What may be the cause(s) for the rise in cases of Rape?

Latest Posts

24 Apr 2014

Can't muzzle media to silence it on corruption

TypewriterVasindra Mishra, DNA: Since Independence perception about media has undergone a transformation. Despite being a business, media still plays a vital role as fourth pillar of democracy.
However, there have been instances when media had to face allegations of being biased and questions were raised about its credibility.
Considering that media should be seen as unbiased and free, it is natural that questions will be raised if a media tycoon is seen favouring a particular political party.
But there are bigger questions for which answers would have to be found. After all, what is the reason that the situation has come to such a pass that a media baron is forced to act in this manner.
When Zee and Essel group chairman Subhash Chandra took up cudgels against corruption in the country, he came under attack.
In October 2012, an FIR was lodged against Subhash Chandra and two editors of Zee Media Corp just because they took on the corrupt. Even after that, they were continuously harassed.
The current government's misdeeds have once again brought to the fore memories of the struggle between Indian Express' Ramnath Goenka and Rajiv Gandhi. One of the persons who led to the embitterment of relations between the two was late Dhirubhai Ambani.
Matters worsened to the point that the government tried to take over the Express towers in Delhi and Mumbai, but without success.
Ramnath Goenka had to then openly oppose Rajiv Gandhi and attempt to bring together all anti-Congress forces to oust the government.
Though Goenka was isolated several times, he continued his campaign with resilience and brought it to its logical end.
Subhash Chandra's presence at a political rally in Kurukshetra has thus refreshed memories of the Ramnath Goenka-Rajiv Gandhi tussle.
Rightly, when someone like Subhash Chandra, who is not associated with politics, attends BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's rally and appeals for the ouster of the Congress-led government, then this can raise questions.
So, what compulsion led a non-political person like Subhash Chandra to make the appeal against Congress?
Even more pertinent is the question – Why has country's media fraternity kept mum? Just like Mahabharata's episode of disrobing of Draupadi, when the assembly of powerful members kept mum.
From October 2012 till now, has Zee Media group been targeted because it effectively highlighted the loot of India's natural resources.
Has media's role now been confined only to that of being the voice of those in power?
Isn't it media's responsibility to bring out the truth? And should media fraternity not support this endeavour?
To find answers to these questions is imperative for a healthy democracy and trustworthy media.
Media scenario post Independence
Media was relatively free post Independence and trusted by people. Growing literacy and freedom led to mushrooming of publications and media houses.

However, dark clouds hovered around 1975. When press spoke against Indira Gandhi, they were crushed with a heavy hand, as Emergency was declared. Freedom of Expression was shackled through censorship.
For 19 months, papers looked more like a document showcasing vetted press releases. Editors started leaving editorials blank in protest.
In 1977 with Morarji Desai's government coming in, certain semblance of normalcy was restored and media once again started functioning like before.
Media's role in the freedom movement
Media participated in freedom movement and press played a vital role.

Papers, pamphlets, hand bills were freely used for information dissemination.
The genesis of this can be found in 1780, when the first paper Bengal Gazette was started by James Augustus Hicky. He was the first to criticise the British rule through journalism.
His effort led to starting of many papers like that of Gangadhar Bhattacharya's in 1819.
Raja Rammohan Roy used journalists as a tool for social reform. His Brahminical magazine spoke out against missionaries converting people into Chritianity. His Samwad Koumadi was purposed towards promoting women's right.
James Buckingham, the editor of Calcutta Chronicle was vocal against the British Rule in 1818. He was exiled by the British for treason.
The first Hindi paper of India was started by Jugal Kishore Shukla in 1826 called Udant Martand, and was critical of British policies. British used every weapon in their armour to silence its voice, but nothing worked.
Finally, post 1857, British brought in laws to clamp down on press. The Gagging Act was one such example that censored anything that was anti-British.
Delhi's Azimullah Khan's Payam-e-Azadi was also severe in its criticism of the British Rule. The establishment tried to shut the paper and anyone carrying a copy was tortured.
The Vernacular Act was brought in as a censorship tool. All media houses were forced to show their stories before publishing and also sign a bond. The media of the country got together to oppose it, and continued the campaign against it till the Act was revoked.
Meanwhile, papers like The Hindu, The Pioneer, the Tribune, Amrit Bazaar Patrika etc came up.
Maratha and Kesari of Bal Gangadhar Tilak were also used to spread the message of freedom. Mahatma Gandhi also used journalism as a tool to unify the society and give direction to the freedom movement.
He wrote in Navbharat, Navjeevan, Harijan, Harijan Sevak, Harijan Bandhu among others.
Akbar Allahabadi had said during freedom movement:
Khicho na Kamano ko, na talwar nikalo, jab top mukabil ho, to akhbar nikalo.

That was the era when media was more powerful than swords. Media can still be that powerful, but it needs to be unified and have zeal.
Vasindra Mishra is editor Zee regional channels
read more...

Journalistic Freedom : Road is ours to pick, together and separately


Chitra Subramaniam-Duella, DNA: Are threats to journalistic freedom internal, external or both? Do journalists impose restrictions on themselves?
Journalism is a public good. Once you accept that premise, the two questions posed above fall into frames that point to individual and collective responsibility. Journalism is a skill and like in all skills, some people are more disciplined and rigorous than others. Being able to put pen to paper is a privilege, not a right. It is a privilege that has to be earned every day.
There is a raging national debate about the media most of which is noise intended to take attention away from real issues, which, to my mind, are three.  They are — the journalist, the owner and the public responsibility of both to report, debate, inform and in some cases, instruct. I see a spectacular blurring of lines and a real and prepared confusion of interests. Failure to introspect will always lead first to a false ballooning of space with all the trappings of fake fame and outrage followed by a sudden collapse as the bubble bursts. The foundation was false — how can the edifice be strong?
When a journalist is a reporter and not an owner, the internal threats to freedom are perennial. When a reporter is part owner-part reporter, the conversation is layered and the quest for journalistic excellence can be cleverly nuanced as external threat. That can lead to false conversations and fake pursuits. The other external threats in India — official secrecy, 66A etc — does not keep me awake. Technology is a tool — cuts both ways. I have faith in the stamina and capacity of Indian journalists to fight back.
When The Hindu abruptly pulled itself out of the Bofors investigation due to an internal family tussle, as a reporter I was left with no option but to move on. The decade-long investigation and court proceedings in Sweden, Switzerland and India (1987-1997) were not linked to a newspaper’s boardroom.  
When Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency (1975) a handful of people including the late Ramnath Goenka of the Indian Express fought back. When Rajiv Gandhi attempted a backdoor entry to the 1989 defamation bill to gag the press in the face of mounting Bofors’ evidence and other issues, the press hit back.
I am happy to report that the more it changes, the more it remains the same. Journalists who raise the spectre of the Emergency are responding to private ghosts and fears. The fear of the unknown is what brought us out of caves. The fear of the known is what will keep us in.
read more...

‘Illegal constructions, heat to blame for Hill water woes’

SNS, Kurseong, 22 April 2014: Several illegal constructions have come up in Darjeeling Hills after clearing the green forest areas, leading to water sources in the Hills to dry up, councilor of the Kurseong municipality’s water-works department, Subash Pradhan has said.
“Several illegal constructions have surfaced under political patronage at different places in the hills, and most of these constructions have been made by clearing the forest areas.
This had resulted in the natural water catchment areas being affected or completely drying up. This ultimately is one of the reasons why we are facing the acute drinking water problems,” Mr Pradhan said, when this reporter asked him what was happening to the severe water shortage problem in Kurseong area.
The water shortage problem has aggravated once again in the area in the past few days, and people are having a harrowing time fetching drinking water from far off places.
Admitting that the problem has aggravated, Mr Pradhan also said that with the onset of the summer season and the rising temperature in the hills, “the supply of water is naturally affected.”
“We are really concerned over about the present humid and hot weather conditions,” he said, adding that the region is experiencing such weather conditions due to massive deforestation, illegal constructions in forest areas and in areas where there used to be natural water sources.
“All this is happening due to improper management and lack of vision of the previous leadership and the authorities concerned (before the advent of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha),” he said.
Mr Pradhan also claimed that since the formation of the GJMM-led Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and the municipality boards, several initiatives have been taken to solve these long-pending problems, while long-term plans have been formulated to address the water crisis in the Hills.He added that illegal constructions “by hoisting party flags atop the construction sites” must stop, while political parties must not encourage such things.
read more...

23 Apr 2014

Heat wave claims 2 lives in Kolkata

PTI | Apr 23, 2014, KOLKATA: The heat wave condition sweeping across the southern part of West Bengal on Wednesday claimed two lives, with daytime temperature hovering around 41 degree Celsius, five degrees above normal, in the districts there. 

Both the persons, one aged around 40 and the other 45, died after collapsing on a street at Chitpur in the northern part of the metropolis. They were declared 'brought dead' in a hospital, officials said. 

With some of the southern districts going to polls on Thursday, the oppressive weather has scared voters. The excessive heat is also taking a toll on electioneering for the next phases of the Lok Sabha polls. 

The temperature in the city has been steadily rising over the last week and crossed the 40-degree mark yesterday and remained so today. 

"Heat wave conditions will continue for at least the next two days in most southern districts of the state, including Kolkata," Regional MeT director G C Debnath told PTI. 

He said there was little hope for thundershowers, which were common during this time of the year in Gangetic West Bengal, in the next few days. 

Explaining the phenomenon, Debnath said, "Lack of moisture incursion has led to the dry heat prevailing in these places."
read more...

Guv wishes state to follow court order

SNS, Siliguri/Darjeeling, 22 April 2014: West Bengal governor M K Narayanan today said he wished that the state government would follow the directives issued by the court on the multi-crore Saradha ponzi scam.
Talking to reporters at the New Jalpaiguri railway station near Siliguri, Mr Narayanan said, "The court has said something on the scam, and I think the government will follow the orders."
The Calcutta High Court yesterday ruled that the Justice (retired) Shyamal Sen Commission would hear all complaints regarding the chit funds.
Mr Narayanan arrived here today with his wife on a three-day tour of north Bengal.
Later today, he attended the closing ceremony of the 125th anniversary of St Joseph’s School in Darjeeling.
President Pranab Mukherjee had attended the inaugural programme of the celebrations at the school on 10 November last year.
According to officials, the governor will visit the Chapramari forest in Jalpaiguri district tomorrow. He will stay there for two days, before leaving for Kolkata on 25 April.
In Darjeeling, Mr Narayanan and his wife attended the St Joseph’s School’s closing anniversary programme along with top officials of Darjeeling and the school administration. "I am privileged to be attend the closing ceremony of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the school," the governor said.
"The school is an example of faith and courage and has lived to deliver quality education," he added.
read more...

Gyalshing girl duped Rs1.95 lakh by online friend

EOI, Gangtok, 22 April 2014: A girl from Gyalshing in West Sikkim has fallen prey to an online scam, in which she lost as much as Rs1.95 lakh. The girl was tricked by her facebook friend named William Jackson from UK, which was later found to be fake. They were active online friends and had been chatting with each other on the social website since April 2, 2014.
The friendship eventually grew and they started talking on phone. During one of the conversation her friend expressed his intensions to send some gifts and money. However, the shipment required some amount to be paid as courier charges, anti-terrorism charges and money registration charges as per government rules. This is when a lady agent and apparently a friend of William Jackson, contacted the girl and provided her with a few bank account details to deposit the money. The innocent girl deposited a total of Rs.1.95 lakh.
However, suspicion arose when the agent asked the girl to fill a form and demanded extra money. When she inquired with the bank, the money she had deposited were already withdrawn. The lady agent too stopped taking her calls, while her online friend has also since been offline.
It was learned nine bank accounts where the girl deposited the amount into were from different states and under different names. The girl has written to the SBI to freeze the fake accounts and have also filed a police complaint. A case under section 420/468/34 and R/S 66 D IT Act 2000 has been registered. 
read more...

Modi can take India to next level: Bedi Elections 2014 Modi can take India to next level: Bedi

Attacking the Congress, she said the reign of UPA-1 and II  was a loss of 10 years.Arshad Ali, ENS, Kolkata, April 23, 2014: Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi Tuesday said she trusts the leadership qualities of BJP’s prime ministerial  candidate Narendra Modi and said he has the ability to take the country to the next level.
“I see positive qualities of leadership in Narendra Modi compared to most others. He is tried and tested. I believe he can take the country to the next level,” Bedi said.
She was speaking during at interactive session on women security at the MCCI Ladies Forum.
Attacking the Congress, she said the reign of UPA-1 and II  was a loss of 10 years. “The UPA-I and UPA-II had been a loss of 10 years. A crater had been created. That has to be filled first and then on that foundation the growth model of the country has to be planned,” she said.
Replying to a question on her separation with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, she said she had never been politically involved with the movement. “It was mutual respect to each other’s inclination of thoughts. Somewhere, the thinking seemed to have changed,” she said.
The retired IPS officer also prescribed a six-P formula — Parents and principals, Politicians, Police, Prosecution, Prisons and Press — to improve women security in the society and said a crime prevention plan based on it would be forwarded to the new government. “We need a hub which brings the six Ps together. The country needs a revolution in culture. Cases of rape came down in America after they adopted some of these. I have talked to Modi about it and he had shown a very positive response towards my suggestions,” she added.
She said, at the moment the country was being built by a million for a billion. It needed to be reversed.
On rising cases of violence against women in Bengal, she said that she didn’t want to name any state but cited the examples of Nirbhaya case and the Shakti Mill incident to highlight the fact that the offenders were prosecuted because the police investigated the cases in a prompt manner.
read more...

May tea produce to suffer for dry spell

TT, Siliguri, April 22: Tea production is likely to come down by about 70 per cent in May because of lack of rainfall in the region in the past one month that has resulted in dry bushes and pest attacks, planters said.
“The industry is experiencing an unprecedented crisis because of extremely adverse weather condition. The tea belt in the Terai is facing a very hot and dry spell as the region last received rainfall on March 20, more than a month ago,” said U.B. Das, secretary of the Terai Indian Planters’ Association. “The leaves have dried up. The situation is so bad that some estates have stopped plucking because of lack of green leaves. The condition of Dooars is same. We anticipate that production for May will take a beating and would be less by 70 per cent or so. If the present conditions continue for another week, the situation will be totally out of hand.”
Sources said in north Bengal, the annual tea production is around 300 million kg of which, 15 to 20 per cent is produced in April and May. Rainfall between March-end and mid-May helps the bushes.
“The second flush is considered premium tea and most of it is exported. But because of bad weather, the production has suffered. Similar is the situation in the small tea sector. Many bought-leaf factories have closed down because of shortage of leaves. Small growers are badly hit. On one side, there is lesser yield and on the other, because of the drought-like situation, pest attack has become a new concern,” said Bijoygopal Chakraborty, president of Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Association.
“Looper and red slug infestation has been maximum. Irrigation costs are escalating and sources of water, including wells, have dried up in many gardens,” said a source.
An official of the India Meteorological Department said: “There is a probability of rainfall by the end of this week in some pockets of sub-Himalayan Bengal. So far, there has been no hint of torrential rain, required for the industry.”
read more...

Car crash kills 5, injures 8 Failure to turn bend leads to accident

The wreckage of the SUV that crashed about 100 feet into a gorge near Kalimpong on Tuesday.
Pictures by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, April 22: An SUV going from Sikkim to Siliguri plunged about 100 feet down a hill as the driver failed to negotiate a bend on NH31A near Kalimpong this afternoon, killing five persons and injuring eight others.
The injured were initially taken to the health centre at Melli on the Sikkim side before being shifted to the Kalimpong subdivisional hospital. While four died on the spot, another passenger succumbed to injuries at the Melli health centre.
The share taxi from Singtam in East Sikkim met with the accident at a secluded place between Kirney and Melli. The accident spot is around 20km from here. Of the five deceased, four were men and one a woman. Police said only three of the deceased persons could be identified and they were driver Sitaram Chhetri from Lingzey in East Sikkim, Anisur Rahman of Islampur and Furmit Lepcha, a woman from Chhota Singtam in East Sikkim.
Of the eight injured, six were identified.
Some of the injured passengers said the accident occurred when the driver had failed to negotiate a bend. “We were coming smoothly when all of a sudden, the driver failed to negotiate a bend on the highway. The vehicle went straight and rolled down the hill,” said a critically injured passenger.
One of the injured persons at the Kalimpong subdivisional hospital on Tuesday
A police source said the accident had happened between 1.30pm and 2pm. The passengers of the ill-fated vehicle were taken to the hospital by those travelling on other taxis and Kalimpong police.
One of the injured, Mohammad Azmal of Islampur, said he was a scrap dealer based in Singtam and was on his way to his native place. 
“ I was carrying Rs 2 lakh in a bag. One of the rescuers took my bag with him and I can’t remember his face,” he said. 
Ramu Chhetri from Assam, brother Tirtharaj Chhetri and his wife Sita were also injured in the crash. 
The other two injured persons who have been identified are Shanta Chhetri from Mangan in Sikkim and Pramila Mangar from Nepal.
read more...

My Husband Being Targeted For Political Gains: Priyanka

priyanka2_0_0_0_0_0TIR, 22 April 2014, Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh: On Tuesday, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra lashed out at her opponents for attacking her husband and family to gain political brownie points. While campaigning in Congress bastion and her mother Sonia Gandhi’s constituency Rae Bareli, Priyanka for the first time addressed the allegations put on her husband Robert Vadra.
Priyanka, who was addressing the people of Rae Bareli said that a lot was being said about her family and her husband. She said that she was deeply saddened seeing at the efforts being made to humiliate her family.
Talking about the attacks made on her husband Robert Vadra, Priyanka said that an attempt was being made to malign her husband but she had learnt from Indira Gandhi on how to bear all the humiliation. She said more they are humiliated, stronger they become.
Priyanka said that the attacks on her family have made her more determined to work harder. Making an emotional pitch, she said when her children ask her about relentless attack, she tells them that truth will prevail someday.
The 42-year-old Priyanka who has a striking resemblance with her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, urged the people to support her mother Sonia Gandhi. In her appeal to the voters, she asked them not to vote for Sonia Gandhi but to vote for their children and for a country where people love each other.
Priyanka reminded the people of Amethi about the special relationship Sonia had with them and though her mother was not born in India, people have accepted her which is the beauty of the country.
The main stream opposition’s allegations of Vadra being given sweetheart land deals in Haryana have put the ruling Congress party in spot.
In the upcoming elections, Congress party headed by Sonia Gandhi, is expected to register a dismal performance whereas Narendra Modi led the BJP is heading towards becoming the single largest party.
The BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, in his recent speeches has challenged the Gandhi family to give an explanation with the regards to the sudden rise of Robert Vadra.
Priyanka Gandhi is not contesting Lok Sabha election but is managing the campaigns for her mother and brother in their respective constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.
Last year, in October, the Supreme Court had rejected any investigation into Robert Vadra’s land deals, saying that a person cannot be termed an offender just because he is linked to a politician.
read more...

Rani Mukerji describes her Italy marriage to Aditya Chopra as a Fairy Tale Wedding

RaniTIR, 22 April 2014: The much speculated wedding of Rani Mukerji and Aditya Chopra has finally been announced officially by Yash Raj films.
“We are happy to announce that Mr Aditya Chopra and Ms Rani Mukerji got married last night on April 21 in Italy. The wedding was a very small intimate affair with very close family and friends. We wish the couple a very happy married life,” Yash Raj Films said in a statement.
Rani Mukerji, the veteran actress of the Indian Cinema, known for her effervescent versatility, married her long-time partner and filmmaker Aditya Chopra on April 21, 2014 in Italy in a fairytale ceremony that was witnessed by only her closest family and friends.
Popular film trade analyst, Taran Adarsh tweeted today morning about the wedding being a small and intimate affair, as the news about her wedding broke. Taran Adarsh also tweeted her statement that said she wanted to share the “happiest day of her life with all her fans all over the world.”
Rani Mukerji said that she was confident her well-wishers would be happy for her, upon hearing the news of her wedding. She said that it was a beautiful wedding in the Italian countryside with just a few of her and Aditya Chopra’s close family and friends with us. “The one person I missed terribly was Yash Uncle, but I know he was there with us in spirit and his love and blessings will always be with Adi and me,” said Rani Mukerji.
Rani Mukerji described her wedding as a fairy-tale wedding, saying that she has always believed in fairy-tales and with God’a grace, her life has been exactly like one. “Now as I enter the most important chapter of my life – the fairy-tale continues,” Rani Mukerji said.
Rani Mukerji, in fact, had several times rubbished the rumours of her marriage to Aditya Chopra. However, she has not only been in a committed relationship with the filmmaker for a very long time, but also been with the Yash Raj family through ups and downs.
Rani Mukerji and Aditya Chopra have always kept friends and other members of the film industry guessing about their relationship. Despite this, actor turned politician Shatrughan Sinha had once addressed the actress as ‘Rani Chopra’ at an event setting the rumour mills abuzz about a secret marriage.
The 36-year old Rani Mukerji has been a part of various hits of Bollywood which include, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Veer Zaara, Saathiya, Bunty Aur Babli, Mujhse Dosti Karoge, Hum Tum, Dil Bole Hadippa, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, et al.
Rani Mukerji has shared screen space with her husband Aditya Chopra’s brother-in-law, Uday Chopra in her first film with the YRF Banner, “Mujhse Dosti Karoge”
Uday Chopra welcomed his sister-in-law to the family with a warm tweet, referring to her as Rani Chopra.
A few other Bollywood celebrities who are close to the couple, including Karan Johar who attended the wedding, himself and Rani Mukherji’s good friend Shahrukh Khan have also conveyed their wishes to the couple on Twitter. Take a look.
read more...

No irresponsible statements please, says Narendra Modi after Togadia controversy

ModiTIR, Gandhinagar, 2 April 2014: The BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, today said that he disapproved of any of the irresponsible statement by those who claim to be the well wishers of the BJP. Without even naming the VHP President, Pravin Togadia or Giriraj Singh, Modi tweeted expressing his disappointment. Togadia and Singh’s remarks were indeed controversial and they have embarrassed the BJP amidst the national elections.
Narendra Modi condemned the hate-speeches and irresponsible statements. He rather appealed to the people to kindly refrain from doing so.
Modi tweeted that “Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP’s well-wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development & good governance (sic).”
Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, took no names. However this appeared to be his first response to a massive controversy over the hate remarks by Pravin Togadia or Giriraj Singh.
An FIR has been registered against the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) President over the report by the Times of India where he was seen on camera, informing a gathering on how to prevent Muslims from buying property in areas where Hindus are in the majority. “We should have it in us to take the law in our own hands in an area where we are a majority and scare them,” he was heard saying. The Gujarat police have filed a case.
Narendra Modi has ruled over Gujarat, by serving as a Chief minister of the state ever since 2001. His relationship with Togadia has been long however, it has been seen that Togadia has often been sidelined. The two leaders, who rode together to meetings in the 1980s, reportedly fell out after Mr Modi’s second term as chief minister, when he started distancing himself from a radical Hindu agenda.
Togadia’s remarks have left the BJP wincing after its candidate from Nawada in Bihar, Giriraj Singh, said at a rally on Saturday that those opposed to Mr Modi “will only have a place in Pakistan”.
read more...

22 Apr 2014

Jobless Growth In Gujarat: Some Statistics

Sanjeev Kumar, countercurrents.org, 21 April, 2014: One can imagine the concern of a State for providing employment for her citizen, were there has not been a single Public Service Commission exam held in last 10 years. NSSO’s data shows that the growth rate of employment in Gujarat during 1993-94 to 2004-05 was 2.43% which reduced to near zero per cent during 2005 to 2010. The stagnant employment growth in the last five years in Gujarat is better than negative employment growth rate at the national level but lags far behind other equally well off states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Unemployment rate in Gujarat in 2009-10 was 9.9% while the national figure was 9.3% and 5.8% for Tamil Nadu, 5.9 for Maharashtra and 8.6 for Haryana.1 It rose to 10% in 2011-12 for Gujarat.2
The increase in number of factory during 2000-01 to 2009-10 was 10.54% while in employment it was only 54% while increase in net value added was 434.10%.3 Gujarat account, 14% of India’s manufacturing gross value added, 18.6% of fixed capital, 10% of total number of factories but only 9% of employment generated in India.4 Gujarat’s contribution to India’s total employment generation is 10.14% but her contribution to value of output is 17.22% while only 12.55% in net value added. This means Gujarat gives priority to increase in production over increase in net value added while priority to employment generation has been least. Question could also be asked, if Gujarat’s output is 17.22% but she adds only 12.55% value to India’s wealth, where does other 4.7% (17.22 - 12.55 %) go? Of course, it goes to capitalist in form of subsidies.5 However, it was not always the case. In 2002-04 the value of output was 16.07% while the Net Value Added was 19.77% of the Indian total.6 This change in priority cannot be considered as the good indication for an welfare economy.
The CAG’s report on “Performance Audit of MGNREGA” indicates poor performance of Gujarat. In terms of its benefits to the female worker Gujarat’s performance is 50% lesser then national average. In terms of awareness among the worker about the number of days they worked or entitlement they have, the performance of Gujarat is worst then even Odisha and Bihar.7
Gujarat ranks first in terms of issuing direct industrial license but ranks seventh in employment generation; Tamil Nadu ranks seventh in investment in IEMs (Industrial Entrepreneur Memorandum) but ranks first in its share of creating employment from this investment. During 2006-10, Gujarat signed MoU worth Rs 5.35 lakh crore with potential of 6.47 lakh jobs. But Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu with Rs 4.20 lakh crore and Rs 1.63 lakh crore worth MoUs, expected to create about 8.63 lakh and 13.09 lakh jobs. 8
The above figures make it clear that Gujarat is producing employment lesser then her real potential. It has been so despite the fact that she has more attraction for the investors. The explanation for this unnatural relation between investments without employment can be found in Gujarat Government policy of encouragement to capital intensive sector of economy and capital intensive production system. Nearly 50% of net employment generated in Gujarat in the last two decades has come from service sector and followed by 30% from agriculture but Government is ignoring these sectors continuously. During 1993-94 to 2009-10, the employment in agriculture increased by 76% in rural Gujarat while in case of Manufacturing it was reduced by 17% in rural and increased by 28% in urban Gujarat. The highest growth rate of employment at national level has been seen in construction sector but in case of Gujarat it is agriculture.9 In 2004-04, 49.9% of employment was in primary sector which increased to 54.4% in 2008-09. This means dependence of people of Gujarat on agriculture and its allied sector has been increasing while the contribution of secondary and tertiary sector is decreasing.10
The contribution of Gujarat’s manufacturing sector in generating employment remained stagnant while share of Gujarat’s manufacturing sector in India’s total manufacturing increased rapidly. On the other hand, Tamil Nadu did well in this aspect with a balanced growth of both employment and production. In second half of 2000s employment generation in manufacturing sector of Gujarat became negative with -2.6%.11 In addition to poor gains in employment, the manufacturing sector in the State is also characterised by slow growth in wages (1.5 per cent in the decade of 2000 when the all-India wages grew by 3.7 per cent), increasing use of contract workers (from 19 to 34 per cent between 2001 and 2008), and overall reduced position of workers (with the lowest share of wages in Gross Value added in the decade of 2000s in comparison to Haryana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu).
The share of Industry in GDP increased in Gujarat during 2004-05 to 2009-10 but its contribution to employment generation decreased.12 During 2001-2008 the employment growth in Mining and Quarrying sector was -2.4%; in construction it was -2.8%; and in Transport, Storage and Communication it was -2.9%.13 The GDP growth rate of agriculture during 2004-09 was 3.19 while growth in employment in this sector was -1.59%.
Textile has always been considered as the most employment generating industry but recent Gujarat government consistently ignored this sector. In 2010 the investment in textile industry is only 1.54% of the total investment while it was around 10% till late 1990s. On the other hand investment in infrastructure sector constitutes 37.59% of total investment while its share in employment generation is only 21%.14 Thus Gujarat shifted from employment intensive model of development to capital intensive model of development.
In 2009-10, the capital investment per worker in Gujarat was around Rs 26 Lakhs, which was way above the all India average of Rs 14.76 Lakh.15 The share of wages in the Net Value Added in 2001-02 was 14.96% which came down to 5.71% in 2010-11.16 Work participation rate in Gujarat for the year 2009-10, as per the labour bureau report was 48.9% which is the sixth highest in the country. In 2011-12 it slipped to 7th position. In terms of LFPR also Gujarat is on 7th position.17 The growth rate of labour productivity in Gujarat during 1980s was 14.45% which became 7.96% in 2000s. But in case of India it shots up from 7.77% to 8.52, and in Maharashtra it increased from 11% to 13%.18 Gujarat has experienced a very low employment elasticity of output and lowest shares of wages in GVA in India, one of the highest use of contract workers in the organised manufacturing in the country and rising trends of casualization of the workforce. Contract workers in the organized manufacturing sector currently constitute around 37 per cent of the total workers, up from 27 per cent a decade ago. This means that what Narendra Modi did is to shift the labourers from unorganised sectors to organised sectors by destroying unorganised sector and small scale industries which is also called informalisation of formal sector.
In Gujarat SSI (small Scale Industries) units has increased from 29% in 1985-86 to 90 percent in 1997-98.19 In last ten years 60,000 small scale industries have been closed down.20 The total number of Residence cum other use of census houses in Gujarat decreased from 542930 in 2001 to 416806 in 2011. These kind of Residence-cum-other use of census house found mostly in Rural areas for the purpose of small scale industry.21 The decrease in this kind of houses simply mean that Gujarat state is discouraging small scale rural industry. Similarly in 2002-03 total number of members of agricultural societies were 7901000 which came down to 7119000 in 2010-11. Gujarat government is providing subsidy of maximum 3.33% for self employment in industry and that also, if your unit’s cost is more than 5 lakh (Shree Vajpayee Bankable Scheme).22
The condition of wage worker is also not good in Gujarat. The growth rate of wage in Gujarat during 1990s was 3.70% which became 1.48% during 2000s while national figure increased from 1.54% to 3.78%.23 In terms of annual wages per worker Gujarat stands at 10th position.24 According to 68th round (2011-12) of NSSO report, daily wages for urban casual labour in Gujarat is Rs 144.52, in compare to Rs 170.10 of national average. In terms of wages to rural male casual workers the rank of Gujarat slipped from 9th in 1999-00 to 14th in 2007-08. Very similar is the case with urban female during the same period. In case of regular worker also Gujarat ranks 17th in rural male worker, 18th in urban male, 13th in urban female and 9th in rural female worker.25
There is a sharp regional difference in employment outcomes with rural Gujarat experiencing negative growth rates in the last five years. Only 6% regular employment in Gujarat went to rural areas in compare to 12 % at national average. Rural worker are being pushed towards construction and agriculture while keeping them away from manufacturing and services. During 2004-05 to 2009-10 the employment Growth Rate in rural area in agriculture was -1.7%; in Manufacturing it was -7.9%, in services it was -2.3% while 6.1% in Construction.26
This one sided policy of Gujarat government to favour capital intensive business and corporation can also be seen in decreasing amount of capital receipt of state. The capital receipt of Gujarat decreased from 24624 crore in 2002 to 17055 crore in 2010-11. This is show despite the fact that total receipt increased to 69419.25 crore in 2010-11 from 42499.52 crore in 2002-03 and total expenditure increased from 42192.51 crore to 71629.08 crore. This mounting difference between capital receipt and total receipt is largely due to increasing spending of state on paying interest on debt. In 2002-03 Gujarat was paying 4948.76 crore as interest which increased to 9627.32 crore in 2010-11. 27
One major reason for large units favouring capital- intensive technology is that capital is made cheap through large monetary and fiscal incentives and subsides offered to them by governments. The rates of incentives and subsidies in Gujarat increase with the size of the units. The incentives to the large and capital intensive corporate unites add up to 40% of the total public expenditure while incentives to small and medium units constitute a mere 2.27% of the total incentives given to industries. Though there are high subsidies on capital, land and water, there are no subsidies on labour or on employment.28
(This is part of a report on Gujarat’s model of development, written by me for Jagriti Natya Manch. I am the script writer, director and founding member of the Manch. This theatre group consists of students from JNU, DU and IIMC 
Email: Subaltern1987@gmail.com)

1 Atul Sood, Poverty amidst prosperity: Essays on the Trajectory of Development in Gujarat,2012, Aakar Publication, p. 269, table 9.1
3 Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2012-13, p. XIII and Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2011-12 p XXIX
4 Sood, 2012, p. 36
5 Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2012-13, p. 25
6 Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2005-06, p. XIV

8 Annual Survey of Industries (factory sector) 2008-09, Vol. 1, GOI, pp. S-2-1, 11-12 and 20 (http://mospi.nic.in/Mospi_New/upload/asi/Annual_Survey_of_Industries_Vol_I_2009-10.pdf)
9 Sood, 2012, p. 256, table 8.2
10 NSSO Report and Socio Eco Review of Gujarat
11 Sood, 2012, p. 241, table 6.1
12 Ibid, 2012, p. 241, table 6.1
13 Socio Economic Survey 2008-09, Govt of Gujarat,
14 Ibid, 2012, p. 221, table 3.4
15 Santosh Kumar Das, ‘Sources and Patterns of Private Investment in Gujarat’, edt. By Atul Sood, 2012, p. 59
16 Indira Hirway & Neha Shah, ‘Labour and Employment in Gujarat’ Economic & Political Weekly, November 5, 2011 Vol. xlvI No. 44 & 45, p. 63; and http://mail.mospi.gov.in/index.php/catalog/142/download/1622
17 Atul Sood, 2012, pp. 35-36
18 Ibid, p243, Table 6.5
19 Govt of Gujarat, Industries in Gujarat (Some Statistics), Industries Commissionerate, Gandhinagar, 1992, p-16
20 Director, Department of Economics and Statistics, Government of Gujarat.2011-12
21 Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2012-13, p 89; Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2005-06, pp S-92-93
22 Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2012-13, p 28
23 Atul Sood, 2012, p. 243, Table 6.6
24 Atri Mukherjee, Monsoon 2011, p 118, table 5, http://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/Content/PDFs/OCRIF261012_SN1.pdf)
25 NSSO 1999-00 and 2007-08
26 Atul Sood, 2012, p 257, Table 8.4 & 8.13(NSSO Report: 50th, 61st and 66th round,)
27 Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2005-06 & Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State, 2012-13
28 Indira Hirway, ‘Partial View of Outcome of Reforms and Gujarat Model’, EPW, October 26, 2013, vol xlviii no 43
read more...

Is Today’s Education System Just A Bunch Of People Lost At Sea?

Madhulika V Narasimhan, countercurrents.org, 21 April, 2014: My teacher once asked a question (that left us all thinking hard for the ‘correct’/ ‘intelligent’ answer) to everyone present in class: “Why do we go to school?” There were all sorts of hesitant hands going up and giving answers such as- “to earn money”, “because our parents wanted us to”, “because everybody does!”, “because otherwise the society won’t respect us”, “to learn about things” and so on. 
To begin with, not everybody lands a job these days, and there are tonnes of other things that our parents, peers and the good old society want us to do. So we narrow down to the ‘learning’ bit. How many of us do remember what we learn in school? Of course apart from the alphabet, adding up to three digit numbers beyond which we start hunting for the calculator ‘app’ on our phones, and things like what stupid things random people did in high school.
Nobody stops to think about why education in school is just another rite de passage, lacking in any intellectual stimulation? Perhaps not. Who really cares about what they learned, or whether or not any of it is useful in life so long as the family gets to brag about how their kid got a ninety seven point eight percent, point five percent more than the neighbour’s kid. Education today has become completely objective, all about grades, numbers and competition. In schools today one is taught objective facts, given notes to cram the night before the test or during the endless tutorials and remedial classes and tuitions (all of them together!), only to be forgotten with the first step taken outside the examination hall. What is the point of learning facts in isolation, without encouraging students to look at them critically in the contexts which underlie them? Why is it that they have to memorize paragraphs out of textbooks, to be reproduced word-by-word, instead of enabling a personal understanding in a less complex manner?
The problem probably lies with the educational boards. It won’t be quite as surprising if one looks at the processes of teacher selection, especially at the university level. An example being that of the National Eligibility Test. A number of questions seem ridiculous enough to make one laugh at the stupidity of it all and the regressive minds behind the questions (pardon my disrespect towards the seemingly intelligent ones setting the questions). Some of the examples for your perusal-
Which one of the following is the best method of teaching: Lecture, Discussion, Demonstration or Question-Answer? Or, what would you do if the students make a lot of noise in class: Walk out, wait for them to stop talking, shout at them, or punish them? Or, why should the majority of teachers at the primary level of school be women? The answers to the first two questions could depend on various factors including the size of the class, the relationship with students and the theme of the class. As for the last example, well, yes females are all born to love children and handle their antics and know why they are crying and have the patience to deal with all of them at once.
How can someone’s knowledge, especially in fields such as sociology, history or psychology be judged on the basis of such absurd multiple choice questions? Educational institutions are an extremely important part of an individual’s life, where the education must create thinking, critical and keen minds instead of clones that are all expected to know everything under the sun, and have the exact same interests and abilities in learning.
We need to take a step back and think for a moment, if we want to raise a generation of Yes Men. They are a multitude of youngsters who can mug copious notes and spew them at a moment’s notice, but fail to make even one cogent, coherent argument when asked a serious question. And we need to ask if choosing their educators can really be fairly done by judging candidates on the basis of an MCQ, especially when the Q’s are so Moronic and Crass.
Madhulika V Narasimhan has done Bachelor and Master in Sociology, and have written fortnightly columns on various subjects for the Delhi edition of DNA. 

read more...

LAND FOR SALE

LAND FOR SALE