Why North East has erupted against Citizenship Bill

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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Protests in Assam against Citizenship Bill. Source: Mohammad Belal Shaikh Hussain

Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill triggering widespread protests in north east India. The bill changes definition of illegal migrants by providing citizenship to non-Muslims coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. North east people fear influx of outsiders and loss of indigenousness with these new rules. It also nullfies the NRC exercise in Assam to identify illegal immigrants irrespective of religion. It also...

E-cigarette bill is not worth the paper it is printed on

Monday, December 9, 2019
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Electronic cigarette is one of the nicotine delivery devices.

The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill 2019 is an absolutely diluted piece of legislation, which fails to address the grave issue of nicotine-laced products. It’s just an all bark no bite legislation, not worth the paper it’s printed on. It partially addresses only e-cigarettes, which is less than one percent of the real problem of nicotine abuse. Such piecemeal restriction of...

Controversy around electoral bonds

Monday, November 18, 2019
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Political funding is still a grey area in India.

Electoral bond is an instrument to donate money to political parties  and can be purchased from State Bank of India and identities of donor and receiver are kept secret. NDA government rejected objections of RBI before passing the law. The government claims that electoral bonds will weed out black money from political funding but opposition parties and Election Commission feel the bond scheme promotes anonymous funding and favours the BJP. ...

Indian policy in times of climate strike

Sunday, October 20, 2019
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A climate strike in progress. Source: Extinction Rebellion India

Under the Paris agreement of 2015, 196 countries came up with nationally determined contributions (NDCs). India’s NDCs, however, fail to make any big commitments and may trample upon people’s rights over natural resources. India said that coal will remain our main source of energy and gives no limit or target date by which the peak emissions will come down. It also says that 40 percent of...

'Uniqueness value of forest is irreplaceable'

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
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Valuation of ecosystem is gaining ground.

A recent study by IIFM found that 10 select tiger reserves of the country provide economic benefits worth Rs 5.96 trillion. Globally, efforts are being made to assess the benefits of conservation on economy and various methods and formulas have been devised to evaluate these aspects. Critics, however, believe that ecosystem valuation can lead to commodification of nature and its sale to the highest bidder. ...

किसानों और जंगली जानवरों का लफड़ा क्या है

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
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क्या सच में किसानों का लालच हाथियों के घटते रहवास के लिए जिम्मेदार है? Source: Need Pix.com

ये सच है कि जंगल साफ़ करके खेत बनाने की प्रवत्ति किसानों में बहुत पुरानी है। आदमी और जानवरों की लड़ाई भी बहुत पुरानी है। लेकिन इस सब में हम ये भूल जाते हैं कि बहुतायत भारतीय किसान अपने उत्पादन का अधिकतर हिस्सा घरेलू जरूरतों के लिए इस्तेमाल करते हैं। लेकिन औपनिवेशिक काल के ये उद्योग किसकी भूख को ध्यान में रख कर बनाये गए थे, क्या इसमें हमें कोई हिस्ट्री क्लास चाहिए? जिस औद्योगिक नीति से...

How India's tiger conservation plan works against people and forests

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
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Silent Valley National Park in Kerala. Photo by S. Gopikrishna Warrier/Mongabay.

Increase iin number of tigers is a cause for happiness, but it has come with high social, economic and ecological costs for the tribal communities that have been living in the forests for generations. Forest management that relies on no intervention is not necessarily the best practice, since it can lead to changes in the forest structure, spread of invasive species and increased human-wildlife conflict. Forests have been appropriated from...

Triple Talaq and a short history of personal laws

Sunday, August 4, 2019
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Diversity in India requires diverse personal laws.

Parliament passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill making instant triple talaq as illegal and cognizable offence with maximum three years imprisonment and fine. This has again put the focus on system of Muslim personal law in India. Various religions in India have their own personal laws. Most personal laws were, however, discriminatory to women. With incremental...

Amit Jethwa case: A ray of hope for slain RTI activists

Sunday, July 7, 2019
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Amit Jethwa was shot dead for opposing illegal mining  Source: Jignesh Jethva/Wikicommons

Conviction of former BJP MP Dinu Solanki and six others in murder of Right To Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethwa is a victory of Indian justice system. The country has seen 83 murders and 165 assaults on RTI activists since the Act came into force in 2005, says the mapping exercise being done by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). In this scenario, the conviction in Amit Jethwa...

Corruption in Judiciary: How judges favour govt for post-retirement jobs

Saturday, June 29, 2019
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Some judges who retire long before retirement tend to favour govt. Source: Pixabay

The probability of the government winning a case more than doubles when decided by a bench with both judges retiring at least 16 months before the election, enough time for the government to reward them. The case, however, has to be of special importance to the government. Judges also strengthened their prospects by writing the judgement instead of just passing the favourable order. ...

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Number crunching helps farmers manage water

Monday, June 3, 2019
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The weather station at Randullabad that helps farmers plan their crops. (Photo by Manu Moudgil)

It is easier to estimate surface water by looking at ponds and tanks and plan accordingly. On the other hand, groundwater is hidden in complex layers of soil, rocks, sand and gravel. Farmers possess traditional knowledge about groundwater, but that is not always enough to make informed decisions especially when means of extraction, like borewell technology, have changed drastically. This is...

A roadmap for next government on farm crisis

Thursday, May 9, 2019
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Can direct income support help farmers?

BJP-led goverment came up with PM-Kisan scheme to provide Rs 6,000 annual income support to small farmers while Congress party is promising Rs 72,000 for poor families through NYAY scheme. How will these help deal with consistent farm crisis and where will the money come from? How the new government can deal with indebtedness of farmers, loan waivers. Is there a way to implement market reforms that will ensure that farmers get the minimum...

Muslims, OBCs feel police bias more than others

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
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Amidst Chaos. Source: Harni Calamur/Flickr

Over a half of 15,000 respondents from across 22 states of India said that police discriminate on the basis of class, followed by caste, gender and religion. What makes the bias more worrisome is the lack of diversity in police. While SCs, STs and women have reservations in the police, the targets remain unmet. Muslims were most likely among all religious groups to feel the bias of police....