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...

‘Maruti case highlights the deep rot in the system’

Friday, April 14, 2017
Maruti Suzuki made gross mistakes in negotiating with workers.

Around 20,000 workers of Maruti Suzuki India Limited and its vendor companies went on a tool down strike in Haryana’s Gurugram district on March 18. This was to express solidarity with 13 former workers of Maruti Suzuki who were sentenced to life imprisonment for the death of a manager during rioting at the plant in 2012. Film maker Rahul Roy, who has made a documentary, ‘The Factory’, feels it’s an iconic case not just because of the workers...

Projects with scant regard for environment

Friday, March 31, 2017
A drain emptying raw sewage. Source: Daniel Bachhuber/Flickr

The recent audit report on environmental clearance and post-clearance monitoring lists many such instances of violations from development projects across India. Inadequate environmental impact assessments, irregularities in public hearings, not meeting promises and unregulated use of natural resources are just a few of the points raised by the audit team. Companies also routinely went back on their promises made during public hearings whether...

What CAG said about Army food supply

Saturday, January 14, 2017
Indian soldiers breaking bread with PM Modi at Siachen. Every day a helicopter drops canned food here. Source: PIB

The army jawans continue to consume ration even after the expiry of original shelf life putting their health at risk. Modernisation of the food testing laboratories could not be done despite availability of funds. Army continues to procure most items of dry ration without following the recommended procurement process. Full requirement of ration was not met, which led to local purchase by the supply depots at higher rates. Recovery of this...

Anupam Mishra: The Gandhian I know

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Image Source: TED talks

Going by his fame, I had imagined somebody with people running around him, at least a couple of computers on display and cell phones caroling frequently. But here was a man working without a cellphone or a computer, surrounded by letters people wrote to him. A couple of wooden almirahs adorned with old postcards and images of famous personalities from Gandhi ji to Sunita Narain, stood in his room. Gandhi Marg, the bi-monthly periodical Anupam...

Demonetisation: Why it didn't work for India earlier

Thursday, November 10, 2016
The withdrawal of relatively lower denomination notes in 2016 has widened the net, which was also essential considering the huge amount of black money circulating. Source: Pixabay

Cash notes worth over Rs 14 lakh crore have been junked by the government via its order on November 9 to curb black money. Pegged at over Rs 30 lakh crore, black money in India is estimated to be 20 per cent of the GDP. While most are optimistic about this move, many have also questioned if it will be worth the inconvenience people have been put to. Thankfully, we can always look back at history to know if we have done better than before....

A Rosetta Stone to environmental law

Friday, October 28, 2016
Diversion of forest land is one of the biggest concerns for villagers dependent on forests.

This document is a valuable resource that comprises important legal changes and events of last three years with reference to previous laws. Written by well known practitioner Kanchi Kohli, the e-book lists down steps that can be taken to secure people’s rights over land, forests, water and biodiversity. And all this is explained through instances where common men and women explore the nitty gritties of environmental laws. So, we have Sarita...

How solid are the BRICS?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
The heads of BRICS nations at Goa Summit. Source: PIB, India

The member countries have little in common as far as economic and foreign policy interests are concerned. They generate growth in different and often competing ways. While Brazil and Russia are major energy producers that benefit from high energy prices, India, as a major energy consumer, suffers from them. Except in highly unusual circumstances, like in last decade, they are unlikely to grow in unison. Except China, they have limited trade...