Nuclear divestment: the medical case

 by Tim Wright

This week the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons launched a major study on the global financing of nuclear weapons producers. The 180-page report argues that banks, pension funds, insurance companies and asset managers should divest from companies involved in the manufacture, maintenance and modernization of nuclear forces. By investing in these companies, financial institution are in effect facilitating the build-up of nuclear arsenals and heightening the risk that these ultimate weapons of mass destruction will be used again.

The report provides details of financial transactions with 20 companies that are heavily involved in the US, British, French and Indian nuclear programs. They include BAE Systems and Babcock International in the United Kingdom, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman in the United States, Thales and Safran in France, and Larsen & Toubro in India. Financial institutions invest in these companies by providing loans and purchasing shares and bonds. The report found that more than 300 financial institutions in 30 countries have substantial investments in nuclear weapons companies.

Roughly half of them are based in the United States and a third in Europe. Asian, Australian and Middle Eastern institutions are also listed in the report. The institutions most heavily involved in financing nuclear arms makers include Bank of America, BlackRock and JP Morgan Chase in the United States; BNP Paribas in France; Allianz and Deutsche Bank in Germany; Mitsubishi UJF Financial in Japan; BBVA and Banco Santander in Spain; Credit Suisse and UBS in Switzerland; and Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland in Britain.
The Humanitarian Argument

The report argues that investing in nuclear weapons producers is unethical given the catastrophic humanitarian harm that nuclear weapons cause. A single nuclear bomb dropped on a large city could kill millions of people. Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, writes in the report: “Anyone with a bank account or pension fund has the power to choose to invest his or her money ethically – in a way that does not contribute to this earth-endangering enterprise.”

The report notes that, in May 2010, the 189 parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty acknowledged, for the first time collectively, “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”. The report also draws attention to the landmark resolution on nuclear disarmament adopted by the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement in November 2011, which describes nuclear weapons as “unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause … and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations and indeed to the survival of humanity”.

ICAN chair Tilman Ruff argues that nuclear divestment is necessary on the basis that “nuclear weapons are the biggest threat to global health”. He says in the report that curbing investments in nuclear weapons would directly help end their production and stigmatize these most inhumane of all weapons: “A world freed from nuclear weapons is good for everyone – the business case to do the right thing and help to bring it about is compelling.”
Taking Action for Divestment

The report offers practical suggestions for ways to put pressure on financial institutions to divest, recommending that financial institutions be boycotted by the public if they refuse to do so. In today’s globalized economy, many thousands of individuals and institutions are indirectly involved – in most cases, unwittingly – in the financing of nuclear weapons companies. Any person with a bank account or pension fund has the power to choose not to invest in nuclear arms makers.

Divestment is a mechanism with which we can harness the widespread and overwhelming public opposition to nuclear weapons to achieve tangible outcomes. As South African activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu reminds us in the foreword to the report, divestment was a vital part of the successful campaign to end apartheid in South Africa: “Today, the same tactic can – and must – be employed to challenge man’s most evil creation: the nuclear bomb. No one should be profiting from this terrible industry of death, which threatens us all.”

Threat of Violence against women activists at TATA STEEL Public Hearing – March 12th


DATE0 MARCH 12TH, 2012

time- 11am – 1pm

VENUE- D. A V SCHOOL,  Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO ) , Noamundi ( which is a violation of MOEF, history repearing again )

Noamundi is a census town in Pashchimi Singhbhum district in the Indian state of Jharkhand. It is also an administrative ‘block’. It is a small mining town in close to the Orissa border. It lies near to Jamshedpur and 64 km (40 mi) from Chaibasa. Nearby towns include Padapahar, Barajamda, Kharsawan, Gua and Kiriburu.Noamundi, in the West  Si n g h b h u m d i s tr i c t o f  Jharkhand, is the iron ore
capital of India. Most of the  mines here are being run by  the Tatas.The area is also one  of the most polluted. Red iron ore dust from mining activity around Noamundi  covers every surface affecting crops, animals and humans.
For more infromation contact-  09471315165 for more details


 “On 12th March their Noamundi mines TATA STEEL is having a public hearing for extension of lease their mines. They have tried it in 20054 and the villagers drove them away. This time they are using all kinds of pressure tactics on Omon Mahila Samiti and JMACC threatening violence etc. The former CM of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi has guaranteed the TATAS that he will get this public hearing done at any cost. Babulal send a journalist to Oman telling them that if they oppose then the State will brand them as Maoist. We fear violence on that day. Journalist who can please help by covering the news. “

What will happen on march 12, 2012, a  Repeat of Septemebr 25th 2004 


Jeshoda Das is a nurse at the TISCO Mines hospital in Jodda Orissa some km from Noamundi in Jharkhand. For the past two weeks she is being mentally tortured by the GM of TISCO. Her fault? Her elder sister Ambika Das is the leader of Oman Mahila Sangathan leading the movement against the Public Hearing to be held on 12th of March. The GM and others from their personnel department has told her that she will loose her job if Oman does not withdraw the agitation against the mines extension.

Jeshoda has told the GM point blank that they can throw her out but she does not want her people to suffer because of her job.

The other good point in the movement is that a majority of the Adivasi Traditional tribal chiefs known as Mundas are with Oman. TISCO is trying to purchase them. Rice beer and cash is being poured into these villages to divide the people.


Jharkhand’s  Curse.

Natural water resources have been drying up or polluted over the decades due to mining and consequent change in weather conditions. Noamundi used to get tons of rain in the early 90s but now there is no method to the rains in Noamundi. Local people attribute this to the devastation of forests and indiscriminate mining.

For a better part of the 20th century, Tata Steel went on to become synonymous with Indian industrialisation, social philanthropy and ethical capitalism. Long before fair labour practices were enshrined in Indian law or adopted in the West, the company introduced an eight-hour working day, equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits, worker’s accident compensation and profit-sharing bonuses. For five decades at the helm of the Tata business empire, JRD Tata was credited with infusing Tata Steel with a “people-first” approach that earned the company its continuing competitive edge – strong loyalty and high productivity from its workers, allowing it to produce good quality steel at low costs. All the leading business figures of the Tata family set personal examples by bequeathing large portions of their personal wealth to philanthropic trusts, run by the Tata holding group for social welfare and advancement.

Fast-forward to the post-liberalisation era of the 90s and slowly, Tata Steel’s ethical tilt began to appear more like an ethical veneer. The company’s head of communications, Sanjay Choudhary had been quick to dismiss Kalinganagar as “a stray incident [that] should not derail a good thing.” In reality, it was not a stray incident. In August 1997, two women were crushed to death during a protest rally against Tata Steel’s proposal to set up a steel plant in Gopalpur-on-Sea, a coastal town in Orissa. Three years later, the company was forced to abandon the proposal following protests from over 20,000 people. In 2000, three tribal youth were shot dead by the police during a peaceful demonstration near a proposed Tata Steel bauxite-mining site in Rayagada district, Orissa. In Kalinganagar itself, since the 2006 incident there have been a dozen more mining-related deaths, of which — were due to protests against Tata Steel, according to news reports.

In  2004  in Noamundi, the September 25 public hearing was held inside the premises of the Tata Iron and Steel Company — something which was a violation of the Environment Ministry’s statutory norms. According to Chokro Khandait of the Chaibasa-based Jharkhand Organisation for Human Rights (JOHAR), the villagers fear TISCO’s expanded mining operations will lead to the loss of their lands. They wanted to speak out in the public hearing, to air their views. But the police stopped them  before they  could come near the premises. But according to TATA official Release -300 people from nearby villages attended the hearing , which actually mostly  TISCO employees.

SO, now what will TATA STEEL do, hire goons, no why should they when they have the State support.

But how come, the legality of this meeting is not questioned if it is against the   Environment Ministry’s statutory norms.

Please share  widely THE TATA STEEL PUBLIC HEARING FOR EXTENSION OF LEASE IS ILLEGAL, until and unless the affected villagers are heard and convinced , the mining lease cannot be extended.

Lets all PROTEST

so please share widely on your  blog, website, twitter, Fb page


Related articles

Save Indian Democracy: OCCUPY Koodankulam

It’s a call from the other India that has become ‘foreign’ to our Prime Minister. A sustainably living community has refused to be part of the profit-driven system and is struggling against the mighty state for last 25 years. We must come out and support them.

Branding people’s struggles ‘foreign’ and repressing our own people has become the hallmark of this government that is undermining our democracy.

Reach Koodankulam on your own. This spontaneous march to Koodankulam is to save our democracy, our people and our ecology. Be part of it.

Koodankulam is on of the Village in Radhapuram Taluk , Tirunelveli District , Tamil Nadu State . Koodankulam is located 50.6 km distance from its District Main City Tirunelveli . It is located 602 km distance from its State Main City Chennai .

You can reach Kudankulam by flying down to Trivandrum or Madurai, and then driving down to Kudankulam. Since there will be many of us, we can coordinate and take a common vehicle, which we shall arrange. So do let us know where you plan to come, and we will do the coordination. Trivandrum is more well connected by air, so that might be more convenient.

Or you can come by train, via Chennai or Bangalore, to Kanyakumari/Nagercoil.

For further details about the protest and the routes, contact:

P K Sundaram, New Delhi (9810556134,
Lalita Ramdas, Alibagh (
Neeraj Jain, Pune (09422220311,
Sajeer Rehman, Kalikut (09447218282,
Muthu Krishnan, Madurai (09443477353,
Anivar Aravind, Bangalore (09448063780,

Aadhaar card has little relevance while investing, buying policies

200 px

Image via Wikipedia

Neha Pandey Deoras / Mumbai March 09, 2012,  Business Standard

Nagpur-based lecturer Bhagyashree Khote was more than happy to receive her Aadhaar number. She had lost her Permanent Account Number (PAN card) some time before and had to make an investment at the earliest to avail of deductions under Section 80C.

However, Khote was asked to produce additional documents like driving licence or passport if she wanted to invest more than Rs 5,000. Unfortunately, she had neither. “When I had enquired over the phone, the mutual fund advisor had agreed to accept Aadhaar. But, later he backed out,” she narrates.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) allows investing in mutual funds without a PAN but only up to Rs 50,000 per year through the Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) route. Investments per month should be less than Rs 5,000.

When contacted, two mutual fund advisors and stock brokers said they accept the Aadhaar card only as a photo identity document. “Irrespective of the amount, we ask for another address proof and birth proof to be sure about the customer, as fund houses demand it and Sebi is also very stringent these days,” said a Mumbai-based mutual fund advisor.

Khote is not an isolated case. Former member of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Sukumar Mukhopadhyay told Business Standard, “The card is a proof of identity and not of citizenship. It has only my year of birth. Thus, it will not serve as proof of my birth date, which could have easily been added, since I had mentioned it in the enrolment form. So, for this purpose, I would have to continue relying on my passport.”

Aadhaar is a 12-digit identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on behalf of the Government of India. It displays an individual’s full name, gender, year of birth, photograph and full address.

The card states that it will help avail government and non-government services. But, this will require each organisation to separately notify that it accepts Aadhar, say experts. It is not clear if banks will accept the card for opening accounts. An official from a private sector bank says, “Not all banking services can be provided on the basis of Aadhaar though RBI has agreed to it. As of now, we are allowing only no-frills services on it and that, too, to those who cannot provide any other valid document.” Agrees a foreign banker, adding more clarity is required.

It gets worse when you approach an insurance company, as the card doesn’t mention your date of birth. “The card can help us determine your approximate age but it poses a loss for us if you are on the higher side of an age block. For instance, say, you were born in 1982, which means you should turn 30 this year. But how do I determine if you have turned 30 or not. Pricing such policies becomes difficult,” says the chief executive of a private life insurance company. Hence, they prefer PAN. But, if you are shopping for a smaller cover (Rs 1 lakh and less), you may find takers for Aadhaar.

Aadhaar cannot be an alternative to PAN. It does not serve any extra purpose and those who have a PAN card can do without it.

R S Sharma, director general of UIDAI, says Aadhaar has little relevance for individuals who have all essential documents like PAN. It is primarily for those who do not have any of the important documents. However, if you’ve been transferred to a new city, you will find it easy to get LPG and telephone connections using Aadhaar.

India should join the renewables revolution for handsome gains

© Guerito 2005

Image via Wikipedia

Renewable Options

PRAFUL BIDWAI  writes in Frontline Magazine

Instead of imposing nuclear power upon unwilling people, India should join the renewables revolution for handsome gains.

PRIME Minister Manmohan Singh has stooped low by alleging that the large-scale protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power station in Tamil Nadu, sustained impressively for six months, are inspired and financed by American and Scandinavian non-governmental organisations. Invoking the “foreign hand” to vilify those who question official projects means denying that Indian citizens have the ability to think for themselves. This is particularly offensive coming from a leader who wants to hitch India’s energy future to imported nuclear reactors and whose own economic policy has long borne an indelible foreign imprint.

In reality, the only foreigners in Kudankulam have been the Russian engineers invited by the Nuclear Power Corporation. The people’s organisations leading the agitation are serving defamation notices upon the Ministers who levelled malicious accusations against them instead of engaging them and convincing them of the project’s safety.

Equally pernicious is the Prime Minister’s allegation that “the thinking segment of our population certainly is supportive of nuclear energy”. Recent statements by some Indian intellectuals, such as the historians Romila Thapar and Mushirul Hasan, the economists Amit Bhaduri, Jean Dreze and Deepak Nayyar, the political scientist Rajeev Bhargav, the ambassador Nirupam Sen, the artists Krishan Khanna and Vivan Sundaram, and P. Balaram, Director, Indian Institute of Science, belie this claim. In fact, after Fukushima, there is a close congruence between popular perceptions and the intelligentsia’s concerns about nuclear hazards.

The slander campaign against the Kudankulam activists is clearly a prelude to a crackdown to thrust the nuclear plant down their throats. But Manmohan Singh should know that this will not quell the growing, determined popular opposition to nuclear power in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and indeed Kudankulam itself.

Using brute force to impose nuclear power plants on an unwilling population has dire implications not just for India’s energy sector but for democracy, our greatest post-Independence achievement. It will usher in a police state, an authoritarian “nuclear state” that rides roughshod over people’s rights and promotes a dangerously callous technocracy, as writer Robert Jungk famously warned. India’s nuclear zealots seem to have no compunction in outlawing dissent in pursuit of their obsession. This is a frightening prospect, which should make Indian policymakers pause and think. If indeed they want to improve access to electricity, denied to two-fifths of the population, and equitably promote a low-carbon, safe and climate-friendly energy economy, then a historic opportunity now presents itself in the renewable energy revolution that is sweeping the globe. Renewable energy today accounts for one-fifth of the world’s power capacity and delivers 18 per cent of global electricity and primary energy supply, besides 24 per cent of heat supply.

Grid-connected solar photovoltaics (or PV, which is the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity) have been growing annually by 53 per cent and wind power by 32 per cent. Deployment of other renewables such as solar thermal, biomass, tidal and geothermal energy is also growing rapidly. The renewables revolution seems unstoppable and developing countries are playing an important role in driving it.

New investment in renewables has defied the general global investment downturn since 2008. Investment rose to $150 billion in 2009 and further jumped to $243 billion in 2010, up 134 per cent since 2007 and almost five times higher than in 2004.

By contrast, the number of nuclear reactors worldwide peaked at 444 in 2002 and is now down to under 400 (counting those shut down in Germany and Japan). Their contribution to global electricity supply, once 17 per cent, has fallen to under 13 per cent. They account for only 2 per cent of the world’s final energy consumption (less than 1 per cent in India) compared with 18 per cent for renewable energy worldwide. More than 150 nuclear reactors are set to retire in the next two decades, and only about 60 are planned to replace them.

The so-called nuclear renaissance that George W. Bush wanted to instigate has not materialised. No new reactor order has matured in the United States since 1973. Western Europe has not had a single new reactor commissioned since Chernobyl (1986).

Areva’s European Pressurised Reactors, or EPRs (also meant to be installed at Jaitapur in Maharashtra), under construction in Finland and France, have run into grave trouble with regulators. They are over four years behind schedule, 95 per cent over budget, and mired in legal disputes.

Renewable energy is growing by leaps and bounds because it is flexible, modular, and increasingly competitive, thanks to rapidly falling costs. It takes only months, often weeks, to install a PV facility or wind turbine, in contrast to 10 to 13 years for nuclear reactors. The timeline is crucial from the climate viewpoint. World emissions must peak by 2020 if global warming is not to exceed 2 C.

Not to be discounted is the abundance of renewable energy resources, enough to meet the world’s energy needs 3,000 times over. Renewable energy is amenable to decentralised and stand-alone applications as well as to grid-based systems. The first characteristic is particularly relevant to India, where tens of thousands of villages remain deprived of electricity and where home-lighting systems could transform the quality of life. Renewable energy fits in snugly with energy efficiency improvement, and the two uniquely complement each other.

In India, “new” renewable energy (wind, PV, solar thermal, small hydro, and so on) deployment, barely a decade old, is growing annually at 3,500 megawatt and already exceeds the capacity of nuclear reactors fourfold and generates twice as much energy as they do. Wind generation is in true costs already cheaper than coal-based power. The cost of PV is decreasing dramatically. At the latest 130 MW auction under the National Solar Mission, the lowest generation-cost figure quoted was Rs.7.49 a kilowatt-hour, less than half of the EPR’s power. Global costs are even lower at 12-15 U.S. cents/kWh, and falling. They are expected to halve within the next few years and become grid-competitive with fossil fuels. The opportunity this offers to sun-blessed India cannot be exaggerated.

Renewable energy sources have lower life cycle carbon dioxide emissions than not just gas and coal but also nuclear power. Although nuclear fission does not directly produce greenhouse gases, the entire nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to fuel fabrication and transportation, to reactor construction, and fuel reprocessing and waste storage, has a sizeable carbon footprint.

The CO {-2} emissions of renewable energy sources range from as low as 3 to 7 grams a kWh (wind) to 8.5 gm to 11 gm (concentrated solar power), and 19 to 59 gm (PV, although these are expected to fall). The figure for nuclear power ranges from 68 gm to 180 gm.

Read Frontline article here

Documentary ‘Cotton For My Shroud’ on Vidarbha farmers bags National award

NAGPUR: “If a quarter million farmers kill themselves over a span of 16 years, then it is genocide and not suicide. The globalization of economies has given rise to a new form of agrarian warfare where seeds are the new weapons.” This observation formed the basis of the documentary ‘Cotton For My Shroud’ made by Nandan Saxena and his wife Kavita Bahl.

The 90 minute film, shot in the hinterlands of Vidarbha, which have earned the infamous sobriquet of farmer’s graveyard, has won a Rajat Kamal for the best investigative film at the 59th National awards announced in New Delhi on Wednesday. The film has been winning accolades since it was first released at Mumbai Film Festival in April last year, and has also received the Gold for best script at the IDPA in Mumbai in October 2011.

In a telephonic chat with TOI from New Delhi, Saxena says that he has been screening the docu-film at various forums and people have been stunned by its content. “The film is meant for both, victims as well as those who can change this dismal scenario. It is easy to blame the simple farmer for not managing his resources.”

“The cotton farmer is torn between aggressive marketing of supposedly ‘better varieties’ of transgenic crops by the state, and his traditional wisdom of low-cost and eco-friendly agriculture. He thus falls prey to the honey trap of Bt. The result is in an unending cycle of debt and misery.”

Narrated in the first person, the film looks at the macro picture while following the lives of three families. Saxena says that he learnt about the plight of the farmers in Vidarbha while researching water linked projects they were handling in Rajasthan. “It was so horrible that we began looking for more information. When we called up Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, which has been drawing attention to these tragedies, he told us to check it out first hand. My wife and me arrived and began moving around in Yavatmal, Raipodh, Pandharkawda and Kolijhari, which were worst hit by these tragedies.” It was not easy for the couple to win the confidence of farmers. Saxena says that the families of victims were weary of media spotlight.

“We came without booking our return tickets.We had all the time and were willing to wait. Gradually, they began to open up,” he says. The research and first hand conversations helped them put together a narrative.

“There were two triggers for the suicides. The first at the time of sowing, when the cash strapped farmer is pushed to buy seeds he can ill afford, so he takes credit. The next is at the time of harvest, when he arrives in the market and realizes that he will not get the price that will enable him to repay the loan. That’s when the desolate fellow has no option but to consume pesticide.” Saxena,who admits to leftist leanings, says that once they had put together the film it was difficult to edit it, as they had to relive these heart wrenching stories once again. “But we overcame our emotions and released it in 2011.” Awards aside, the duo feels that true recognition would be when farmers stop taking their lives and sustainable agriculture becomes a policy.

Times of india, march 9,2012

Modesty of dress and Indian culture

An illustration of the family of Shiva, consis...

Image via Wikipedia


I write to complain about the abysmal standards of modesty I am noticing in Indian society. All bad things–sensationalist TV, obscene movies, diabetes among elders, pickpocketing, dilution of coconut chutney in Saravana Bhavan–are a result of Evil Western Influences. However, to my surprise, in this issue of modesty, even the Great Indian Culture (we had invented Maths and pineapple rasam when westerners were still cavemen) seems to encourage this.

The problem, sir/madam, is that revealing attire is being worn. Deep-neck and sleeveless tops, exposed legs–and these are just the middle-aged priests! Some priests are even (Shiva Shiva!) doing away with the upper garment. And I am told some temple managements even encourage this.

But this is the worst thing. They are doing this in front of ladies and Gods, with no shame at all. Just the other day, I saw a priest without upper garments making an offering to God (which itself is shameful) and then coming out just like that to give prasadam to the ladies. The whole sanctity of the ceremony is spoilt. Plus, what evils may result if they speak to the ladies like that.

You have to worry about a society in which boys and men are allowed to dress this way.

The few who wear full dhoti and kurta are wearing some thin muslin material through which you can clearly see the outline of their underwear and banians and sometimes even read the name of the manufacturer. This is made worse because some young boys are following new fashions and wearing printed underwear in gaudy colours (Karmam Karmam).

Some more modest young people are wearing full pant with shirt and that is much better. However, this Evil Western Invention called zip is encouraging them to answer nature’s call at the side of the road in full view of the public.

And what is this abomination called shorts? Is it really necessary that Indian boys need to play sports in which they have to show their legs? I think they can just stick to games like chess and cricket (it’s not like they are doing well in other sports anyway). And swimming is another problem. We have a long tradition of bathing with clothes, why should they wear little Speedos just for this? I think it is just an excuse to show off their bodies.

But really, I would like to know what the parents of such boys are doing. Why are they not bringing up their sons correctly? Maybe all this is because of this trend of working fathers, who are neglecting their children for the sake of their careers. My biggest worry is that these boys and men will not be able to get married if they continue like this. Which mother-in-law would like to visit her daughter only to be given coffee by a son-in-law wearing a banian exposing his underarm hair? (And that too, Bru coffee since boys are not taught these days how to make good coffee.)

All this immodesty will also lead to other issues. Once boys realise it is alright to expose, you don’t know where it will end. Boys will be out of control.

I propose that we start imposing dress codes on Indian boys and men straight away. A good strategy is to stereotype and call them names based on the way they dress. And also, any time a boy or man is sexually assaulted, we should completely forget about the attacker and instead ask questions like “Ah, but what was he wearing?”

This is the only way we can safeguard our society.

By- Suchi Govindrajan

Suchi’s post on Facebook


Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists


Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,224 other subscribers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,864,711 hits


%d bloggers like this: