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Showing posts from May, 2019

India's two-thirds of under-5 deaths occur among newborns in first 28 days: Report

By Rajiv Shah
Top global NGO Save the Children’s latest report marking its 100 years of existence, “Changing Lives in Our Lifetime: Global Childhood Report 2019” has said that, while there is “much child survival progress to celebrate around the world, the job is nowhere near done”, India has scored poorly on this score. Especially focusing on deaths in early infanthood, the report, even as refusing to provide comparative figures, says, death rates of children in the first days after birth in India “have remained stubbornly high.”
“In India”, it says, “The latest figures indicate that close to two-thirds of all under-5 deaths (605,000) occur among newborns in the first 28 days of life”, even though pointing out that “the number of Indian children dying after the first month and before age 5 has fallen by 70 percent since 2000 – from 1.3 million to 384,000 – but the number of newborn deaths has declined by only 52 percent.”
At the same time, providing comparative figures, the report say…

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.
Participating in a debate on GSTV (starting 11 minutes), Vishnu Pandya, who is currently president of the Gujarat Sahitya Akademi and is known to be an incisive Sangh historian, said that “Godse was a patriot, and so was Gandhi”. He was answering a query from another participant in the debate, Rajesh Thaker, a keen Gujarati analyst, who regretted that the likes of Pragya Thakur had won, even though they considered Godse a patriot.
Taking strong exception to Thaker, Pandya, a Padma Shree awardee…

Post-Balakot 9% increase in support to Modi; "not" BJP or Amit Shah: An Ahmedabad view

By Rajiv Shah
Elections were over, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already won a landslide, yet the poll fever seemed to continue unabated among the middle classes of Ahmedabad. Ordinary citizens of Ahmedabad, called Amdavadis, are quite sparing when it comes to bets. They ensure that they do not splurge. One of the bets that I came across on the D-day, May 23, was to tell the most correct number of seats the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would win.
The person who guessed near about the most correct number was to serve ice cream, preferably candies, to his friends. Candies served, all of them started congratulating each other over Modi’s huge win. One of them decided to shout the slogan “Bharat mata ki jay”, and others followed, amidst a lone voice, which few heard, “Begani shaadi me Abdullah diwana”.
In a group of 20, they sat comfortably in an open space outside a middle class society, late in the evening on May 23, with smiles on their faces, seeking to analyze on what ma…

Eerie quiet in North Gujarat village where Dalit groom was stopped from riding horse

By Rajiv Shah
As one reaches Lhor, one can sense an atmosphere of unease gripping one of the five villages where Dalit wedding processions was recently blocked by non-Dalits in this small medium-sized North Gujarat village, barely 30 kilometres off the seat of the state's political power centre, Gandhinagar. Despite punitive steps, the village remains as divided on caste lines, just it was before the incident which shot into prominence after May 6, when the bridegroom Mehul was not allowed to ride a horse in a wedding procession on the main village street.
Educated up to class 10th, the boy works in a high-profile Ahmedabad hospital, CIMS, as a helper. His father, Manubhai, told Counterview, “A social boycott call against Dalits was given from the village temple mike soon after the wedding procession. The open boycott continued for two days, and we were not allowed to buy goods from dominant caste people. The announcement for the social boycott was made on a temple mike.”
However, …

Punjab's farmers, except big ones, earning less than what they are forced to spend: Study

By Rajiv Shah
Rural Punjab may be richer compared to the rest of India's rural areas, but a recent study has raised the alarm that, except for big farmers, all other categories – marginal, small, semi-medium and medium in accordance with their farmsize – are forced to spend more than what they actually earn. Titled “Levels of Living of Farmers and Agricultural Labourers in Rural Punjab”, the study insists, the result is, “Large sections of the farm households have been facing a great deal of distress and increased debt burden.”
Carried out by mainly by Punjabi University scholars Gian Singh, Anupama, Rupinder Kaur and Gurinder Kaur, and Sukhveer Kaur of the Dashmesh Khalsa College, Zirakpur, and published in the “Journal of Rural Development”, National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Hyderabad, the study states that “average propensity to consume comes to 1.15 for an average farm household”, suggesting that their income less than their spending.
According to the …

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.
A recent seminar in Ahmedabad, organized by the Bandhkam Majoor Sangathan (BMS) with the participation of workers, activists, builders, occupational health experts and government officials, was told that a British Safety Council study reveals revealed that not only do construction workers in India enjoy no legal protection, their on-site deaths is 20 times higher than those in Britain, 25% of the deaths result from falling from a height, and ne…