PRESS RELEASE- Koyna Dam Project Affected Peoples’ Indefinite Movement in Maharashtra #mustshare


Today [Thursday, February 6] is the third day of the state-wide indefinite
sit-in movement Of dam evictees and project-affected people going on in
seven districts of Maharashtra. It might spread more, to several more
districts. The movement is led by Shramik Mukti Dal. More than l lakh
people are involved in this movement. People are sitting day and night
without caring for the heat of the afternoon sun or the cold of the night.
Most of the people are sitting nearby the major and some minor dams of
Maharashtra.

Satara district, which has the maximum number of project-affected people
compared to any district of Maharashtra, 27,000 families, is mobilized
nearby the first major dam of post-independence Maharashtra, Koyna dam.
This produces the major chunk of hydro-electric power; if it is withdrawn
from the grid all industries in Maharashtra and the domestic supply would
stop and there would be a collapse of the national grid. Of around 10,000
families which were displaced around 1960, 1500 families remain to be
rehabilitated. This is the sacrificial effect of the so-called development
implemented by the Maharashtra government. A couple thousand
representatives, men and women, are doing a sit-in or Tiiyya andolan at
Koynanagar.

Another major dam where people are doing a Tiyya andolan is Warna dam which
is on the border of Sangli and Kolhapur districts. Around 500
representatives of the dam evictees and Tiger Project evictees are doing
the Tiyya andolan near the base of this dam in the Hutatma Smarak — the
memorial to the martyrs of 1942 of Mangur village in Sangli district.

People are also doing a Tiyya andolan near Gad Nadi dam in Ratnagiri
district, Teen Vira dam in Raigad district, and Tembhapuri dam in
Aurangabad district. Also, they are doing a Tiyya andolan at Azra tehsil
of Kolhapur district and at Pandharpur in Solapur district. Also in Dhamani
dam in Kolhapur district an andolan is People are determined that they will
not go home unless and until the government begins the implementation of
their policy-level demand, twice-sanctioned in the proceedings of the
meetings with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on 5 May 2011 and 15 May
2012, that (a) considering sisters as having equal rights in ancestral
property, they should be treated as independent PAPs (project-affected
persons) like brothers; (b) all the new settlements which have 500 or more
population should be given independent gram panchayats by a special GR for
PAPs; (c) starting free vocational training for sons and daughters of PAPs
so that they will get assured employment in industries by tying the program
with the various industrial houses; (d) below-poverty-line ration cards
will be given to all project affected families; (e) first priority will be
given in giving funds to start small-scale production for the women’s
self-help groups of the PAP families; (f) grazing lands (gairan) should be
allotted for the rehabilitation of PAPs where the land ceiling in the
benefited zones doesn’t yield sufficient land to be given to them; (g) a
special development program should be implemented for Tiger
Project-affected people, making them part of the development of the forest;
(h) increasing the house-building subsidy from Rs 10,000 per PAP to Rs
70,000 per PAP.

In addition, to this, (1) the government should accept the report given by
the government-appointed committee for improving the existing
rehabilitation act immediately. This committee has given this report 8
months ago. The president of Shramik Mukti Dal, Dr. Bharat Patankar, was a
member of this committee as a non-governmental person but the majority were
government officials. It will give more facilities for the benefit of PAPs
in Maharashtra. (2) Though the land district to the PAPs is called as
“land in the irrigated areas,” it is not given the benefit of irrigation
for years, at some places more than 50 years. Irrigation facilities should
be given immediiately or a livelihood allowance of a minimum of Rs 3000 per
month for making up the losses in a minimal way that PAPs have suffered
because of the difficulty of growing crops in non-irrigated land. (3) In
Raigad district where the water of Amba-khore project was to be given to
15,000 acres in the kharepat area, instead the water was diverted to
industries and being wasted for the last 35 years into the Arabian sea: now
because people’s movement has forced out various big power projects in the
area this water should be immediately given to the peoples’ land for
irrigation. Also, the land which was taken by the big industrial houses
from the farmers and not used for any development of industry for years
together should be given back to the farmers. The farmers have put forward
an alternative development plan for the area based on modern, renewable
energy-based technology; this should be accepted by the government instead
of implementation of the so-called “corridor businesses.” 15,000 acres of
land are forced to become saline and remain fallow for the last 25 years;
these should be again made cultivable in collaboration with the people and
Khar Land Development Board. (4) The Department of Rehabilitation and
Resettlement which is supposed to be distributing land to the PAPs has
itself obstructed the taking over of this land and distributing it. These
obstructions should be summarily removed.

Except for the letter of Krishna Khore Irrigation Minister Ramraje
Nimbalkar to the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for arranging a meeting
with Shramik Mukti Dal representing the movement, there is no response
whatsoever from the state government. It is the first time in the history
of Maharashtra that people have had to continuously struggle for two years
mainly for the implementation of already sanctioned demands. People say
that this government has become only a government giving slogans and
written sassurances but it is a non-working government in relation to
implementation of their own commitment. “This government is dead,” as far
as its implementation aspect is concerned. It is expected from the
discussion with the Chief Minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra
that they will respond to the movement and arrange a meeting and decide a
modus operandi for implementation of the policy decision. Now people are
not ready to become sacrificial goats in the ;yagna of political parties.

 

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT

) dr.prashant panhalkar — 9422032636
2) jagannath vibhute — 9423360174

PRESS RELEASE-Why are civil society groups against the two-child norm? #Vaw #Womenrights


“Two-child norm is gender-insensitive, disempowering for marginalised women in society and poses a serious risk to their lives”.

Though India’s population growth rate is now the lowest it has been in the last fifty years, India’s population stabilization efforts continue to centre around family planning, with a focus on fertility reduction.

The rush to control population by cutting benefits to the women who have more than two children and penalising them is for many an unconstitutional approach of the government. Recently, Naveen Jindal recommended the parliamentary standing committee to consider limiting nutritional support to children under government schemes to only the first two children to “encourage stabilization of population”!

In a country where we continue to have large numbers of people — women, Dalits, adivasis, the poor, CSOs strongly recommend that maternity benefits and nutritional support schemes should be made unconditional. There should be no restrictions in access to these public support programmes with regard to age or parity. The government should ensure minimum support facilities at work (including crèches, wage compensation, nursing breaks and adequate maternity leave for exclusive breast feeding) for poor women in the country.

Mr. AR. Nanda, former Secretary, Family Welfare, and Registrar General, Government of India, chief architect of the National Population Policy 2000 and Chairperson of the National Coalition Against TCN and Coercive Population Policies, debunked the need for coercive measures to promote population stabilization. He argues that steps to link entitlements to population control or family size need to stop and emphasis should be laid on providing women with adequate nutritional supplements, extended to women who need it the most, i.e. women from socially and economically weaker backgrounds.

Ms. Jashodhara Dasgupta from National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR) stated that according to National Family Health Survey 3 (2005-6), nearly 60% of the most vulnerable women of the age group of 15-49 years have more than two children and will be qualified from maternity benefits; these include scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, poorest wealth quintile and women with no education. Data also shows that women from these vulnerable groups are highly likely to lose their children; the probability is one in fourteen children will die before their 5th birthday. As such, disqualifying vulnerable women from maternity benefits just because they give birth to more than two children is a cruel denial of their reproductive and economic rights. Maternity benefits and support are most essential for the well being of poor women and for the future generation of our country. There is an urgent need to delink the supplementary nutritional programmes and maternity entitlements from the two-child norm; else the “inclusive agenda” of the government will be defeated.

Dr. Abhijit Das (Convenor of the National Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive Population Policies, New Delhi) expressed serious concerns that such a disqualification is gender-insensitive, disempowering for marginalised women in society and poses a serious risk to their lives.

Mr. Nandan Nilekani care to reply ? #Aadhaar #UID #coercion


 

S. G. VOMBATKERE
The Hindu
In the hurry to meet targets, UIDAI is missing its goals

In the hurry to meet targets, UIDAI is missing its goals

EYES WIDE SHUT: Retaining biometric efficiency of data on a large scale does not seem to have been analysed while queries on privacy have not been addressed.

The architects of the unique identification scheme are yet to provide satisfactory answers to concerns about data security
The Aadhaar scheme of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is to provide India’s billion-plus people with a unique identification number. Enrolment is not mandatory, though it was mentioned that it would be difficult for people to access public services if not done. The scheme requires individuals to provide their photograph, fingerprints and iris scan along with documentary personal information for data capture by outsourced operators. It is meant to bypass the corrupt bureaucratic system and deliver government subsidies and grants to the poor, and bring them into the banking system. Sceptics argue that it is an effort to capture the funds of hundreds of millions of micro- and nano-investors who are today outside the banking system, to bring them into the credit economy.
The scheme was introduced as a pilot project in Karnataka’s Mysore district. The poor and those who survive on daily wages were not enthusiastic about enrolment, because it meant losing four or five days wages, to stand in queues, to fill up forms, to produce documents, to provide biometrics, etc., and, later, to open bank accounts. The UIDAI overcame the initial reluctance by wide advertisement of the benefits of enrolment. When this too did not achieve the target set, the local administration informed the public that PDS ration and LPG supply would not be available without the Aadhaar number. This resulted in serpentine queues right through the day at enrolment centres, at the end of which the UIDAI could claim that 95 per cent of Mysore district’s population had enrolled itself into the scheme.
Media reports indicate that commencing January 1, 2013, MGNREGA, the Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojana (RGAY), the Ashraya housing scheme, Bhagyalakshmi and the social security and pension scheme will be linked with Aadhaar in Mysore district. This linking, with rights like salary and pension, and important entitled benefits and services, has raised some hackles because enrolment is not mandatory.
It has led to questions on whether salary and pension rights, and benefits like PDS ration and LPG supply can be denied just because an individual does not possess a unique Aadhaar number. Today, teachers in Maharashtra and government employees in Jharkhand cannot draw their salaries. Apart from pro-poor projects like MGNREGA and RGAY, even jobs, housing, provident funds and registering a marriage now require enrolment. From being not mandatory, the “poor-inclusive” Aadhaar scheme appears to have quietly metamorphosed into becoming exclusionary and non-optional.
The UIDAI’s own Biometrics Standards Committee stated that retaining biometric efficiency for a database of more than one billion people “has not been adequately analysed” and the problem of fingerprint quality in India “has not been studied in depth.” Thus the technological basis of the project remains doubtful.
Criticism from the top
However, the severest critic of the entire scheme has been the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (PSCF), which deliberated that the Aadhaar scheme is “full of uncertainty in technology as the complex scheme is built upon untested, unreliable technology and several assumptions.” It found Aadhaar to be “directionless” and “conceptualized with no clarity.” But the UIDAI shelters under the Prime Minister’s protective wing and continues to stonewall not only public queries and criticism, but also the unequivocal verdict of the PSCF.
Possibly even more serious is data security, and the consequent threat to privacy. The UIDAI claims that access to its database will be secure from intelligence agencies. This claim is hollow, because the Aadhaar project is contracted to receive technical support from L-1 Identity Solutions (now MorphoTrust USA), a well-known defence contractor. Contracts are also awarded to Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd., which works with the U.S. Homeland Security, and Ernst & Young to install the UIDAI’s Central ID Data Repository. It is impossible to ensure database security when technical providers are American business corporations, and U.S. law requires them to provide information demanded of them, to U.S. Homeland Security. But the UIDAI is in denial.
If biometric data and other personal information fall into the hands of unauthorised agencies, privacy is unequivocally compromised. Compromising an individual’s personal data affects only that person, but when the personal data of many millions of people is involved, there is potential for a national disaster. The fact that the UIDAI is silent on or evasive about these security concerns does not inspire confidence in the capability of the UIDAI or the Aadhaar system to maintain the right to personal privacy.
Though the Aadhaar project is “not mandatory,” enrolment by threat of exclusion from availing benefits and services, and threat of denial of rights like salary or pension makes it non-optional. This kind of deviousness is unbecoming of a democratically elected government. Coming on top of many huge scams, the present government may suffer electorally if it persists in using unethical, extra-legal coercion to impose the security-defective, technologically unproven, very expensive UID Aadhaar scheme on the public.
(Major General S.G. Vombatkere, who retired as Additional Director General, Discipline & Vigilance in Army HQ, New Delhi, writes on strategic and development-related issues.)

 

India Rape Ordinance Blasted by Female Activists #Vaw #AFSPA #womenrights


 

By Swapna Majumdar

WeNews correspondent

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Women’s rights activists in India are hailing a voluminous set of far-reaching legal proposals as a triumph of women’s activism. But they denounce a governmental ordinance announced on Sunday as falling far short.

 

NEW DELHI (WOMENSENEWS)–Indian women‘s rights activists are blasting an ordinance promulgated by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday to amend criminal laws on sexual crimes against women.

They say it was crafted behind closed doors in response to public outcry at a notorious gang rape, does nothing to ensure justice in that particular criminal case and falls far short of measures just proposed by a high-profile committee of legal jurists.

“The government has stealthily passed this ordinance without sharing it with the public and without actually debating and discussing it,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, a group affiliated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation.

She said the ordinance “made a mockery” of the numerous measures recommended by a jurist committed, led by former Supreme Court Justice JS Verma, that aimed to bolster the level of legal reprisal for sexual violence.

“All the recommendations that can actually strike at the heart of impunity have been dropped,” Krishnan said.

Women’s groups staged street demonstrations on Monday against the ordinance, which

amends the country’s penal code and code of criminal procedure by replacing the word “rape” with the broader term “sexual assault,” which encompasses stalking, voyeurism, acid attacks, trafficking and sexual harassment as criminal offenses.

The ordinance also says that if a rape victim dies or passes into a vegetative state, the accused could get death and the minimum punishment would be 20 years, something the Verma committee has also proposed.

This ordinance, which took effect after the president signed it, will be brought before the next session of Parliament beginning on Feb 21. Parliament must pass it within six months for it to become a law.

The ordinance came a day after the five young men accused of a deadly gang rape in Delhi in December pleaded not guilty after being formally indicted in a special court on 13 charges, including rape and murder.

Voluminous Recommendations

It was approved by the cabinet at a special meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the voluminous set of recommendations for related national legal reforms released by the Verma committee on Jan 23.

Women’s groups in India have hailed the committee’s 657-page report on criminal law amendments as a triumph of the women’s movement in the country.

On Monday, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, a senior cabinet member, held a press conference to defend the anti-rape ordinance, saying it would deter criminals.

While acknowledging that the ordinance would not have much bearing on the deadly Dec. 16 gang rape case, he said that its provisions on procedural law would help speed completion of the trial.

He reiterated that the government had not rejected any of the Verma committee’s recommendations.

“Some issues, like marital rape and amendments to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, have not been incorporated in the ordinance because of the diversion of opinion on these issues,” he said.

Chidambaram added that the ordinance was needed as the matter of crimes against women could brook no delay. Only an ordinance could establish a law immediately while the passage of a bill would take time, he said.

The Verma committee’s report raised contentious issues that touch on the complicity of law enforcers in committing sex assault and protecting perpetrators. Among other recommendations, it advises ending criminal immunity for armed forces personnel under the Armed Forces Special Protection Act. The ordinance is silent on that issue.

In a related legal development, the Supreme Court admitted a plea on Monday to lower the legal age of a minor to 16 from 18.

This follows the Juvenile Board’s ruling on Jan. 28 that the sixth person accused in the gang rape case was a minor at 17 years and six months and he could not be jailed for committing the crime.

Seeking Justice

The ruling means he could now be sentenced with a maximum three-year observation at home. The victim’s father took a strong objection to the board’s decision and told TV reporters that he would approach any court or authorities to seek justice for his dead daughter.

The government said consultations would be held to enable a consensus on the issue and that would require a separate bill.

Both the Verma committee and other child rights activists say lowering the age to 16 would violate the rights of children ratified under the international Convention of Child Rights.

A commission of inquiry led by former judge of the Delhi High Court, Justice Usha Mehra, appointed by the Delhi government to look into how the nation’s capital could be made safer, has not yet released its recommendations.

The Delhi police, however, have already said they will recruit 418 female junior inspectors and 2,088 female constables and deploy police vans outside women’s colleges in the capital city. Women can dial the toll-free emergency police number (100) to seek assistance to be dropped home at night by a police van. Police also say they will intensify security between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. at entertainment hubs in the city.

These measures keep promises that police officials made to women’s groups to improve street safety.

Judicial accountability is also a necessary part of the effort to reduce violence against women, says Indira Jaising, additional solicitor general of India.

“It is important that discrimination against women by judges not be tolerated and the judiciary demonstrates zero tolerance of violence against women in the home and on the streets through its judgments,” Jaising said recently, when a group he co-founded, the Delhi-based Lawyers Collective, released its recent report on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act. The group found evidence of judicial bias towards women and recommended an official mechanism to monitor the performance of the judiciary.

Swapna Majumdar is based in New Delhi and writes on gender, development and politics.

 

 

CALL FOR ENDORSEMENTS- Defend Women’s and Artists’ Freedom From Fanatics’ Fatwas #VAW #Kashmir #FOE


freedom_of_speech

In Kashmir, young girls who performed in their own rock-band are now silenced by fear, following a fatwa by the Grand Mufti declaring that music, especially for women, is ‘un-Islamic.’ At a time when the whole country has been on the streets demanding women’s freedom to speak, sing, write, live, and love without fear, it is shameful that girls’ freedom of expression is under attack. After the recent ‘raid’ on ice-cream parlours in Mangalore by the Hindutva groups who handed young couples over to the police, we have this fatwa in the name of Islam against young women singers in Kashmir. Misogynist and patriarchal restrictions on women’s freedom, by fundamentalists and fanatics of all hues, must be resisted tooth and nail.

After the attack on the women artists’ freedom of expression in Kashmir, yet another artist’s freedom has been under attack. The paintings of an artist Anirudh Krishnamani in Karnataka have been taken down from an exhibition because Hindutva fanatics backed by the ruling BJP Government accused them of depicting Indian mythological figures in an ‘obscene’ way.

We condemn the culture cops who try to attack music and art. We stand in solidarity with the Kashmiri all-girl rock band Pragaash, and we are eager to be able to see them perform and hear their music. We stand in solidarity with Anirudh Krishnamani, and are eager to be able to view his paintings.

Kavita Krishnan

Kamayani bali Mahabal

IF YOU AGREE PL ENDORSE IN COMMENTS SECTION

ATTN #Delhi- sexual assault at Jal Vihar, protest on @Feb6 #Vaw #mustshare


Gayatri of Feminist Approach to Technology (FAT), Delhi, informs of yet another awful crime that took place yesterday in Jal Vihar, in New Delhi . FAT runs a Tech Centre for girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Jal Vihar is one such basti. One of the girls from the Tech Centre was sexually assaulted yesterday; the guy attempted to rape her when she was home alone. He also apparently tried to murder her after that. Luckily, she survived and was taken to AIIMS. The guy turns out to be the brother of two other girls who also come to the Tech Centre. He was caught in Badarpur.
Gayatri and her colleague Asha are right now in AIIMS trying to get more information about the status of the young girl.
The young women of the Tech Centre know who he is and are very angry that this has happened in their own basti. They want to do a protest in Jal Vihar tomorrow afternoon, to discuss this with members of their own community, and register their anger.
Date: February 6, 2013
Venue: Jal Vihar bus terminus
Time: 2pm
Contact numbers: Gayatri – 9999971179 and Asha – 9968252342
Please do join in large numbers to show solidarity to the young women and to support them in their right to (among other things) safety, mobility and education.

 

 

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