) do not only approve of corporal punishment but also uses it at home.” Thus, “71% of children said they are beaten up at home, while 74% of parents admit to it.”
The report says, “Our survey found that an averag…

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).
Set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), to be achieved by 2025, GAPPD is as an integrated approach to reduce the incidence of severe pneumonia and diarrhoea, and reduce the number of children under-five who are stunted, and end preventable childhood deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea.
Calculated by averaging the indicator-specific target scores of all 10 indicators identified in GAPPD, the study finds that, as against the target of 86% coverage for various steps needed to be taken to be taken to achieve the GAPPD, India is just ha…

At 33%, India's gender gap in mobile phone usage is fourth highest in world

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released Harvard Kennedy School study has estimated that, today in India, 71% of men use mobile phones, as against 38% of women, pointing out that India, along with Pakistan and Bangladesh, are “clear outliers among countries of similar levels of development”, exhibiting “some of the world’s highest gender gaps in access to technology.”
The study provides a comparative graph which suggests that, while Pakistan and Bangladesh “outstrips” India in gender gap in mobile ownership, the only country outside the South Asian region, where the gap is even higher, is Uganda.
The study, “A Tough Call: Understanding barriers to and impacts of women’s mobile phone adoption in India”, by Giorgia Barboni, Erica Field, Rohini Pande, Natalia Rigol, Simone Schaner, and Charity Troyer Moore, insists, “While the mobile gender gap matters in its own right, it is particularly problematic because it can exacerbate other important forms of inequality — in earnings, networking opportuniti…

India's changed poverty estimates "temper confidence", would reclassify 50 million from poor to not poor

By Rajiv Shah
While the Indian authorities are basking in happiness over the World Bank, in a recent report, showing that India has jumped 23 places to the 77th position in ‘ease of doing business’, another Bank report, “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle”, released last month, has found “important measurement issues” that “temper confidence” in India’s poverty estimates.
Pointing towards these measurement issues, the report states, “The last round of poverty data available was collected in 2011–12”, following which “an additional round of the National Sample Survey (NSS), collected in 2014–15”, having “socioeconomic and demographic information.”
While “both provide data on household expenditures on services and durables”, the report regrets, the 2014–15 NSS contains “three additional schedules with consumption data that were designed to test the potential for changing the questionnaire design”, but these data “are not in the public domain and were …