Covid-19: 60% farmers suffer yield loss, 10% could not harvest crop

Sunday, May 24, 2020
Even good harvest could not help during lockdown.

More than half of the farmers who harvested their crop during the national lockdown suffered a loss of production as compared to last year, found a survey of 1,429 farming households across 200 districts of the country. Around 10 percent farmers could not harvest their crop due to low market price or inability to access their land due to travel restrictions. The lockdown has also impacted...

Vizag Gas Leak: What we know

Friday, May 8, 2020
Gas leak in Vizag underscores threat of industrial disasters again. Source: Pixabay

In 2018, the factory had submitted a Rs 168 crore proposal to the Union Ministry of Environment to expand its production capacity by another 250 tonnes per day (tpd) -- from the current 415 tpd. This permission was recently granted. Acute (short-term) exposure to styrene in humans results in mucous membrane and eye irritation and gastrointestinal effects. Long-term exposure results in...

Tribals fret over sale of minor forest produce

Saturday, April 25, 2020
Mahua flowers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Files

India gets Rs 20,000 crore worth of minor forest products (MFPs). This year, these can provide the much-needed cushion against massive job loss and tanking economy. The ongoing lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic has cast a shadow on the trade of MFPs as well. While governments have allowed collection of MFPs from the forests, usual weekly markets (haats) are not functioning and traders are...

Birds across India are going down, thanks to cities

Sunday, April 12, 2020
Peacock is one bird species which is increasing. Source: Shiv's fotografia/Wikimedia Commons

Birds are declining significantly with 52 percent of species showing clear declines over the past decades, said a new report State of India’s birds 2020. The report analysed 867 bird species from over 10 million observations collected by over 15,500 birdwatchers across the country. It also identified 101 species with high conservation needs. The take-home message is that urbanisation is the...

कोरोनावायरस, पर्यावरण और हम 

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Image by Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay

बीमारी और पर्यावरण का सीधा नाता है। प्रकृति का संतुलन बनाए रखना हमारे अस्तित्व के लिए ज़रूरी है, यही आज की आपदा का संदेश है, भविष्य के लिए। कोरोनावायरस से पहले ऐन्थ्रैक्स, जीका, ईबोला और निपाह जैसे वायरस पिछले कुछ सालों में फैले हैं। यह सब वायरस जानवरों से इंसानों में आए हैं और वो भी सबसे ज़्यादा जंगली जानवरों से । कईं जानवरों के शरीर में वायरस  और बैक्टीरीआ घर बना लेते हैं उन्हें बिना नुक़सान पहुँचाए पर इंसानों में यही वायरस महामारी का रूप...

Historical Lapses in Deporting Bangladeshis

Saturday, March 7, 2020
Bangladesh-India Border sign. Photo by Nahid Sultan/Wikimedia

From the time of independence, India has seen many refugee /illegal migration problem. Many people migrated to India from neighbouring countries fleeing persecution in their homes or looking for better work opportunities. Though India dealt with most migrant crisis systematically, migration from Bangladesh has always been a knotty affair. In past there have been reports of many immigrants being ‘pushed back’ along the Indian border by the BSF...

Waterways spell disaster for Gangetic dolphins

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
The Gangetic dolphin. Image by Arati Kumar Rao

Whales and dolphins are especially vulnerable to underwater noise as they depend almost entirely on pulsed and tonal sounds for long-distance communication, finding food, navigation, and sensing their environment. Dredging for waterways in Ganga can lead to stress among river dolphins by physical and bio geochemically disturbing riverbed sediment and impacting fish prey. Dolphins show a...

The promised land that never was

Monday, February 3, 2020
here are 56 percent households in rural India which do not own any farmland. Pic by Manu Moudgil

There are 56 percent households in rural India which do not own any farm. On the other hand, around 7.18 percent households own more than 46.71 percent of total agricultural land thus signifying that few people continue to hold on to large resources. Land reforms failed in their main task of empowering the poor who continue to suffer due to current market-led reforms. Average availability of...

Why sanitation workers continue to carry our filth

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Kaverappa being lifted out of a pit by Muniraju in Bengaluru. By: Water Aid / CS Sharada Prasad

Manual scavenging is a hereditary occupation that predominantly involves forced labour and is mostly done by Dalits. It is estimated that 1-3 sanitation workers die cleaning sewers every five days in India.  A recent report identified 1,686 workers in 12 districts of four states who were engaged in different kinds of manual scavenging. Inadequate government schemes, poor social and financial...

Why Punjab failed to douse farm fires this year

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Farmers burning straw in Punjab. Source: Neil Palmer Wikimedia Commons

Paddy stubble burning in Punjab is often blamed for air pollution in north India. The government has been introducing alternatives over the years but these are yet to make a substantial impact on the ground. High operational cost of machines weighs heavy on the already indebted farmers. Additionally, lack of training in machine-use results in higher input cost and lower production. Local solutions and traditional...

Why North East has erupted against Citizenship Bill

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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
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
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. ...