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Showing posts from August, 2020

ADB report: COVID-19 impact on international migration and remittance in Asia

Excerpts from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) brief, “COVID-19 Impact on International Migration, Remittances, and Recipient Households in Developing Asia”, by Aiko Kikkawa Takenaka, Economist; Raymond Gaspar, Consultant; James Villafuerte, Senior Economist; and Badri Narayanan, Consultant, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, ADB:  
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A journalist's first person account of what happened in Kashmir around August 5, 2019

Reproduced below are excerpts from "Letter from Kashmir: Valley of Unrest", by Sonia Faleiro, published by “Harper’s Magazine” (July 2020) with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Faleiro (born 1977) is an Indian writer of narrative non-fiction, and has been acclaimed for her novel “The Girl” (Viking, 2006), followed by “Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Bars” (2010), and “13 Men” (2015). This article is on her impressions of Kashmir Valley around the events that took place around August 5, 2019:
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Impact of internet shutdown in Kashmir: Losses Rs 178.78 billion, 500,000 lose jobs

Reproduced below is the chapter “Enterprise runs Aground” in the 125-page report “Kashmir’s Internet Siege”, published by the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), calling the communications blockade as an act of “digital apartheid”, a form of a form of “systemic and pervasive” discriminatory treatment and “collective punishment”:
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Dalits, 75% of Christian community, being denied their Constitutional right

Madhu Chandra, a freelancer and social worker based at Hyderabad, argues in the following article, distributed by the Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC, that even after 70 years, Constitutional right of reservation has been denied to 20 millions Indian Dalit Christians:
*** “Commission for Minority Religion and Linguistic Minority” known as “Misra Commission” was setup by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government in 2005 to study and report on socio-economic condition of Christians and Muslims converted from Scheduled Caste origins. The Justice Misra Commission report was submitted on May 22, 2007. Since then UPA Government has delayed to give its consent that Supreme Court of India could give its verdict to 60 years denial of constitutional Rights to 20 million Indian Christians from Scheduled Caste origins.
The commission report has suggested to De-link Religion from Scheduled Caste and Dalits who, irrespective of their religion, suffer caste stigma and Schedul…

How Government of India stonewalled RTI applications on PM Cares Funds

A series of RTI applications were filed in mid-June 2020 seeking information regarding the deliberations related to setting up of PM Cares Funds and allocations and use of funds from these PM Cares Funds. A summary of the RTI applications and replies and key observations about each one, compiled by Anjali Bharadwaj:
*** RTI 1- Prime Minister’s Office An RTI application was filed to the PMO seeking a copy of all files held by the PMO related to the PM CARES Fund. The PMO refused access to information citing that “PM CARES Fund is not a Public Authority under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005.”
Click here for copy of RTI application and reply.
Observation:The PMO is obfuscating the matter by providing an incorrect and misleading response. The RTI application explicitly sought a copy of records related to the PM CARES Fund HELD BY the Prime Ministers Office (PMO). The PMO is a public authority under the RTI Act and is statutorily obligated to provide information. The issue of …

Not just India, countries across the world use COVID as excuse to curb media freedom

Reproduced is translation of Hindi  article by Pramod Ranjan, who at the Rabindranath Tagore School of Languages and Cultural Studies of Assam University, “COVID-19, science and responsibility of the intellectuals”, distributed by Jan Vikalp. Ranjan’s interests lie in subaltern studies, development of modernity and philosophy of knowledge. Books by him include “Sahityetihas Ka Bahujan Paksha”, “Bahujan Sahitya Ki Prastavna”, “Mahishasur: Mithak Va Paramparayein”, three volumes of Periyar writings edited by him, and “Shimla Diary”.
***  The coronavirus-induced lockdown hasn’t just eroded our physical liberty; it has also eroded our intellectual freedom. Our freedom to think has been put under lock and key. Clearly, we are on the threshold of a dangerous phase. Which way we go from here will depend on how soon and how well we gauge the danger and start exploring the ways to counter it.
The success or failure of our endeavour will depend on how much time we take to raise questions on the …

Caste is the bones, race the skin. Caste is fixed and rigid, race is fluid and superficial

In her book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson argues the United States’ racial hierarchy should be thought of as a caste system, similar to that in India. Excerpts from the transcript of her video interview with Juan Gonz├ílez and Amy Goodmanpublished in “Democracy Now”:
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Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

BJP used democratic institutions to promote Hindutva majoritarianism agenda

Reproduced below is the unpublished research article, “Hindutva Majoritarianism Distorting the Contours of Indian Democracy”, by James Regina C. Dabhi, Centre for Culture and Development, Xavier Technical Institute Campus, Sevasi Post, Vadodara, Gujarat:
*** In the last two decades or so the Republic of India has changed, people have changed, India’s concept of secular democracy and practice has changed. What we are witnessing is that the Government with parliamentary majority is reconstructing democracy to suit its ideology and political dream of one nation, one religion. Majoritarianism is gradually gaining ground and distorting the contours of India democracy.
John Stuart Mill explained Majoritarianism as a democratic majority which forces its will on the minority. In such a Majoritarianism historical facts about secularism are often misrepresented to serve the political agenda.
Democracy: a theoryThe core elements of democracy are people (citizens), authority (power to govern), h…

Draft EIA Notification does not adhere to the polluter pays principle in letter or spirit

Objections to the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2020 issued the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Maharashtra: *** The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra Unit, firmly objects to the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2020 (Draft EIA 2020) issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on March 12, 2020. The Draft EIA 2020, set to replace the EIA Notification, 2006 currently in force, goes on to dilute the existing provisions of the law which itself were far from ideal, at a time when it needed strengthening in the wake of the environmental crises faced by the country. Conducting this exercise during this difficult time when the nation is dealing with an unprecedented pandemic, the public is under tremendous strain making it impossible for them to be able to effectively participate in the process and the courts and democrat…