Monday, October 10, 2011

Saving Punjab farmer

By Devinder Sharma
4 October, 2011

To overcome the adverse long term impacts of intensive farming, Punjab needs to make its agriculture more sustainable and farmer centric.

For over 40 years now, ever since Green Revolution began, the nation has eulogised the Punjab farmer. Newspapers have reported time and again about the visible prosperity ushered in through intensive agriculture. Magazine articles have featured the opulent life style of prosperous Punjabi farmers. The story of the bygone era somehow remains transfixed in our memory, and that perhaps is the reason why policy makers, economists and scientists still continue to live in the past.

For nearly two decades now, Punjab’s underbelly has been gradually caving in. Excessive use of chemical fertilisers has turned the verdant lands poisonous, water mining has dried the aquifers leading to the expansion of the desert, and chemical fertilisers and pesticides have played havoc with the environment and human health. With the input prices climbing year after year and the output prices remaining static, Punjab farmers became a victim of the same economic policies that projected them as country’s heroes. Agriculture has become not only unsustainable but economically unviable.

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Poor ideas to remove poverty

By Gopal Krishna
28 September, 2011

While the Planning Commission has repeatedly failed to provide any worthwhile solution to eradicate poverty, its insincere attempts to deliberately hide the actual number of poor in the country makes one question its relevance in present times.

In an affidavit filed by B D Virdi, Adviser, Planning Commission before the Supreme Court in the PUCL vs Union of India & Others or Writ Petition (Civil) 196 of 2001, the Commission said that any citizen who spends more than Rs 965 per month in urban India (around Rs.32 per day) and Rs 781 in rural India (around Rs.26 per day) “at June 2011 price level” would be considered not to be poor. This is set as poverty line based on the monetary value of some normative expenditure that is deemed essential.

The affidavit submits that “At June 2011 price level, for a family of five this provisional poverty line would amount to Rs.4, 824 per month in urban areas and Rs.3, 905 per month in rural areas. However, final poverty lines following the Tendulkar Committee will only be available after completion of the 2011-12 NSS Survey” by National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). Till then poor can wait.

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The business of knowledge

By Sudhirendar Sharma
26 September, 2011

In the race to keep pace with the educational imperatives of growing population can quality of education be allowed to be compromised? Prakash Jha's film Aarakshan takes a compelling dig against privatisation in education.

Needless to say, you don't come home after watching the film Aarakshan (meaning ‘Reservation’) with a happy-go-lucky feeling, nor do you come away entirely sure of what you've seen. Reality, like the warped mind of the protagonist, is wholly subjective, and the only thing that is clear, crystal clear, is that, howsoever growing and expanding it might be, tuition cannot be a substitute for education.

Prakash Jha is one filmmaker who has carved out his own niche within a Bollywood system that is both intellectually bankrupt and box office driven. Often labelled a political film director, Jha has found it hard to avoid marketing gimmickry to deal with the subject of his recent flick. The politics of ban on Aarakshan film only justified his commercial wisdom.

Despite losing the plot in the first half, Aarakshan remains an important movie that takes a compelling dig against privatization in education. Though the narrative sets up a simplistic good versus evil dispute and a high-caste versus lower-caste conflict, the screenplay nevertheless exposes the unethical commercialization of education as the core issue.

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Teary tale of onion trade

By Devinder Sharma
21 September, 2011

The recent ban on onion exports resulted in an aggressive lobbying to revoke the ban as demanded by the wholesale traders. The way Chief Ministers and cabinet ministers joined hands against the export ban, it is obvious that onions have become important political tool.

Concerned by the rising retail prices of onions, government banned its export on September 9 but within 11 days of imposing the ban, the powerful traders lobby forced the government to lift the ban. Succumbing to pressure from the big traders, who normally cry hoarse in the name of farmers, the speed at which the onion trade made the government to bend backwards is a pointer to the monumental failure to curb food inflation.

For over 4 years now, ever since food inflation has hit the roof, I haven’t seen so much of political activity as I have observed in the last few days. Triggered by protest by Nasik onion traders, who had refused to partake in daily auction to demonstrate their anger against the sudden imposition of exports ban, the state NCP chief Madhukar Pichad made appeals to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan too deputed his Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-patil and some of his colleagues to meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and other concerned ministers.

According to news reports, Prithviraj Chavan had himself lobbied with Pranab Mukherjee and Anand Sharma seeking an immediate withdrawal of the ban on onion exports. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar too had thrown his weight behind the agitating traders and had met Food Minister K V Thomas to impress upon him the need to allow onion exports. He forcefully argued in favour of onion exports at the meeting of the empowered Group of Minister (eGoM). Knowing the influence Sharad Pawar wields in UPA II, it was expected that the government would give in.

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Save nature, the tribal way

By Rina Mukherji
18 September, 2011

Nilanjan Bhattacharya's film Johar-Welcome to our world highlights the sustainable practices of our indigenous peoples which they nurtured on the strength of their bonds with the forests.

India has the highest concentration of indigenous peoples in the world- with 635 tribes totaling 84.32 million people- and yet we have only belatedly woken up to the need to recognize the rights of forest dwelling communities. The Forest Rights Act, 2006 was a just step in the direction of conserving our biodiversity. But the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, which shall pave the way for genetically modified crops, threatens to make a mockery of our rich biodiversity and traditional agricultural and food practices, including those of tribals.

Nilanjan Bhattacharya’s film Johar-Welcome to our world is an attempt to focus on a sustainable food culture that our indigenous peoples have nurtured on the strength of the bonds that bind them to the forests they live in.
This documentary, that recently won a National Award for best narration /writing, extensively covers the lives of the Birhor, Munda, Oraon, Asur, Korwa, and other tribal communities in Jharkhand, and dwells on their traditional occupations, which have been unable to bear the onslaught of the westernized model of development, leaving them without means of livelihood, or land to farm on.

Tribal lands all over India yield the major part of the country’s mineral wealth, including iron ore, mica, copper, chromium and coal. Yet, 75 per cent of the tribals live below the poverty line. Tribal hamlets like Amlasole in West Bengal and Kalahandi in Orissa are synonymous with starvation deaths and misery. Whenever dams have come up, it has been on tribal land. And so have wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves. Forest-dwelling tribals have always found themselves marginalized, with the forests from which they gathered produce increasingly being cut down by successive governments - British and Indian, and forest officials denuding forests of the trees that give them their unique character. As a consequence, vast tracts that were home to forest-dwelling tribals are now barren land, with not a single tree in sight.

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Greed eyeing green

By Sudhirendar Sharma
16 September, 2011

Is green capitalism a distraction from the real issues that the world needs to address to realize sustainable development?

Henk Manschot, a Professor of Ethics and Sustainable Development at the Kosmopolis Institute in the Netherlands, shocked a global gathering at a conference in the Hague late last year when he revealed how ‘global footprint’ increases as people move up the human development index. As people consume resources to go up on the index, their ecological footprint stretches on additional hectares of land on the planet. ‘If the resource poor billion plus were to gain improved access to basic services such as health, education and portable water, the planet will run out of its hectares,’ warned Manschot.

The warning is imminent although there is no international consensus on how to reach out to the deprived billions. While global food security has yet to be achieved, the outlook for freshwater scarcity and improved sanitation looks bleak. Collectively, these crises are severely impacting the possibility of sustaining prosperity to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for reducing extreme poverty. Top it with growing fossil fuel and energy demand and the cup of woes will spill over like a never-before tsunami of unprecedented nature. The signs are ominous!

Forty years since Stockholm and twenty years following the Rio Summit, the world has slipped backwards on its race to alleviate poverty and on its efforts to reverse the ecological decline. Conversely, obsession with capitalist model of development has acerbated social instability, economic insecurity and job losses. While some of the biggest western-style economies are dragging the global economy with their sovereign debt dramas, the developing world's obsession with economic growth is leading to deepening of the ecological crises.

To pull the planet from the current mess, world leaders will get back to the drawing board yet again. Knowing well that none of their previous commitments to sustainable development have worked, the congregation at Rio in June 2012 will carve out a new global agenda for survival of mankind. Though global climate negotiations have already hit a road block, the leaders are taking a detour to charter a ‘green economy’ pathway aimed at getting the planet back on track. While ‘green' as a colour seems promisingly soothing, its contents are fuzzy and somewhat contentious.

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Distressed farmers declare crop-holiday

By Devinder Sharma
15 September, 2011

To revive agriculture and to make farmers debt-free, government must bring in a Farmers Income Guarantee Act to determine the monthly income package a farm family must receive.

There is something terribly going wrong with agriculture. While nearly 40,000 farmers in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir have defaulted on repayment to the State Bank of India alone to the tune of Rs 600-crore, hundreds of farmers in the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh, comprising the fertile and irrigated East Godawari and West Godwari districts, have refused to cultivate paddy this year declaring a ‘crop holiday’.

What may appear to be two completely disconnected events happening in two different geographical regions of the country are in reality a wake up call. Whether it is the northeast or the more productive northwest regions; whether it is Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu or Odisha; agriculture continues to be in the throes of what appears to be a perpetual crisis for survival. What is not realised is that it is actually a crisis of sustainability and economic viability.

It all began from the fertile konaseema region of East Godawari district in Andhra Pradesh where a small farmer Suryabhagwan owning six-acres of land voluntarily announced that he would prefer to work as a ‘coolie’ than to undertake paddy cultivation. Already under heavy debt and knowing that another season of paddy cultivation will only add to his indebtedness, his call for a ‘crop holiday’ soon reverberated. Within a few weeks, the idea of a ‘crop holiday’ in the ongoing kharif season spread like wildfire and more than 1 lakh hectares in the two irrigated districts today lies barren.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Maize Matters

By Pandurang Hegde
09 Sep 2011

Backed by government support, maize cultivation has spread to a large area of India to cater to increased demand from the industry. The shift towards maize will not only upset the delicate nutritional balance in dry regions but it will also pave way for agri-corps to push GM maize into India.

The high priests of agricultural bureaucracy have been chanting the mantra of second green revolution for quite sometime. It seems the country is moving towards this through maize revolution. The vast expanse of the countryside in north and southern India is full of standing maize crop. This versatile crop, which can grow in any kind of ecological zones, is changing the agricultural landscape in India.


UNCTAD finds fault with recovery measures

By Ashok B Sharma
08 Sep 2011

Instead of regulating the financial system, developed economies are trying to woo the very speculators who created the problem, says a report by the UN agency.

A United Nations report for the first time has taken a dig at the faulty measures being adopted so far to bail out the world economy from the financial crisis which engulfed it since August-September 2008.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Corruption behind farm-crisis

By Devinder Sharma
07 Sep 2011

Corruption has not only hindered development of India but its role in creating and aggravating farm crisis is no less critical. Corrupt scientists, bank officials and policy makers have pushed farmers to the brink.

I haven’t forgotten that night. Sitting with a group of farmers in a village in Ludhiana district in Punjab, at the height of the Green Revolution, a farmer showed me a bag of fertiliser that he brought from the market.


Dark clouds over coal based power

By Shankar Sharma
26 Aug 2011

As supply of coal is becoming uncertain, the future of many coal-based power plants has come under clouds. However, this crisis could become an opportunity if focus is shifted to renewable energy options.

There have been many news reports in recent weeks that a reliable coal supply has become a critical issue for the Indian power sector in recent years, and that because of it the power supply situation is likely to go from bad to worse. The issue has the potential to be a game changer.


Price-tag for ties with nature?

By Sudhirendar Sharma
24 Aug 2011

By ignoring the cultural dimension of climate change adaptation, the capital centric efforts through economic valuation of nature and people's relations with it, will alter forever peoples' attitude towards it.

Even at the cost of being refuted, it wouldn't be out of context to prophesise that globalisation of climate change will convert the Himalaya into a new playground for capitalism! Not only will the Himalaya get converted into a repository of Carbon to counter what others have voluntarily emitted but will charge for ecosystem services that it has been gifting to downstream people for several millennia.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Tightrope walking on LARR Bill

By Archana Vaidya
18 Aug 2011

The draft Land Acquisition Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill (LARR Bill) is in public domain for discussion. The Bill makes a right start when in the preamble it declares that cumulative outcome of compulsory acquisition should be that affected persons become partners in development.

To ensure this partnership LARR Bill seems to have come up with solutions for some of the most vexatious issues that the existing law faces and has introduced some innovative and much needed provisions such as for resettlement and rehabilitation of affected people. However some important issues still have not been dealt with comprehensively and would require more deliberations and debate.


Bungling government creates an icon

By S. G. Vombatkere
18 Aug 2011

Unprecedented public support for Anna Hazare's demand for Jan Lokpal Bill has rattled the political class. People power has won the first round of the decisive bout but greater challenges lie ahead.

Over the past four decades successive Union governments of various political hues have not even gotten to the stage of tabling a Lokpal Bill, and combined with a rash of monumental scams in the past couple of years, it has pushed the corruption issue on to the front page.


Crisis before capitalism

Ashok B Sharma
10 Aug 2011

As lingering financial crisis in the developed world is casting its shadow on the developing countries, it is time to look beyond capitalism for sustainable and equitable development.

Despite various stimulus packages and waivers, the global financial crisis is far from being over
The slow revival process after the shock of global financial crisis that began from August-September 2008 suffered another major jolt with Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgrading US economy last week.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pushing adivasis to the brink

By Pandurang Hegde
09 Aug 2011

On the occasion of the 'International Day of the World's Indigenous People', the policy makers should realize that unless corrective and protective measures are put in place, the adivasis would soon lose their livelihoods, culture and faith to the mad rush to exploit the natural resources.

Today, on August 9, the world is celebrating ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous People’ to acknowledge the important role of tribal cultures and their contribution to cultural and linguistic diversity. This decade is also ‘Second International Decade for Indigenous People’ to highlight and strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, human rights, environment, and social and economic development.


Towards conflict free land acquisition

By Archana Vaidya
05 Aug 2011

Before acquiring lands for development, the governments must ensure that the original land-owners are made stakeholders in the progress, instead of being left behind homeless and jobless.

The Draft Land Acquisition and Resettlement and Rehabilitation (LARR), 2011 has been put in the public domain for a period of one month for wider consultation and building consensus. Before we analyse the new draft of the proposed Bill, it is imperative to understand why there has been so much anger, resentment and conflict associated with the compulsory acquisition.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Time to revive native cow breeds

By Devinder Sharma
03 Aug 2011

Very high milk productivity of Indian cow breeds in Brazil proves that with proper nutrition, veterinary care and genetic development our desi cows can help us meet our growing milk demand. After decades of indifference, policymakers are now turning their focus on native breeds.

Better late than never! Highly concerned by the demand for milk outstripping supply, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has finally decided to develop 900 progeny bulls of primarily native breeds to meet the increasing demand for milk in the years to come.


BNHS launches revised Field Guide of Salim Ali

By Atul Sathe
01 Aug 2011

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has launched the revised edition of “A Pictorial Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent” by S├ílim Ali and S Dillon Ripley first published in 1983.

The new book in a new attractive avatar is titled “Birds of the Indian Subcontinent – A Field Guide” co-authored by Ranjit Manakadan, J C Daniel and Nikhil Bhopale. Their insights span three generations of avian expertise at BNHS. The book offers a lot more information, illustrations and other features as compared to the earlier book, at an affordable price. The book was released in Mumbai at the BNHS auditorium packed with bird lovers.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Activists demand National Development Planning Act

New Delhi,
03 Aug 2011

Several social activists led by Medha Patkar have alleged that the Congress led UPA, instead of progressing from its previous positions has actually retracted to its pre-2006 position through the draft LARR Bill.

“The government has also gone back from the promises made by the UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, in 2006, while agreeing to the National Advisory Council (NAC) draft of the legislation. The NAC Draft, in hindsight was far more progressive and comprehensive as it referred to the draft legislation for ‘Development Planning, Minimum Displacement and Just Rehabilitation’. It is an irony that Jairam Ramesh, who has introduced this draft, was part of that NAC team,” said the joint press release issued by the activists sitting on a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Odisha's little Gandhians

By S. G. Vombatkere
01 Aug 2011

After inspection of the villages peacefully resisting the POSCO project in Odisha, the NCPCR has justified the children's participation in the ongoing agitation terming it 'voluntary'.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had sent a 3-member team on July 4, 2011, for an on-the-spot inspection of the area of the POSCO project in Jagatsinghpur District of Odisha. Its objective was to examine whether children were being used, misused or abused by the elders by involving them in the on-going protest against the POSCO project in the area.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oceans under threat

By Pandurang Hegde
30 Jul 2011

There are heavy pressures on coastal areas and oceans due to the unregulated developmental activity. To save the oceans, we need to put a check on marine pollution, ocean acidification and over-exploitation of marine life.

Earth’s renewable resources are under threat. Having destroyed the grasslands and forests, human actions are causing irreversible damage to the marine ecosystems. The global warming is affecting not only the arctic zones, but also the aquatic life forms in the sea.


Making the State master of citizens

By S. G. Vombatkere
28 Jul 2011

The Aadhar project's primary aim is to bring every citizen under the watchful eyes of the state. UID will enable and support surveillance and tracking, irrespective of its declared primary aim of enabling services for the poor.

The Unique Identification (UID) project, also known as Aadhaar, has been pushed into implementation by creation of a UID Authority of India (UIDAI) in 2009. It is slated to spend Rs. 45,000 to 1,50,000 crore with a sanctioned budget of Rs. 3,000 crores without approval of Parliament. Nandan Nilekani, former CEO of Infosys Technologies, has been nominated to head the UIDAI and accorded cabinet minister rank


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stop CDM for coal power plants

By Shankar Sharma
19 Jul 2011

It would be criminal wastage of public funding if CDM encourages more coal based power projects on the premise that the super critical technology is to be deployed in the plants. Instead, CDM in developing countries should first focus on efficiency improvements measures in generation, transmission, distribution and utilization of electricity and locally available renewable energy sources.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), under the patronage of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was adopted by most countries as one of the global response to reduce global warming. It permits industrialized countries (Annex 1 countries under Kyoto Protocol) to earn emission credits through investment in sustainable development projects that reduce overall Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in developing countries.


The last hope of common man

By Devinder Sharma
12 Jul 2011

In recent times, the Supreme Court has given some crucial judgements to curb the anti-people policies being pushed by governments in the name of development and growth. Considering the abject surrender of policymakers and media before the corrupt, judicial activism remains the only hope for the marginalised Indians.

In a series of judgements that have challenged the mainline economic thinking, the country’s highest court has struck at the very foundation of India’s growth story. Moving a step ahead of simple diagnosis and introspection, the Supreme Court has taken on the responsibility of cleaning the mess.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deceptive intervention for millets

By Biju Negi
12 Jul 2011

Since time immemorial farmers of Uttarakhand have been growing several nutritious varieties of millets without using any external or chemical inputs. But now the government, under influence of agri-business, is making them dependent on harmful chemicals and costly commercial seeds.

This is organic, officially organic Uttarakhand, and the state Agriculture Department is having ‘minikits’ of chemical fertilizers and micro-nutrients distributed free to its small farmers. Quietly, almost secretly!
These free minikits are part of the “Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion (INSIMP)”, beginning current kharif season in the six districts of Uttarakhand – Pauri, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Almora.


Carbon Crunching

By Sudhirendar Sharma
06 Jul 2011

The World Bank has signed an agreement with the state government of Himachal Pradesh for the largest carbon revenue project. However, the conditions of the agreement indicate that instead of putting the carbon revenue mechanism to the competitive advantage of the stakeholders, such projects continue to serve the interest of the clients.

Tucked up in the middle Himalayas, farmers in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh will crunch atmospheric carbon to help rid the Spaniards of their climate woes. In the next two decades, 839,582 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents are likely to be sequestered in over 4,000 hectares of variedly degraded agriculture and forest land in the state.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Increasing prosperity, disappearing girls

By Pandurang Hegde
30 Jun 2011

Contrary to popularly held opinion, the female to male ratio is on decline despite continuous economic growth in India. Curiously, the backward regions with poor education seem to be doing better on child sex ratio in comparison to the better-off areas.

The provisional Census figures released recently brought relief to experts as they saw the marginal decline in the rate of population growth. This euphoria is short lived as the dissection of the census data revealed a shocking feature of declining child sex ratios (CSR). Though there was marginal improvement in the adult sex ratio, it was obvious that the girls were missing from the populations not only in the northern regions, but also in new areas including in the prosperous urban regions of the country.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In search of sustainable growth

By Shankar Sharma
24 Jun 2011

The policymakers say that to eradicate poverty, India needs to grow at the rate of 9 percent for the next 20 years. But why ignore the long term social, economic and environmental impacts on the vulnerable sections of our society of environmentally unsustainable ways to growth?

The ‘expert group on low carbon strategies for inclusive growth’ which was set up under the Planning Commission to develop a strategy for India’s 12th Five Year Plan has released its interim report recently.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lying down for Justice

By S. G. Vombatkere
14 Jun 2011

Hundreds of children are opposing the government plan to acquire lands and forests for the Posco plant. This unique action by children is a warning to the policy makers to reconsider their development strategy before it is too late to make a course correction.

The people and especially the children of Dhinkia, Gadkujang, Govindpur and Nuagaon villages in Jagatsinghpur District in Odisha have shown how people matter over governments' plans for development of business corporations at their cost. The children “illegally” lay down on the hot earth in the blazing summer heat and refused to move to allow entry to government officials to take over forest land and their villages for the POSCO mega-project.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Unhappy! So what?

By Sudhirendar Sharma
31 May 2011

The social pressure to feel happy has made people more miserable. The market is the sole gainer of this desperate search for happiness, offering unending items and services to make the consumer feel better.

Recent research suggests that happiness may not be bliss, as people who strive for happiness may end up being worse off. Says June Gruber of Yale University, who published the research findings in Perspectives on Psychological Science: "doing things with the expectation that these ought to make you happy can lead to disappointment and decreased happiness." Conversely, being unhappy shouldn't be thought of as a universally bad thing.


Green projects with red results

By Pandurang Hegde
23 May 2011

Mini hydel projects, initially considered by environmentalists as green alternatives for power generation, have become threat to fragile ecosystems. The lure of high returns on investment, in addition to various incentives, created a mad rush among private players leading to destruction of natural forests.

The growth of economy as well as maintaining high GDP growth rate is directly linked to the availability of power. So, successive governments give a push to increase power production.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The mission unholy

Rina Mukherji
18 May 2011

India has been under attack for more than a millennium. The wicked attempts to destroy its civilization and denigrate the beliefs of the natives continue unabated despite the nation achieving political independence from the Europeans after the painful partition.

For decades, texts and tomes published in the West have been bombarding us with theories that India is primarily made up of distinct ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidian’ racial strains, with the ‘tribals’ and ‘dalits’ comprising the other distinct groups.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

We need new system, not laws!

By Kuldeep Ratnoo
06 May 2011

To remove corruption, we need to change the alien system of governance which encourages exploitation of public resources for personal benefits. A new law wouldn't make a big difference unless power is decentralised up to the panchayat level.
In our country, where everything, be it a degree to conduct surgery or fly airplanes, or scientific approval to sell deadly technologies, can be ‘ensured’ for a price, it appears that most ‘aspiring and ambitious’ persons have accepted corruption as a ‘necessary evil’. As success is measured in terms of money earned by a person, corruption has become the highway to ‘growth’ and a ‘better life’. Those, who voluntarily opt to miss the immoral flight to ‘higher levels’, get ridiculed, marginalised and pitied by one and all, including their near and dear ones.


More frightened than their corrupt masters

By Kuldeep Ratnoo
27 Apr 2011

The mass mobilisation across the nation against corruption has terrified the so-called intellectuals who fear rising influence of people over policy making process would be detrimental to their authority and appeal.
Most people in India were stunned by the huge public support that Anna Hazare led campaign against corruption received. But many more were startled to read and hear disapproval of this mass awakening against corruption, and denunciation of the people behind it by the so-called ‘intellectuals and prominent persons of the civil society’.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cities too need 'nirmal' push

By Rina Mukherji

India's success in rural sanitation has to be replicated at the urban level, as the rising migration to cities is leading to serious sanitation and health problems.
India spends crores on flyovers, fancy stadia and intelligent buildings to construct world-class cities. Urban slums and the poor are sought to be removed because they make our cities ugly. But are shanty towns in themselves ugly? Aren’t the unhygienic open drains, human and animal waste that actually make them so?


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Public perpetuates corruption

By Samir Nazareth
13 Apr 2011

Any movement against corruption will not yield results if the citizens refuse to accept their responsibility to oppose it in their daily life. People must realise that if they don't want to sacrifice their personal interests to fight corruption, no law will be effective in curbing it.
t was interesting to see how the so called 'second freedom movement' drew a kaleidescope of people to it. Almost every big city has had a demonstration against corruption and in support of Anna Hazare. Everyone wanted to convert a dream into reality.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Not willing to learn

By Pandurang Hegde

Are our nuclear power obsessed politicians, industrialists and scientists willing to learn from the crisis in Japan? Or they need more disasters like Fukushima to realize their folly?


Thursday, March 31, 2011

The sky isn't the limit

By Sudhirendar Sharma
Climate Change, reducing size of arable land and availability of freshwater have forced some thinkers to explore options of vertical farms. But the capital-intensive nature of farmscraper remains a major concern.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

UP goes the Punjab way By Devinder Sharma

Considering the role of mandis in making Punjab food bowl of country, it is urgently required to set up a nationwide network of mandis in India. Though late, but UP government has taken a right decision to increase their number.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Fukushima rings the warning bell By S. G. Vombatkere

The accident in the nuclear power plant at Fukushima after the earthquake and tsunami has raised serious questions about the safety of nuclear energy based power plants.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

People want Bijli, not bullet By Shankar Sharma

Rising cases of people's unrest against poorly planned power projects are a matter of great concern and the policymakers must strive to ensure that the proposals are based on overall societal welfare.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Budget takes green turn By A. Vaidya

The budget for the year 2011-12 aims to incorporate green concerns into development aspects and to give a big fillip to renewable energy technologies.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Better late, than never By Devinder Sharma

Pranab Mukherjee has made a beginning to improve the conditions of the deprived and marginalised sections but the policies need much higher allocations to make any positive transformation in the lives of the poor.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Protect people, conserve wildlife By A. Vaidya

The revised guidelines of MoEF regarding Critical Wildlife Habitat are not in consonance with the spirit of Wildlife Protection Act and Forest Right Act.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Burning forest to warm body By Samir Nazareth

The recent GAC report of the World Economic Forum indicates that the business and political powers are still in denial mode on threats emerging from Climate Change.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Changing air in Arabia By Pandurang Hegde

The overthrow of authoritarian regimes in the Arab world by non-violent people's struggle gives new hope to the humanity. But will these upheavals change the fundamentals of society towards more humane, secular, tolerant of the diversity in ideologies and ecologically responsible behavior?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Women deliver, but governments don't By Rina Mukherji

A new book based on a successful model of local healthcare provides valuable lessons for the policymakers to improve India's performance in reducing maternal and infant mortality figures. But are they willing to think beyond the donor based stand alone programmes for public healthcare?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Diversity deprived education By Sudhirendar Sharma

As the entire education system has remained urban centric and is now becoming globalised with textbooks heavily borrowing from the western ideas and terms, the majority of children in a vast and diverse civilisation like India do not feel any relationship with the content, leading to alienation of majority.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Market opens for camel milk By Devinder Sharma

As demand for camel milk is on the rise globally, India can use the opportunity to effectively market the camel milk products and help improve the social-economic conditions of the camel owners.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Corner the corrupt By Ashok B Sharma

Under attack from Supreme Court and the opposition for its inaction on unearthing the black money deposited in tax heavens, the Government has taken some initiatives in line with global developments but much need to be done to curb the corrupt practices behind continuous wealth drain.