Horrific Images of Bombing Anti Posco Villagers #stateterror


State and corporate terrorism: horrific and depressing images of the recent killing of the anti POSCO villagers which the media won’t show

We Received Horrific Images of  Bombing anti posco villagers .
We are not publishing/attaching it considering the nature of those images.
But You can access them from this facebook album
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151376037908347.1073741825.292093318346&type=1

If anybody need images (print quality) , please contact  anivar.aravind@gmail.com

 

Attn Bangalore- Public Talk by Bhanwari Devi #Gangrape #Vaw #sexualharassment


Dear All,

The Alternative Law Forum invites you to a talk by Bhanwari Devi.The talk
will focus specifically on her battle for justice in the courts after she
was gang-raped in 1992. The attack on her and her husband was the result of
a backlash against her campaign against child marriage in Rajasthan from the
Gujjar community. At the time, Bhanwari Devi was employed as a saathin by
the Rajasthan government as part of the Women’s Development Project. Her
protracted legal battle attracted national and international attention and
resulted in the historic Vishakha judgment, in which the Supreme Court used
international principles to formulate guidelines to address sexual
harassment at the workplace. In 1994, Bhanwari Devi was awarded the Neerja
Bhanot Memorial Award for “her extraordinary courage, conviction and
commitment”.

When: Saturday, 9th March

Where: Alternative Law Forum, 122/4 Infantry Road (opposite Infantry Wedding
Hall), Bangalore 560001

All are welcome.

 

Irom sharmila will not Adopt a Reconciliatory Position until the # AFSPA Is Repealed #Vaw


Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been on a 12-year fast demanding the repeal of the AFSPA, was in Delhi on 4 March, where a Delhi court charged her with an attempt to commit suicide during her fast unto death at Jantar Mantar in October 2006. In a brief interview after her trial, she spoke to Nupur Sonar about her struggle

March 5, 2013

Civil rights activist Irom Sharmila. Photo: Ankit Agarwal

Are you unhappy with the charges leveled against you?

I am very disappointed about the case against me. Being brought to Delhi for the trial, I am wondering what is happening to me. They try to divert my mind. They try to weaken my spirit. Yet, in another sense, I am also very hopeful. If the government sees me as an Indian citizen and yet treats me this way, then this is a clear example of the discrimination that exits in India. After all, I am just following Gandhiji’s principles to achieve my goals. I am using a positive way for the movement, to fulfill my demand.

What do you think of the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendations on safety of women and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act

I was happy about the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendations, but our democratic government needs to put in collective effort to undo the wrong they have done. I think what the government has decided is wrong. The Army should be controlled by the government and should follow the law. They should respect the Committee’s recommendations. I don’t want to be a critic, I am just talking on the basis of my observation of what has been going on for many years. I see how north-eastern students in colleges are attacked and this happens very frequently. I am extremely unhappy with the foundation of the AFSPA and how it works. The government is trying to suppress us through the AFSPA. I don’t agree with their tactics. The voice of the people needs to be heard as it is being heard at seminars all over the world.

You have been fighting a lonely battle against the AFSPA for over 12 years now. Have you thought of adopting a reconciliatory position?

Although it’s been over 12 years, I will not adopt a reconciliatory position. Nothing will change my stand and I will continue until my demand is fulfilled. Nothing will shake my resistance.

What gives you the strength to keep going?

It is the solidarity of those who have joined me in my struggle voluntarily that strengthens me. But with the proceedings, it will be very difficult for them to maintain solidarity.

 

#India- And Justice for the ‘Suryanelli Girl’ #Rape #Vaw


Sexually assaulted for 40 days continuously, by 42 men: After 17 long years, will this epic tale of injustice ever end?

Arathi PM Delhi/Kasaragod (Kerala), Hardnews

 

The national capital witnessed unparalleled protests for gender justice and sexual violence against women. The December 16 gangrape in Delhi generated public attention across the national spectrum. However, public memory in Kerala hardly recollected the injustice inflicted on a girl (now grown-up woman) from a small village in Idukki district called Suryanelli for 17 long years by the criminal justice system of this country.

The patriarchal public sphere of Kerala and the ruling Congress government in Kerala treated the ‘Suryanelli girl’ with complete insensitivity. She was mentally tortured. The government tried to ‘teach her a lesson’ on what happens if you fight against big shots like PJ Kurian (Congress leader and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha) by constituting a false money misappropriation case against her. Through stares, sexist, derogatory statements, the male gaze and social exclusion, the public sphere made social life impossible for her.

On January 31, 2013, the Supreme Court expressed its shock at the Kerala High Court verdict in the
Suryanelli case and ordered a retrial within six months; hence, media attention has refocused on the case.

The Suryanelli case involved the rape of a 16-year-old girl. In 1996, she was sexually assaulted for 40 days continuously — by 42 men. Due to the unique character of this case, it was discussed in diverse spheres. Among the accused were high-profile individuals. These included Kurian, then cabinet minister in Delhi. The case led to a huge political debate in Kerala and was used as a campaign point in the parliamentary and assembly elections. The issue was taken up by feminist groups seeking justice for the victim/survivor (I am not calling her only ‘survivor’, as she has been ‘victimised’ by the entire social system).

The then CP(M)-led Left Front government in Kerala constituted the first-ever special court in 1999 for the trial. This took into consideration the large number of the accused and witnesses and the involvement of different jurisdictions. This special court convicted 36 of the 42 accused in 2002 on charges of abduction, conspiracy, illegal detention, rape and gangrape. This verdict was overturned by a division bench of the Kerala High Court that acquitted all but one among the convicted 36.

Indeed, the verdict of the Kerala High Court by Justice KA Abdul Gafoor and Justice R Basanth (dated 20.1.2005) is primarily based on male fantasies about the female body and sexuality. The institutional inter-play of law and medicine, based on their inherent anti-women perception, is reflected here since the
medical/forensic evidence played a crucial role in the judicial decision-making process.

The special prosecutor had contended that, in spite of the severe infection in her vagina, the main accused and many others had raped the girl. Some of them raped her more than twice a day. According to her deposition in the court, during those horrible days, her condition was precarious and she had acute pain at the back of the hip. In spite of this, the division bench observed that “to rape a girl with such ailments, pain and infected vagina may be humanly impossible, as contended by the appellants, except with roaring cry from the victim (the girl)… has no case that she had even wept during the alleged rapes… no resistance mark was found on her body”.

According to the doctor, there were no signs or evidence of ‘resistance’. The bench observed that the girl had many opportunities to run away but she did not do so. The Kerala High Court did not even take into account previous judicial observations in the Mathura case that absence of resistance does not amount to willingness to have sex. When the girl was terrorised and forced to undergo sex, the court considered it consent.

The judgment held that the medical opinion was of no help to the prosecution to prove that there was intercourse using force. The doctor who examined the girl after she came back home, had given crucial evidence for the prosecution. The doctor reported that “vaginal examination was painful, vulva was oedematous. There was infection. There was purulent foul smelling discharge. She would have suffered severe pain during the sexual act if it had continued as stated by her during the period of infection.” (High Court of Kerala, 2005, pp 481.)

But the judges pointed out that at the time of cross-examination the doctor said that infection could also be caused by uterine contraceptive devices. The doctor told the court that he examined the vaginal wall and did not find it lacerated. The court observed, that, according to the doctor, during violent intercourse also, “laceration in the vaginal wall occurs posteriorly.” (High Court of Kerala, 2005, pp 482-483).

Thus, overturning the verdict by the trial court, the division bench completely glossed over the evidence given by the victim and medical evidence. Legal precedence in the case of medical and corroboratory evidence was conveniently ignored by the judges.

Ironically, the court observed the past history of the girl and found she had misappropriated the money given by her parents to pay hostel fees and had sold her ornaments to pay the fees. That, for the court, meant her ‘character’ was not good, and thus it was not ready to accept the allegation of rape from such a girl. The court said that her father used to be suspicious about her character and gave directions to hostel authorities that permission for her to go out should be granted only with his prior consent. If a girl of this ‘character’ spent 40 days away from the parents, it was implied that she had consented to have sex. To prove otherwise, corroborative evidence was needed.

These sexist remarks are reproduced through judicial decisions time and again. In the Suryanelli case, the High Court of Kerala verdict explicitly does character assassination of the victim/survivor.

‘She was a child prostitute. It was not rape… She was a child with a bad track record’ — Justice R Basanth

The other contention is that there is no reliable evidence. The only vital evidence is that of ‘PW3’, who cannot be reckoned as a ‘trustworthy’ witness. Her evidence deserves careful scrutiny because of her past conduct of squandering the hostel fees and daring to pledge her ornaments (on 1.11.1996). (High Court of Kerala, 2005, Para 10.)

It is contended that even if PW3 is found to be believable, a conjoint reading of her evidence will show that she was not an unwilling partner. So far as the accused are concerned, there was no resistance from her part, so that those who approached her could discern that she was unwilling for intercourse or there was absence of consent. Absence of consent on the part of PW3 has not been satisfactorily proved in this case to bring home the  guilt of the accused under Section 376(1) or 376(2)(g), (Para 11).

The court was concerned that in these 40 days the girl did not make a single attempt to escape. She stayed in a number of hotels and travelled in public conveyance. She could have tried to escape but she did not do so. The allegation that she was raped while she had severe vaginal infection was false, it said. Astonishingly, the court opined that it was not humanly possible to rape in such condition unless and until she screams. Since the court did not have evidence that she cried out loudly, it reasoned that most of the accused approached her misunderstanding her, to be a prostitute.

If the girl had shown resistance, then only could it be called rape. Considering the ‘character’ of the girl, it was difficult to believe that she had shown resistance. The court concluded that the family wanted a justification for their daughter absconding. So the family portrayed her as a victim of rape to save their face in public.

On February 9, 2013, in a sting operation by a Malayalam TV channel, Justice R Basanth was seen to make this observation: “She was a child prostitute. It was not rape. She used to misuse the money given by her father to remit the school fees. She was a child with a bad track record.” There was huge outrage against him in Kerala, demanding punishment under the provision related to character assassination in the upcoming central ordinance.

The central contestation in the Suryanelli trial revolves around the expression of ‘consent’ or on the determination of whether a coercive act of sex is rape or not. The judiciary interprets ‘consent’ on the basis of marks of ‘resistance’ on the female. This has always been ratified by medical opinion by using the demeaning ‘two finger test’.

Patriarchal values influence the judicial understanding of what, in a woman’s actions or words, imply consent to sex. There are major criticisms raised by women’s movements against taking bodily resistance of the female as a vantage point in judicial decision-making in cases of rape. The demand to abolish the ‘two finger test’ should be viewed in this context; this is another recommendation by the Verma Committee.

The demand for amending criminal codes in cases of sexual assault comes from around the globe. Joan McGregor (Why When She Says No She Doesn’t Mean Yes: A Critical Reconstruction of Consent, Sex and the Law), argues that “criminal sex codes are infected with the history of patriarchy, which protects the interests of the men and fails to protect the interests of women” (1996, p. 176).

The central contestation in the Suryanelli trial revolves around ‘consent’ or on the determination of whether coercive act of sex is rape or not

Feminist legal theorists critique the understanding of physical resistance as a corroborative requirement and discussion of past sexual histories in rape cases. They point out that these assumptions are not objective and rational under criminal law and are thus unfair. The same argument is reflected in the Verma Committee’s recommendations.

When the judiciary categorises women as ‘good’ or ‘bad’  by looking at them through a judicial lens of past sexual experiences and affirms the findings by corroborating them with forensic examination results, it tries to reinforce morality. Until recently, before the enactment of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2010, rape within heterosexual marital relationships was not accepted by the judiciary. Within the family and within marital relationship, violence is taken for granted.

Some court directives to the accused in rape cases to marry the victim/survivor comes from the patriarchal idea that female bodies can be ‘legitimately violated’ by the male within the institution of marriage. In the Suryanelli case, the verdict of the lower court to punish all the accused also comes from sympathy for the plight of the victim/survivor for not being able to have a ‘normal marital life’ after this bad experience; it even directed to award compensation under the Code of Criminal ProcedureThe ‘protective’ character assumed by the Indian judiciary, based on notions of chastity and virginity, challenges the feminist notions of female sexuality and women’s rights of control over their bodies.

Therefore, while awarding the sentence, the court cannot ignore the tragic plight of PW3. It has a duty to wipe out her tears to the extent possible. It is not possible to erase the traumatic experience; the inhuman treatment would be alive in her memory forever. Her professional career is forever lost. She cannot aspire for employment or a serene married life, considering the social surroundings of our society. Virtually, she has lost her life itself.

There are several levels of bias, insensitivity and trauma in medico-legal procedures. In the Suryanelli case, she was the object of publicity, she had to undergo exhausting trips from one hospital to another, and multiple examinations. For sections of the media, every hospital visit was a voyeuristic spectacle, causing her immense trauma.

There were huge protests by women’s groups against the construction of rape as a scandal-spectacle. The Kerala High Court then took suo moto cognizance of a pamphlet by an NGO as application against producing the victim/survivor for evidence/ forensic examinations along with the accused in the same vehicle. The court issued an order against such police action.

It is difficult for a girl of 16, from a lower middle class rural background, to approach the court without additional/external support. The judicial trend created by the Kerala High Court verdict is dangerous. The decision violates female bodies and sabotages the spirit of law to protect the rights of women from sexual exploitation. It is hoped that the direction of the Supreme Court to conduct a retrial will act as a corrective. One cannot, however, say if this will bring any qualitative change in the life of the ‘Suryanelli girl’..

 

Gujarat- Mirage of Development


Frontline
08MAR2013
GUJARAT
Mirage of development
LYLA BAVADAM
Social development indicators in Gujarat are poor, proving that development in the State is lopsided.

On a hot day last November near Rajkot, Ramjibhai Patel, an octogenarian farmer, pointed to the middle distance and said, “See that lake?” There was indeed a shimmer in the dry landscape indicating water, but after a relatively poor monsoon, it seemed improbable. Chuckling, he said, “Yes, I see doubt on your face and you are correct. It is a mirage!” With this he launched into a diatribe against the government on issues that ranged from the non-availability of water and the high cost of farming to the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and the cost of higher education of his grandchildren. “Life is a struggle for us. Whatever we have achieved, it is by our own sweat. Promises of the government for ordinary people like us are a mrugjal [mirage].”
The story of growth in Gujarat mirrors Ramjibhai’s mrugjal. Social development indicators in this State of over 60 million people tell a story completely different from the one of success, prosperity and economic development that Chief Minister Narendra Modi would have everyone believe. The Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summits and Modi’s projection of himself as a vikas purush, a sort of development leader, are all part of the illusion that Modi builds around himself.
Despite the much-touted Vibrant Gujarat programmes, it is interesting to note that foreign direct investment is not the highest in Gujarat. Maharashtra leads this list while Gujarat is fifth. Vibrant Gujarat summits have not yielded as much as the State government would like others to believe. According to the government’s own “Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State, 2011-12”, the promised investments in 2011 were over Rs.20 lakh crore, but only about Rs.29,813 crore was actually invested. In the same year, out of more than 8,300 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed, only about 250 became a reality. The importance given to the Vibrant Gujarat programmes is explained simply. The Gujarat model of development is focussed solely on economic growth via industrial development. For this blinkered approach to succeed, it is necessary for the government to look to private capital. A comparison of promised and actual investments in Vibrant Gujarat programmes since 2003 shows a consistent trend of investors promising more than they actually deliver.
Even though the growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the State has been significant over the past 15 years, Gujarat scores low in areas of nutrition, education, employment, wages, consumer price index, rural planning, health, the status of the environment and other indicators of the overall health of society. Indeed a look at official data gathered from the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), Census 2011 and others shows that the high economic growth rate in Gujarat has been at the expense of basic human development.
Employment growth stagnates
Paradoxically, employment has not kept pace with the spurt in economic growth. NSSO data show that growth in employment has dropped to almost zero in the past 12 years. Rural Gujarat has been particularly hit despite the fact that there has been an increase in growth in the rural sector. The explanation seems to lie with the policy changes in the sale and purchase of land. Small and medium farmers, who make up a large part of the agricultural community, are increasingly being tempted into selling their land. The lure of a large amount of money is often too much for cash-strapped farmers to resist, but the outcome of this is the sudden creation of a jobless section of people. Thus, rural residents are hit. The jobs that are created in rural areas through the construction of special economic zones (SEZ), small-scale industries and similar projects are usually unsuitable for local people.
Even though there is a slightly higher workforce participation rate in Gujarat, it is offset by the fact that it is poor-quality employment and the nature of the work is largely casual. Transport infrastructure accounts for a large number of work opportunities in the State, but since these are project based, the jobs are temporary. A high demand for casual labour combined with an increase in migrant labour from other States means that the job security of workers is low and the levels of exploitation are high. The average wages (for jobs other than those under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) are also very poor, putting Gujarat at a low 14th rank among the States.
The disparity in wages speaks of exploitation and an increasing use of contract workers. According to NSSO 2011 figures, the average daily wage a labourer in the informal sector in urban areas can expect in Gujarat is Rs.106 against Rs.218 in Kerala (which ranks first). In rural areas, Punjab ranks the highest at Rs.152 a day while Gujarat stands 12th at Rs.83. About 98 per cent of the women workers and about 89 per cent of the male workers in the State are engaged in informal work (against the corresponding national figures of 96 per cent and 90 per cent).
Health and nutrition
The workers’ low wages and poor purchasing power result in poor nutrition or malnutrition among them and their children. According to statistics from a report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, “Children in India, 2012—A Statistical Appraisal”, between 40 and 50 per cent of children in Gujarat are underweight, which bursts one more myth in Gujarat’s story of growth. Other States in this low weight category are Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Human Development Report 2011 said around half of Gujarat’s children were malnourished.
Infant mortality, one of the basic indicators of the success of a government, is high in Gujarat, which ranks 11th countrywide in the rate of decline of infant mortality. According to “Children in India, 2012”, the infant mortality rate in Gujarat was still high, with 44 fatalities of infants per 1,000 live births. And with fewer health care facilities in rural areas, it is no surprise that the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, both of whom are kept at the bottom of the social ladder, have a higher mortality rate. In its 2012 State-wise report, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said, “Almost every second child in Gujarat under the age of five years is undernourished and three out of four are anaemic. Infant and maternal mortality rates have reduced very slowly in the last decade…. One mother in three in Gujarat struggles with acute under-nutrition….” The issue of children’s health is further compounded by the continuance of child marriage. Gujarat ranks fourth in reported cases of child marriage.
Education spending low
Education also seems to be low on priority when it comes to government spending. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) election manifesto claims to have achieved 100 per cent enrolment in primary schools and reduced the overall dropout rate by 2 per cent. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) statistics show that Gujarat ranks 18th when it comes to success in keeping children in schools. The school life expectancy of children in Kerala (which ranks first) is 11.33 years, while that of children in Gujarat is 8.79 years. The State also ranks seventh among 15 major States in terms of literacy rates.
UNICEF said the quality of education needed to be improved, with less than half the students being able to read, write and understand mathematics at levels appropriate for their age. Rather than improving the existing government educational infrastructure and thereby making education accessible to all, the government is leaning more towards private educational institutions. This trend was apparent at the January 2013 Vibrant Gujarat summit, where Modi proposed setting up a global forum for forging partnerships between universities across the world.
A marginal decrease in rural poverty put to rest Modi’s election boast of being a development-oriented Chief Minister. On the whole his government has a poor record of poverty reduction measures. Statistics of the NSSO show that the percentage of reduction of poverty between 2004 and 2010 was the highest in Odisha at 20.2 per cent, and the lowest in Gujarat, at 8.6 per cent.
The Gujarat government’s inattentiveness towards poverty reduction is all the more apparent when it is compared with Odisha, whose GDP growth is lower than that of Gujarat. Much-publicised handouts in the form of various benefits (with names like Garib Kalyan mela) were quite common in Modi’s last term, but an active anti-poverty programme was missing.
Low employment, low wages and high prices—the formula is one of despair. Indeed, food, fuel, clothing and housing in rural and urban Gujarat are the eighth most expensive in the country. This means that even though the per capita income is higher than the national average, the per capita monthly expenditure in both rural and urban areas is low when compared with other States and the national average. While the percentage of the population below the poverty line in Gujarat seems better than in some States, Planning Commission data show that the percentage of poverty reduction in a seven-year period between 2004 and 2010 was not creditable. In a comparison of percentages of poverty reduction in seven States, Maharashtra fares the best, West Bengal the worst, and Gujarat is fifth.
Water and sanitation
According to Census 2011, 43 per cent of the rural households in Gujarat get water supply on their premises and 16.7 per cent get treated water from a common tap. In urban households, the corresponding percentages are 84 per cent and 69 per cent.
The data show that 67 per cent of rural households in the State have no access to toilets and members of more than 65 per cent of the households defecate in the open, very often polluting common water sources. Waste collection and disposal are matters practically unheard of.
The larger issue of the environment is also severely neglected. Despite the Modi government’s pride in the economic boom brought on by the industrial clusters of south Gujarat, these are actually environmentally dead zones. The levels of air, land and water pollution are measured to arrive at what is called the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI). Anything over 70 on this index is considered to have crossed critical levels, that is, the pollution exceeds the capacity of the environment to handle it and it becomes a dangerous health hazard. According to statistics from the Central Pollution Control Board, Ankleshwar and Vapi in Gujarat top the list of 88 severely polluted industrial areas in India. Ankleshwar has a CEPI rating of 88.50 while Vapi’s is 88.09. Of the 88 areas, eight are in Gujarat. Even Dhanbad in Jharkhand, with its intensive coal mining and a longer history of pollution than the Gujarat centres, ranks only 13th on the list.
In the race to be seen as a State where growth (read industrialisation) is on the fast lane, Gujarat has forgotten human development. A former member of the administration told Frontline: “Modi runs Gujarat like a shopkeeper. Profits and losses are measured only in economic and monetary terms. The larger picture of human development, and I include the environment in this, is completely ignored. Not neglected, mind you. It is wilfully ignored.”
When the BJP released its election manifesto on December 3 last year, the party billed the document as a sankalp patra, or a pledge to the people. In it, the Gujarat government applauded itself and the “all-round development” it had created in the State. The reality is that this development has been one-sided and socially exclusionary. The State government’s claims are nothing but a mirage.

#India- Inequality matters #poverty,what statistics say


 Radhicka Kapoor
 
Posted online: Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 , FE
Given the average GDP growth of 8.5% during FY05 to FY10, the Eleventh Plan target of reducing poverty by 2 percentage points a year was disappointing
That poverty in India has declined between 2004-05 and 2009-10 is indisputable. Poverty estimates based on the Tendulkar poverty line released last year indicated that poverty headcount ratio declined by 8%, 4.8% and 5.7% in rural, urban and all-India, respectively, during this period. This worked out to an annual decline of 1.64% and 0.92% in rural and urban India, respectively. Given that the average growth rate of GDP during this period was about 8.5%, exceeding 9% in three of the five years, and that the Eleventh Plan aimed to reduce poverty by 2 percentage points a year, this pace of poverty reduction is indeed disappointing. If economic growth was the only factor that mattered for poverty reduction, we should have witnessed greater poverty reduction. Moreover, states with the highest growth rate should have performed the best in terms of poverty reduction. But state-wise poverty estimates indicate that this is not the case. For instance, Bihar and Chhattisgarh witnessed average growth rates of about 10% during this period, yet poverty declined by less than 1%.
While growth is unquestionably necessary for substantial poverty reduction, it appears that growth is getting weakly linked with poverty reduction. In other words, the growth elasticity of poverty (GEP) is not high enough. GEP gives the percentage change in a chosen poverty measure in response to a 1 percentage change in GDP or mean income and can be interpreted as the poverty reducing impact of growth. In the poverty literature, GEP is found to be a function of initial income distribution, and it has been shown that rising levels of inequality lower GEP. The rationale for this is that the higher the initial inequality, the lesser the poor will share in the gains from growth. Martin Ravallion explains this succinctly as: “Unless there is a sufficient change in the distribution, people who have a larger initial share of the pie will tend to gain a larger share in the pie’s expansion”.
The National Sample Survey (NSS) data point in the direction of rising inequality in India. The Gini coefficient for rural India increased from 0.27 to 0.28 between 2004-05 and 2009-10, with rural inequality rising in 11 states. The Gini coefficient for urban India increased from 0.35 to 0.37, with urban inequality increasing in 18 states. Moreover, the ratio of per capita income between the top 15% and bottom 15% of the population has risen from 3.9 to 5.8 in rural areas and from 6.4 to 7.8 in urban areas during this period. This indicates that not only is inequality between the two groups on the rise, but also that the benefits of economic growth have not trickled down to those at the bottom of the distribution. Importantly, this rising inequality has reduced GEP.
Moreover, these inequality measures need to be interpreted with caution as India measures inequality based on consumption rather than incomes, and consumption inequality tends to be lower than income inequality because of consumption smoothing by households. Also, the NSS estimates of consumption expenditure fail to capture the top income groups, thereby resulting in underestimation of inequality. Therefore, inequality in India is higher than what we believe by looking at these estimates.
Importantly, inequality of consumption is about ‘inequality of results’ and not ‘inequality of opportunities’, which may be more important but are much harder to measure. Such inequalities are associated with gender or caste, access to key social services, particularly healthcare and schooling and access to credit markets; and these tend to undermine productivity, retard growth and consequently impede the task of poverty reduction. To achieve a higher rate of poverty reduction and make the growth process more inclusive, India will need to address these inequalities in opportunities that impede poor people from participating in the growth process. This will require increased spending on education and health, and creation of quality jobs and social safety nets for the poor and vulnerable. Conditional cash transfers (CCTs), which reinforce focus on schooling and health, if designed and targeted appropriately, can also go a long way in addressing such inequalities of opportunity. Allowing children to move faster and higher up the education ladder than previous generations will enable them to enjoy better prospects in the workforce than their parents. Research at the International Poverty Centre has found that CCT programmes such as Bolsa Familia and Oportunidades were responsible for about 21% of the fall in the Brazilian and Mexican Gini coefficient, each of which fell by approximately 2.7 points between mid-1990s and 2000s.
Over the last few decades, India has lifted people out of poverty at an unprecedented rate, but the pace of poverty reduction is being seriously challenged by rising inequality, which hurts GEP.
This makes a strong case for prioritising distribution and making income distribution more equal before embarking on a high growth path. Moreover, increasing inequality could undermine the basis of growth itself by reducing social cohesion and undermining the quality of governance by increasing pressure for inefficient populist policies. That myopic political responses to growing inequality to assuage voters can have disastrous consequences for the economy is well explained in Raghuram Rajan’s book, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy. It was to address the rising income inequality in the US that credit, in particular housing credit, was pushed on low income households fuelling the crisis. It is therefore imperative that in the quest for higher economic growth we do not ignore the perils of rising inequality, one of the most pressing problems we are likely to face in the coming decade.
The author is an economist with a keen interest in the field of poverty and inequality in developing countries

 

Transforming pain into power- Drummer-woman makes it big #womenempowerment


D. KARTHIKEYAN, The Hindu

Maghizhini Manimaran. Photo: G. Moorthy

The HinduMaghizhini Manimaran. Photo: G. Moorthy

A

Not many would have had such a dream debut like folk singer Magizhini Manimaran — ‘Soi Soi’song from the movie Kumki has brought her to the limelight. The song has emerged as the most popular number, crossing 2 crore hits on Youtube.

Hailing from an agricultural family at Malaipuram near Vedanthangal in Chenglepet district, Maghizhini had lost her father when she was studying 10th standard. Her interest in folk songs led her to become part of Buddhar Kalai Kuzhu, a folk troupe which specialises in ‘parai’ drumming and dance. The troupe is headed by Manimaran who eventually became her life-partner.

In a candid chat, the couple exchanged their views about ‘parai’ drum as a cultural signifier and how they wanted to reverse the art form and also about the magical debut. Maghizini was quick to say that her husband was her guru and inspiration.

“She was first a ‘parai’ drummers and later a singer. The ‘kalai kuzhu,’ right from its inception, worked on an ideology that they will never play for funerals — “Idhu saavukkana parai illai viduthalaikkana parai” (This ‘parai’ drumming is not for funeral but for liberation). Our performance always had a strong message that aimed at re-signifying ‘parai’ as a symbol of self-respect and assertion. Aadhikkam aliyattum, kizhiyattum paraigal alla, Indhiya saatheeya samoogam (Let the beating up of ‘parai’ destroy the dominance; let it break down not the parai but the Indian caste hierarchy),” he says. “The troupe performs for political and social conferences and for temple festivals of lineage gods and other traditional gods. Perhaps one of the oldest of the indigenous folk arts, ‘parai aattam’ embraces life in all its forms — birth, puberty, engagement, marriage and death. But, today, despite a rich legacy, ‘parai aattam’ has been pushed to the margins as a polluted form of art,” he says.

The artiste-couple conduct lectures and demonstrations at educational institutions in Chennai and northern districts such as Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. So far, Buddhar Kalai Kuzhu has performed across Tamil Nadu. The couple are now part of an initiative to not only promote ‘parai’ as a form of art among school children in Chennai schools, but also to make learning an interesting experience by making the students learn along with singing and dancing.

“In many schools, the children, mostly first-generation students, were not interested in what is classified as classical art forms. They wanted us to teach them ‘parai aattam’ and we taught them in a way which induced them to learn. Dr. Ambedkar’s biography was depicted through a performance and his strong message to ‘educate, agitate and organise’ is stressed in all our performances,” he says.

The artiste, who has been performing for the last 25 years, lamented that ‘parai aatam’ is seen as a form exclusive to a particular caste which is not so. The project of making drumming an art form had been reinforced by providing it a political platform. Most of our performances on neutral platforms try to destabilise the codes of caste and patriarchy in Tamil culture, just as how Tamil society in the recent past was forced to confront new possibilities of Dalit freedom and agency in various spheres, says Manimaran.

Magizhini has some fond memories of Madurai as she is a regular singer accompanying her troupe during the Dalit Cultural Festival organised by the Dalit Resource Centre. She says, “Madurai Dalit festival is important as it has helped in stemming the decline of the ‘parai’ drumming art. Buddhar Kalai Kuzhu is aiming to show how an art dubbed as a symbol of pollution could be skilfully re-appropriated as a sophisticated musical form, comparable to classical music. These days, every political party in Tamil Nadu conducts rallies and conferences with the drumming of ‘parai.’

Manimaran adds that people have begun to realise the richness in the art form. “We performed at a few Brahmin weddings at Mylapore in Chennai, which exemplified the receptiveness among Brahmins. We have also performed in Chennai Sangamam.”

Maghizhini, a shy singer, who never thought that she would make it this big in the film music industry, says it was the young music director, D. Imman, who had encouraged her a lot. She was selected as the best singer for the year 2012 by Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan.

Editor Lenin, directors Mu. Kalanjiyam and Ranjith and lyricists Ilaya Kamban and Kabilan had appreciated her for her performance. Now she has a handful of films in her kitty. Like every other singer, she is waiting to sing for maestro Ilaiyaraja, and A. R. Rahman.

 

#India- Statue of rape accused adorns this Chhattisgarh village #Vaw #WTFnews


SUVOJIT BAGCHI, The Hindu

A statue of former Salwa Judum member-turned-constable Kartam Surya, an accused in several cases of murder, rape and arson, was installed in Dornapal, Chhattisgarh, recently. Photo: Suvojit Bagchi

A statue of former Salwa Judum member-turned-constable Kartam Surya, an accused in several cases of murder, rape and arson, was installed in Dornapal, Chhattisgarh, recently. Photo: Suvojit Bagchi

At the peak of his career, Surya was accused of several cases of murder, rape and arson, though no formal complaint was lodged. He was made an accused, legally, by one of the women of Shamsetti who now has withdrawn her statement. The villagers claim that he used to visit Shamsetti often, carrying firearms, and threaten the residents quite openly.

A short but sturdy woman, wearing a golden nose ring and a white scarf came out of her mud house and looked straight at this correspondent. “Why have you come here,” she asked in a tone that was anything but polite. “To figure out why rape victims are retracting their statements in court,” we, a reporter from the local press and this correspondent, explained.

She was also told that there are reasons to believe that her name is Mira (name changed) — one of the six women who have retracted their allegation of rape against the Sukma SPOs.

“I have changed my statement,” she nodded in agreement. Asked why she did so, the woman said in almost flawless Hindi that “nothing ever happened” to her. “Because, I am not Mira, I am Madbi [name changed] and I do not know anything about Mira,” the woman said while moving away from us. But her recent statement identifies her as Mira alias Madbi and moreover, the 2009 statement in Konta court has her photograph on it, which establishes her identity, she was told. “How many more times will you people come to ask the same questions! Go away,” her voice choked as she disappeared into the room.

Her husband, Lakshman Soni (name changed) and the father in-law remained unmoved. A middle- aged man, who identified himself as the uncle of Mr. Soni, tried to calm things down. “It was a 2006 case; we had no plans to revive it. The human rights activists asked us to record our statements. Once the statements were recorded in 2009, everyone disappeared leaving us to deal [with the SPOs],” said a relative of the family.

The father of Era, another rape victim, also acknowledged that his wife and daughter went to the court to retract statements.

The villagers, however, did not deny that the entire village and the victims in particular were under ‘severe pressure’ for registering statements against the SPOs. The village next to Shamsetti, Misma, belongs to Kartam Surya — the most dreaded SPO-turned-constable of the area — who was killed in early 2012. At the peak of his career, Surya was allegedly involved in murder, rape and arson, though no formal complaint was lodged. He was made an accused, legally, by one of the women of Shamsetti who now has withdrawn her statement. The villagers claim that he used to visit Shamsetti often, carrying firearms, and threaten the residents quite openly. “He convinced the girls to withdraw their statements but he got killed,” said a villager who helped the women file the complaints.

His task has been taken up by Kwashi Mangalram, the former SPO who is now with the education department. Mangalram, himself an accused in the Shamsetti rape case, lives in another village adjacent to Shamsetti and ‘takes a stroll every now and then’ in the neighbourhood. Mira told The Hindu that she was ‘picked up from Shamsetti’ by Kwasi Mangalram to testify in court and retract her allegation. Other villagers corroborated her and said that he took the witnesses to court. Mangalram denied the allegation.

However, what Mangalram did not deny was his access to senior police officials in the district. Recently, to mark Kartam Surya’s death anniversary, Surya’s statue was installed in the town of Dornapal in the presence of Sukma’s SP Abhishek Shandilya. Video footage available with The Hindu establishes Mr. Shandilya’s presence at the installation programme, with Mangalram standing next to him.

Undisputed leader, says Sukma SP

Mr. Shandilya told The Hindu on phone that he felt there was “nothing wrong” in installing the statue in Dornapal. “He was the undisputed leader of the area and do not forget that anybody can be made an accused and slapped with false cases. However, the statue was financed by Surya’s family, but I was present at the programme,” he said.

He also said that Shamsetti women’s allegations are ‘false and motivated.’ “Four months back, I held a meeting in Misma, where people from other villages participated. They told me in clear terms that the allegations are false. It seems so to me as well.” Mr. Shandilya denied that the former SPOs were ‘pressurising’ the Shamsetti women to retract their statements.

“At the peak of the [Salwa Judum] movement if they [women] could go to court and file complaints [against SPOs], what stops them from fighting the case now, when there is complete calm in the area,” he asks. According to Mr. Shandilya, the women were “telling the truth now” by retracting their statements.

 

Address error in #Aadhaar cards, villagers seek action


200 px

 

 

Sweta Dutta , IE  Wed Mar 06 2013, 01:10 hrs

 

 

JaipurFor the last 40 years Bhagiratha Godara has mentioned his residential address in all official documents as village Birodi Badi under post office of the same name. But when residents in his village started enrolling for their Aadhaar cards, their address was shown as post office Beedasar, a bordering village in Sikar district.When Godara pointed out the discrepancy, the agency insisted such information is pre-fed in their equipment and that it cannot rectify. The agency by then had issued cards to at least 450 people out of 4,500-odd residents of the gram panchayat. The agency said that it is only responsible for enrolments, for which it has to meet targets as soon as possible.

Harrowed by the agency’s attitude, Godara’s wife, Nirmala, sarpanch of the gram panchayat, has written to UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the district collector, Sikar, seeking rectification.

“When residents of our gram panchayat visited the vendor entrusted with the Aadhaar enrolment they were told the post office for all the villages under our gram panchayat is reflected as Beedasar in place of Birodi Badi and Birodi Chhoti. Both post offices have been functional for over 40 years but are not reflected in the UIDAI’s database. The India Post portal also shows Birodi Badi and Birodi Chhoti as Branch Post Office,” said Godara.

The village Bhuda Ka Bas, created as revenue village in 2008 by the state government, does not even find a mention in the database, alleged Godara. “We have been constantly asking the vendor to get it rectified but to no avail. This lands us in trouble as the Aadhaar card will reflect incorrect addresses for all these villages. This identification card is of great importance to us as it links several government schemes and also wages to our bank accounts,” said Nirmala.

The enrolment agency approached schools in the village where over 300 students were registered under the incorrect address. Another 150 villagers who had visited enrolment camps in nearby towns such as Laxmangarh, Sikar city and Nawalgarh in Jhunjhunu too were issued cards with erroneous postal address.

Despite repeated attempts over the phone, Sikar District Collector Dharmendra Bhatnagar remained unavailable for comment. Additional Collector G L Kataria admitted the discrepancy. “There were complaints of incorrect postal address that cannot be rectified at the level of the enrolment agency. Authorities in Delhi have to be approached,” he said.

 

 

 

Public walk out of hearing for Mithi Virdi nuclear power project


Ankur Paliwal
down to earth
2013-3-5

Residents say public hearing was illegal and organised without a proper rehabilitation plan for the project-affected

Ankur PaliwalPhoto: Ankur Paliwal

People of villages to be affected by the proposed Mithi Virdi nuclear power project in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district walked out of the public hearing organised for the project on Tuesday. About 24 villages within a 10 km radius of the project will be directly affected by the 6,000 MW capacity power plant, proposed to be built Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). People of these villages wanted civil society members and experts to speak on their behalf at the public hearing, which the collector disallowed. Angered by the official’s adamant stand, residents, numbering about 5,000, staged a walkout.

The public hearing held at Navagam village was presided over by the collector of Bhavnagar, V P Patel, and organised by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board. When the collector asked NPCIL to make a presentation on the project, the sarpanch of Jaspara village (it adjoins Mithi Virdi village), Shaktisinh Gohil, stood up and intervened. He said the village residents should be allowed to speak first because the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the project was invalid. He further said that since the village residents were not knowledgeable or articulate enough, experts and non-profit organisations should be allowed to speak on their behalf. But the collector insisted that people who are not affected by the project can only give their representation in writing.

After leaving the public hearing venue, Gohil told gathered media persons that he had called up the collector the previous night, requesting him that activists who were well-versed with the subject be allowed to speak on behalf of the residents. “The collector told me on phone that outsiders would not be allowed to speak. The residents then decided that they would again make the request at the public hearing venue,” he said. “We walked out because the public hearing was illegal,” he said while adding that the collector’s stand was not correct because there is a Delhi High Court ruling of 2009 that states outsiders can participate in a public hearing.

The Delhi High Court order in the case of Samarth Trust and Other v Union of India & Others W.P.(C) 9317 of 2009, said: “….prima facie, that so far as a public hearing is concerned, its scope is limited and confined to those locally affected persons residing in the close proximity of the project site. However, in our opinion, the Notification does not preclude or prohibit persons not living in the close proximity of the project site from participating in the public hearing – they too are permitted to participate and express their views for or against the project.”

EIA invalid, flawed

Gohil also said that the EIA for the project is invalid as it has been prepared by a consultant (Engineers India Ltd or EIL) which is not accredited to prepare such reports for nuclear power plants.

Activists who came for the public hearing said the EIA for the project is flawed. “It (EIA report) does not have a proper resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) plan for the project affected people, which is still in the making. How can the authorities go ahead with the public  hearing without an R&R plan?” asked Rohit Prajapati of Vadodara-based NGO, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti. He further added that only the 24 villages directly affected by the project were invited to the public hearing, while 128 other villages that are within a 30 km radius of the project were left out.

Asked if the public hearing would be organised again in view of the public boycott, GPCB regional officer A V Shah said that board considers the consultations as concluded. He said 47 objections and representations were submitted during the scheduled time for public hearing and that these would be forwarded to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests which mandates public hearing as a pre-condition for grant of environment clearance.

Shah said that as per the public hearing notification, the project developer (NPCIL) should speak or make a presentation first. “We went by the law. If the public had objections they could have voiced them after the presentation,” he said.

With regard to engaging EIL as consultant, P M Shah, chief engineer with NPCIL, said that the firm’s application is pending with the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NAEBT). The board has allowed EIL to continue their work in the nuclear power sector in conjunction with Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and NPCIL, he added.

‘Won’t part with fertile land’

The residents are opposed to giving away their land because it is very fertile. Samuben Dabhi, sarpanch of Mithi Virdi village, said that most of the farmers take three crops every year. Forty-two-year-old Ramji Bhai has 25 bighas (8.7 bighas make a hectare) of land on which he grows mango, cheeku and vegetables “I easily make Rs 7-8 lakh every year with very less input cost because of the high fertility of the land. It gives everything to me and my family to lead a happy life,” said Ramji Bhai. “Why would I give away my land when I do not need money or employment from the company?” he asked.

The sarpanch of Jaspara said residents now plan to take legal action against the authorities for conducting an illegal public hearing.


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/public-walk-out-hearing-mithi-virdi-nuclear-power-project

 

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