Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2020

NGOs launch all-India campaign to bridge increased learning gaps during Covid-19

Even as launching a new campaign, Mission 3-5-8, for “activating” the collapsed education system in across India amidst Covid-19 crisis, a group of civil society organizations regretted that there is an urgent need to bridge learning gaps that have come about between privileged and underprivileged sections of people during the pandemic.

Postpone Nayara Energy public hearing: Gujarat environmental NGO writes to CM

Gujarat’s top environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra has taken strong exception to the proposed environmental public hearing of the Nayara Energy Ltd in Jamnagar and Devbhoomi Dwarka districts, organized by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), scheduled for July 28 and 29, citing the current restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cisco case: North American Dalit groups ask US govt to penalise caste bias

The coalition of American Ambedkarite organizations, protesting against an alleged incident of caste discrimination at Cisco, an American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California, has regretted that MNC’s HR has “not taken the case of the caste victim as a matter of urgency, but instead worked against providing justice.”

Coalminers' strike 'total, successful', CTUs call PSU privatisation move disastrous

The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions (CTUs), independent sectoral federations and associations have claimed complete success for the coal workers’ strike for three days, on July 2-4, 2020, stating that it brought the coal mines and establishments under the Coal India and the SCCL to “grinding halt with no production and no dispatch of coal.”

Bihar maize farmers' distress: CM asked to intervene, as cost outstrips market price

The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), an all-India coalition of social movements, in a letter to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, writing in solidarity of North Bihar farmers, has demanded that the purchase of maize at the minimum support price (MSP) be urgently initiated to stop farmers’ distress sale of the commodity.

Industry group seeking to 'hide' effluent discharge point of South Gujarat river?

Following a video taken by well-known environmentalist Rohit Prajapati taken from Vishala bridge in Ahmedabad, and published in Counterview, showing how untreated effluent is being discharged into Sabarmati river, efforts appear to have begun to “cover-up” such discharge points by allegedly seeking to hide the top spots of discharge points.

Kailash Satyarthi NGO child rights activist receives 2020 Diana Award

Neeraj Murmu, a former child labourer, has been conferred with the prestigious 2020 Diana Award instituted in the memory of the late Princess of Wales in a virtual ceremony. Rescued by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi's Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) from mica mines in 2011, Murmu, now 21, hails from Giridih in Jharkhand.

Draft environmental notification suggests Govt of India's 'regressive' mindset

Top Gujarat environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, taking strong exception to the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020, has demanded that, in view of its proposed “regressive changes” amidst Covid-19 crisis, the EIA notification should be immediately withdrawn and not implemented at all. The deadline for public comments for the notification ended on June 30.

Demand to end Kashmir 'dispute' based on UN security council resolutions

A two-days International Kashmir Webinar, organized at the Istanbul University, has sought “early, just and durable” resolution to the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) “dispute” in accordance with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, insisting on an “impartial plebiscite” under the auspices of UN.”

Right to food? PM's decision fails to answer, where will those without ration cards go

The Right to Food Campaign (RtFC), even as wecoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for five months, has regretted, “No policies have been announced for those without ration cards or those who are additionally included by state governments through state schemes.”

100% increase in gender-based violence amidst lockdown: IMPRI seminar told

The National Crime Bureau Records data 2020 have revealed there is an over 100% increase in the incidences of violence against women from March 2020 to May 2020. An online panel discussion, which addressed key issues of gender-based violence in India, revealed that this happened because the lockdown “restricted the mobility which has made the so-called ‘safety nests of women’ a sphere of fear and anxiety.”

Environmentalists' fresh video 'reveals' Sabarmati turns into gutter for 120 km

A fresh video taken by a group of environmental activists led by Rohit Prajapati of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti has suggested that Sabarmati river, which passes through Ahmedabad, turns into a dead river for the 120 kilometres stretch after it leaves Ahmedabad city to “meet” the Arabian Sea.

Macwan starts missed call drive to remove Manu statue in Rajasthan HC area

In a fresh campaign, Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has asked people to give a missed call on 9823157779 asking Congress president Sonia Gandhi to impress upon Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot to ensure removal of Manu’s statue from the state High Court premises.

Call for bids for Vadodara riverfront project opposed: Experts seek consultation

A concerned citizens’ letter to the Municipal Commissioner, Vadodara, with copies to senior environment and forests officials of the Gujarat government and the Government of India, has taken strong exception to continuation of the local authorities’ decision to continue with the bid for preparing project report for the "rejuvenation" the Vishwamitri river, passing through the city. It says, the bids have been invited even though there have been no “pre-bid meetings and involvement of local expertise and know-how”.

AITUC opposes Govt of India move to reduce interest rate on Provident Fund

The All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) has opposed reported move to once again reduce the interest rate on Provident Fund. AITUC general secretary Amarjeet Kaur has said in a statement, “The employees/workers are already hard pressed in a situation where they did not get wages in lock down due to Covid-19, and many have faced retrenchments.”

STARS project: Despite objections, World Bank approves $500 million loan

Setting aside concerns raised by 1,400 academicians, practitioners, teachers’ unions and civil society organisations (CSOs),  the World Bank has approved USD 500 million loan to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) for Strengthening Teaching Learning and Results for States (STARS) project.

Fresh samples show Central Gujarat industries continue dumping 'untreated' effluents

Following the latest round of samples taken they have taken at the J Point, Sarod Village, on the banks of Mahi river in Central Gujarat, senior environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have alleged that the Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited (VECL) and polluting industries in Vadodara district continue to discharge untreated wastewater despite clear directions not to do it.

Stop dumping into ravines, other water bodies of Vadodara: Letter to GPCB

Concerned citizens of Vadodara, Gujarat, led by senior environmentalist Rohit Prajapati have written a letter to the district collector and the Gujarat Pollution Control (GPCB) taking strong exception to “tactless” removal of riparian vegetation growth under the pretext of pre-monsoon clean-up while spending tax-payers money on “ill-conceived” activities, especially along the Vishwamitri river of the city. They have released photographs of the river, taken on June 21, 2020.
Pointing out that this this is an annual feature, the letter states, “Either of these two authorities do nothing to remove construction debris and other toxic and questionable solid wastes that they dump along the banks of our river, it's tributaries, wetlands, and in the ravines throughout the year. Such mindless dumping reduces the water holding and carrying capacity of these water bodies.”
The letter demands, the district authorities and GPCB should ensure that Vadodara Municipal Corporation should “stop th…

Digital education? About 80% children may find themselves 'excluded', webinar told

A webinar organized by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum on "Quality education through digital learning: Grassroots reality" has been told that nearly 80 per cent of children are at the risk of being excluded from as a result of the excessive stress on digital learning.

Anti-CAA protest in Lucknow: Notice to rights lawyer, ex-IPS to pay up Rs 64 lakh

Uttar Pradesh-based human rights sdvocate Mohammad Shoaib, who is also state president of the Socialist Party (India), retired Indian Police Services (IPS) officer SR Darapuri, a rights campaigner, and others accused of “instigating violence” during protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Lucknow, have been served notices for recovery of Rs 64,37,637, threatened with seizure of property in the event of non-payment within a week.

US religious freedom report to have 'serious consequences' for Indian business

The Washington DC-based Centre for Pluralism even as welcoming the recent United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report, released by the US Department of the State (DOS), agreeing with the suggestion on the need for “penalties” against Union home minister Amit Shah, “the man behind the violations.”

No city govt 'controls' all 18 functions as per 74th Constitutional amendment

A senior expert has revealed that despite more than a quarter of a century of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, which mandated setting up and devolution of powers to Urban local bodies (ULBs) or city governments are not abiding by its provisions. The Act, said Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, senior fellow, Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI) and associate professor, Viswa Bharti University, mandates 18 principles be followed by the city government. “But not a single city government has control over all 18 functions”, he regretted.

Coal workers decide to go on strike on July 2-4, Central TUs extend full support

Central Trade Unions (CTUs) have extended full support to the strike call for three days, July 2-4 given by the unions and federations active in the coal industry. The latter have served strike notice on June 18.

Hyderabad Urdu varsity under scanner for 'ignoring' social distancing norm

The Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad Urdu University (MANUU) has come under scanner following allegedly throwing all norms of social distancing to the wind at a MANUU function, organised to give a farewell to acting vice-chancellor Prof Ayub Khan. A statement issued by MAANU chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed claimed, the farewell was given in the presence of Prof Khan’s associates, even though his wife had tested Covid-19 positive.

Washington-based centre condemns Pak NGO refusing to feed Hindus, Christians

The Washington DC-based Centre for Pluralism, which claims to promote pluralism in religion, politics, societies, and the workplace, and works mainly among South Asians settled in the US, has condemned what it has called “the shameful act of a Pakistani NGO for denying food to Hindus and Christians during the Corona epidemic.”

NHRC 'disposes of' complaint on dismissal of Amreli's 176 sanitary workers

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has disposed of the complaint made by a Gujarat Dalit rights activist, Kantilal Parmar, who had sought action against the authorities, which had allegedly dismissing 176 sanitary workers of Saurashtra region’s Amreli municipality a year ago. It asked the state’s principal secretary, labour and employment, to take “necessary” action.

Danger of sharp rise in out of school children, child labour: Bihar CM warned

The Bihar unit of the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, in a representation, signed by prominent citizens, has drawn the attention of the Bihar chief minister towards protection of children's rights in the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Insisting on the need for a well-planned strategy for the interests of children, the memorandum says, children, especially girls, have not been getting necessary nutrition inputs from schools and anganwadis.

Varadarajan, Vijay Vineet among top 30 world list of Covid-19 'information heroes'

Two Indian journalists, Siddharth Varadarajan, co-founder and editor of “The Wire”, and a reporter for the Hindi newspaper “Jansandesh Times” Vijay Vineet find their place in the list of 30 coronavirus “information heroes” across the world – journalists, whistleblowers and media outlets whose "courage, perseverance or capacity to innovate has helped to circulate reliable and vital information during the Covid-19 pandemic."

Dismissal of 72 safai karmacharis in Gujarat's Bagasara town: Complaint filed with NHRC

A complaint filed with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken strong exception to dismissal of 72 safai karmacharis, who had been working in the Bagasara municipality in Amreli district of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. All of them belonging to the Dalit sub-caste, Valmikis, on March 31, 2020 the Bagasara municipality decided to parcel them out without giving any reason, says the complainant, Kantilal U Parmar, a Dalit rights activist.

MGNREGA work being diverted in UP, JCB used in violation of norm: Rihai Manch

An Uttar Pradesh civil rights organization has demanded that the Azamgarh district magistrate take action against local officials using JCB machines for excavation job in the name of employing workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Rihai Manch in a statement has said that when a migrant worker, Rinku Yadav, tried to raise the issue with local officials, he was arrested.

Land acquisition: Standing crop 'bulldozed', farmers detained in Bharuch district

The Gujarat government is known to hide behind Covid-19 pandemic for any major pro-poor policy change, but when it comes to land grabbing, the pandemic does not seem to bother it at all, senior farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari has alleged.

Macwan, Dalit rights activists light lamps, candles in memory of George Floyd

Even as Houston, US, said farewell to George Floyd in a rousing hometown funeral, with calls for justice for the 46-year-old Black man whose death ignited global protests against police brutality and racism, heeding to a call by senior Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan, India’s human rights activists, too, lit candles and lamps in his honour to pay tribute to him.

Govt of India using Covid-19 to crush dissent: IIM-B 'concerned members' protest

In a solidarity statement, “concerned members” of the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) have said that the Central government has used the Covid-19 pandemic “as a cover to crush all forms of dissent that are central to a healthy democracy.”

Delhi faces healthcare facilities crisis, funds crunch: IMPRI seminar told

Participating in a web policy talk conducted by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), Delhi, speakers have pointed towards lack of healthcare facilities and funds crunch among major difficulties the national capital has been facing following the Covid-19 crisis, which led the Government of India to impose lockdown.

Gujarat class 10 board results show 'sharp decline' in education level: RTE Forum

The Right to Education (RTE) Forum has regretted that the results of the class 10 Gujarat board examinations suggest a sharp decline in the level of education in Gujarat, with only 60.64% students having passed, which is 6.33% lower than the previous year. Also, this year, only 1,671 students passed with A-1 grade, whereas last year’s figure was 4,974 students.

Academic freedom index: German-Swedish report places India below Pakistan, Sri Lanka

A recent study “Free Universities Report: Putting the Academic Freedom Index Into Action”, jointly prepared by two institutes in Germany in Sweden has placed India below Pakistan in its Academic Freedom Index (AFi), stating India is among the “one-third of countries with the worst performances in 2019” with a “D” status, with an AFi score, between 0.4 and 0.2 on a scale of 1.

Sharp rise in malnourished kids, 1000-1500 dying every day: UNICEF official

A senior UNICEF official has regretted that the children below six have not been at the centre of any announcements for relief following the March 25 lockdown, claiming, as a result of the closure of anganwadi services, there a sharp rise in malnourished and undernourished children, with a whopping 1,000-1,500 dying every day.

Withdraw order to suspend labour laws, set up labour panel: Plea to Gujarat CM

Taking strong exception to the Gujarat government “relaxing” labour laws for 1,200 days (more than 3 years), including those pertaining to fixed working hours, social security, number of workers to be employed in an industrial unit etc., Gujarat’s minority rights leader Mujahid Nafees has said, this was done in order to please industry without taking workers’ interests in mind.
Pointing out that the changes will take the exploitation of labour to a new level, Nafees said in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani that, already, more than 40 lakh migrant labourers working in Gujarat were in a dire situation, forcing them to leave the state as they were without any food and employment, The only option for them was to go back home by whatever possible means – by foot, bicycle, bike, truck, and finally the ill-planned trains and bus services.
Asking the government to immediately withdraw the order to suspend labour laws for 1,200 days, Nafees, who heads Minority Coordination Comm…

Ex-Govt of India secretary: Slums, informal settlements ignored during lockdown

Dr M Ramachandran, former secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, has complained that slums and informal settlements have been “ignored during the Covid-19 pandemic”, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet schemes like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart Cities, Swachh Bharat, Ayushman Bharat and PM Awas Yojana “have not been translated into practice.”

'Modi praising Ayushman Bharat means he admits govt hospitals have failed'

Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments during the Mann ki Baat radio broadcast, senior Gujarat environmentalist Mahesh Pandya has said while Modi did talk of minimizing the sufferings of the migrant workers, he decided to devote most of his time on his achievements.

MP govt's power purchase agreement with Adanis at 'highest ever contracted rate'

As many 28 civil rights and grassroots organizations, led by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) have opposed the Madhya Pradesh government for entering into an agreement with the Adani Group for setting up a 1,320 MW thermal plant in Madhya Pradesh, stating, this is being despite the fact that the state claims it has surplus electricity for the next 10 years.

Restore 700 beds for poor in Ahmedabad's VS Hospital: Representation to PM

Pointing out that it is painful that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has “abandoned” Vadilal Sarabhai (VS) Hospital, which can treat 700 Covid-19 patients, even as showing interest in acquiring beds in private hospitals, the civil rights organization, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch (NSM), has regretted that the VS Hospital’s “excellent infrastructure”, owned by AMC. Is not being put to use for the poor patients.

Advise to 20-yr-old for live-in relationship: Gujarat HC comes to rescue of advocate

In a unique case, the Gujarat High Court came to the rescue of a Narmada-based lawyer against whom an FIR came to be registered on the ground that he advised a couple to enter into a live in agreement despite the fact that the boy was only 20 years and 6 months and not 21 years i.e. the legal age for a man to get married in India.

Withdraw criminal cases against poor during lockdown: Gujarat minority rights leader

Gujarat’s minority rights leader Mujahid Nafees has asked chief minister Vijay Rupani to withdraw cases against those who allegedly violated lockdown regime, saying, majority of them are poor people, who did not have enough stock of essential items, or were not left with any opportunity to earn a living.

Ahmedabad's cleaning workers 'not paid full salary' in April: Senior economist-activist

Gujarat economist Hemantkumar Shah, who is also a senior activist, has accused the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for refusing to pay full salary to sanitary workers for the month of April. Quoting Ketan Jadav, one of the workers who lives near Khamasa Char Rasta and cleans the road around Chandola Lake, Prof Shah said, his contractor paid him only Rs 5,000 for the month of April, when his monthly salary was fixed at Rs 7,000.

As migrants return, Bihar likely to face crisis in child education: RTE Forum convenor

The Right to Education (RTE) Forum convener Ambarish Rai has warned that following the in-migration of lakhs of people working in other states, Bihar faces a major crisis in the form of a sharp rise in child labour, child marriage, and child trafficking. The girl child education is likely to be affected the most, he added.

Plea for free treatment to poor, restore multi-specialty status to Ahmedabad VS hospital

Following Gujarat High Court stricture on the state government over high death rate of Covid-19 patients in Ahmedabad, especially in the Civil Hospital, independent board members of the second biggest hospital of the city controlled by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), Vadilal Sarabhai (VS), have asked the VS management and AMC “to decisively act in restarting the 1,155-bed VS, restoring its multi-speciality status, which existed prior to 2012”.

Gujarat's 73% industries 'not paying' wages, govt must compensate 75% earnings

Estimating that Gujarat's 73% of industrial units have not paid wages during the lockdown period, which began on March 24, three senior social activists, economist Hemantkumar Shah, environmentalist Mahesh Pandya and farmers' leader Sagar Rabari in a letter to the Gujarat government have said that the state government should pay 75% of their wages for three months, from April to June.

Civil hospital condition pathetic, it's as good as dungeon: Gujarat High Court

The Gujarat High Court has lashed out at the state government, saying the conditions at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad is “pathetic” and it is “as good as a dungeon, may be even worse”. The court’s observation, made on Friday, was made available on Saturday. The court had taken suo motu congnizance of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on Covid-19 pandemic.

Gujarat officials admit, locally-made ventilators are not good enough

Authorities in the civil hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s worst coronavirus-hit city, have said ventilators built by a firm in Rajkot and supplied free of cost in large numbers to government facilities last month were not giving “desired results” on COVID-19 patients. State Health principal secretary Jayanti Ravi said the ventilators, with the brand name ‘Dhaman-1’, supplied at a time when there is huge demand for them due to the virus outbreak, will be upgraded by the manufacturing firm.

UP govt takes U-turn, withdraws order of 12 hours shift for factory orders

The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has taken a 180 degree turn on by withdrawing its order of making factory workers slog for 12-hour each shift. The state government did this after the Allahabad High Court issued a notice. A normal work shift is for 8-hours. A PIL had challenged the increase of work hours to 12 hours, saying, tough factory conditions under Covid-19 crisis could have had a disastrous impact on the health of the workers.

Eight political parties write to President, condemn arrest of students, activists

Taking strong objection to the manner and fashion of the recent arrests of students and activists during the COVID 19 Pandemic lockdown in the national capital, eight political parties of India have written a letter to the President, Ramnath Kovind, condemning these arrests as well as the timing of such arrests.

Cash in hand is at the core of restarting Indian economy: Abhijit Banerjee

Nobel laureate economist Dr Abhijit Banerjee has said that the lockdown needs to be lifted, but only after all the factors have been studied, adding, there was a need to recognise that the economic crisis was massive and recovery was a long and ongoing process.

Hindutva pressure? India's World Press Freedom Index 142, two points down

India has dropped to rank 142, two points below its 2019 rank, in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.The annual press freedom list is produced by the campaign group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which surveys the state of the media in 180 countries and territories.

Don't lift lockdown till May 24, when Ramzan month ends: Plea to Modi

By Our Representative
Controversial Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the lockdown till the end of Ramzan, the month-long Islamic fasting event starting on April 23, in order to ensure that another Tablighi Jamat-type event does not recur in India.

Covid-19 will 'derail' growth momentum of affordable housing in 2020: Report

The coronavirus crisis and the ongoing lockdown in India is likely to severely affect the country's affordable housing sector, according to a report by Anarock Property Consultants. It notes that around 6.1 lakh affordable housing units were under construction across seven major cities when the 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced (on March 24 midnight), which are now stalled.

Barred from South Gujarat? Activist charged with 'not employed in gainful vocation'

The Gujarat government has served externment notice to well-known grassroots human rights activist Lakhan Musafir, known for taking up the cause of the tribal people next to the Narmada dam in Gujarat. Considered a relentless fighter against the plan to develop tribal areas around Statue of Unity, three kilomtres downstream of the dam, as a hot tourist destination, Musafir has been served the notice by Narmada district authorities.

Punjab, Haryana drop six ranks in MHRD school education index

Both Punjab and Haryana dropped down six notches in the national Performance Grading Index (PGI) of school education in 2018-19 since the previous year. The joint capital of the two states, the Union Territory of Chandigarh, has remained on top of the heap for the second consecutive year.

Trump visit: New 1,640 ft wall built in Ahmedabad to hide slums

As President Donald Trump’s motorcade makes its way from the airport in the Indian city of Ahmedabad anticipating millions of cheering Indians waiting to greet him at a sprawling cricket stadium, there’ll be a few thousand locals hidden from view.

At 5.3% of total expenditure, Govt of India's healthcare spending remains flat

The Government of India's spending on healthcare, as percentage of total expenditure, has remained flat at 5.3 percent in last two consecutive financial years, according to the latest Economic Survey 2020. The overall budgetary expenditure by Centre and states in FY20 budget estimates stood at Rs 60.72 lakh crore. In terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the government spend on healthcare is 1.6 percent in FY20 budget estimate a small rise from 1.5 percent in FY19.

Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index: India drop 10 ranks to 51st position

The latest edition of the Democracy Index spells gloom for India. The world’s biggest democracy slipped 10 places in the 2019 global ranking to 51st place. The survey published on January 22 attributes the primary cause of “the democratic regression” to “an erosion of civil liberties in the country”.