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Saturday 21 April 2012

Mamata repeats demand for interest holiday on Central loans, wants reply in 15 days or else…

Mamata repeats demand for interest holiday on Central loans, wants reply in 15 days or else…

Calcutta, Apr 21 (PTI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday gave the Union government a 15-day ultimatum to decide on her demand for a three-year moratorium on the huge interest burden of the state.
"It will have to be done. We are unable to pay. I have waited for one year and I will wait for another 15 days and then....," the chief minister told a convention of West Bengal Civil Service officers.
However, she did not say what she plans to do if the Centre does not agree to her demand. She had first made the demand last year shortly after coming to power in the state.
Warning that if any effort was made to deprive the state it would not be tolerated and would become 'a big issue', she said, adding, "I have made repeated appeals, my patience is running out".
Mamata pointed out that she had had taken up the demand of the state, which had inherited a debt burden for the over Rs 2,00,000 crore loans taken by the previous Left Front regime, in the past with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Union finance minister.
Asked by reporters about the course of action she contemplated after the 15-day deadline for the grant of a three-year tax moratorium the state has demanded, the chief minister did not reply.
"How can I carry out development work, pay salaries and allow people of Bengal to live if the income is Rs 21,000 crore and interest payout is Rs 22,000 crore", Mamata asked.
She said the Centre had also stopped disbursing the Central Sales Tax compensation of Rs 1,500 crore.
About the Centre's claim of giving funds to the state, Banerjee said the Central funds received were for backward area development, including the region known as Junglemahal, which were also received by other states.

Yoke off, debate on lax schooling

Yoke off, debate on lax schooling

April 20: The Centre has clarified that none of the provisions in the Right to Education Act (RTE) will apply to unaided minority institutes, an exemption that can have several implications for some of the most reputable schools in Calcutta.
The exemption means unaided minority schools, if they choose to, can reconsider the mandatory auto-promotion policy till Class VIII and explore ways of disciplining students without inflicting physical pain.
Although the central clarification is yet to be widely publicised, several Anglo-Indian schools in Calcutta have reached the same conclusion and built a case today for reviewing some of the provisions that may unwittingly end up harming the children in the long run.
Sources said the central clarification was part of a letter human resource development minister Kapil Sibal had written on Tuesday to education ministers in all states in the wake of a Supreme Court order that upheld the validity of the quota for underprivileged students but exempted unaided minority schools.
Although the court ruling was unambiguous as far as the quota for the less fortunate children was concerned, it was not clear if unaided minority schools have been exempt from other provisions as well.
But the following line in Sibal's letter makes it clear that the act itself, not just the quota, will not apply to unaided minority schools. "The Supreme Court has, however, also held that the RTE Act and, in particular, Section 12 (1) (c) and 18(3) infringes the fundamental freedom guaranteed to unaided minority schools under Article 31, and consequently the said Act shall not apply to such schools," according to the letter that charts a 10-point agenda for implementing the RTE Act.
Section 12(1) (c) refers to the 25 per cent reservation for weaker sections and 18(3) to the power to withdraw recognition if a school is found to be violating the condition.
"We have examined the Supreme Court judgment. It is clear from the judgment that the RTE act does not apply to unaided Anglo-Indian schools," Francis Gomes, the secretary of the Association of Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools, told a news conference in Calcutta.
Representatives from several unaided minority schools attended the meeting at Pratt Memorial's conference hall today. The heads of some 30 minority institutions which pay the dearness allowance to their teachers from the government's coffers also attended the meeting.
According to some school heads, the section of the act that prohibits a school from detaining or expelling a child between Classes I and VIII will "weaken the foundations of elementary education".
"None of us wants to fail a child. But it has to be understood that sometimes we have to keep children in the same class for their own benefit," said Gloria Probal, the St Thomas Day School principal and president of the association. "It isn't failure. It is giving the child another year, which is better than pushing him ill-prepared to the next class," she added.
Another principal said that if the provisions of the act were to be strictly followed, "we would have to allow a child to go to the next class even if he/she does not attend school throughout the year".
The harmful effects of cut-throat competition have been widely debated and agreed upon but it is important to maintain a sense of balance. "Healthy competition prepares children to face challenges in life, " a teacher pointed out.
Gilian Rose Mary Hart, the principal of Welland Gouldsmith and spokesperson for the Association of Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools, said it was a matter of grave concern that disciplinary action taken by some schools was often being "misunderstood" after the implementation of the act.
The act bans "physical" as well as "mental harassment" of students, which leaves room for varied interpretation. The ban has virtually meant schools have had to turn a blind eye to indiscipline.
"These schools provide a good academic atmosphere to students and help them grow up as disciplined adults. It is for this that parents are eager to educate their children in our schools," said Hart.
The head of one school narrated how teachers saw a boy bullying his classmate repeatedly but could do little. "Even calling parents for a chat is being interpreted as mental harassment. It's an impossible situation," the veteran teacher said.
One of the sections of the RTE act disallows a school from denying admission to any student between Classes I and VIII at any time of the year. "It allows parents to bring a child in the middle of a session and demand admission. How does it help the student?" asked a school head.

Singh sees lead role for N-E Indebted to Assam: PM

Singh sees lead role for N-E Indebted to Assam: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lights the lamp during the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Assam Legislative Assembly at Dispur parade ground in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, April 20: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said Assam and the rest of the Northeast should play a leading role in the country's efforts to look east.
Singh stressed on the region's importance at the platinum jubilee celebration of the Assam Assembly here this afternoon while conveying that there would be no let-up in India's ongoing engagement with neighbours Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The Northeast is central to the Centre's Look East Policy, which aims to build closer economic ties with its eastern neighbours. But developing such relations is not a "one-shot" thing, he later said during an informal interaction with a select group of journalists at the airport this evening.
"In recent years, we have taken new initiatives to strengthen our relations with Bangladesh and Myanmar. Last year, I visited Bangladesh. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi accompanied me and we were able to agree on a number of steps that will benefit both our countries," Singh said.
However, the land-swap deal has been vehemently opposed by several organisations in Assam.
Driving home the advantages of sustained engagement with neighbouring countries, Singh said, "Next month, I am scheduled to visit Myanmar. I will discuss with the leadership of Myanmar how we can increase opportunities for expansion of trade, economic cooperation and connectivity to the larger ASEAN region. Assam and the other states of the Northeast can and should play leading roles in our efforts to look eastwards."
In a fitting tribute to the event he was attending and in an oblique reference to Myanmar, Singh reminded the gathering that while celebrating the platinum jubilee, "we should not forget that there are many nations in the world which are just waking up to the light of democracy. As the world's largest democracy, we in India warmly welcome all those who seek a world of freedom and constitutional government." Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently got elected as an MP in junta-ruled Myanmar, which is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and shares its border with Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.
Singh said "democratic" India had been criticised for having ties with "dictatorial" Myanmar but now everybody was hailing the recent elections. "These things take time. Democracy is not something that can be implanted overnight. Our engagement is yielding results," he said, adding that once connectivity was established with Bangladesh and Myanmar things could only improve for the Northeast and the country.
Stressing on infrastructure as the key to development in the Northeast, Singh said, "We need better educational and services infrastructure. We need better transport connectivity. As connectivity improves and capabilities expand, so will commerce and employment opportunities. The rapid improvement in Assam's human development indicators gives us hope and reason to believe that the progress Assam has recently experienced can be sustained over the long term."
The Prime Minister was effusive in his praise for former chief minister and friend late Hiteswar Saikia and incumbent chief minister Tarun Gogoi for their contributions in taking Assam forward.
A Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, Singh was equally effusive and nostalgic about his association with the state.
"I remain deeply indebted to the people of Assam. I was born in a distant and dusty village in a part of this sub-continent that is no longer in India. At a tender age I became homeless and a migrant. It is in Assam that I have finally found a home that has given me a sense of belonging. The friendship, the affection and the warmth that each one of you have so readily extended to me is something I cannot and will not ever forget," he said.
Singh did not make any big bang announcements but indirectly endorsed the long-pending demand for a bicameral legislature in Assam and all possible help for the development of the state and the region. "I am happy that the state government has decided to build a new complex at Dispur to house both the Assam Legislative Assembly and the proposed Assam Legislative Council. I am told that the project is expected to be complete by 2014. It is my fondest hope and wish that the new complex will enable the representatives of the people of Assam to serve their people and their cause and aspirations," he said.
Singh expressed regret for not being able to attend the function on April 7, as scheduled earlier, as Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was visiting the country. The first sitting of the Assam Legislative Assembly was held on April 7, 1937 in Shillong. It continued to be Assam's capital till 1972, when the state government decided to make Dispur the new capital.
Speaking at the platinum jubilee function, Assam governor J.B. Patnaik invoked Vaishnavite saints Sankardev and Madhavdev to drive home a message about Indianness. "Today we talk about Indianness which Assam has been practising for 500 years."
The Paresh Barua faction of Ulfa had called a 12-hour bandh to protest against the Prime Minister's visit but it passed off smoothly.

आणखी एका पॅकेजने केली शेतकऱ्यांची निराशा!

आणखी एका पॅकेजने केली शेतकऱ्यांची निराशा!

खास प्रतिनिधी , नागपूर
altशेतकऱ्यांच्या मदतीची मागणी झाली की पॅकेज जाहीर करायचे, पण यातून त्यांना काय मिळाले याचा आढावाही घ्यायचा नाही, या सरकारी धोरणाचा प्रत्यय पुन्हा एकदा शेतकऱ्यांना आला आहे. खरीप हंगामात कापूस, सोयाबीन आणि धान पिकांच्या नुकसान भरपाईपोटी राज्य शासनाने जाहीर केलेल्या पॅकेजमधून जिल्ह्य़ातील शेतकऱ्यांना आतापर्यंत ४९ कोटी रुपयांपैकी फक्त १०.२१ कोटी रुपयेच मिळाल्याने शेतकऱ्यांचा पॅकेजवरून विश्वासच उडाला आहे.
२०१०-११ या वर्षांच्या खरीप हंगामात विदर्भातील कापूस, सोयाबीन आणि धान उत्पादकांचे पीक बुडाल्याने राज्य शासनाने हिवाळी अधिवेशनात विदर्भ, मराठवाडा आणि खान्देशातील शेतकऱ्यांच्या मदतीसाठी दोन हजार कोटी रुपयांचे पॅकेज जाहीर केले होते. अलीकडेच राज्य शासनाने ३१ मार्चपूर्वी शेतकऱ्यांना त्यांच्या मदतीचे धनादेश वाटप करण्याचे निर्देश दिले होते. नागपूर जिल्ह्य़ाचा विचार केला तर या जिल्ह्य़ातील कापूस, सोयाबीन आणि धान उत्पादकांचे ४९.४८ कोटी रुपयांचे नुकसान झाल्याचा सरकारचा दावा होता. जिल्हा प्रशासनाला आतापर्यंत फक्त १०.२१ कोटी रुपयेच प्राप्त झाले आहे आणि ही रक्कम प्रशासनाला शेतकऱ्यांपर्यंत पोहोचवण्यातही अपयश आले आहे. राज्य शासनाने मदत जाहीर केल्याने शेतकरी रोज जिल्हाधिकारी कार्यालयात फेऱ्या मारतात, पण शासनाकडून निधीच न आल्याने त्यांना आल्या पावली परत जावे लागते.
सरकारी अहवालानुसार राज्यात ३० लाख ६९ हजार २०० हेक्टरमध्ये सोयाबीनची लागवड करण्यात आली होती, यापैकी १३ लाख २२ हजार ८०० हेक्टरमध्ये २५ टक्क्यांपेक्षा अधिक पीकहानी झाल्याची नोंद आहे. नागपूर जिल्ह्य़ात २ लाख ३७ हजार २०० हेक्टरमध्ये सोयाबीनची लागवड करण्यात आली होती, त्यापैकी २ लाख ३३ हजार ३०० हेक्टरमधील सोयाबीनच्या पिकांची हानी झाली म्हणजे जवळजवळ १०० टक्के पीक हानी झाली असतानाही सरकार संथगतीने चालत आहे. जिल्ह्य़ातील १३ पैकी १२ तालुक्यात सोयाबीन पीक हानीची टक्केवारी २५ टक्के आहे. नागपूरनंतर अकोल्याचा क्रमांक आहे. या जिल्ह्य़ात १ लाख ५१ हजार ५०० हेक्टरपैकी १ लाख ३९ हजार ८०० हेक्टरमध्ये, चंद्रपूर जिल्ह्य़ात १ लाख ४९ हजार ३०० हेक्टरपैकी १ लाख २२ हजार १०० हेक्टरमध्ये पीक हानी झाल्याची नोंद करण्यात आली आहे. सोयाबीनच्या तुलनेत नागपूर जिल्ह्य़ात धानाला कमी फटका बसला आहे. धानाच्या ७८ हजार ६०० हेक्टरपैकी १० हजार ४०० हेक्टरवरील धान पिकांचे २५ टक्क्यांपेक्षा जास्त हानी झाली आहे. राज्याचा विचार केला तर १५ लाख १४ हजार ५०० हेक्टरपैकी ३ लाख ३० हजार ८०० हेक्टरवरील धानाच्या पिकांत २५ टक्के घट झाली आहे. 

वाशिंगटन के दबाव में कौशिक बसु ने सरकार की कलई खोल दी, बाजार में मच गया हड़कंप!

वाशिंगटन के दबाव में कौशिक बसु ने सरकार की कलई खोल दी, बाजार में मच गया हड़कंप!

मुंबई से एक्सकैलिबर स्टीवेंस विश्वास

केंद्र सरकार के मुख्य आर्थिक सलाहकार कौशिक बसु के बयान से बाजार में हड़कंप मच गया है।बाजार को भारी धक्का लगा और निफ्टी 5300 के नीचे लुढ़का। सेंसेक्स 130 अंक गिरकर 17373 और निफ्टी 41 अंक गिरकर 5291 पर बंद हुए।वैसे बताया जाता है कि बाजार में हड़बड़ाहट की वजह फ्रिक ट्रेड है।बड़े आर्थिक सुधारों पर वर्ष 2014 तक ब्रेक लगने और रिलायंस का मुनाफा घटने की आशंका बाजार पर भारी पड़ी। निवेशकों की मुनाफावसूली से दलाल स्ट्रीट में चार दिनों से जारी तेजी शुक्रवार को थम गई। बीते चार सत्रों के दौरान इसमें 289 अंक की तेजी आई थी।जाहिर है कि सारा खेल वाशिंगटन में हो रहा है , जहां वित्तमंत्री प्रणव मुखर्जी दौरे पर हैं और बाजार पूरी तरह खोलने, आर्थिक सुधार लागू करने के लिए उनपर दबाव का पहाड़ टूट पड़ा है। प्रणव दादा इस बोझ के आदी हैं। इंदिरा गांधी के सोवियत माडल के जमाने में भी वे वित्त मंत्री रहे हैं। उदारीकरण के नये जमाने में समाजवादी रूसी चोला उतारकर वे पूरी तरह अमेरिकी रंग में रंग गये हैं।

पर कौशिक बसु को इतना अनुभव नहीं है। दबाव में आकर उन्होंने सरकार की कलई ही खोल दी।बसु ने कल वाशिंगटन में कहा था कि वर्ष 2014 के आम चुनाव से पहले देश में आर्थिक सुधारों की दिशा में ठोस कदम उठाए जाने की संभावना नहीं है। आम चुनाव के बाद केंद्र में नई सरकार के गठन के उपरांत ही आर्थिक सुधारों की गाड़ी के फिर से आगे बढ़ने की उम्मीद है।उद्योग जगत को आशंका है कि चरमराती अर्थव्यवस्था को मजबूती देने के लिए सरकार की ओर से कई कदम उठाने जाने की संभावना कम हो गई है।कौशिक बसु ने कहा है कि भ्रष्टाचार के मामलों के लगातार उजागर होने के कारण निर्णय करने की प्रकिया प्रभावित हुई है। ऐसे मामले सामने आने के कारण अफसरों की मानसिककता पर असर पड़ता है और वे जोखिम उठाने से परहेज करते हैं।इसके अलावा गठबंधन सरकार में महंगाई और कृषि उत्पादन में गिरावट के चलते भी फैसले लेने की रफ्तार मंद पड़ी है।

बसु के 'देश में आर्थिक सुधारों की गाड़ी का पहिया राजनीति के दलदल में फंसने' संबंधी इस विवादास्पद बयान से सरकार के लिए भारी फजीहत उठ खड़ी हुई है।प्रधानमंत्री हर विफलता के लिए पहले से ही गठबंधन सरकार का रोना रोते हैं, अब वित्त मंत्रालय के मुख्य आर्थिक सलाहकार कौशिक बसु ने भी ऐसा ही कुछ कह दिया है।

दूसरी ओर जन लोकपाल, भ्रष्टाचार और काला धन के खिलाफ अलग-अलग अभियान चला रहे सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता अन्ना हजारे व योग गुरु बाबा रामदेव के एक साथ मिलकर आंदोलन करने के एलान के बाद सरकार की मुश्किलें बढ़ने की भी संभावनाओं से इंकार नहीं किया जा सकता। क्योंकि अभी तक अन्ना हजारे व बाबा रामदेव अलग-अलग आंदोलन कर रहे थे, और जाकर एक हुए हैं।

अब तय है कि कौसिक बसु के इस बयान के बाद अन्ना ब्रिगेड का हौसला भी बुलंद हो गया।1 मई से अन्ना हजारे महाराष्ट्र के शिरडी से अपना आंदोलन शुरू करेंगे। वहीं, बाबा रामदेव छत्तीसगढ़ के दुर्ग से। अन्ना ने कहा कि उनका आंदोलन महाराष्ट्र के 35 जिलों में चलेगा। दोनों करीब महीने भर बाद 3 जून को दिल्ली में एक साथ एक दिन के सांकेतिक अनशन पर बैठेंगे।खबर है कि दिल्ली  के अनशन में श्रीश्री रविशंकर भी शामिल हो सकते हैं। बाबा रामदेव के साथ संयुक्त संवाददाता सम्मेलन में अन्ना हजारे ने केंद्र सरकार पर भ्रष्टाचार में संलिप्त होने का आरोप लगाया।उन्होंने कहा कि उनका इरादा सरकार गिराना नहीं है, लेकिन यदि लोगों के आंदोलन का नतीजा इस रूप में सामने आता है तो इसमें कुछ भी गलत नहीं है।बाबा रामदेव ने कहा, मौजूदा सरकार को शासन का कोई अधिकार नहीं है। उन्होंने कहा, "यह केवल भारत में हो सकता है कि भ्रष्टाचार के कई मामलों के बाद भी सरकार सत्ता में बनी रहे।"बाबा रामदेव ने कहा, "समय बदलेगा और एक ऐसी सरकार सत्ता में आएगी, जो वास्तव में प्रभावी लोकपाल चाहेगी।"

सीआईआई के मुताबिक विकास और उद्योग को बढ़ावा सरकार को आर्थिक सुधार लाने चाहिए। वहीं, अमेरिका के उद्योग जगत ने भी बराक ओबामा को कहा है कि भारत सरकार के फैसलों से निवेश का माहौल बिगड़ रहा है।योजना आयोग के उपाध्यक्ष मोंटेक सिंह अहलूवालिया का कहना है कि अगले 2 साल तक कोई सुधार नहीं होगा ये कहना गलत है। लंबे समय से कई अटके पड़े रिफॉर्म जरूर पूरे होंगे। रिफॉर्म के लिए सरकार को सहमति बनानी होगी।लोकसभा के आगामी चुनावों से पहले आर्थिक सुधारों की दिशा में किसी बडे कदम की असंभावना के बारे में मुख्य आर्थिक सलाहकार कौशिक बसु के वक्तव्य के बीच केन्द्र सरकार ने आज दावा किया कि दुनिया भर में आर्थिक मंदी के बावजूद भारत में वित्तीय सुधारों की कई पहलकदमियां जारी हैं।

कमजोर अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संकेतों की वजह से घरेलू बाजार भी गिरावट के साथ खुले। निवेशकों में जोश की कमी दिखी और बाजार सीमित दायरे में ही घूमते नजर आए।यूरोपीय बाजारों में मिला-जुला कारोबार होने की वजह से घरेलू बाजारों में खरीदारी नहीं लौट पाई। लेकिन, दोपहर 2 बजे बाजार में तेज गिरावट आई।भारी गिरावट की वजह रही एक गलत ट्रेड। सेंसेक्स 273 अंक और निफ्टी 87 अंक टूटे। निफ्टी 5300 के अहम स्तर के नीचे चला गया। हालांकि, कारोबार के आखिर में बाजार संभलते नजर आए।प्रधान उधारी दर में कटौती के कारण बैंकों का मार्जिन घट सकता है, खासतौर पर सार्वजनिक क्षेत्र के बैंकों का। दरअसल सार्वजनिक क्षेत्र के बैंकों ने मार्च में जमा दरों में इजाफा किया था, जिसे बैंकों को कम से कम एक साल तक बरकरार रखना पड़ेगा। हालांकि रिजर्व बैंक द्वारा रीपो दर में कटौती के बाद ही बैंकों ने जमा दरें घटानी शुरू कर दी हैं।देश के सबसे बड़े बैंक एसबीआई ने अपने ग्राहकों को खासा निराश किया है। बैंक ने कहा है कि एसबीआई बेस रेट और बीपीएलआर में कोई कटौती नहीं करने जा रही है। एक अन्य सरकारी बैंक बैंक ऑफ बड़ौदा ने भी इस मामले में शनिवार को फैसला लेने की बात की है। उधर, सिंडिकेट बैंक ने अपने बेस रेट में 0.25 फीसदी की कटौती का फैसला किया है। 0.25 फीसदी की कटौती के बाद सिंडिकेट बैंक का बेस रेट 10.5 फीसदी हो जाएगा। वहीं बैंक ने बीपीएलआर भी 0.25 फीसदी घटाकर 14.75 फीसदी करने का ऐलान किया है। भारत सरकार ने आय कर अधिनियम में पिछली तारीख से किए जाने वाले संशोधन पर अपने रुख में बदलाव से स्पष्ट तौर पर इनकार करते हुए वाशिंगटन को साफ कर दिया है कि भारत स्थित परिसंपत्ति से किसी कंपनी को होने वाले पूंजीगत फायदे के लिए भारत या मूल देश (जहां की कंपनी है) में कर का भुगतान करना पड़ेगा। इस महीने की शुरुआत में भारत इस मामले को लेकर ब्रिटेन के समक्ष भी अपना रुख स्पष्ट कर चुका है।

हालांकि इस बीच बसु ने वाशिंगटन में आर्थिक सुधारों को लेकर दिए गए अपने बयानों पर सफाई दी है।उनका कहना था कि साल 2014 की बात उन्होंने यूरोपियन यूनियन के संबंध में कही थी, लेकिन इसे तोड़ मरोड़ कर भारत के संदर्भ में बताया जा रहा है। कौशिक बसु ने सरकार को आड़े हाथ लेते हुए कहा कि आर्थिक घोटाले व गठबंधन की सरकार देश में आर्थिक सुधारों में रोड़ा बने हुए हैं। उन्होंने कहा कि सरकार द्वारा फैसला नहीं लेने का खामियाजा देश को आने वाले और दो साल तक भुगतना पड़ेगा। कौशिक बसु ने कहा कि एक के बाद एक हो रहे घोटाले से देश पर बुरा असर पड़ा है।

अब विपक्ष की मजबूरी है कि आर्थिक सुधारों के प्रति वह अपनी प्रतिबद्धता जाहिर करें। एक तो वाशिंगटन से बाहरी दबाव तो दूसरी ओर ​
​उद्योग जगत को खश रखने की मजबूरी।केन्द्र के कांग्रेस नीत संयुक्त प्रगतिशील गठबंधन (संप्रग) पर राष्ट्रीय आर्थिक संकट के लिए दूसरों पर दोषारोपण करने का आरोप लगाते हुए भाजपा के वरिष्ठ नेता यशवंत सिन्हा ने शुक्रवार को कहा कि वित्त मंत्रालय के मुख्य आर्थिक सलाहकार कौशिक बसु ने बड़ी हिम्मत कर सच्चाई कही है कि वर्ष 2014 में होने वाले आम चुनावों से पहले देश में बड़े आर्थिक सुधार होने की संभावना नहीं है।मालूम हो कि यूपीए-2 यानी मनमोहन सिंह के दूसरी बार प्रधानमंत्री बनने के बाद आर्थिक तरक्की थम गई है। विकास दर की रफ्तार मई 2009 से अब तक 10 फीसदी से घटकर 6 फीसदी तक पहूंच गई है। सरकार सब्सिडी पर अपनी जीडीपी का 3 फीसदी पैसा खर्च कर रही है जो बहुत ज्यादा है। यानी सब्सिडी को घटाने की जरूरत है जो गठबंधन की वजह से मुमकिन नहीं हो पा रहा है।सरकार की कमाई का 16 फीसदी हिस्सा सब्सिडी देने में खर्च हो जाता है। इनमें मनरेगा, खाद, भोजन और पेट्रोल सब्सिडी शामिल है। सरकार का वित्तिय घाटा लगातारा बढ़ रहा है। पहले ये घाटा जीडीपी के 4.5 फीसदी था जो बढ़कर 6.5 फीसदी पहुंच गया है। ओएनजीसी का विनिवेश भी बुरी तरह फेल हो गया और ऐसा क्यों हुआ इसका जवाब सरकार के पास नही है।

सीआईआई के नये अध्यक्ष ने आर्थिक सुधारों की सर्वोच्च प्राथमिकता बताकर सरकार और विपक्ष दोनों पर दबाव और बढ़ा दिया है।गोदरेज समूह के चेयरमैन अदि गोदरेज को सीआईआई का नया अध्यक्ष बनाया गया है। सीआईआई का पद संभालने के बाद अदि गोदरेज का कहना है कि उनका पूरा ध्यान आर्थिक सुधारों पर होगा।अदि गोदरेज के मुताबिक सुधार प्रक्रिया में तेजी लाने के लिए सीआईआई सरकार की हरसंभव मदद करने को तैयार है। वहीं इस साल ग्रोथ में बढ़ोतरी सीआईआई का प्रमुख एजेंडा होगा।अदि का मानना है कि इस तिमाही में आरबीआई द्वारा रेपो रेट में कटौती करना काफी सकारात्मक कदम है, साथ ही उम्मीद है आगे भी प्रमुख दरों में कटौती हो सकती है। वहीं रिजर्व बैंक को बाजार में लिक्विडिटी बढ़ाने के लिए सीआरआर में कटौती करनी चाहिए।अदि गोदरेज का कहना है कि इस साल जीएसटी लागू किए जाने की उम्मीद है। वहीं टैक्स कानून में बदलाव से सरकार की छवि को धक्का लगा है, ऐसे में सरकार को टैक्स नियमों में सुधार करने जैसे कदम उठाने की जरूरत है।

कौशिक बसु ने अपनी सफाई पेश करते हुए कहा कि साल 2014 का महत्व इसलिए है क्योंकि इस साल यूरोपियन यूनियन के देश अपने 1.3 ट्रिलियन के कर्ज को चुकाएंगे, जिससे दुनिया को आर्थिक संकट का सामना करना पड़ सकता है।बसु का कहना है कि ऐसी स्थिति में भारत अहम रोल अदा कर सकता है, क्यों भारत एक तेज़ गति से विकास कर रहा देश है, यहां तक की चीन से भी अधिक रफ्तार से भारत विकास कर रहा है।हालांकि, उन्होंने एक बार फिर माना है कि गठबंधन सरकार में फैसले लेने में दिक्कत आती और एक पार्टी की सरकार में ऐसी परेशानी नहीं आती है।उनका कहना था कि अगर अगले आम चुनाव में एक पार्टी की सरकार बनती है तो आर्थिक सुधारों में आसानी होगी।

कौशिक बसु ने अपनी राय को भारत सरकार के राय से अलग करते हुए कहा, "मैं मुख्य आर्थिक सलाहकार होने के नाते कभी-कभी अपनी राय रखता रहता हूं, लेकिन यह जरूरी नहीं कि मेरी राय वित्त मंत्रालय और भारत सरकार की राय हो।"

केंद्रीय मंत्रियों और योजना आयोग के उपाध्यक्ष ने सरकार का बचाव करने की कोशिश की है।बसु की राय में कई ऐसे सुधार हैं, जिनमें तेजी से आगे बढ़ना जरूरी है। रिटेल सेक्टर में विदेशी निवेश को मंजूरी देना भी ऐसा ही एक महत्वपूर्ण सुधार है, जो अटका पड़ा है। कौशिक बसु ने ये बातें अमेरिका के वॉशिंगटन में इंटरनेशनल मॉनेटरी फंड यानी आईएमएफ और वर्ल्ड बैंक की सालाना बैठक के दौरान कही। बसु इस बैठक में हिस्सा लेने के लिए वित्त मंत्री प्रणब मुखर्जी के साथ अमेरिका गए हुए हैं।मुख्य आर्थिक सलाहकार कौशिक बसु के बयान पर फिक्की के महासचिव राजीव कुमार ने भी आपत्ति जताई है। उन्होंने कहा कि अगर कौशिक बसु ने ऐसा कहा है जो उद्योग जगत के लिए ठीक नहीं है। उनके मुताबिक आर्थिक विकास में स्थिरता आई है।

प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय में मंत्री वी नारायण सामी ने बसु के बयान को उनकी व्यक्तिगत राय बताते हुए कहा कि वास्तव में सरकार ने वित्तीय सुधार और ग्रामीण व शहरी विकास के लिए कई सक्रिय कदम उठाए हैं। सामी ने कहा कि प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह के नेतृत्व में देश बेहतर से बेहतर विकास का लक्ष्य हासिल करने की दिशा में प्रयास कर रहा है।उन्होंने कहा कि प्रधानमंत्री के नेतृत्व के प्रयासों का ही फल है कि विश्व में आर्थिक मंदी के कारण जहां दुनिया की बड़ी और मजदूत अर्थव्यवस्थाएं धराशाई हो रही हैं, वहीं हमारा देश तरक्की की दिशा में तेजी से आगे बढ़ रहा है।

केंद्रीय मानव संसाधन विकास मंत्री कपिल सिब्बल ने बसु के बयान पर टिप्पणी करने से इंकार किया। उन्होंने कहा कि इस संबंध में बसु से ही पूछा जाना चाहिए।सिब्बल ने कहा कि यदि बसु ने ऐसा बयान दिया है तो इस पर सवाल उन्हीं से पूछा जाना चाहिए। योजना आयोग के उपाध्यक्ष मोंटेक सिंह अहलूवालिया ने कहा कि देश में नीति निर्धारण एवं फैसला लेने में गतिरोध संबंधी बसु के बयान से वह सहमत नहीं हैं।

इस बीच सरकार ने शुक्रवार को 586.137 करोड़ रुपए के प्रत्यक्ष विदेशी निवेश के 22 प्रस्तावों को मंजूरी दे दी।केंद्रीय वित्त मंत्रालय ने एक बयान में कहा है कि विदेशी निवेश सम्वर्धन बोर्ड (एफआईपीबी) द्वारा 30 मार्च, 2012 की बैठक की गई सिफारिशों के बाद ही इन प्रस्तावों को मंजूरी दी गई है।

एफडीआई को, विदेशी संस्थागत निवेश की तुलना में ज्यादा टिकाऊं माना जाता है। सरकार ने शांता बायोटेकि्न क के 514 करोड़ रुपये के प्रस्ताव को मंजूरी दे दी।इस राशि के जरिए कम्पनी जैवप्रौद्योगिकी से जुड़े उत्पादों और अन्य जैव उत्पादों के अनुसंधान, विकास, विनिर्माण और विपणन से सम्बंधित गतिविधियों के लिए ब्राउनफील्ड फार्मा सेक्टर में अपनी विदेशी हिस्सेदारी बढ़ाएगी।

सरकार ने राडार प्रणालियों, और विभिन्न तरह के रक्षा इलेक्ट्रॉनिक प्रणालियों के विकास, विनिर्माण और सेवा सहायता मुहैया कराने के लिए एक संयुक्त उपक्रम स्थापित करने के लिए महिंदा एंड महिंद्रा के 25.99 करोड़ रुपए के प्रस्ताव को भी मंजूरी दे दी।

सरकार ने स्प्रिंगर एडिटोरियल सर्विसिस के 12.87 करोड़ रुपए के प्रस्ताव को भी अनुमति दे दी।

इसके जरिए कम्पनी प्रकाशन सेवाओं, सामग्री तैयार करने, सामग्री प्रबंधन और सामग्री की आउटसोर्सिग सहित अन्य कामों के लिए 100 प्रतिशत तक विदेशी हिस्सेदारी बढ़ाएगी।

सरकार ने हालांकि तारा एयरोस्पेस सिस्टम्स, अल शकूर कम्पनी फॉर इंजीनियरिंग एंड कंस्ट्रक्शन और आर्डेन हेल्थ केयर ग्लोबल जैसी कम्पनियों के 18 प्रस्तावों को खारिज कर दिया।

सरकार ने वेर्गा अटैचमेंट्स, क्वेस्ट ग्लोबल मैन्युफैक्च रिंग और योरनेस्ट एंजेल फंड ट्रस्ट के पांच प्रस्तावों को भी खारिज कर दिया. निकित इन्वेस्टमेंट्स के एक प्रस्ताव को एजेंडे से ही हटा लिया गया है।

Friday 20 April 2012

Manufacturing a Riot Ram Puniyani

Manufacturing a Riot
Ram Puniyani
In Saidabad and Madannapeth areas of Hyderabad (April 1st week, 2012) violence was unleashed against the local Muslims. In this violence several houses were damaged, many a people were injured and women were raped. Just before the incident Praveen Togadia had given an inflammatory speech in the area. There was news that fundamentalists (read- Muslims) have thrown beef and green color in the Hanuman temple. This news was enough to instigate the violence. The police succeeded in arresting the culprits, who turned out to be those belonging to Hindu communal outfits.
On the New Year eve, 1st January (2012), In Sindagi town of Bijapur Pakistan flag was seen on the government buildings. The news spread with rapid speed and violence which followed led to the burning of six state transport buses and many other vehicles. As it turned out it was the activists of Sri Ram Sene of Pramod Mutallik, an ex-RSS Pracharak (Propagator), who first hoisted the Pakistan flag and then went about telling people about the same.
There are many more dimensions of both these acts of violence, brought in by using religious identity, symbols and emotive appeals.  Communal violence is a cancer which has spread in to the body politic of our society. The very foundation of communal violence is the 'social common sense' the 'hate-other' ideology build around the myths and biases prevalent against the 'others'. As such communal violence is the superficially visible part of the communal politics, a politics deriving its legitimacy from the identity of religion. To begin with the hatred for 'other' community' started getting consolidated around the communal projection of History, supplemented by aspects from the present social life of a community, exaggerated and put forward in a derogatory way. In pre-partition period the violence was emerging from both communal streams and British were a sort of neutral umpires.
With partition process Muslim communalism got deflated, violence changed its form and started assuming different trend leading to rise of conservatism; orthodoxy amongst Muslims. The minority communalism promoted more conservative values amongst minorities and also gave provocations to the majority communalism. After the quiet period after the ghastly post-partition riots, violence started surfacing after 1961 with Jabalpur violence, in the wake of which Pundit Nehru, the then Prime minster of the country, constituted National Integration Council, which has been playing some insignificant role in promoting national integration. It is more of a debating club, meeting once a while, forgetting about the issue in the intervening period.
The communal violence, where two communities are made to pitch against each other has been changing its character and now communal groups, who are on the provoking and attacking spree have a clear goal of intimidating and subjugating the religious minorities. At the same time the pretext is manufactured that Muslims are violent or Christians have attacked, 'they' begin the violence and then get the 'deserved' punishment.  This again is a totally make believe construct. The two incidents which have taken place amply show the anatomy of manufacturing a riot. The majoritarian communal streams have built up their strength by polarizing the communities along religious lines. Founded on the deeper biases against minorities, the rumors played the role of triggering the violence, or rumors play the role of the precipitating factor in the concentrated solution of 'Hate other'. Many rumors have been used, killing of the cow, abduction/rape of Hindu women, cutting of the breast of women, discretion of the holy place/book etc. Adding on the list has come in this Pakistan flag, which is a quiet an innovation during last some time.
The violence by and large is a planned one and is made to look a spontaneous one, that too sparked by the minorities. The Hyderabad and Sindagi incidents are new pointers to this. Earlier in the Kandhamal, violence was triggered on the pretext of the death of Swami Laxmananand, who as such was killed by Maoists. Swami Laxmananand's dead body was taken in a procession through Christian minority areas, and the rivers of blood followed. The Gujarat violence was undertaken in a pre planned manner on the pretext of the burning of train in Godhra and the merchants of death followed. In Mumbai after the demolition of Babri Mosque, some Muslim youth threw stones on the police station, the Shiv Sena activists threw Gulal (Orange color of celebration used mostly by Hindus) on a mosque and Bal Thackeray gave the call for 'teaching them a lesson'. So far many inquiry commissions and citizen's tribunals have pointed out the role of the majoritarian communal organization. Starting from the report of Bhivandi riots (Madon Commission) to Mumbai violence (Sri Krishna Commission), their conclusions are similar to a large extent. The riot instigation is done in a way, it is orchestrated it in such a fashion, as if the Muslims have thrown the first stone or Christians have precipitated the violence.
Dr. V.N. Rai, a police officer did his doctoral work on the theme of riots between 1968-1980 (Combating Communal Conflicts), and a longish quote from this book will enlighten us on the issue, "very often the way in which the first stone is thrown or the first hand is raised in aggression, suggests an outside agency at work, an agency that wants to create a situation in which members of the minority community commit an act which ignites severe retribution for themselves. In order to guard them against external criticism and to preserve their self righteousness, violence is projected to be started by Muslims. It is as if a weaker person is pushed into the corner by a stronger, forcing him to raise his hand so that he may be suitably punished for his `attack'. Before the punishment is meted out a suitable hue and cry can be made about the fact that because the person cornered is naturally wicked and violent, he is bound to attack first" (Pg. 56-57)."
Now there is some change in the trajectory of the riot instigation; there is a continuity and change in the issues used to manufacture the riots. Now the communal elements are becoming bolder to hoist the Pakistan flag or to throw the piece of beef and green color more boldly. The other change is in the relative increase in the percentage of victims belonging to minority community. By 1980s 65% of victims were Muslims (V.N.Rai) in 1991 it was 80% (Union Home ministry data) and by 2001 this percentage has further gone up. These data tell their own tale. The communal violence has polarized the communities along religious lines, and has given flesh and blood to the communal politics. It has laid the foundation for identity related issues coming to the fore and marginalizing the core issues of society.
While large number of measures are needed to curb the communal violence and to snub the organizations deliberately playing mischief, it is imperative that multi layered approach is taken up to bring peace and harmony in the society. We need to battle against the stereotypes and biases at all the levels, amongst the people and amongst the administration. At the same time a major step of setting up inter-religious committees in all the areas can combat the rumors or find the truth as to who has hoisted the flag or thrown beef, and this may prevent the violence in many a situations.
Issues in Secular Politics
II April 2012
Response only to

Labour court judge booked for rape, offences under Atrocity Act

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 20.04.12
Labour court judge booked for rape, offences under Atrocity Act - The Times Of India
 'Wall of untouchability' demolished - The Hindu
Kerala 100% literate? No.. - Deccan Chronicle
PhDs recruited as revenue inspectors - The Times Of India
SP orders arrest of senior Bhagalpur Electricity Area Board official - The Times Of India
Dalit groups pulled up over claims - IBN Live
25 complaints settled at SC/ST panel sitting - IBN Live
The Times Of India
Labour court judge booked for rape, offences under Atrocity Act
TNN | Apr 19, 2012, 03.02AM IST
YAVATMAL: The Wadgaon Road police on Tuesday evening booked Atique Mohammad Khan (52), a judge of the district labour court, for allegedly raping his domestic help. The cops have also booked Khan under the Prevention of Atrocity (SC/ST) Act. Till the filing of the report, the accused was not arrested.
According to police officer Sarjerao Gaikwad, the victim (40) who hails from Pune, lodged a complaint against the judge alleging that he exploited her sexually on the pretext ofmarrying her.
She also accused Khan insulting her, criminal intimidation and illegal confinement at his Yavatmal residence. "We heard the woes of the woman and since the case involves a judge, we sought advise from the chief principal district and sessions judge Bashir Sheikh and government pleader PB Gaidbile before registering a criminal offence," said Sarjerao, adding that he booked the accused under sections 343,376, 294, 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.
Since the victim belongs to the scheduled caste (cobbler), we booked the accused under different provisions of the prevention of atrocity (SC/ST) Act. Sarjerao added that the accused could not be arrested as he moved out of Yavatmal probably to seek anticipatory bail. The complainant is a resident of Ganeshpeth in Pune. Khan was also in Pune before he joined the legal service. He is married. His wife is a teacher in a Pune school.
The victim is married and has two children from her deceased husband. She has been working as a maid at Khan's residence since ten years.
Taking undue advantage of the widow, Khan started sexually exploiting her on the pretext of marrying her and taking care of her kids.
In 2007, Khan was posted at Gondia as judge of the district labour court. He moved out of Pune with the victim and was in Gondia for three years. In 2010, Khan was transferred to Yavatmal and the duo stayed in a flat on Godhani Road. In June, when she insisted Khan marry her, the accused took her to Pune and left her at her mother's house. She was confined to the house when she returned on April 11. When the victim returned to Yavatmal to take her belongings, Khan confined her to his flat and raped her. She somehow managed to escape and approached the police.
She narrated her story to PSO Gaikwad but he refused to take action as the complaint was not in writing.
It is learnt that the woman even requested the police to provide her an escort to Pune as she feared for her life but there was no response from Gaikwad.
Finally, with the help of a lawyer, she drafted a complaint and lodged the same with the police who in turn booked the Judge.
Sub divisional police officer (SDPO) Lata Fad confirmed the incident and said that she is investigating the matter. She also informed that the woman was referred to the government medical college for a medical examination. The report is awaited.
On the progress of the investigation, Fad said that since there is an offence under the Atrocity Act, she has to go into the details. She added that the judge has not been arrested.
In her complaint, the victim stated that she also informed the wife of the accused about the sexual exploitation in Pune. The accused's wife allegedly advised her not to make the incident public but gave her the nod to marry her husband. Police said that this could be the reason why Khan's wife allowed the victim to live with her husband in Gondia while she remained in Pune.
The Hindu
'Wall of untouchability' demolished
Special Correspondent
It prevented 300 Arundathiar families from using a road laid by Corporation
The wall that separated Dalits of Senkodan Nagar in Narasothipatti in Ward 3 here from others was demolished on Thursday.
On instructions from Collector K. Maharabushanam, a team of officials from Revenue and Police Departments and Salem Municipal Corporation visited the spot and assessed the situation after The Hindu carried a report on the 10-feet-long and 5-feet high "wall of untouchability" that was erected right across the tar-topped 20-feet road in Meenakshi Nagar, where caste Hindus live.
The wall had prevented 300 Arundathiar families living in Senkodan Nagar next to Meenakshi Nagar, from using the road that was laid by Salem Corporation some 30 years ago. RDO S. Prasanna Ramasamy told The Hindu that the wall should not have been erected across the road. "Our Collector personally supervised the whole issue and wanted us to sort it out as per law," he said.
A team of officials from Salem Corporation led by Executive Engineer A. Asokan pasted a warning notice on the wall at 11 am on Thursday telling those who erected the wall to demolish it before 4 p.m. "Otherwise, the Corporation will demolish it and collect demolition charge from the persons concerned," it warned.
But till 4 p.m., nobody had turned up to demolish the wall. Therefore, the civic body under Section 256 of the Salem Municipal Corporation Act 1994 pulled it down with the help of earthmover.
Meanwhile, tension mounted in the locality with members of the Salem unit of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Committee, Bahajun Samaj Party and other Dalit outfits demanding immediate demolition of the wall. They warned that they would take up the task of demolishing the wall if the Corporation failed to do so. Heavy police pickets were posted at the site to prevent any untoward incident.
S. Palanisamy, who took up the wall issue, said that more than 300 Arundathiar Dalit families of Senkodan Nagar had been using the road for the past three decades. "But the controversial wall came up all in a sudden and prevented us from using it," he said.
Deccan Chronicle


Kerala 100% literate? No..

April 19, 2012
Kerala's 100 per cent literacy myth has been busted. About 2.2 lakh people belonging to the scheduled castes in the state are illiterate, it has been revealed.
This comes up to 9.5 per cent of the Dalit population.
The figures were part of one of the main findings in the provisional data prepared by the Kerala Institute of Local Administration as part of a study on scheduled caste habitat and families.
Shockingly, the study also suggests that illiteracy among scheduled caste was not decreasing, but increasing.
The number of illiterates among children of the age groups five and nine among dalits is 27,355. Illiterates among children in the age group of 10 and 14 are 454. In the age group, 15 and 24 the number is 2,045.
The study also finds 66 per cent of the scheduled caste population is below the poverty line category.
The analysis also finds that landlessness is another major problem faced by scheduled castes. The 14.5 lakh scheduled castes living in various colonies in the state together only own 29,000 acre. The irony was that 3.4 lakh scheduled caste families live in this 29,000 acre land.
The study also finds that 70,000 scheduled caste families in the State are landless. Another 2.5 lakh families live in one room houses.
The Times Of India
PhDs recruited as revenue inspectors
TNN | Apr 20, 2012, 07.03AM IST
BERHAMPUR: The persistent and acute unemployment problem in Ganjam district became all the more prominent when candidates with PhD, MBA, B Tech and BCA degreesapplied and got selected for posts of Revenue Inspectors (RI), Assistant Revenue Inspector(ARI) and Amin, for all of which a graduation and basic knowledge in computer are the only requirements.
At least 200 persons were recruited, 57 RIs and 143 ARIs after the final selection on Wednesday. Surprisingly, the district administration termed it as the biggest recruitment drive in the last drive. Sources in the administration said, all the selected candidates belonged to SC, ST and social and economic backward classes. "Most of the candidates for the post of the RI are highly qualified and technical degree holders. Two persons withMBA degree, one with PhD, five with B Tech, two with B.Sc and BCA degrees and one with B. ED degree got recruited as RI," said a senior officer. Among others, some were MA degree holders or with post-graduate diploma in computer application, said the officer.
"The situation is such that technical degree holders are left in the lurch, so they are forced to go for the RI and ARI jobs, " said former MLA (Chhatrapur) Ashok Choudhury.
One of the candidates had a two-year working experience with a software firm at Hyderabad. Last year he lost his job due to global economic slowdown. "There was no other option left for me but to apply for the post of RI with the fear of a bleak future haunting me. I am confident to do well in my new assignment," said the candidate requesting anonymity.
A promising and considerably satisfactory pay packet of about Rs 24,000 per month, easy promotion opportunities and the facilities of a government job often lure the candidates to take up the job of RI, said an officer.
"We think the district revenue sectors will get a boost once these qualified and energetic youths are recruited," said district collector Krishan Kumar. (EOM)
The Times Of India
SP orders arrest of senior Bhagalpur Electricity Area Board official
TNN | Apr 20, 2012, 01.12AM IST
BHAGALPUR: Bhagalpur SP K S Anupam has issued order to arrest chief engineer-cum-general manager of Bhagalpur Electricity Area Board (BEAB) K N Singh under the provisions of SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The order was issued in connection with a case lodged by BEAB deputy director (personnel) Parmanand Behari in February 2012. Behari had accused the GM of using derogatory, caste-related remarks against him. He lodged a case against the GM at the SC-ST police station. DSP Sheela Irani, who investigated the matter, said that prima facie the allegations were found to be true. 

The GM, however, said the allegations against him were "baseless and false". The case was lodged against him by Behari when he was asked about his absence from duty without information, said the GM.
The Bhagalpur SP could not be contacted for her statement on the issue.
IBN Live
Dalit groups pulled up over claims
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has pulled up a batch of writ petitioners for making various claims and counter-claims in respect of allotment of land under the homeless poor SCs scheme in Valajanagaram in Ariyalur district.
These were very unfortunate litigations where even among the Dalits, two groups exist, which have indulged in fighting over the exact location of their respective plots for over 16 years, Justice K Chandru observed.
When the scheme was intended to help them and compulsory land acquisition proceedings were initiated by the State after paying compensation from its funds, it was for the petitioners to accept the plots allotted to them. If, for any reason, they did not want the plots, no one could compel them to accept them.
They might surrender the same and go for a housing plot with their own funds. The petitioners had not made out any legal ground for the writ petitions to be observed, felt the judge. In the absence of any legal or enforceable right on the part of the petitioners, this court is not inclined to entertain the writ petitions, the judge said and dismissed the petitions after adding that there was no obligation on the part of the State to allot any particular plot to beneficiaries.
IBN Live
25 complaints settled at SC/ST panel sitting
THODUPUZHA: The Kerala State Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes Commission on Thursday settled 25 complaints at a hearing held at the collectorate in Painavu. The meeting chaired by commission chairman Justice P N Vijayakumar considered the representations from Peermedu and Thodupuzha taluks.
Twenty cases related to the eviction of SC/ST families from Perinjankutty came up for hearing. Justice Vijayakumar said that follow-up action would be initiated in all complaints.
The commission also considered a request seeking reinvestigation into three cases of unnatural deaths which were recorded as suicide by the police. The commission directed the police to gather more evidence in these cases.
The commission heard 76 complaints and gave receipts with details including the dates of further hearing on various matters. Members of the commission Ex-MLA Ezhukone Narayanan and K K Manoj participated in the sitting.
District Collector E Devadasan, Superintendent of Police George Varghese, commission officials, ITDP project officer and SC/ST Department officials were among those who attended the sitting.
A complaint review meeting will be held at Munnar Panchayat Community Hall at 10.20 am on Thursday.
.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and  intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC. 

Confounding the Census Folks By Yoginder Sikand

Confounding the Census Folks
By Yoginder Sikand
Just the other day, I noticed a little orange sticker up on the doors of some of my neighbours. 'Socio-economic and Caste Survey' or some such serious-sounding sarkari operation it announced. For some unknown reason--and thankfully, if you ask me--our house seemed to have been ignored. We didn't get a sticker up on our door but if the survey folks arrive one day, armed with their questionnaires with boxes that need to be filled in and into which they want to imprison me, I've already made up my mind about what I'm going to tell them.
That will be the first item on the list, I suppose. I'll tell the surveyors what I'm officially known as, of course, the name that my parents gave me at birth without seeking my approval, one that I have to confess I really don't like at all. I would certainly never have chosen it to call myself had I been allowed to. 'Yoginder Singh Sikand': all too very masculine for me, you would readily agree if you know me personally. It really doesn't convey me at all. I'd have selected something less-in-the face, one not so blatantly linked to a particular caste or religious community. But, then, I didn't have my way, of course, even in such a basic matter as identifying myself to the world.
That said, I would simply have to add that I am definitely not my name, as people (and even, sometimes, I myself) think I am. I've probably had a billion other names in the billion or more lives that I might have lived before this one. 'What's in a name?', I'll have to then quote Shakespeare.
The surveyors wouldn't feel the need to ask me this, I suppose, but they really should, because if they permitted me I'd have to complicate matters a bit and tell them that I really don't feel all very 'male', as the term is generally understood. Honestly, I think I'm quite gender-less, and am certainly very comfortable with what you would call my pronounced femininity. If you've ever met me, you'd heartily concur. If there's something that I'm definitely not, it's a 'real man', despite the enormous and rather ugly moustache that I sport. I think I moved beyond gender ages ago, and even beyond sexuality itself, and now, at 45, I find myself almost completely asexual, as indeed one should be, if you ask me, at this stage in life.
I'll tell the surveyors all this and then I'll have to be a little philosophical and add all that stuff about the soul (presuming there's some such thing) being wholly beyond gender and uncontaminated by it, and about gender having all to do with the body, which is definitely not 'real'.
Permanent Address
'None', I shall say, adding that I've been a tramp all my life, and though, for the last year, I've been staying with my mother, I know I can't stay at her address all my life and will soon have to move on, and, finally, to another world more 'permanent' than this one.
Mother Tongue:
I guess they would want me to record it as 'Punjabi', simply because I was born into an ethnic group that largely speaks that language, but I won't answer as they expect me to because my mother hardly knows that tongue and I know it even less. I can't even construct a single sentence properly in that language, I'll have to confess.
'Unemployed & Unemployable'.
'I certainly don't feel or behave my 45, and, in any case, the soul (if it exists) is, so I am told, immortal and ageless.'
I can't, for the life of me, I'd tell the surveyors, see why I should be forced to identify with a system of social categorisation that's utterly oppressive and rigidly hierarchical. I don't care if it's been sanctified in the 'scriptures'--I don't believe in such 'scriptures' myself. But if they continue to insist I'll tell them what they want to hear: My father belonged to the Ahluwalia caste, and my mother is an Arora. Now, what, I'll query them, does that make me? Casteless? Or a half-caste, I suppose? And then I'll wisely add that probably according to the Manusmiriti, the progeny of an inter-caste union are to be counted among the Chandals.
I don't expect the surveyors to be amused with that reply, and so, before they can retort, I'd have to tell them that I don't ever recall having once been treated or looked at in any special way by a 'fellow' Ahluwalia or Arora, and so I don't see why I should imagine that I have any special bond with such folks. Certainly, I'll inform them, no Ahluwalia or Arora millionaire is going to bequeath me his estate.
Now, this one is a little trickier than many of the rest, and I'll have to tell the surveyers that it needs elaborate explanation. If by 'religion' they mean the set of beliefs about the supernatural and rituals and identies associated with it that I've inherited from my parents--which is how most folks indentify themselves--I'll have to be frank and admit that I inherited almost nothing at all. My father, I'll have to tell them, was 'officially' a Sikh, and my mother 'officially' a Hindu, but I don' t think these labels counted for much in their own lives in any meaningful way. My father knew less about the teachings of the Granth Sahib, which I am sure he never read, than the rules of golf, and I'm sure he wouldn't have been able to tell you the names of even half of the ten Sikh Gurus if you had asked him. As for my mother, despite being the daughter of a well-known Arya Samajist and Sanskritist, she won't, I am certain, know even the names of the four Vedas, leave alone the Ramayana and the Gita.
It isn't surprising at all, then, that religion played almost no role for us as children. Almost the only time it appeared in our lives was when we celebrated Diwali and Holi (in almost entirely secularised forms, shorn of religious association and significance) and an annual visit to the gurudwara on Guru Nanak's birthday, which lasted just about five minutes--quick enough for a hasty bow.
So, in terms of my inherited 'religion', I don't have any, and I really can't be counted as either Sikh or Hindu or even both. But then, I'll have to also tell the surveyors that in a long search for meaning, purpose, solace and solidarity and even in order to rebel against my family, I've been experimenting with I can't remember how many other religions over much of my life. As things stand now, I'll add, I think I'm definitely over with organised, conventional religions, and have arrived at the point where I no longer crave or need to identify myself with, or force myself to pretend to believe in, any of them at all.
That doesn't make me a confirmed atheist, though, I'll have to hasten to add, because that's what I think they'll probably think I am. Intuitively, I know, or perhaps want to think I know, that there's more to the cosmos than we can ever discover, and that supernatural forces might well exist and God, too, though definitely not in the manner that many religionists imagine It/Her/Him to be: as an authoritarian male figure who'll dump you into eternal hell if you don't bow and scrape Him and who'll reward you with all the sensual comforts you can dream of in eternal heaven if you do.
So, when it comes to the religion box in the questionnaire, I'll insist that it remain empty--not even crossed out, because, frankly, I'm all empty as far as this is concerned and yet ready and willing to be filled in if in the course of my search I finally stumble upon the truth that has so long evaded me, or, more likely, that I've been running away from all this while.
Summarising my long harangue, I'll simply have to tell the surveyors that I have not the slightest clue about almost everything they want to know about me: I'm definitely not my name; identifying my sex/gender and age is definitely not as simple as one would ordinarily think; my marital status doesn't fit any of their categories; I don't have a caste and certainly don't want one; and I refuse to be stuck with any of their religious labels. All this means, then, I'll have to confess and conclude, that, as of now, I know almost nothing about myself.
You don't think the surveyors would have the patience and good sense to hear me out, do you? They won't think I'm being irritatingly frivolous, will they?