12% of India prone to landslides, 264 killed in 2019

Sunday, October 18, 2020
Landslide during Uttarakhand disaster 2013. Diariocritico de Venezuela/Flickr

Besides heavy rainfall, human activities such as construction of roads, buildings and railways, mining and quarrying, and hydropower projects damage hilly slopes and impact natural drainage by removing soil and vegetation, loosening soil and gravel and making the hills more susceptible to landslides. In India, 420,000 sq km, or 12.6% of the total land, is landslide prone. Last year, 264...

Covid 19: Pastoralism under shadows of fear

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Herders faced hardships during lockdown. Pic: Anu Verma and Biren Nayak

Nomadic herders, whose livelihood depends on livestock, travel in search of pasture land. There are communities whose journeys start every year and pass through traditional routes through different regions. They stop at fixed places where people accept them and allow their herds to camp on their farms in exchange of manure. The lockdown disturbed everything. ...

बचपन में कैंसर को हराया, अब उसी पर रिसर्च

Monday, September 14, 2020
नित्या मोहन कैंसर इम्यूनोथैरेपी में पीएचडी कर रही हैं

रिसर्च स्कॉलर नित्या मोहन जब मात्र सात साल की थीं, तब उन्हें कैंसर  का सामना करना पड़ा। लेकिन समय पर इलाज, परिवार के सहयोग और खुद के हौसले ने कैंसर को हरा दिया। इतनी कम उम्र में कैंसर का मतलब एक छोटे बच्चे की समझ से परे था। लेकिन कैंसर के इलाज के दौरान की यादें नित्या के मन में इतनी गहराई तक समाईं कि बड़े होने पर भी उनके मन में कई सवाल उठते रहे, जैसे आखिर यह कैंसर है क्या? इसका कारण क्या होता है? क्या कोई ऐसी वैक्सीन नहीं है, जो कैंसर को होने...

In Pics: Suffering in the town powering India’s nuclear dreams

Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Haradhan Gope (20) helping his father in a paddy field, suffers from a facial deformity. Photo by Subhrajit Sen.

Uranium is a vital mineral for India’s ambitious nuclear power programme. Out of the seven states with uranium reserves, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have currently operating mines. In Jharkhand’s Jaduguda region, which has India’s oldest uranium mines, local communities narrate stories of suffering due to degrading health and the environment. The government, however, denies any ill-impact of uranium mining on people. The Indian government is...

माटी मानुष चून : क्या गंगा एक मानव निर्मित नदी नेटवर्क बनने वाली है ?

Sunday, September 6, 2020
ये एक महान नदी के तिल तिल मरने की कहानी हैं

ये एक महान नदी के तिल तिल मरने की कहानी हैं। वह नदी जिसे  इस देश के करोड़ों लोग अपनी माँ कहते हैं। वह नदी जो एक पूरी भाषा, एक पूरी संस्कृति की जननी है, क्या आप मान सकते हैं कि मर रही है? ये किताब उस लम्हे को बयान करने की कोशिश है कि जब गंगाजल सिर्फ गंगोत्री में बचेगा, बनारस में नहीं। बाकी जगह सिर्फ पानी होगा, गंगाजल नहीं, जिसके बारे में कहावत थी कि गंगाजल कभी सड़ता नहीं । इस किताब को हमारे तथा...

India should spare its forests for sustainable post-Covid recovery

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Forests offer far more benefits than a development project. Image: GoI Monitor

Indian forests offer model of equitable development in the post-Covid world by offering food and money to the most vulnerable. The government is, however, going the other way by auctioning coal blocks in rich forests and diluting environmental laws. ​Around 50 million families in India supplement their diet with food from forests and scrubland while Rs 20,000 crore worth of minor forest...

Covid-19: Sex workers battle stigma, hunger

Sunday, August 16, 2020
Kareena Kapoor played a sex worker in movie Chameli.

Sexual interactions run contrary to physical distancing norms required to avoid contracting coronavirus thus unconditionally stalling source of livelihood of sex workers. In India, sex work is criminalised and stigmatised putting these workers in the most vulnerable category, thus left behind in response to the pandemic by the government. They lack documents and bank accounts to avail of...

Agriculture in post-Covid economy has to be sustainable

Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Women are mostly invisible farmers.  Image: CCAFS/Flickr

As the world debates about the post-Covid economic model, farming is regaining its status as the most viable, decentralised livelihood generator. Right policies can ensure that it not only revives the economy but also acts as a carbon sink and neutralises pollution. As the biggest nature-based occupation that gives a bounty with little investment, agriculture also has the capacity to employ...

How Draft EIA 2020 will impact environment

Thursday, July 30, 2020
EIA regulates impact of development projects on surrounding ecosystem.

Environmental Impact Assessment sets in place a legal framework for regulating activities that impact the natural resources and people. Many environmental activists call the draft detrimental towards protecting the already deteriorating environment. The draft allows a freer reign to industrial projects while limiting public consent and interference. Some of the major changes include post facto clearance which means industries can start...

Ballooning loans, job insecurity for India’s reverse migrants

Monday, July 27, 2020
Workers are finding it tough to hold on to jobs. Image: Pikist

Millions of migrants began a journey on foot or cycle to reach their home states safely with no food or water supplies, dealing with hunger, starvation, and exhaustion. Many even lost their lives while trying to make this journey. Data compiled by various individuals and agencies have painted a grim picture. According to the data provided by Thejesh GN, the lockdown has resulted in the death...

Perilous venture into commercial coal mining 

Thursday, July 23, 2020
Jharia coal mine in Jharkhand. Image: Abhishek/Wikimedia Commons

The recent Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, opens mining to the private sector with no restriction on end-use of coal and permission for 100 percent foreign direct investment. The move is supposed to close the gap between government’s revenues and expenditure and help save foreign exchange. It, however, comes at a time when India’s energy mix is already shifting towards cleaner...

Data protection bill: Ruse of security

Friday, July 10, 2020
Security agencies can easily spy on personal online information. Source: GOI Monitor

Indian government promised that it will come up with a robust data protection regime but the draft personal data protection bill tabled in Lok Sabha in December 2019 did not instill confidence. Experts pointed out that the bill grants exemptions to the government to collect personal data on grounds of prevention and detection of crimes, without any judicial oversight. The bill also proposes...

Covid-19: Digital learning skips villages

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Image: Jasmine Trails/Pixabay

Ever since the nationwide lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic began on March 25, many educational institutions have resumed learning for their students through online medium and software applications such as WhatsApp and Zoom. Although online schooling is an easy way out, a vast segment of India’s population is unable to access these means. According to a 2018 World Bank survey, 69.57 percent of India’s population lives in rural areas...

Women herders lose authority as pastoralism grows roots

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Photo credit: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh

Conversion of common lands for solar parks, industrial zones and plantations have undermined the productivity of pastoralists. Even though many nomadic pastoralists have taken to settled livestock rearing, they continue to face challenges in accessing local village grazing lands. Settled living also leads to young men migrating to cities to seek alternate jobs or to pursue higher education...

Covid-19: Race to generate work in villages

Monday, June 22, 2020
Women workers at a MGNREGA work site. Photo: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh Chandok

Around 400 million workers are at risk of falling even deeper into poverty because of Covid-19 pandemic. Centre and states are racing against time to generate jobs near their homes where they went from cities due to lockdown with MGNREGA emerging as the greatest absorber of workforce. State governments have included farms, water conservation works, fruit tree plantation and construction of sports stadiums in villages as works to be done under...

Lockdown Blues: Children with special needs struggle with shrinking space

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Children with special needs play at a school for autism in Yemen. Photo by Dana Smillie World Bank

Children on autism spectrum face a lot of distress due to sudden change in routines. Abrupt closure of schools, playgrounds and other recreational outlets is resulting in more frequent meltdowns. Children unable to go outdoors have a lot of pent up energy which leads to aggression. Their schedules have been altered and they are also unable to visit the intervention centres. It is a tough...

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...

कोरोनावायरस, पर्यावरण और हम 

Sunday, May 10, 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...

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...