India needs to be cautious on free trade pact with ASEAN

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
|
RCEP is essential for India in context of economic, geo-political and security architecture shift in the region.

India relies on regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement with ASEAN members and the five states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs. Despite the impressive prospects the gains for India may not be as significant as assumed and may lead to dumping of cheaper imports which will hamper domestic producers.

Dalits embracing Buddhism need to go beyond politics 

Sunday, July 16, 2017
|
A Buddhist shrine with Ambedkar's portrait. Source: Akuppa John Wigwam/Flickr

The Dalits in modern India use initiation into Buddhism as a symbolic protest. Recently, around 180 families immersed the idols of Hindu deities and took to Buddhism after a violent clash with members of upper caste in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. Last year, over 300 Dalits took deeksha in Gujarat after seven Dalits were flogged for skinning a dead cow. ...

‘Farmers and wildlife will suffer if Mhadei’s water is diverted’

Sunday, July 9, 2017
|
Mhadei or Mandovi river is a lifeline of Western Ghats. Source: Pixabay

The beautiful Mandovi or Mhadei river is a bone of contention between Goa and Karnataka for last over 15 years. The rivers flows for the first 35 kilometers through Karnataka and enters Goa through a pristine forest range of Western Ghats. While Goa calls it a lifeline which keeps the salty sea water away from the agriculture belt, Karnataka wants to build 12 dams to divert water, claiming it will serve its dry central region where farmers...

Bleeding banks need more than a bandage

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
|
NPAs affect circulation of funds. Source: Pixabay

The banking industry is in shambles thanks to high level of NPAs, especially in public banks. According to a report by the Public Finance Public Accountability Collective (PFPAC), the NPAs rose from a mere Rs 50,517 crores in 2007 to Rs 5,41,763 crores in 2016. In a period of six months between September 2015 and March 2016 the amount of NPAs shot up by a staggering 46 percent. That they now stand at Rs 10 lakh crore underscores the economic...

Watch this video to know why farmers are protesting all over India

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
|
Farming is purposefully being made non-profitable.

Journalist P Sainath is known for his in-depth knowledge about rural India. On June 11, 2017, he interacted through a public webinar by People's Archive of Rural India explaining the present agriculture crisis in wake of farmers' protests in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. He also touches upon how the new cattle rules will impact rural economy, the water crisis and geneticially modified (GM) crops. Sainath also offers solutions to these...

Why you should be worried about GM Mustard

Friday, June 9, 2017
|
Indian Mustard (from Rape Seed Mustard Family) has more than 65 different varieties. Source: Abhijit Kar Gupta/Wikicommons

GM Mustard may soon become India’s first genetically modified (GM) food crop. On May 11, 2017, the Environment Ministry's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had recommended commercial use of GM Mustard seed, DMH 11, developed by Delhi University. While GM crops are grown in a few countries, including US and Canada, many more have rejected or are undecided because of possible health and ecological risks linked to this technology. In...

How Kinnaur is dealing with climate change

Thursday, June 1, 2017
|
The dusty snow on lower reaches of Kinnaur.

As the Himalayan Region warms up faster than other places of the world, erratic weather puts geographically-vulnerable places such as Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh at greater risk. Rains are increasing, snowfall is declining, and temperatures are rising, which all have great impacts on an area prone to landslides and fed by glacial melt. On April 16 this year, Kinnauris woke up to a snowfall which had a dusty tinge to it. While a few experts...

To conserve tropical forests and wildlife, protect the rights of people who rely on them

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
|
 Footbridge over the Coapa River in Chiapas, Mexico, which supports local silvopasture (forestry and livestock grazing). Lameirasb/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

India is celebrated as a democracy, but its environmental policies are controlled by a centralised bureaucracy. Forest-dependent people are shut out of the policy process and cannot hold India’s bloated and ineffective bureaucracy to account. As a result, agencies engage in maneuvers such as categorizing urban gardens and commercial tree plantations as “forests.” This disguises losses of natural forestland and exaggerates the government’s...

This drought has government backing

Monday, May 15, 2017
|
Bukya Syamulamma has been left all alone to take care of her younger brother and sister .

Anantapur is experiencing the consequences of a sixth consecutive drought year. One would think that the district administration and the state government would be better prepared but the facts belie this hope. A collapsed government apparatus is denying  wages under MGNREGA, does not compensate farmers who had insured their crops and make almost no effort to make essential services like water available. At least 42 per cent of the...

Nothing to cheer about in Indian job market

Friday, May 12, 2017
|
Only 60% of those seeking work are able to get it throughout the year. Source: Jorge Royan/Wikimedia Commons

Country’s unemployment saga lies far beyond the glass towers and high figure pay cheques. Around 77 per cent families have no regular wage earner and more than 67 per cent have income less than Rs 10,000 a month. Add to this the consistent march towards labour reforms make it easier for industries to sack workers. Not even the courtesy of a ‘pink slip’ for them. More than the availability of jobs, it’s the kind of jobs people have to live...