Covid-19: Digital learning skips villages

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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...