How Draft EIA 2020 will impact environment

Thursday, July 30, 2020
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EIA regulates impact of development projects on surrounding ecosystem.

Environmental Impact Assessment sets in place a legal framework for regulating activities that impact the natural resources and people. Many environmental activists call the draft detrimental towards protecting the already deteriorating environment. The draft allows a freer reign to industrial projects while limiting public consent and interference. Some of the major changes include post facto clearance which means industries can start...

Ballooning loans, job insecurity for India’s reverse migrants

Monday, July 27, 2020
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Workers are finding it tough to hold on to jobs. Image: Pikist

Millions of migrants began a journey on foot or cycle to reach their home states safely with no food or water supplies, dealing with hunger, starvation, and exhaustion. Many even lost their lives while trying to make this journey. Data compiled by various individuals and agencies have painted a grim picture. According to the data provided by Thejesh GN, the lockdown has resulted in the death...

Perilous venture into commercial coal mining 

Thursday, July 23, 2020
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Jharia coal mine in Jharkhand. Image: Abhishek/Wikimedia Commons

The recent Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, opens mining to the private sector with no restriction on end-use of coal and permission for 100 percent foreign direct investment. The move is supposed to close the gap between government’s revenues and expenditure and help save foreign exchange. It, however, comes at a time when India’s energy mix is already shifting towards cleaner...

Data protection bill: Ruse of security

Friday, July 10, 2020
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Security agencies can easily spy on personal online information. Source: GOI Monitor

Indian government promised that it will come up with a robust data protection regime but the draft personal data protection bill tabled in Lok Sabha in December 2019 did not instill confidence. Experts pointed out that the bill grants exemptions to the government to collect personal data on grounds of prevention and detection of crimes, without any judicial oversight. The bill also proposes...

Covid-19: Digital learning skips villages

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
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Image: Jasmine Trails/Pixabay

Ever since the nationwide lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic began on March 25, many educational institutions have resumed learning for their students through online medium and software applications such as WhatsApp and Zoom. Although online schooling is an easy way out, a vast segment of India’s population is unable to access these means. According to a 2018 World Bank survey, 69.57 percent of India’s population lives in rural areas...

Women herders lose authority as pastoralism grows roots

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
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Photo credit: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh

Conversion of common lands for solar parks, industrial zones and plantations have undermined the productivity of pastoralists. Even though many nomadic pastoralists have taken to settled livestock rearing, they continue to face challenges in accessing local village grazing lands. Settled living also leads to young men migrating to cities to seek alternate jobs or to pursue higher education...

Covid-19: Race to generate work in villages

Monday, June 22, 2020
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Women workers at a MGNREGA work site. Photo: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh Chandok

Around 400 million workers are at risk of falling even deeper into poverty because of Covid-19 pandemic. Centre and states are racing against time to generate jobs near their homes where they went from cities due to lockdown with MGNREGA emerging as the greatest absorber of workforce. State governments have included farms, water conservation works, fruit tree plantation and construction of sports stadiums in villages as works to be done under...

Lockdown Blues: Children with special needs struggle with shrinking space

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
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Children with special needs play at a school for autism in Yemen. Photo by Dana Smillie World Bank

Children on autism spectrum face a lot of distress due to sudden change in routines. Abrupt closure of schools, playgrounds and other recreational outlets is resulting in more frequent meltdowns. Children unable to go outdoors have a lot of pent up energy which leads to aggression. Their schedules have been altered and they are also unable to visit the intervention centres. It is a tough...

Covid-19: 60% farmers suffer yield loss, 10% could not harvest crop

Sunday, May 24, 2020
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Even good harvest could not help during lockdown.

More than half of the farmers who harvested their crop during the national lockdown suffered a loss of production as compared to last year, found a survey of 1,429 farming households across 200 districts of the country. Around 10 percent farmers could not harvest their crop due to low market price or inability to access their land due to travel restrictions. The lockdown has also impacted...

Vizag Gas Leak: What we know

Friday, May 8, 2020
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Gas leak in Vizag underscores threat of industrial disasters again. Source: Pixabay

In 2018, the factory had submitted a Rs 168 crore proposal to the Union Ministry of Environment to expand its production capacity by another 250 tonnes per day (tpd) -- from the current 415 tpd. This permission was recently granted. Acute (short-term) exposure to styrene in humans results in mucous membrane and eye irritation and gastrointestinal effects. Long-term exposure results in...

Tribals fret over sale of minor forest produce

Saturday, April 25, 2020
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Mahua flowers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Files

India gets Rs 20,000 crore worth of minor forest products (MFPs). This year, these can provide the much-needed cushion against massive job loss and tanking economy. The ongoing lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic has cast a shadow on the trade of MFPs as well. While governments have allowed collection of MFPs from the forests, usual weekly markets (haats) are not functioning and traders are...

Birds across India are going down, thanks to cities

Sunday, April 12, 2020
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Peacock is one bird species which is increasing. Source: Shiv's fotografia/Wikimedia Commons

Birds are declining significantly with 52 percent of species showing clear declines over the past decades, said a new report State of India’s birds 2020. The report analysed 867 bird species from over 10 million observations collected by over 15,500 birdwatchers across the country. It also identified 101 species with high conservation needs. The take-home message is that urbanisation is the...

कोरोनावायरस, पर्यावरण और हम 

Sunday, March 29, 2020
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Image by Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay

बीमारी और पर्यावरण का सीधा नाता है। प्रकृति का संतुलन बनाए रखना हमारे अस्तित्व के लिए ज़रूरी है, यही आज की आपदा का संदेश है, भविष्य के लिए। कोरोनावायरस से पहले ऐन्थ्रैक्स, जीका, ईबोला और निपाह जैसे वायरस पिछले कुछ सालों में फैले हैं। यह सब वायरस जानवरों से इंसानों में आए हैं और वो भी सबसे ज़्यादा जंगली जानवरों से । कईं जानवरों के शरीर में वायरस  और बैक्टीरीआ घर बना लेते हैं उन्हें बिना नुक़सान पहुँचाए पर इंसानों में यही वायरस महामारी का रूप...