How Kerala floods can push for protection of Western Ghats

Friday, October 26, 2018
Suggestions by Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel were ignored. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The entire Western Ghats was proposed as an ecologically sensitive area (ESA) with a graded or layered approach to conservation. These concerns were largely ignored by the governments of six states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, that come under Western Ghats. Several protests were held and private funders lobbied against the report. The Union...

India and Malaria: The constant wrangle

Friday, October 5, 2018
Malaria, at one time a rural disease has diversified into various ecotypes. Source: Pixabay

While the number of cases has declined by 60 per cent over 2001, there are concerns that malaria is still being under reported. Other issues include the systemic resistance to drugs which were previously used to limit vector growth. Around 35 countries have been certified to be free of malaria and another 21 on their way to reach their target of zero transmission by the year 2020. In our...

Faith in the forest: How sacred groves function

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Such temples dedicated to local deities are spread all over pasture, forest lands of south Rajasthan.

With certain rules around extraction of resources, including ban on cutting of trees, these sacred groves contribute significantly to wildlife protection, soil conservation, groundwater recharge, and as a good source of herbs, fruits and other economic resources to local people. But practices around these spaces differ with location and may not always abide by the concept of unaltered,...

Swacch Bharat and its motivators

Saturday, July 28, 2018
Prereks during a menstrual hygiene management session. (Pic courtesy: Divyanshu Seth)

The Preraks provide coordination, management and monitoring support to the district administration for effective implementation of SBM-G. They are involved in developing district-level swachhta action, finance, and sustainability plan for monitoring mechanisms and quality supervision protocols. They also ensure monitoring and implementation support for district-level...

These people-managed forests are setting new examples in conservation and economy

Sunday, June 10, 2018
Villages in Gondia district of Maharashtra got community rights to sell Tendu leaves.

After 12 years of the implementation of the FRA, many of the forest-dependent communities are already deriving benefits in different pockets and several localised factors have in turn influenced the objectives of community forest resources. Gram sabhas have received more remunerative prices for custard apples, bamboo, siali leaves and tamarind compared to the pre-CFR scenario. Bamboo alone fetches the gram sabhas huge economic returns with...

Responsibility lies on us students to question every policy of the current system

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Students protesting at TISS, Hyderabad campus.

This withdrawal of scholarships stems from a general uneasiness, majorly towards Social Science institutions like JNU, TISS, and other higher learning universities and is part of a bigger scheme of plans as implemented by the neo-liberal practitioners in the country. The approach of privatising education and making it a profit-oriented venture is making the whole process of higher education...

Paralegals: When people learn to use environmental law

Monday, April 16, 2018
A paralegal enables people to be the change agents. Source: CPR, Namati

These are people from villages and towns trained in basic law, legal procedures and in skills like case documentation, negotiation, mediation and advocacy. They act as a crucial link between justice delivery system and people facing the negative consequences of development projects. The paralegals thus enable the people to move from being mere victims to become change agents. This action is...

The Adivasi will not Dance and Santhal Identity

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Jharkhand govt has banned this book claiming misrepresentation of Santhal women.

The Adivasi Will Not Dance, a book of short stories by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, has been banned by the Jharkhand government with claims that it is hostile to the nobility of Santhal ladies. Some additionally affirm that it is obscene. The characters of the novel are largely Santhali, and this follows from the fact that the writer belongs to the same community. Set on Chotanagpur plateau,...

Timeline of electoral reforms in India

Saturday, March 17, 2018
A blind man being carried for voting during 1952 General Elections in Delhi.

The pace of electoral reforms in India is tardy and often times regressive as in the case of recent relaxation in disclosure norms for corporate donations. On the other hand, demands like state funding of elections, putting political parties under RTI and declaraton of paid news as electoral offence remain unresolved. This timeline is an attempt to look at how we have fared over the years....

Women cops satisfied with work, not with set up

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Two police women in Chennai. Source: John Hill/Wikipedia

Despite the changing ethos and increased interest among the women to engage in police organisations, their composition has not gone beyond 7.28 per cent nationally, shows the latest government data. It is believed that presence of women in the police force will encourage women victims of crime to approach the police stations without any inhibitions especially considering that overall crimes...

Shodhgram: Where science meets compassion

Sunday, February 25, 2018
The in-patient ward and rooms for patients, all on the pattern of traditional hutments

Founded by doctor couple, Abhay Bang and Rani Bang, and run on Gandhian philosophy of Gram Swaraj (self governance), Shodhgram offers affordable and compassionate services to the people, especially tribals of the region. It has also devised unique solutions to the most pressing community health issues. For instance, Indian government replicated Shodhgram’s concept of home-based mother and...

'Current policy on stray dogs has created a hate-filled environment'

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Millions of homeless dogs die every day in India. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Despite spending crores of rupees on the birth control programme, the population of stray dogs has been increasing across India resulting in more attacks on humans, especially children, and retaliatory attacks on dogs. Stray dogs are also a great danger to wild animals and livestock in villages and protected areas. A petition currently being heard in the Supreme Court raises many questions...

Farmers unite to rescue their land from Lantana

Thursday, January 25, 2018
Women harvesting a small millet from the farm which was earlier infested with Lantana

Lantana was introduced as an ornamental plant to India in 1800s but has since infested the forests, grazing grounds and farms taking over 13 million hectare, which is around 4 per cent of the total land area of the country. Removal of Lantana is problematic as the traditional methods of cutting, burning or haphazard uprooting leads to recurrence. Collective action and good science, however, can do wonders as shown by villagers in Madhya...