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Showing posts from June, 2019

Nitish Kumar's office refuses to accept 3,800 farmers' plea for rehabilitation

In a letter to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, top National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) activists led by Medha Patkar have regretted that an official from his department refused to take the plea of 3800 applicant-farmers, who are affected by frequent flooding of the Kosi river.

Tarbez Ansari murder: US freedom of religion body seeks concrete action from authorities

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) chair Tony Perkins, responding to the "reported murder" of Tabrez Ansari by a mob in Jharkhand, has called upon the Government of India to take "concrete actions that will prevent this kind of violence and intimidation by a thorough investigation of Ansari’s murder as well as the local police’s handling of the case."

Fresh 'onslaught' on Bengali migrants: Another 1 lakh declared foreigners in Assam

A whopping additional 1,02,462 people have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), released on June 26. Explaining the exclusion, the NRC authority said, “The persons whose names appear in the Additional Draft Exclusion list are those persons whose names were included in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018, but have been subsequently found ineligible."

Gujarat govt wants to fill up Sardar Sarovar dam to supply water to 481 companies: NBA

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has said that the statement given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament on Sardar Sarovar dam is “false”, pointing out, though the Sardar Sarovar Dam was meant to provide drinking and irrigation water to farmers, especially in the dry areas of Kutch, Saurashtra and Rajasthan, this is not happening.

Draft Education Policy 'undermines' RTE, will 'close down' schools meant for poor

An Ahmedabad discussion on the New Education Policy (NEP), the draft of which recently released by the Government of India, reached the drastic conclusion that, if implemented, it will “reduce” the number of schools in villages and towns, directly impact minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections.

Officers not supporting Sanjiv Bhatt working for extremist political regime: Shweta Bhatt

In an open Facebook post addressed to police officials, Shweta Bhatt, wife of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in a three decades old alleged custodial death by the Jamnagar sessions court, has warned that what has happened to her husband today may happen to them tomorrow.

National consultation on danger of eviction of lakhs of forest dwellers after July 10

Several civil rights organizations have decided to hold a day-long consultation on forest rights movements and the way forward in New Delhi July 2, 2019 against the backdrop of the fear that lakhs of forest dwellers may again be on the verge of an “existential crisis” after July 10, the date till which the Supreme Court gave a reprieve on February 23 for its controversial February 13 order, directing state governments to evict them if their claims under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) have been rejected.

'Failure' to pay pension led to starvation death of two more persons in Jharkhand

Two more starvation deaths have occurred in Jharkhand recently, one in Jama (Dumka district) and one in Mahuadanr (Latehar district). In both cases, the victims were pensioners but did not receive any pension payment since January 2019. Had pensions been paid on time, Motka Manjhi and Ramachandra Munda would perhaps be alive today, says a fact-finding report by the Right to Food Campaign (RFC), Jharkhand.

Encephalitis deaths: Civil rights activists protest against Bihar, Union govt "inaction"

Several social movements, community organisations, child rights and women groups and students protested at Bihar Bhawan in New Delhi on June 17 afternoon against the “inaction and incompetence” of the Bihar and Union governments, which allegedly led the death over of 100 children due to encephalitis in Muzaffarpur district.

India's solar installation down by 49%, targets 30% lower than those set by govt

While India's solar installations in Q1 2019 may have "increased slightly" at 1,737 MW, 4% growth compared to 1,638 MW installed in Q4 2018, installations were down by 49% year-over-year (YoY) compared to 3,377 MW installed in Q1 2018, says Mercom Communications India is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Mercom Capital Group, a leading clean energy communications and consulting firm.

PUCL regrets: It failed to start national campaign against "menace of fascism"

Ravi Kiran Jain, national president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), even as coming down heavily on India’s opposition parties, saying they have “no will or capability to face the ugly situation which has emerged on unprecedented political victory of Narendra Modi”, has regretted, it too has failed start any campaigns against the "menace of fascism".

As social media picks up, newspaper readers "decline" from 29 to 18% in 5 yrs: Report

A new report, “Social Media & Political Behaviour” by Lokniti – Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, has revealed that the rise of social media platforms in India in the recent past “has been accompanied by a steady decline of traditional media over the years”, including newspapers and TV.
According to the report, “In 2014, 29 percent of voters had said that they read newspapers daily. In 2019, this figure declined to 18 percent in our survey. Similarly, the proportion of those watching TV news daily has declined from 46 percent in 2014 to 35 percent now.”
On the other hand, the report states, “The use of social media among voters in India has grown by leaps and bounds”, pointing out, “Back in 2014, merely one of every ten voters (9%) was found to be using Facebook”, but this figure doubled “to 20 percent by 2017, and then increasing further to 32 percent during the recent 2019 Lok Sabha elections”.
Similarly, the usage of WhatsApp which was 22 percent i…

Ensure 20% of budgetary allocation for education: Finance minister told

In a representation to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Right to Education (RTE) Forum national convener Ambarish Rai has said that the forthcoming Union budget must put into effect the draft New Education Policy 2019 view that 6% of GDP and 20% of the budget should be allocates as public investment in education.

Adani coalmining project: Aussie govt told to look into public concern on water resources

In what is being interpreted as fresh trouble for the Adanis in Australia, who are on way to set up USD 16 billion dollar coalming project in the Queensland state, a local court has asked the Federal Government to listen to public grievances on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme.

Raid on Stan Swamy meant to intimidate tribal rights activists: PUCL

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has said that the Maharashtra police conducted raid and search in the residence of well-known tribal rights activist 83-year-old Father Stan Swamy at Bagaicha Campus in Namkum, Ranchi, Jharkhand, "without obtaining judicial search warrant", seizing his computer’s hard disk, internet modem and other storage devices, and forcing him to give his gmail and Facebook passwords.

Maharashtra cops "raid" 83-yr-old Jharkhand tribal rights leader's campus, residence

An eight-person Maharashtra police team has made a surprise raid on the Bagaicha campus in Namkum near Ranchi, the residence of 83-year old Stan Swamy, a well-known activist of Jharkhand. The police searched Stan Swamy’s belongings for about three-and-a half hours. It took Stan Swamy’s hard disk and internet modem and forced him to give his email and Facebook passwords.

Vadodara ravines, wetlands being "systematically destroyed", yet nobody cares

Several prominent Vadodara citizens have in a letter to the city municipal commissioner expressed concern that ravines and wetlands in Gujarat's cultural capital "are being systematically destroyed and filled with debris and municipal solid waste in order to reclaim land for further 'development'."
According to them, "This will further augment the already existing waterlogging and flooding woes in various parts of the city", adding, "We have raised the issues with the concerned authorities, related to prevention anticipated disasters, flooding and water logging due to deliberate negligence". Yet, what they got was "lip service" regarding cleaning up the debris with all kinds of solid waste.
The letter follows a Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) communication to Gujarat government authorities directing them to take steps to protect "the ecology of the wetlands and ravines there through effective waste …

Democratic organizations should unite to demand protection for Puniyani: AIFRTE

Condemning threats to the life and liberty of noted academic and former Professor of IIT Mumbai, Dr Ram Puniyani, the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) has said, his articles, lectures and books are an "important resource for all civil society groups and activists in the struggle for promoting rationalism and scientific temper and opposing the Hindutva forces and ideology that are communalizing India’s polity and social life, in blatant violation of the Constitution."

Murder of Aligarh girl being 'communalized' through social media: NAPM

In a letter to the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh, India’s civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said that there a deliberate attempt to communalize the murder of two-and-a half-year old girl six days ago by some goons in Aligarh, which “has shaken us all.”
Calling it as “one of the heinous crimes of humanity”, the NAPM statement says, “What is also unfortunate is that some right-wing groups are giving it a communal colour by spreading fake news. Despite Aligarh Police’s continuous campaign to counter the false news, some people are continuing to communalise the painful incident by spreading messages full of hatred through social media.”
“The attempt”, the statement underscores, “Is to generate anger against the Muslim community because the culprit happens to come from this community and the victim is a Hindu girl. We believe that apart from punishing the culprits for their crime, it is also the responsibility of the police to stop attemp…

India's gender equality index worse than Saudi Arabia: UK report

A new report by a UK-based organization, Equal Measures (EM) 2030, “Harnessing the Power of Data for Gender Equality: Introducing the 2019 EM2030 SDG Gender Index”, has said that India’s Gender Index ranking is 95th among 129 countries it has assessed in order to provide an international to each of the country. This is worse than Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Guatemala, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Ghana.

India's unemployment rate reached 7.6% in April 2019: Report

India's rate of unemployment doubled in the past two years, reveals a new report, "State of India’s Environment (SoE) In Figures, 2019", released by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on World Environment Day. This has particularly affected young graduates, it says.

Aarti held to highlight Sabarmati pollution beyond Vasna barrage in Ahmedabad

Taking strong exception to the cleaning-up drive of Sabarmati river passing through Ahmedabad on the occasion of the World Environment Day, senior activists Jatin Sheth and Santosh Singh have said that the move started by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is restricted not to the entire Sabarmati river but to the area of ​​the riverfront in the city.

Rise in Ahmedabad's temperature 'related to' higher pollution levels: Green students told

The Green Catalyst team, consisting of 45 volunteers from 15 different colleges of Ahmedabad, organized two different programmes on the occasion of the World Environment Day, supported by Ahmedabad-based environmental organization Paryavaran Mitra.

Madhya Pradesh CM should "personally" pay tribute to martyred Mandsaur farmers

The All-India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, a platform of 208 farmers organizations, will be paying tribute to the six martyred farmers in police firing on June 6, 2017 at Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh. As many as 70 farmers’ leaders will gather in village Takaravad, including VM Singh, Raju Shetty, Rajaram Singh, Prem Singh Gahlawat, Avik Saha, Pratibha Shinde, Sushila Tai, and others.

India joined Pakistan, supported Russia, to oppose listing of asbestos as hazardous

The Asbestos Network of India (BANI), which claims to be running the asbestos free India campaign, has said that Government of India has maintained “studied silence” on India's role on white chrysotile asbestos at the United Nations.

Costs remain high amidst dormant sales, profits: IIM-A business expectation survey

The latest round of Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) for April 2019, released by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), based on the responses of over 1600 companies, has revealed that around 50% of the firms in April 2019 reported increase in costs has been more than 3% (sharply down from 57% reported in March 2019) during the last one year, while the proportion of firms perceiving significant cost increase (more than 6%) in April 2019 has also come down sharply to 25% as compared to 32% in March 2019.

Total Narmada Dam oustees 53,000, not 23,000, NBA tells Govt of India

Narmada Valley Development and Rehabilitation Minister Surendrasinh Baghel's claim in a press communique that all the 83 rehabilitation sites, built in Madhya Pradesh to resettle Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam oustees, would be given all the facilities till June 20 to make them liveable "is impossible to achieve", the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has said in a statement.

Govt told to implement plea to extend RTE to pre-primary, secondary, higher secondary

The Right to Education (RTE) Forum has welcomed the draft National Education Policy (NEP) proposing to extend the RTE Act to include pre-primary and secondary and higher secondary education, insisting, the government must implement it in its full spirit so that school education becomes a legal entitlement of millions of children of India.

Amit Shah among India's 22 of 58 ministers facing serious criminal charges: Report

Claiming to having assets worth Rs 40.32 crore, fourth highest among India’s new council of ministers chosen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, de facto No 2, home minister Amit Shah, faces charges related to criminal intimidation (IPC Section-506), mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc. (IPC Section436) promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (IPC Section-153A), and so on.

JP Morgan: India's lowest growth in 5 years, 5.8%, worrying; recovery may be slow

Commenting on India’s January-March 2019 GDP growth, which "surprised sharply to the downside, printing at a 5-year low of 5.8%", JP Morgan, the American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in New York City, has said that it has not just "dragged down full-year growth also to a five-year low of 6.8%".
It underlines, "The GDP undershoot reinforces the discernable slowdown that is currently underway. Growth has largely been flying on one engine in recent years – private consumption – and that has gotten progressively exhausted."
Worse, in its commentary, authored by Sajjid Z Chinoy and Toshi Jain, who are with the top MNC's
Emerging Markets Asia Economic and Policy Research wing, say, even this is "buffeted by sustained rural distress and a significant tightening of financial conditions amongst the Non Bank Financial Companies (NBFC), which have largely been financing consumption."
Continue the JP Morgan ex…