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Showing posts from August, 2019

JICA hands over crucial bullet train report to Gujarat farmers, denied by Govt of India

By Rajiv Shah
Chief representative of Japan International Co-operation Agency’s (JICA) India office Katsuo Matsumoto, who visited the office of senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik in Ahmedabad on August 30, has handed over a crucial report it had prepared on its December 8-9, 2018 meeting with Gujarat and Maharashtra farmers, affected by the high-profile Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, as also senior activists.
JICA, a Japanese government agency, is funding the proposed bullet train, considered a prestige project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It handed over the report to the Government of India’s special purpose vehicle, National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), set up to implement the project. However, NHSRCL refused to make it public, saying it was a JICA “property” despite farmers’ repeated pleas.
The report, among other things, gives a detailed representation by Gujarat and Maharashtra farmers’ representatives, even as visiting sites in village…

Modi appeasing increased global acceptance of anti-Muslim 'bigotry': US Congressman

By Rajiv Shah
In a surprising assertion, Andy Levin, who represents Michigan’s 9th District in the United States Congress, and is also a foreign policy expert, has gone a long way to suggest that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Kashmir move -- to take away the state's special status -- wouldn't face opposition from influential quarters internationally.
Reason, appears to Levin, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation, is that there is an "increased acceptance of anti-Muslim bigotry" among top world politicians, a phenomenon Modi has allegedly sought to carefully pander, cultivating it ever since his Gujarat days.
In a commentary the 59-year-old Congressman says, he first visited India in 1978 with his father, who was then Assistant Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, and the impact on him was "immediate, overwhelming, and literally life-changing". Howev…

India 'houses' 13 of world's top 40 coal-fired anthropogenic SO2 emission hotspots

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of top international environmental NGO Greenpeace reportedly identified six coal-fired power plants and industrial clusters as India’s “worst nitrogen oxides (NOx) hotspots” on the basis of data from Tropomi, a Dutch satellite instrument, the NGO has now found, on the basis of data obtained from NASA, that India houses 13 of the world’s top 40 anthropogenic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitting hotspots, resulting from coal combustion.
If the Dutch satellite-based data had identified Sonbhadra-Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Talcher in Odisha, Chandrapur in Maharashtra, Mundra in Gujarat and Durgapur in West Bengal as India’s NOx hotspots, the new Greenpeace study says, thanks to coal burning, India is the largest emitter of SO2 in the world, contributing more than 15% of global anthropogenic SO2 emissions from NASA detected hotspots.”
Causing environmental pollution and pollutants originating from human activity, anthrop…

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.
Based on analysis of a sample size of 2,522 (49% female, 51% male), many of whom are interviewed face-to-face, the study says that alleged “violent repression” by the state has caused greater identification with the “irredentist neighbour”, Pakistan. In fact, it appears to a long way to underline, exposure to state violence has led to decline in “national identification” with India. Thus, if independence is not an option, “subjects preferring India over Pakistan declines by nine percentage points, from 61% to 52%.
Publ…

SEWA coops may explore 'using' digital platforms UrbanClap, UPI, Amazon, Myntra

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), India’s premier organization representing mainly working women in the informal sector of Ahmedabad, and cooperatives promoted by it, readying themselves to enter into the new arena of finding a space in the online market? It would seem so, if a two-day SEWA workshop, in which, among others, tens of representatives of national and international women’s cooperatives participated is any indication.
The two-day workshop, which took place on August 8-9, “unpacked four themes”, access to finance, online economy and digitisation, market linkages and governance, even as discussing the need to explore possibilities of how to use available digital platforms for women’s cooperatives, such as UrbanClap, UPI, Amazon and Myntra.
Insisting their tieup into the women’s cooperatives can “transformed the way we work”, a concept note presented at the workshop said, in the current globalized liberal business environment, women’s cooperatives …