An intimate account of Indian farmland

Monday, November 1, 2021

Hardikar uses his two-decade experience of reporting on rural affairs to connect the everyday life of Ramrao to policy decisions, workings of market economy and climate crisis. Every year, an insidious new factor is added to the list of old reasons compounding the problem of the peasantry. Liberalisation, loan waivers, unchecked sale of spurious agro chemicals, demonetisation, pest attacks, all leave a mark on Ramrao who is also battling personal losses.

Afforestation, invasive species make Gaddi pastoralists more vulnerable

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Beginning in the 1990s, the forest department shifted away from commercial production toward a greater emphasis on joint-forest management, which resulted in a shift toward an array of broad-leaved (but still not palatable) species being planted, especially in lower altitudes. However, Gaddis were largely left out of many joint forest management schemes mainly because of their migratory practice and were consulted in a “token fashion” for compensatory afforestation for hydroelectric projects in high altitudes. 

Harvest of Hope: Women reap rich dividends through group farming

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The states of Kerala and Telangana have created cooperatives of women farmers which has not only reaped financial benefits but also ensured better social status for the members. The women got familiar with farm practices, government institutes and private agencies, market negotiations and fund management, all of which helped them overcome gender, caste and class barriers

Covid- 19: Officers bat for state autonomy on strategy, find politicians to be worst communicators 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Most IAS officers in India believe that states must have the autonomy to formulate their own responses based on their needs and capacities in case of emergencies like Covid-19. They regard speeches by politicians as the least effective while find frontline workers to be highly effective in communicating the right message to the public, found a survey. Around 52 percent felt that national lockdown imposed last year should have been better planned while 47.7 percent deemed it to be the right action.

Delhi's poor women and children most vulnerable to rising heat

Friday, August 20, 2021

Heat in Delhi is known to have a spatial distribution and is more in certain areas as compared to other. More focus on peripheral and vulnerable populations such as poor households and women and children, expansion of green spaces  and improved access to electricity among the vulnerable populations can go a long way in coping with the effects of rising heat in the city in the years to come.

Palm oil cultivation in India can be expanded while sparing biodiversity, says study

Thursday, July 29, 2021

A palm oil plantation in Indonesia. India is primarily dependent on Indonesia and Malaysia for import of palm oil. Photo by Moses Ceaser (CIFOR)/Flickr.More than 40 percent of potential landscapes for oil palm cultivation in India overlap with biodiversity-rich landscapes. Converting small rice fields to palm oil can be a viable alternative to dismantling forests and grasslands for palm oil, says a latest study. It said that exploring and implementing fine-scale local plantation strategies by the government can satisfy the projected national demand for palm oil without threatening high biodiversity landscapes.

Rural job scheme guarantees carbon sequestration

Monday, June 28, 2021

Activities related to natural resource management under MGNREGS can capture 249 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030, finds a study. Drought-proofing activities like plantations, forest restoration, make up 40 percent of the total carbon sequestered through MGNREGS.The scheme already offers financial and ecological resilience to the most vulnerable against the climate crisis besides cushioning impact of emergencies like economic lockdown due to Covid-19

यह सिर्फ़ आशंका है कि कोरोना की तीसरी लहर बच्चों को अधिक प्रभावित करेगी, लेकिन तैयारी ज़रूरी : डॉ भवनीत भारती

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

कोरोना की तीसरी लहर में बच्चों के अधिक संक्रमित होने की आशंका जताई जा रही है। इस आशंका को देखते हुए कुछ राज्यों ने तो अभी से तैयारी भी शुरू कर दी है। क्या इस तीसरी लहर को रोका जा सकता है? क्या वास्तव में यह बच्चों को अधिक संक्रमित करेगी? इस तरह के सवाल हम सबके मन में हैं। इन सब सवालों के जवाब जानने के लिए हमने बात की पीडियाट्रिशियन डॉ. भवनीत भारती से जो कि डॉ. बी आर अंबेडकर इंस्टीट्यूट ऑफ मेडिकल साइंसेस (AIMS), मोहाली, पंजाब की डायरेक्टर प्रिंसीपल हैं

Ordinary people and honest doctors must speak up to end ongoing devastation from COVID-19 in India

Monday, May 24, 2021

There can be no argument that the recent fervor shown by the IMA and other doctors’ groups to protest for the first time against the lacklustre performance by the government may kindle a ray of a new hope to find medical justice for hapless patients in India. But serious introspection and changes in the “self-policing” policy by Indian doctors are essential before public trust for our healers can be restored in India

New law makes it easier to abort but doesn’t empower women

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Act, 2021, increases the gestation limit for abortions from the earlier ceiling of 20 weeks to 24 weeks but only for special categories of pregnant women such as rape or incest survivors. This termination would need the approval of two registered doctors. Women can now terminate unwanted pregnancies caused by contraceptive failure regardless of their marital status.

Indian men are more educated than their grandfathers but hold same occupations

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Educational levels have increased in India over three generations but people are still holding same occupations. This multigenerational mobility differs in social groups. For instance, for Muslims mobility in education and occupation has decreased in comparison to that of Hindus while SC/ST and OBCs have become more mobile over generations in education (compared to General Castes), but not as much in occupational mobility, putting a question mark over how well affirmative policies like reservations are working

Ghaziabad temple incident and our absurd definitions of sexual assault

Thursday, March 25, 2021

We still relate sexual assault to 'lust' rather than 'power' and view it as a form of desire, not abuse of power. Sexual assault / rape takes place in riots and wars because domination over the opponent’s private parts without their consent is the ultimate display of power. On the other hand, the rape law remains gender specific setting in stone the identities of victim and preperators. Section 377 also doesn't encompass all sexual offences

Scrappage policy: A step forward but a missed opportunity

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

While the new draft policy is a big positive, its focus on targeted fleet renewal for maximum emissions gains is still weak. The proposed policy puts the entire onus of incentivising fleet renewal on the state governments. They have been advised to waive off a big chunk of road tax and registration fees on replacement vehicles.  Given the fact these are important sources of state revenue, the reaction of the state governments is still not known

Will a smog tower help tackle air pollution in one of the world’s most polluted cities?

Thursday, February 25, 2021

In 2016, Patna was declared as the sixth most polluted city in the world according to a report by the WHO. Even as there is no robust data supporting the efficacy of smog towers, the Bihar government is considering introducing one in Patna to tackle air pollution. In 2019, several civil society organizations in collaboration with the Bihar government released a comprehensive “Clean Air Action Plan” for Patna. The idea of a smog tower was not even mentioned in the plan. In November 2019, the Union environment secretary itself raised doubts over the efficiency of smog towers

India's Biggest Spenders Cause 7 Times More Emissions Than The Poor

Monday, February 8, 2021

THE TOP 20% of high-expenditure households in India are responsible for seven times the emissions traceable to the poor who spend less than Rs 140 a day. The mean carbon footprint of every Indian was estimated at 0.56 tonne per year--0.19 tonne per capita among the poor and 1.32 tonne among the rich. Food and electricity are the two areas of spending that account for most emissions in India across socio-economic groups while western India emits the most carbon

A Generation in Peril. How Climate Crisis is Impacting Childhood

Monday, January 11, 2021

The impact of climate crisis on people across the world is highly disproportionate but no other group is as vulnerable as children in low income families of developing countries. Children are not emotionally and physically capable of understanding the dangers during extreme weather events and are dependent on adults for their survival. They are more susceptible to water and vector borne diseases, malnutrition and they are forced into labour due to economic challenges induced by climate crisis. 

Farm Laws 2020: Why farmers are protesting

Sunday, December 20, 2020
Farmers during protest prayer at Singhu border. Image: Randeep Maddoke

Government claims the new farm laws will open up the agriculture market and help farmers get better remunerations for their produce. The protesting farmers, on the other hand, point out that they won't be in a position to negotiate with private companies in absence of a regulatory mechanism and oversight of Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC). The new laws allow traders to bypass government mandis but don't mention any regulatory mechanism or authority to monitor such transactions or agreements

How censoring of OTT platforms will hamper art

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Streaming platforms have opened up new possibilities. Image: Andrés Rodríguez

The bloom of Over The Top (OTT) digital streaming platforms in India has offered a range of opportunities for independent artists. Writers also enjoy the liberty to produce any narrative unhindered by a regulation but that is set to change. The cabinet secretary issued a gazette notification to amend the rules putting digital streaming platforms under purview of the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry, causing many to fear undue censorship

In images: Farmers' Protest in Last Two Months

Saturday, December 5, 2020
Farmers' protest crossing the border into Haryana.

India woke up to the determination of Punjab's farmers on November 26 when national television started relaying images of the long march to Delhi border. But the movement had been gathering pace since September 25 when the 31 farmers' unions first came together to sit in protest on national highways, railway lines and major corporate outlets. From November 26 onwards, they took the protest to Delhi galvanising support from other states and sections of society

NEP may make higher education inaccessible to many

Sunday, November 15, 2020
Govt Medical College, Haldwani. Image by Dr Deanndamon

Making higher education accessible to all has been a challenge for India due to high drop out rates at school level, lack of infrastructure and funds. The New Education Policy (NEP) proposes an overhaul of the higher education set up. It promises lot of radical changes but experts worry that this may lead to further rise in privatisation, loss of institutional autonomy and higher drop out rates at school level