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Krishna Kumar Singh, also known among friend circles KK and among close relative Krishna; Matriculation from Mithila High School Balour, Darbhanga in 1959, Graduated in Political Science Honours from C M College, Darbhanga, Bihar University in 1963; Joined post-graduate in Political Science the same year but dropped; joined Naxal movement under Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Satya Narayan Singh and Umadhar Singh in between but circumstances compelled to join literary work, clerk, proof readers etc in different publishing houses for livelihood; Finally joined journalism as career in different English newspapers and before my retirement from active journalism, I worked in The Times of India for about 19 years and retired as Chief Reporter  a few years back; continuing in journalism-reading more and more, writing more and more and praying to Almighty more and more-currently writing for different national English and Hindi dailies and magazines..

Friday, 30 November 2012

CHILD LABOUR, A BIGGEST CURSE IN INDIA!

It is common refrain that children are messengers of the God, They are the future of the country! But in India ,children among the marginal and middle classes, totalling over 87 percent particularly are most neglected lot in the  country ! Prevalent of child labour is highest in India. If we take into account the census data of 2001, in every 10 workers in India, one is a child. These children are in the age-group of the 5-14 years. Children are abducted, kidnapped and allured in a big way in the country according to a International Labour Organisation (ILO)  report and a revealing story  in the Washington Post. They are forced into  labour and sexual exploitation. In the process over 90000 children are missing for the last several years in India-(My blog Topic-headlined , 90000 Children missing in India! written on September 25, 2012). Instead of shaping the destiny of the children by providing them food, health provisions and education, they are forced into child labour. Worse is the scenario among children below the age of five years. They are malnourished and die every year in huge number because of absence of medical facilities despite the facts that both union government and state  government have been claiming large number of measures for the welfare of children in the country!

In 2004-05, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) had put the figure of child labour 8.9 million. Since than there have been no significant change in the situation for improvement. Hosts of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have assessed that the  child labour  over 60 million in India. What ever may be case, India is the largest employer of child labour. Over 80 percent of child labour are not visible as they work in the unorganised sectors including within family or in house-hold work. As per the NSSO survey in 2004-05, six percent children work in dhabas. restaurants, hotels , motels etc; 15 percent as domestic workers;   construction-17 percent;  ceramic-two percent;  auto-work-shop and vehicle repiars-four percent;  carpet making- three percent; gem-cutting and jewellery-three percent; brick -klin and tiles-seven percent;; spinning and weaving-11 percent;; pan biddhi and cigarettes workshops-21 percent; agarbatti, dhoop and detergent making-one percent and others-11 percent.

If one sees the poor plight of children world-wide,  in the context of India as particular; poverty is the main cause of child labour. More than one billion people globally live on less than one$ a day! Number of poor are greatest in the South-East Asia.. Over 186 million child including India in the world under age 15 years are engaged in child labour.  The Asia-Pacific region is most notorious on this score. About 150 million children in 5-17 age group are engaged in the worse -type of work globally. Apart from that decreasing trend in providing education  to children is also one of factors of child labour in the world. One hundred three million children of elementary school age are out of school. Of them 60 percent are girls. In sum and total, world illiteracy population is 799 million. Lack of employment  avenues throughout the world is also  one of the major factors of engagement of child labour. Employment potentialities is decreasing even in most advanced countries of Europe and America. Over 184.7 million people are unemployed in the globe among adult, resulting into forcing children in doing work in unorganised sectors for the livelihood of the family members.

Child labour has strange connotation in economic term. Children participate in the work, that is called economic activities as their participation results in the production of goods and service that grows the economy! In India Child labour is mainly due to acute poverty among 78 percent of population mainly in the rural areas. About 90 percent of children, engaged in child labour, are from rural areas of the country. Children from lower caste and minority community are majority in child labour because of their exploitation in the country. They are mostly from illiterate section of society. Girl child are also engaged in such work in rural house-holds of big and landed class people. More over a survey of NSSO has indicated that in India 32 percent children, who are considered "no where" in government record of schools nor at identified work places or at their homes are actually working as child labour , hiding their identity. In the country like India where facilities for education is at minimum level from government side at cheap rate, education is bought on high premium. Thus, their parents allow them for child labour for earning in unorganised sectors because they cannot afford education of such high cost. To some extend , similar situation prevails in other South-east Asian countries. A UNICEF report has said , " international trade appears to be associated with lower incidence of child labour. Some studies indicate that globalisation may increase the demand for unskilled labours in the countries that specialise in labour-intensive industries. In this way, such demand of unskilled labour, may increase in the child labour throughout the globe, particularly In India where globalisation and neo-liberal policies are being implemented indiscriminately."


The  Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which is doing wonderful work for the welfare of the children in India, is of the opinion that a profit of around Rs 1,20,000 crore is made by employers of child labour annually in India. These income are not on records to evade taxes." Six crore child labour substitute a similar number of adults in the job market. As per government estimates, Rs 15 is spent on child labour a day while as per the national floor wage, an adult labourers must be paid Rs 115 per day. For 250 working days, the wage cost work out to Rs 18,000 crore for child workers and Rs 1,38,00 crore for adults. The differences of Rs 1,20,000 crore is undeclared profit." the Andolan paper says.

Not only hat there are instances of coersive measures by ownerss of work places on chilren for work more and moee even during odd hours. In many cases children have become sick and died while working. Such reports are rampant with Bihari child labours engsaged in Delhi, Punjab , Haryana, many towns of Uttar Pradesh , Madras etc. In some cases, children have been rescued from these places .Surprisigly , even at the houses of urban elites, inavriably the instances of child labour are found. One may find that small children serving the guests and house-hold owners their meals, tea etc after preparing in the kitechens, . In many cases , exploitation of these child labour are at the height. They are beaten mercilessly by the house-hold owners. In rural areas, child labour  is in abundance. Both male and female child labour are found working at the houses of rich and landowing classes people.Girl child labour are sexually abused and sold to brothel owners at many places.

Regretably the child Labour Act covers only in organised sectors. Whereas child labour are engaged in unporgansed sectors. No doubt the Union government has taken many measures like enactment  of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and the Right to Education Act to curb child labour but nothing tangible appears  on the surface to eliminate the child labour in the country!

SOURCES: International Labour Organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, The Economics of Child Labour by Kaushik Basu and and Hoang Van Pham, The Economics of Child Labour by Xinye Zheng National Sample Suvey oginisation, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Childline Foundation of India, Economic and Political Weekly, Frontline, International Centre on Child Labour and Education.

Monday, 26 November 2012

NEED TO ABOLISH CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND CONSTITUTIONAL IMPROPRIETRY IN HANGING AJMAL KASAB!

Lamentably, over 60 years of the independence of India, we carry the retrograde burdens like death sentences in our statute book! We Indians are moving in the beginning of 21st century when the entire nations of the world are striving hard for progressive measures to enter new culturally ,and humane society as well as advanced technology  .And in India old and ancient fashions and orthodox , mixed with  feudal thinking  contiunes to take driving seats ! We  have miserably failed to adopt a humane approach towards-men-kind.and death penalty is existing when there are needs of reforms of guilty people for heinous crimes. Why a culprit for death  is not confined in jails for whole life in the process of reforming him? And instead of that in India, there are craze for violence in the form of death penalty . No doubt the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab had committed heinous crime and killed many persons and his capital punishment is justified. But Our Constitution has many provisions to complete the paraphernalia before the hanging could take place to any person, guilty for murder or  even for worse type of crimes. Only after exauhstation  all legal formalities , extreme step of death penalty could be considered!

Recent instance of hanging of Ajamal Kasab in hush -hush and secret manner has left behind many unanswered questions! Such secret hanging of Kasab is injustice. Ajmal Kasab , a terrorist and a killer was hanged to death in Yerwada jail in Pune on the morning of November 21, 2012 in secret manner following the rejection of his mercy petition by the President of India Mr Pranab Mukherjee. The operation of hanging Kasab was code named " Operation-X" by the Maharshtra government. Kasab was young and belonged to a poor family of Pakistan and had only primary education to his credit. Society in Pakistan made him a terrorist and killer and in despair, Ajamal moved to the crime and terror world.. And his guilt in 26\11 round of murders of innocent people in Mumbai landed him to such pathetic end of his life. There are many loop-holes in hanging Kasab. At one point, the administrative lapses in hurried and secret hanging of Kasab has pointed out the "constitutional impropriety" of the entire procedures of hanging Kasab! Not only that the union government and Maharshtra government have ignored many well-established procedures, conventions as well as traditions of culturally ancient civilisation of Hindustan in last thousand years. At least , we must have remembered the non-violence peaceful solution of ills from Gautama Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.

Despite so many voices of people against death penalty  , why we are keeping the provision of capital punishment?  In the last 60 years many thoughts have been given on the subject without any fruitful result.More over over half of the world nations including Great Britain, United States of America have abolished death sentences. In Great Britain, where Lord Mountbatten  was killed brutally,  had not awarded death sentence to the culprits! Even In India, right from the very beginning of freedom movement, Mahatma Gandhi remained all -opposed to capital punishment. The first prime minister Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru also had spoken openly against death sentences in India. And lamentably in Gandhi's country Ajmal Kasab was hanged!

 In his  'angush remark'  the former Judge of the Supreme Court and a champion of liberty , Mr V R Krishna Iyer, who is striving hard for  abolishing capital punishment right from 1950s, has said, " It is or  not that Ajmal was Pakistani terrorist, but he was humane being. I have no doubt in my heart  that Gandhi's country should not have killed Ajmal Kasab-he was after all young and belonged to poor family- Pakistan or not, he was a humane being."Justice Iyer has further said, " in my humble view, all humane societies, especially a society that swears by the Indian Constitution-that is deep-rooted in compassion, should abolish judicial executions. Mahatma Gandhi was opposed to it and so was Pundit Nehru."

I must refer here the wonderful and remarkable gesture of the  president of the Congress, Ms Sonia Gandhi, who had written to then President of India K R Narayanan spelling out her views against hanging of her husband's murderers following death penalty to the persons, who killed Rajiv Gandhi brutally, She wrote, " The Supreme Court  had confirmed the death sentences on four persons, who were responsible for the assassination of my beloved husband Rajiv Gandhi--our family does not think that the four held responsible for the  heinous murder of my dear husband must be hanged. My son , Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka or myself do not wish that the four murderers be hanged. In particular we do not wish Nalini , mother of an eight-year-old child, to be hanged. I am aware that how my children miss their father and we do not want another child to loose its parents to get her orphaned..As you are well aware my children Rahul and Priyanka and myself are suffering untold mental agony day in day out due to loss of our beloved  Rajiv. But neither my children nor myself would like the persons, responsible for my husband's tragic end to be hanged-hence I humbly request you to stop their hanging and grant them pardon when they seek your clemency."

Now apart from discussing constitutional impropriety in hanging Kasab, I musr mention here the views of Justice Iyer in abolishing death sentence in India .When he was minister in Kerala in 1950s, Iyer had tried to minimise the death sentences with the consultations of then Governor of Keral. And such move had clicked in early 1950s for carrying a campaign to abolish death sentences in India.

About constitutional impropriety, it is not out of place to mention here that there are many administrative lapses in hanging Kasab in secret and hurried manner. The President has also erred in not making public his decision to reject the mercy petition of Ajamal! If the President would have made public his decision, the country could have known the reasons behind the rejection of Kasab's mercy petition. In executing Kasab, all legal formalities have not been adopted  by the administration. Questions are: Why Ajamal  was not informed about his constitutional rights to seek judicial review of his petition's  rejection by  Pranab Mukherjee?,Second- The judiciary has all power to review the ground on his petition has been rejected by the President!, Third;- Article 21 of the Constitution guarantee the right to life  equally applicable to the Indian as well as foreign nationals,; Furth:- Article 19 says that a person cannot be deprived of life or personal liberty except according to established procedures! Fifth:- The Constitution empowers the citizens the right of judicial review of even President's decision to examine reasons of rejection of mercy plea by the President.

Not only that, the Supreme Court has had ruled in Kehar Singh vs Union of India case landmark judgement (AIR 1989SC-653) that citizens cannot be deprived of any eventualities like judicial review of rejection of mercy plea by the President like  in Ajmal Case. The bench headed by then Chief Justice of India R S Pathak,, had observed and gave written directive that the Constitution of India had every check and balance while finally implementing the judgements of any case!

Taking into account such lapses, hanging of Ajmal has left behind much and much as well as more and more  things of questioning about the propriety of his hanging in secret and hush-hush manner.Mudabhushi Sridhar, professor and Coordinator, Centre for Media Law\and Public Policy, NALSAR, University of Law, Hyderabad, while questioning the hanging of Ajmal before exhaustion of all the formalities, has said, "Darkness and secrecy not only breed disease and corruption but also hide them"'

Saturday, 24 November 2012

IN OUR DECADENT SOCIETY, INDIA HAS MANY SHAMES!

Among our countrymen , particularly writer, political classes, intellectuals, intelligentsia, academic, it has become a common refrain to refer about many prevalent " shames" in India! When we live in a decadent society where all systems have failed, there are bound to be many " shames" in the country. In the present day India, successive political classes and fanatics have subverted the Constitution, laws, rules etc for their enlightened self-interest. Political classes of all hues except a few, have mainly one aim-that is to remain in power or grab power solely to earn as much money  by anyhow. In the process, they are bending the instrumentality of the Indian Constitution. And we have become a part of decadent society and bearing the burnt of ills being perpetuated by political classes and their cohorts-bureaucrats! Thus, India after over 60 years of its existence, has been manufacturing only "shames" everywhere. Apart from many "shames" including  corruption, inequality, poverty, illiteracy, lack of health facilities, power brokering, criminalisation of politic etc one of the great shames is "untouchable,and manual scavenging", still prevalent in every parts of the "Bharat Mahan or India shining".

We have failed to eradicate the "manual scavenging". This has further intensified the "practise of untouchability" , right from south to north and east to west in our country of over 120 crore population. Particularly in rural India, conservatism and feudal mindset  persists. Persons of lower caste are not allowed to sit on chair before feudal people as well as these lower caste people are not allowed to share, ponds, wells, tube wells, temples with people, belonging to upper caste. These practises and being exercised well before the eyes of government and so called messiah of poor and down-trodden, violating the Constitutional provisions  are prevalent in India, adding more and more "shames" to India . And we, as part of decadent society are tolerating injustices after injustices and inequalities after inequalities  towards lower caste 'silently and shamelessly'!

It is strange that merely because of birth in lower caste family, they clean sewers, septic tanks, open drains, flowing with excreta in the house-holds, streets and railway lines and platforms. To substantiate these lapses, one will invariably find that even in the government records-for these works persons of lower caste are appointed and in their service roll, they are described "mehtars"!

More over, after 43 years after its prohibition in the Constitution , a law was passed by the Indian Parliament in 1993, prohibiting such practices. Strangely , this law remained on the statue book without any effective control of such evil practices. Even today lakhs of men and women manually engaged themselves in this barbaric rituals of disposing human excreta, entering the manholes and nullahs for cleaning drains flowing with dirty waters mixed with excreta.These paractices ruin the health , dignity and honour of lakhs of lower caste people. Despite so many assurances and promises of successive Presidents and prime ministers, the union government  continues to move in dark to  free  the country from manual scavenging.  Thus this nation has failed in its duty as per constitutional provisions for providing a life of dignity to lakhs of citizens.

 In 2010, the Safai Karmchari Andolan (SKA) had filed a petition in the Supreme court, highlighting their miseries and had informed the court that as many as 252 districts of the country are in the grip of such 'shameless" work. The case is still pending in the Supreme Court where it has been reported that 7,94,390 dry latrines across the country where human excreta is cleaned by humans. Of these 73 percent is in the rural areas and 27 percent in urban localities. In another 13,14,652 toilets , human excreta is flushed into open drains. And here again to clean these channels fall on scavengers, employed by the union government and state governments.

A few years back on the directives of the Supreme Court, the union ministry of social justices and empowerment had constituted a task forces to indentify the prevalence of  manual scavenging. After some discussions, the union finance ministry allotted  Rs 35 crore to identify scavengers across the country. But nothing moved and the union government dropped the idea, initiated for the first time in the country for identifying the manual scavengers.Many men also clean sewers, septic tanks, open drains into which excreta flows.People trapped by their birth in this vocation are shunned and despised.It clearly infers that government failed miserably in announcing comprehensive time-bound action plan to get rid this country from its "shameful casteist legacy". We must remember the spirit of final words of Dr B R Ambedkar in the context of liberation of manual scavenging. Dr Ambedkar had said,...... ours  is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is battle for freedom. It is battle of reclamation of human personality."

In the last 40 years, some thing tangible has been done by Sulabha International, pioneered by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak. to eradicate manual scavenging  Dr Pathak worked hard in Bihar and other parts of the country to eradicate manual scavenging by developing a new technology of soil-based pit. Pathak's technology clicked not only in different parts of India but in under-developed and developing countries of the South-East Asia. Now his International has become a corporate in this venture.I exactly remember the feudal mind-sets of Bihar and how Dr Pathak, a Gandhian strived hard and dedicated his life to the mission. I remember at one occasion, a few Orthodox Bihar people had laughed at the idea of Dr Pathak and called him " Paikhana-Pathak" . But this discouragement did not deter Dr Pathak and he carried his mission successfully throughout the globe!

Now the Union government has\ also awoke from deep slumber following the snubbing of the Supreme Court.! The struggle of Safai Karmchari Andolan has compelled the union government to bring an effective bill to strengthen 1993 law on this score.The 1993 law had outlawed the practice. But the law was bundle of toothless  provisions. Some thing good in the preamble o f the new  proposed law," it is necessary to correct the historical injustice and indignity suffered by the manual scavengers and to rehabilitate them to a life of dignity." The provision in the 1993 law had  defined "a manual scavengers as a person engaged in or employed for manually carrying human excreta.". But the proposed 12012 law has proposed more effective parameters and had elaborated, "a person engaged or employed......for manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of or otherwise handling in any manner, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in open drain or pit into which the human excreta from the insanitary latrines is disposed of or on a railway track.....". The expanded definition in the proposed Bill has  completely undergone by previous proviso that a person, who cleans" excreta with the help of such devices and using such protective gear, as the central government may notify in this behalf, shall not be deemed to be manual scavengers.".

Not only that  a prominent columnist Harsh Mander , has said, "the proposed bill of 2012 strictly prohibits construction of dry latrines and employment of manual scavengers as also the hazardous cleaning of a sewer or a septic tank. But the cleaning railway tracks has not been included and hazardous cleaning is defined not by employers requiring workers to manually clean sewers or septic tanks but requiring them to do so without protective gear. Our objection is manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks is not just of compromising worker safety---which is no doubt important---- but of human indignity, which would continue even if such manual cleaning is done with protective gear . And it is unconscionable to let the railways off the hook."

It must be noted that liberation from such condemned pratices must come from the invention, discovering as well as use  modern technology. The Application of modern technologies, which are globally  available, will make the occupation humane, dignified and safe and also ensure that human beings do not have direct contact with excreta. Both railways and local bodies could procure such technologies for the purpose!. But the both union and state government appear helpless for spending huge amount to  implement renovating ideas  because human beings are available in abundance to perform this work cheaply. This is manly because that lower caste people are propelled by their birth in most disadvantaged castes and lack of other livelihood options. This appears to be the real shame for the country and its rulers, who have failed to provide proper employment to weaker sections of society by providing them proper education and medicare! The proposed bill must ensure adequate provisions to punish the officials, who fail to implement the measures including for not identifying, reporting and ending manual scavenging, as well as demolishing dry latrines, rehabilitating manual scavengers and other unjust and unlawful social practices.

This is what shamelessly shameless India and we Indians!

Friday, 16 November 2012

LACK OF LAND REFORMS, BANE OF POVERTY AND HUNGER IN INDIA!


What has gone wrong in our system? None has care about prevailing poverty and  hunger as well as wide-scale disparity In the Bharatvarsh, that is called India and Hindustan! Now it has become fashion to speak about corruption in our decadent society's system. Hardly, political leaders of all hues and the  representatives of the   so called civil society and Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) speak about sorry state of affairs among rural poor and adivasis , agriculture, education, health etc. Of course corruption is one of the main reasons in derailing welfare and development measures also, but voices of deprived lots, constituting over 78 percent population, are big deal. Corruption can be tackled by streamlining the rotten system under existing laws under the Constitution but hunger and poverty, lack of education, health could be faced with determination by launching welfare measures! Vision among the political leadership is lacking to face the alarming situation in the country. Are we moving towards worse scenario in the country where there will be no takers of peoples' voices ?

Neo-liberal economic policy in the last over 20 years, I strongly feel,  is aggravating the situation. It is surprising that in India, there are no land records. Land reforms are hanging fire. Lands are accumulated in the hands of 10 to 15 percent population. Old feudal order is continuing! Many Acts and Laws for land reforms by almost all successive state governments and union governments were framed in over last 60 years but poor and landless increased by over 85 percent. Over 80 percent population are homeless and landless. What ever lands remained under their control specially in tribal belt are being acquired forcibly for setting industries by corporates and multi-nationals. In plain areas, also similar situation is prevailing! Apart from other states in India, Bihar is an example of bitter feudal and communal massacres in the country only because of wide disparity between rich and poor and ' no land and home  to poor' although the Jawahar Lal Nehru government at the centre had made drastic amendment in the Constitution to abolish 'zamindari system' in the country. The then chief Minister of Bihar Dr S K Sinha was all opposed to abolition of 'zamindari system' and land reforms along with many chief ministers of the country, the dynamics of the then Bihar's Revenue Minister Krishna Ballabha  Sahay  impressed Pundit Nehru to go whole hog for land reforms in the entire country and in the process visionary Pundit Nehru had prepared road maps for equitable distribution of lands and houses to poor in the country!  An amendment was carried out in the Right to Property under the Constitution and Zamindari system was abolished. But the time passed and nothing tangible were made for land reforms in the country!

In between, some thing tangible was made by the then Revenue Minister of Bihar K B Sahay on land reform fronts. Thousands of acres of land were taken away from land-owing classes and to little aspect lands were given to the landless and homeless. After some years, the land problem further aggravated in Bihar. The so called 'surplus lands' were given to the Bhoodan Bhumi Jagya Committee, led by Vinoda Bhave for distribution among landless and homeless. From there situation, worsened. Lands were distributed to them but sadly taken back forcibly by influential land-owing classes from poor people! Since than, massacres after massacres are being taking places between poor and feudal land-owing classes in Bihar. Naxal movements came to the fore because of atrocity of feudal land-owing classes towards poor and dalits in the successive years..( Please see my blog topic-Bihar is Known for Bitter Feudal-Communal Massacres in India, detailing deaths, killings and destruction's ). However, a ray of hope came out when the present chief minister Nitish Kumar came to power and announced distribution of lands to poor on the basis of the report of the Bandopadhaya committe, which Kumar had constituted just after assuming power about eight years back. Moreover, on the influences of his alliance partner-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and vested interests among feudal land-owing classes as well as many other political compulsions, Nitish Kumar retracted from his promises. And the situation remained where these were during successive rules in Bihar. On the other hand, huge lands are accumulated in the hands of a few thousands land-owners, neo-rich-political classes and intermediary castes people in Bihar. The same Nitish government had forcibly deported the President of Ekata Parishad P V Rajagopala from the state when during his year-long Jansamwad yara highlighting issues relating to land reforms, particularly the plight of the landless. Rajagopal was described a Maoists by Nitish government a few months back when he had visited Nawada district a few months back!

But land reforms had taken some roots earlier in Uttar Pradesh during the regime of the chief minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna and later during the left front government of the West Bengal led by Jyoti Basu. Some tangible reforms are even today are witnessed and landless have at least land for constructing home and some lands for farming under share cropping pattern in West Bengal. But the situation in other states are not encouraging. Feudal Andhra Pradesh has also failed to take any initiatives for land reforms. Worse position prevails in tribal belts including Odisha, Chhatishgarh, Jharkhand , Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat , Maharashtra and also many eastern states where tribal population are being forcibly evicted from their land, forest rights , water in the name locating industries by multinationals and corporates as well as neo-rich political classes.

Sadly, the law to acquire lands during British Raj is still under vogue. Many local restrictions in Adivasi belt about forest rights under various Laws  under the Constitution are being violated by the government to acquire lands of tribals.During the year-long yatra and jansatyagrah by Rajagopala has found that government's policies have accentuated the plunder of agriculture and forest lands for corporate interests. The Yatra had begun from Kanyakumari on October 2 in 2011 and journeyed across the country and finally culminated into a foot march of over 50000 people in Gwalior on October 2, 2012. At least after several rounds of talks between Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and the representatives of Ekata Parishad led by its president P V Rajgopala signed an agreement at Agra during the period, which envisaged that the government will fulfil the promises to complete the land reform process. But a sense of caution among the senior activists was also witnessed taking into account the past experiences of  similar negotiations. Five years ago, the Ekata Parishad had organised similar agitation with thousand of landless. At that time also , the government had taken notice of the agitation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh  had himself initiated deliberations and had announced the formation of National Land Reforms Council, led by prime minister himself and consisting of chief ministers, sociologists and actvistists.. But that body is yet to see the light of the day.

However, a ray of hope has arisen from the present agreement. The agreement stipulates that the ministry of rural development will initiate talks with all state government immediately and put out a draft of the policy for public debate and discussions in the next four to six months. Thereafter the draft will be finalised. The agreement has mainly stressed the need of statutory backing of the provisions of agricultural land to the landless poor in the backward district and home stead rights to the landless and shelter less poor in rural areas across the country. At least ten cents of land homestead lands to every poor, landless and shelter less rural households. It also focused effective and time-bound implementation of various laws enacted by the legislatures aimed at protecting the land rights of dalits, adivasis and other weaker and marginalised sections of society. Fast track courts to speed up of disposal of the cases pending in revenue and judicial courts.. Legal  aid must be provided to socially deprived persons. The rural development ministry will coordinate with ministries of tribal affairs and panchayati raj to ensure effective implementation of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), which will empower gram sabhas to function more effectively in the implementation of the Act. It must be noted that the ministry of tribal affairs put a comprehensive guidelines for the implementation of  revised rules and directives for the effective implementations of forest right and the states will be actively supporting them.. There must be advisories to the state governments to undertake thorough survey of forest and revenue boundaries in order to resolve disputes. Gram panchayats and  gram sabhas will be fully involved in the survey and settlement process as well as updating of records governing common property resources.

Land reform is a big problem. Effective implementation of the land reform is the need of hour-otherwise the country, which is still dominated by poor , landless, and homeless, who may rise in revolt along with Maoists and Naxal elements, sympathising them.!

 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

AMAZING STROY OF GROWTH RATE IN INDIA AND HUNGER AND POVERTY RISING !

It is amazing! India has lagged behind in GLOBAL HUNGER INDEX (GHI) notwithstanding its story of substantial rise in growth rate. A latest study by three organisations-the International Food Policy Research Institute, Concern World-wide, and Wealthungerhilfe---have revealed that the progress in reducing the proportion of hungry people in the world has been tragically slow. The study has highlighted that in as many as 20 countries, particularly in India, the levels of hunger are extremely  alarming. (Please refer my topic- Hunger Looming Large over Globe- on my blog-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com on June 19,2012, referring global food crisis).

In the context of India, hunger and poverty have taken alarming proportion in between 2007 to 20012 amid the much-hyped story of dramatic increase in the growth rate in India. Since than over 155 million people have been fighting back to wall because of hunger and poverty rampantly in India in the wake of neo-liberalised economic policy. Exactly, after 1996 disparity between economic development and progress in the fight against hunger have widened and India is slipping towards bottom -line gradually, the report says and adds China lowered the level of hunger and under -nutrition through a strong commitment to poverty reduction, nutrition and health intervention and improved access to safe water.. In the case of India all these measures seem to be a distant dream!.

The report-"2012 Global Hunger Index", mainly highlights on -"The Challenge of hunger, ensuring sustainable food security under land water,  and energy stresses". Simultaneously, the report also points out the identification of of the main challenges of an impending global food security-drought, scramble to invest in farm-land around the world, shifts in energy prices, and also shocks in energy supplies. Apart from that there are many worrying facts like persistent poverty, the current consumption pattern of industrialised countries, and profligate consumption by the elites in the developing countries. As per reports, there are three dimensions of hunger: undernourishment, child underweight and child mortality.

Sadly , India has taken backward trends among the countries like neighbouring Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China in the South-East Asia even-after strong economic growth.. More over, India as per the parameter on a 100-point scale (the lower the GHI values, the better ranking country), is ranked 22.9 in GHI whereas its land-locked neighbours-Nepal is better by having 20.3 and , Pakistan-19.7. However, the Bangla Desh is on 24.0 in GHI ranking despite the facts that the country has broad-based social progress, vibrant non-governmental organisations and public transfer programmes that has reduced child under-nutrition. As regards, Sri Lanka, the country in the South East Asia has tremendously achieved high rate of literacy and life expectancy through welfare-oriented policies, investment on public health care and education system and commitment for gender equality.

India has many hicuups! Bad governance are prevailing throughout the country.. Although public  transfer programmes are being explored in India,, there are apprehensions and misgivings about their efficacy and the reach to the grass-root level..The report has mentioned a study to say that poor design, low coverage and insufficient monitoring are the main challenges to reducing under-nutrition levels in India, which is as incomplete way of approaching the problem. One more factor is responsible for poverty and hunger in India-that is higher food prices. Food prices are increasing in recent past: it rose by 40 percent in 2007 and further  2008, resulting into hunger and poverty everywhere in India! Even the sub-Saharan Africa has done better progress in many points on this score in comparison to India. Over 43.5 percent children are underweight in India whereas only 23 percent children in Sub-Saharan Africa. were found in that category.. If we compare the GHI of ten countries with India, there are vast gaps of poverty and hunger in India. The report has mentioned the countries like Azerbaijan-5.0, China-5.3, Malaysia- -5.2, Paraguay-5.3, Trinidad and Tongo--5.4, Mauritius-5.7, B Salvador-5.8, Kyrgyz Republic-5.8 and South Africa-6.9 in global hunger index parameter..

The report has also underlined that food security is mainly linked with developments in water and energy and scarcity of land, particularly the scarcity of farm land because of short-sighted policies. Huge foreign  investments in developing countries are wiping out land rights of residents, specially in forest areas in India..It is fact that high-instances of hunger and poverty are found in the countries  where the rights on land and energy, and water have been curbed by the respective governments. Here also India tops the list as our union government and almost all state governments have indiscriminately allowed foreign investments in different parts of the country specially in Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhatishgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,Gujarat  etc. Following such measures, lands and water are being deprived from villagers and tribal in India. And more and more hunger and poverty are pushing the people to live without adequate foods..

THe Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)  has also admitted food deprivation to the people, resulting into undernourishment. As per FAO, 1800 calories a day-the minimum that most people require to live a healthy and protective life.The case of India is considered more serious on poverty and hunger fronts notwithstanding the entire globe is expected to land in serious food crisis because of various reasons like  comparatively low and less stress on agriculture fronts.

SOURCES:International Food Policy Research Institute, Concern Worldwide, Wealthungerhilife, FOOD AND AGRICULture Organisation, The Frontline, Websites of Various affected countries and Human Index parameters of different organisations of the World and India..