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. ...

Indian policy in times of climate strike

Sunday, October 20, 2019
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
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
क्या सच में किसानों का लालच हाथियों के घटते रहवास के लिए जिम्मेदार है? Source: Need

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
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
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
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
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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