Bleeding banks need more than a bandage

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
NPAs affect circulation of funds. Source: Pixabay

The banking industry is in shambles thanks to high level of NPAs, especially in public banks. According to a report by the Public Finance Public Accountability Collective (PFPAC), the NPAs rose from a mere Rs 50,517 crores in 2007 to Rs 5,41,763 crores in 2016. In a period of six months between September 2015 and March 2016 the amount of NPAs shot up by a staggering 46 percent. That they now stand at Rs 10 lakh crore underscores the economic...

Watch this video to know why farmers are protesting all over India

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Farming is purposefully being made non-profitable.

Journalist P Sainath is known for his in-depth knowledge about rural India. On June 11, 2017, he interacted through a public webinar by People's Archive of Rural India explaining the present agriculture crisis in wake of farmers' protests in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. He also touches upon how the new cattle rules will impact rural economy, the water crisis and geneticially modified (GM) crops. Sainath also offers solutions to these...

Why you should be worried about GM Mustard

Friday, June 9, 2017
Indian Mustard (from Rape Seed Mustard Family) has more than 65 different varieties. Source: Abhijit Kar Gupta/Wikicommons

GM Mustard may soon become India’s first genetically modified (GM) food crop. On May 11, 2017, the Environment Ministry's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had recommended commercial use of GM Mustard seed, DMH 11, developed by Delhi University. While GM crops are grown in a few countries, including US and Canada, many more have rejected or are undecided because of possible health and ecological risks linked to this technology. In...

How Kinnaur is dealing with climate change

Thursday, June 1, 2017
The dusty snow on lower reaches of Kinnaur.

As the Himalayan Region warms up faster than other places of the world, erratic weather puts geographically-vulnerable places such as Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh at greater risk. Rains are increasing, snowfall is declining, and temperatures are rising, which all have great impacts on an area prone to landslides and fed by glacial melt. On April 16 this year, Kinnauris woke up to a snowfall which had a dusty tinge to it. While a few experts...

To conserve tropical forests and wildlife, protect the rights of people who rely on them

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
 Footbridge over the Coapa River in Chiapas, Mexico, which supports local silvopasture (forestry and livestock grazing). Lameirasb/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

India is celebrated as a democracy, but its environmental policies are controlled by a centralised bureaucracy. Forest-dependent people are shut out of the policy process and cannot hold India’s bloated and ineffective bureaucracy to account. As a result, agencies engage in maneuvers such as categorizing urban gardens and commercial tree plantations as “forests.” This disguises losses of natural forestland and exaggerates the government’s...

This drought has government backing

Monday, May 15, 2017
Bukya Syamulamma has been left all alone to take care of her younger brother and sister .

Anantapur is experiencing the consequences of a sixth consecutive drought year. One would think that the district administration and the state government would be better prepared but the facts belie this hope. A collapsed government apparatus is denying  wages under MGNREGA, does not compensate farmers who had insured their crops and make almost no effort to make essential services like water available. At least 42 per cent of the...

Nothing to cheer about in Indian job market

Friday, May 12, 2017
Only 60% of those seeking work are able to get it throughout the year. Source: Jorge Royan/Wikimedia Commons

Country’s unemployment saga lies far beyond the glass towers and high figure pay cheques. Around 77 per cent families have no regular wage earner and more than 67 per cent have income less than Rs 10,000 a month. Add to this the consistent march towards labour reforms make it easier for industries to sack workers. Not even the courtesy of a ‘pink slip’ for them. More than the availability of jobs, it’s the kind of jobs people have to live...

‘Maruti case highlights the deep rot in the system’

Friday, April 14, 2017
Maruti Suzuki made gross mistakes in negotiating with workers.

Around 20,000 workers of Maruti Suzuki India Limited and its vendor companies went on a tool down strike in Haryana’s Gurugram district on March 18. This was to express solidarity with 13 former workers of Maruti Suzuki who were sentenced to life imprisonment for the death of a manager during rioting at the plant in 2012. Film maker Rahul Roy, who has made a documentary, ‘The Factory’, feels it’s an iconic case not just because of the workers...

Projects with scant regard for environment

Friday, March 31, 2017
A drain emptying raw sewage. Source: Daniel Bachhuber/Flickr

The recent audit report on environmental clearance and post-clearance monitoring lists many such instances of violations from development projects across India. Inadequate environmental impact assessments, irregularities in public hearings, not meeting promises and unregulated use of natural resources are just a few of the points raised by the audit team. Companies also routinely went back on their promises made during public hearings whether...

What CAG said about Army food supply

Saturday, January 14, 2017
Indian soldiers breaking bread with PM Modi at Siachen. Every day a helicopter drops canned food here. Source: PIB

The army jawans continue to consume ration even after the expiry of original shelf life putting their health at risk. Modernisation of the food testing laboratories could not be done despite availability of funds. Army continues to procure most items of dry ration without following the recommended procurement process. Full requirement of ration was not met, which led to local purchase by the supply depots at higher rates. Recovery of this...