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Showing posts from July, 2019

Gujarat worker loses 3 fingers in factory machine, ESI 'refuses' treatment, ambulance to Ahmedabad

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Senior health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC) has strongly protested against the manner in which a factory worker, Neeraj Kumar Singh, was treated by the Central government's Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) authorities after he met with an accident on July 30 in which he lost three fingers.

Reliance on CSR, philandhropic funds 'wouldn't help' raise educational standards

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Addressing media in Delhi, Ambarish Rai, national convener of the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, commenting on the draft New Education Policy (NEP), has regretted “poor implementation of the RTE Act, 2009 despite nearly 10 years of its enforcement.” He said, public investment on education has been going down, and should immediately be “reversed” to at least 6% of GDP.

President as MP was member of committee that 'allowed' autonomy to CIC in 2004

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The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) has claimed that thousands of people have petitioned the President of India asking that he should not give his assent to the Right to Information (RTI) Amendment Bill, 2019, even as there were massive protests in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
On Monday, hundreds protested at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. Organised by NCPRI in collaboration with various campaigns and groups, including the National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM), Right to Food Campaign (RTF) and the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), they insisted that the President should withhold his assent.
Protesters said, the the amendment, passed in Parliament, were brought in because disclosures through the RTI Act were "inconvenient" for the government for disclosure of the Delhi University records of the year in which Prime Minister Narndra Modi graduated. Other "embarrassing" details sought in…

Govt of India seeking to turn information commissioners into 'caged parrots': Appeal to President

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National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) leader Anjali Bhardwaj, in a public plea, has asked to concerned citizens, to send an appeal to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, asking him to “withhold his assent to the RTI Amendment Bill.” The appeal, she says, should be sent to secy.president@rb.nic.in and presidentofindia@rb.nic.in, with a copy it to saverti2019@gmail.com.

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

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While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.

Pay Rs 15,000 as rent to displaced Mumbai toxic hell Mahul residents: SC orders

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The Supreme Court (SC) has disposed of Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging the Mumbai High Court’s (HC's) order which had directed the Maharashtra government to pay Rs 15,000 rent to Mahul residents so as to enable them to move out of Mahul.

NREGA wages should be 'part of' floor level minimum wages, much above Rs 178

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Strongly protesting against the Central government’s plan to keep NREGA workers outside the purview of whatever floor level minimum wage is declared, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM) has said that while the BJP government’s Wage Code bill in the Lok Sabha on July 24 2019 which would fix a national floor level minimum wage, the Rural Development Minister “has stated that NREGA wages will continue to be less than this national floor level minimum wage.”

Mob Lynching in Bihar: Nitish Kumar indulging in word play, says NAPM

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The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has said that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar instead of taking a recent incident of mob lynching head on is indulging in "idle word play" at time his administration "is not serious about citizens' safety or in promoting a secular environment.
Commenting on the killing of three persons in Saran distict, the CM had said thar it is "not a case of mob lynching but of murder arising out of local situation." In the mob lynching incident, Raju Nat, Bides Nat and Naushad Quereshi of Paigambarpur village were killed on July 19, 2019.
"It has been alleged that the deceased were cattle thieves. The police have stated that villagers caught them while they were stealing cattle and beat them up using sticks and iron rods leading to their death. Three men have been arrested in this case so far", NAPM, a network of tens of grassroots organizations in India, said.
This is the third incident of mob lynchin…

Nationwide protests against efforts to 'undermine' Forest Rights Act

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Responding to a national call for action by the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), more than hundred protest demonstrations and public meeting were organised across the country on Monday, expressing their "disappointment" for the "shoddy" manner in which State governments and the Central government are dealing with the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

RTI amendment move part of push for 'regressive' changes in pro-people laws

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The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has said that the proposed amendments to the Right to Information (RTI) Act is part of sinister attempts by the NDA Government to "arbitrarily push ahead regressive" changes in multiple pro-people legislations passed after protracted nation-wide struggles and consultative parliamentary processes when UPA was in power before 2014.
Calling it a move to "dilute" the RTI Act, "one of the most potent tools to ensure governmental accountability", NAPM said, the amendment would undermine the independence and autonomy of information commissions, which a matter of "grave concern."
Introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19 "amidst a shroud of secrecy and there were no public consultations in this regard", one of India's topmost grassroots organizations said, the law’s passage in Parliament in 2005 was a victory and acknowledgement of the tireless efforts of peoples’ movements and campaig…

All-India protest action on July 22 against forest dwellers' possible eviction

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The Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), a network of land rights movements across India, will be holding protests all over India against the eviction of forest dwellers on July 22, 2019, ahead of a crucial Supreme Court hearing two days later. The call for action is against the Supreme Court ruling of February 13, 2019 on eviction of millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest-dwelling communities, which was stayed for four months.

Civil society, political parties to hold EVM Hatao protest rallies on Quit India day

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Representatives of social movements from 16 states have decided at a national consultation to hold massive long marches and nationwide protests on August 9, the anniversary of Quit India movement, against electronic voting machines being used during the polls. To be bannered “EVMs Quit India! EVM Hatao – Desh Bachao – Ballot Paper Lao!”

Nationalised banks should serve the poor and the vulnerable: FAN

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The civil rights group, Financial Accountability Network (FAN), in a statement on the golden jubilee year of the nationalisation of banks, has demanded that the Government of India should bring back principles of mass banking, adding, "Strong measures should be taken to recover the non-performing assets (NPAs) of corporates", and willful defaulters should be "declared criminal offenders."
Also wanting bank charges to be withdrawn, the statement regrets, the nationalised banks, which contributed hugely to the economy over the last five decades, "are under attack for the past 25 years under the neo-liberal rule", and multiple efforts are on "to privatise banking sector under the dictates of the global capital."
According to FAN, this has happening even though public sector banks still enjoy the trust of the public at a time when they are facing one of the most severe crises, and the principle of mass banking and catering to the poor and the vuln…

Sixty citizenship-related deaths in Assam, 28 Hindus, 27 Muslims: CJP

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The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a Mumbai-based human rights organization currently taking up the cause of those who are being "wrongfully" declared foreigners in Assam, has said that "nearly 60 people have lost their lives and their deaths are connected to citizenship related issues" in the state.

Ahmedabad civil rights organization to launch 'Improve roads, Save lives' campaign

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Ahmedabad's civil rights organization, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch (NSM), has decided to launch 'Improve roads, Save lives' campaign on Sundays starting July 21 across different parts of the city for the next two months, reminding city authorities that the recent Kankaria incident, in which two persons died and 29 injured when the ride collapsed, was only a grim reminder to "the cost of negligence" on the part of those who had assigned business to the firm which operated it.
Jatin Seth, convener, NSM, in a letter to the Ahmedabad municipal commissioner and mayor, said, such innocents may again be lost if cave-ins, pot/pit holes on roads are not taken seriously. "This will happen if the Ahmedabad Municipal Commission (AMC) keeps on ignoring all warnings issued by news media and citizens when there will be heavy rainfall during the current monsoon season", he added.
The campaign, which will cover Sarangpur, Odhav, Rakhial, Sukhramnagar, Maninagar, Da…

Demand for separate anti-atrocities law for minorities in Gujarat

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A Gujarat-based civil rights organization has demanded that the state assembly, currently in session in Gandhinagar, should come up with Minorities (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, on line with the anti-atrocities laws for scheduled castes and tribes. The decision was taken at a well-attended meeting of the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) in the state capital.

India's top fact-checking site altnews.in non-partisan: IFCN sets aside complaint

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In a major victory for India’s top fact-checking website, altnews.in, the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) – a unit of the Florida-based Poynter Institute “dedicated” to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide to “support a booming crop of fact-checking initiatives by promoting best practices and exchanges in this field” – has set aside a complaint that it is violating IFCN’s nonpartisanship policy. The site altnews.in is a certified member of IFCN.

115 Lok Sabha candidates won against runners up with clean background: ADR

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Suggesting that criminal -- politicians are being accepted in the Indian polity, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW), in a fresh analysis of Lok Sabha elections, have said that a whopping 132 (57%) out of 233 winners analysed with declared criminal cases won the polls with a vote share of 50% and above.
Equally significant, says a report prepared by them, is that 115 out of 233 winners with declared criminal cases "won against a runner up with a clean background."  One of them, CR Patil (BJP) from Navsari constituency in Gujarat, won with 52.7 % margin of victory. At the same time, the report says that there are 115 winners with a clean background who won against a runner up with declared criminal cases. Further, the report says, 54 out of 475 crorepati winners won against a non-crorepati runners up. At the same time, there are 48 non-crorepati winners who have won against crorepati runners up. As many as 21 of them have won wi…

Based on NGT's Vapi order, polluting units across India told to compensate for eco-loss

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Government of India’s anti-pollution watchdog, to coordinate with State PCBs to make an assessment of compensation to be recovered from polluting units for the period of last five years, taking into account the cost of restoration and cost of damage to the public health and environment and the deterrence element.
The NGT said in an order that the scale of deterrence “may be related to the period and the frequency of defaults”, insisting, “No further industrial activities or expansion be allowed with regard to ‘red’ and ‘orange’ category units till the said areas are brought within the prescribed parameters or till carrying capacity of area is assessed and new units or expansion is found viable having regard to the carrying capacity of the area and environmental norms.”
The NGT order follows the CPCB coming up with a new Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) for 100 top polluting…

Top British weekly blames Amit Shah over 'destabilization' in Assam over citizenship

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In a sharply-worded attack on Union home minister Amit Shah, who is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most trusted Man Friday in the ruling establishment, top British weekly “The Economist” has said that the recent “rant” of the top politician calling immigrants from Bangladesh in Assam “termites” and “infiltrators” is not just “a standard bluster from a nativist politician railing against illegal immigration.”

NBA organizes gathering at Badwani on July 31 to protest 'forcible' displacement

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The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has decided to hold a big gathering at Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of river Narmada in order to highlight how even 34 years after the Narmada dam began being constructed about 30,000 families allegedly have not been rehabilitated, and thousands of houses, shops, temples and mosques in the Narmada valley are still in the danger of being submerged.

Demand to urgently repair roads damaged due to Ahmedabad metro work

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In a letter to the director, Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) and other officials of the GMRC, as also the Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation mayor, senior state activist Jatin Sheth, convener, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch, has sought urgent intervention to ensure that the roads on which their contracting firms are working to lay down metro rail route in the city should be maintained on a day to day basis.

CBI raids meant to target Jaising, Grover for 'taking up' cases against top BJP ministers

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A civil society-sponsored statement, “strongly” condemning the CBI raids on July 11 on the office and residence premises of senior advocates Anand Grover and Indira Jaising of the Lawyers’ Collective in Delhi and Mumbai, has said that at a time when the matter is “under consideration by the High Court” such acts are “a blatant misuse of its agencies.”

Four Adivasis fired upon in Madhya Pradesh, cops refuse to file detailed FIR

Even as the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to reexamine all rejected (and perhaps pending) Forest Rights Act (FRA) claims, the threat to the claimants continues, a state-based civil rights organisation has claimed, citing how on July 9, 2019, at around 9-10 am forest officials accompanied by police and revenue officials started destroying newly planted fields of village Siwal of the Burhanpur district.
Bringing this to light, the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) has said that the adivasis had submtted proofs that the land belongs to them dating back to 1988-89. "The force destroyed five fields planted with corn and a traditional rice variety. When villagers gathered in large numbers and started protesting, they were fired upon with pellet guns. Four adivasis were injured."
Those were injured were Gokharsing Badole, Bhuralal Achchale, Rakesh Achchale, and Vakil. Badole was taken to a hospital in Indore, where he being treated.
"When the adivasis refused to d…

Govt of India not allowing UN human rights officials to visit Kashmir: Amnesty

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Reacting to the second report released by the UN on the human rights situation in both Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir, Aakar Patel, executive director, Amnesty International India, hss said that “India must pay heed to the UN reports and fulfil its obligations under international human rights law."

Gujarat's Right to Educational rules not disability friendly: UNESCO

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A UNESCO-sponsored report has sharply criticized Gujarat for failing to be disability-friendly towards children aged 5-19. The report says that all state rules for implementing the Right to Education Act, 2006, for instance, "provide for safe transportation to and from school for children with disabilities" with the exception of Gujarat and Uttarakhand.

Sanjiv Bhatt's life imprisonment was 'fast track injustice': Wife Shweta

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“It is the case of fast track injustice by the court of law; very unfortunate”, Shweta Bhatt, the wife of jailed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt told the media conference at the Press Club of India in Delhi, adding, “Because, he spoke truth before the Nanavati Commission about perpetrators of 200 Gujarat pogrom. It was the only reason for the Modi regime to target him.”

Minority welfare budget reduced, where is "sabka vishwas"?, asks MCC

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The Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has regretted that the Union budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has "reduced" the total amount for minority welfare to Rs 2,508.78 crore for 2019-20compared to Rs 2,452.55 crore in the previous financial year.
A reduction of Rs 56.23 crore, MCC coordinator Mujahid Nafees said, overall, the size of the budget for the Ministry of Minority Affairs has remained the same as in the previous financial year -- Rs 4,700 crore. He added, under the head social security and welfare, too, the allocation has been reduced by Rs 3.23 crore -- from Rs 494.79 crore to Rs 491.56 crore.
Demanding that budget for the minorities should be at least 10% of the total budget size at a time when the total size of the budget has been increased by Rs 1,33,200 crore, Nafees said, "This is good enough reason to insist that the government should have increased the amount allocated for the minorities,"…

Amidst eviction threat, draft amendment to forest Act to 'undermine' dwellers: UN

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UN human rights experts have urged the Government of India to prevent the "potential eviction" of up to nine million people, most of whom are "forest dwellers and members of scheduled tribes with an ancestral link to the land and forest." According to them, the threat of evictions follows a February 13 order of the Supreme Court.

Costs are up, profit margins down, says IIM-A survey of 1,600 companies

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The latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), released by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has revealed that 54% of responses obtained from 1,600 companies say that in May 2019 there was increase in costs in May 2019 up by 3% from 50% reported in April 2019 during the last one year.

Arrest warrants against rights activists: Jharkhand, Maharashtra govts 'collaborate'

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Condemning the arrest warrant issued against Stan Swamy, Aloka Kujur, Vinod Kumar, Rakesh Roshan Kiro and Babita Kashyap on June 19, 2019, in relation to FIR filed on July 26, 2018 for "waging war" against the state, sedition, conspiracy, and Sections 66 and 66A IT Act "based simply on their Facebook posts", the People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) has said it is "part of the continued wave of repressive measures" unleashed by government authorities.

Gujarat meet to demand anti-lynching legislation: Budget 'quiet' on minorities

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The Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organisation, will be holding a state-level conference to demand from the Gujarat government to come up with a separate legislation to prevent rising incidents of lynchings. Proposed to be called Minorities (Prevention of Atrocities) Bill, MCC will hold a meeting on July 18 in Gandhinagar with the participation of minority rights activists and experts.

New education policy draft would stall reforms, warns pro-Modi economist

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In a surprise move, top pro-Modi economist Arvind Panagariya, who servedas first vice-chairman of the think-tank Niti Aayog between January 2015 and August 2017, has sharply criticized the 484 pages draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019, released by the Government of India recently saying the proposal to set up the National Higher Education Regulatory Authority of India as an all-encompassing body that would stall reforms altogether.

Private consumption, key factor for economic growth, has weakened: RBI

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A recent Reserve Bank of India report has noted that India’s domestic economy has hit a “soft patch in the last quarter of 2018-19 as private consumption, the key driver of GDP, turned weak.” Pointing out that the economic activity “weakened in the second half of 2018-19, with Q4:2018-19 recording 5.8 per cent growth in GDP”, the report says, this has brought down “the annual growth for 2018-19 to 6.8 per cent from the previous year’s 7.2 per cent.”

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

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The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.