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Showing posts from June, 2020

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.”