April 5, 2018
The CRDDP headed by Dr Abusaleh Shariff, renowned economist and member of the Justice Sachar Committee, has now begun a campaign to rectify this.
The names of about 18 lakh Muslim voters are either missing from the recently updated voters' list or they don't have voter ID cards issued in their name for the Karnataka Assembly election 2018, according to a New Delhi-based NGO. The Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy (CRDDP), headed by Dr Abusaleh Shariff, renowned economist and member of the Justice Sachar Committee, has now begun a campaign to rectify this.
Khalid Saifullah, Research Associate and COO of CRDDP, told DH that they have identified 16 Karnataka constituencies from which the names of 1.28 lakh voters are missing from the list. Based on the number, they are estimating that around 15 lakh would be missing from the 224 Karnataka constituencies.
Saifullah said that they arrived at their findings after comparing the 2011 census data with the voters' list that was published on Feb. 28, 2018. They downloaded PDF files, converted them to the excel format and sorted out Muslim names using an algorithm. “As per the 2011 census data, the Shivajinagar constituency has 4.3% of single households among the total 18,453 Muslim households. But we found that more than 8,900 households have only one registered voter in their house, which is around 40 percent of the total Muslim households,” he said.
The organisation then developed a website -- missingmuslimvoters.com -- and an Android app –- Muslim Voters -- to organise and educate people. “Everything is volunteering,” said Saifullah about the campaign. They are asking the people of Karnataka to register with their app to help the missing voters to enrol. “People think that once the election dates are announced, they cannot enrol, which is wrong. They can do it till the last date of nomination.” The Election Commission on Tuesday announced the election dates and the last date of nomination is set for April 24.
Once people register as volunteers in the app, they will receive details of missing voters in the neighbourhood whom they can help to enrol. The data is also available on their website. “More than 8,000 people downloaded the app since its launch on March 13,” said Saifullah.
April 5, 2018
The Niti Aayog, new avatar of the erstwhile Planning Commission, has released a ranking of 101 most underdeveloped districts in the country. Mewat, a Muslim-dominated district hardly two-hour drive from the national capital, is country’s most backward district.
The Aayog on Wednesday released a baseline ranking of 101 districts on the basis of 49 indicators across five sectors – Health and Nutrition (30% weightage), Education (30%), Agriculture and Water Resources (20%), Financial Inclusion and Skill Development (10%), and Basic Infrastructure (10%).
In the composite ranking covering all five sectors, Mewat in Haryana stands at the bottom with just 26.02% score. Interestingly, Mewat is adjacent to glittering Gurgaon district (recently renamed as Gurugram), one of the leading hubs of MNCs in the country. # Mewat is not alone. In the top 10 from bottom, there are four more Muslim-concentrated districts – all from Uttar Pradesh.
In the list of 20 most backward districts in the country, there are 11 Muslim-concentration districts (written in bold in the list below) including 3 from Bihar and 2 from Assam, besides 4 from UP.
More than a decade ago, the then Congress-led UPA government had prepared a list 90 Minority Concentration Districts (with 25% or above minority population) that had both socio-economic and basic amenities indicators below the national average. Hundreds of crores of rupees were annually allocated for development of those districts, but it seems nothing has changed on the ground. And this is evident from the latest list of Niti Aayog.
This is a sad commentary on the part of the successive governments, both in the centre and states, that they have done little, for one reason or the other, in the last several decades to bring those backward districts on to the path of development.
The idea behind the Aayog ranking of these districts is to push them to compete with each other.
From the beginning of the next fiscal year (from April 1), a real-time data collection and monitoring online of these districts on the given indicators will be open for public viewing.
“India cannot grow at a high rate on a long run until these districts catch up, whatever high are the GDP number, it has no meaning until the benefit of growth percolates down to very basic level,” NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said while announcing the launch of the baseline ranking for the ‘Aspirational Districts’, the name given to the 101 most backward districts.
Financial Express, March 20, 2018
Begging in India has been an age-old issue. Country’s poor, who are usually unable to get jobs, have to take up begging for earning livelihood. The government has come out with the total number of beggars in the country. As per the data released by Union ministry of Social Justice, there are around 4 lakh beggars in total.
The highest number of beggars, 81,000, are in West Bengal. Lakshadweep, a union territory, has only two people begging for their livelihood. West Bengal is followed by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar at number two and three respectively. The figures were given by Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
As per the minister’s statement, a total number of 4,13,670 beggars are residing in India, including 2,21,673 males and 1,91,997 females beggars in the country. The data, based on 2011 census, says female beggars outnumber their male counterparts in the states of West Bengal, Assam and Manipur.
West Bengal, topping the chart with 81,224 beggars, was followed by Uttar Pradesh (65,835), Andhra Pradesh (30,218), Bihar (29,723). Madhya Pradesh ( 28,695) and Rajasthan (25,853) are at number five and six in the list.
The government data show there are lesser number of beggars in Union Territories. While Lakshadweep has only two beggars, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and the Andaman and Nicobar islands have only 19, 22 and 56 beggars respectively. Among the union territories, New Delhi had the largest number of beggars 2,187 followed by 121 in Chandigarh. Among the northeastern states, Asam topped the chart with 22,116 beggars, while Mizoram ranked low with 53 beggars.
The alleviation of beggars falls under the purview of social justice ministry. Begging and poverty are age old issue in India. Recently, Rahul Gandhi-led Congress party promised that it would set up a ‘national poverty alleviation fund’ and impose a 5 per cent cess on the incomes of the top 1 per cent richest Indians if it was voted to power in 2019.
February 18, 2018
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2018-19 in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The central government has allocated Rs 4,700 crore for the Minority Affairs, a hike of around 12% from the allocation in the previous budget.
The government has proposed to spend around Rs 2,500 crore of that allocation on education empowerment.
For welfare schemes meant for Scheduled Castes, the government has increased the budgetary allocation from Rs 52,719 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 56,619 in the 2018-19 budget.
For Scheduled Tribes, the budget has been increased to Rs 39,135 crore in the new budget from the Rs 32,508 in the last year’s budget.
March 18, 2018
Rajasthan [India], Mar 18 (ANI): On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN Summit – officially came into force.
Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries are expected to mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind – on which there is a big question mark.
Developed states interfere with achieving the goal of sustainable development by attempting to impose their ambitious plans on other small and less developed nations. Development is not possible without the positive cooperation between the country’s social, political, economic systems, geographical conditions and cultural diversity.
Due to the competition between developing nations -the boom between the nations about the market system, the beneficial trade, the law, the market and the exploitation of resources – the concept of sustainable development goals seems to be the epitome of double standards of world politics.
It is not for the first time that a resolution has been passed for world-class development. In the year 2000, this forum passed the resolution of achieving eight goals by 2015 in the form of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs – ranged from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV / AIDS and providing universal primary education.
Apart from this, the commitment to establishing relationships for environmental sustainability and global development was also repeated. India had repeatedly endorsed the Millennium Development Index by 2015, but in all eight goals, there was little success.
In fact, development should not be seen only with the economic development of the country. Development refers to the level of human life in which people have access to basic needs like poverty, education, health, employment, housing, drinking water and cleanliness, and social justice, equality and human skill in economic and social conditions.
The scale of development should be based on the Human Development Index, and then the policies and programs will be visible around it. In the concept, all things are seen in sustainable development goals and targets, but it is very important to reflect on them in economic activities.
Out of the 17SDGs, SDG 8 has been conceived like an umbrella, in which the various aspects of development have been thrown in the root of the economic development of the citizens. The 12 targets of SDG 8 reiterate that all the available employment opportunities should be developed in such a way that sustainable economic development of all the citizens is possible.
In India – despite it being one of the world’s big economies – the human development index, hunger index and health indicators are far below the other less developed countries. Despite the acute wealth of natural and human resources, poverty, unemployment, hunger, health, education, backwardness in the field of social security and the level of life of people, there are several reasons why the signs of improvement are not visible on the ground, without which it would not be possible to achieve the sustainable development goals. India is a country with agrarian and rural surroundings.
The employment and livelihood of large sections of the population depends on agriculture and employment generated from it. According to 2011 census, 68.84 percent of the total population of the country resides in the villages. In view of natural calamities and geographical diversities, ignoring the agrarian development in government sector, the farmers, especially young farmers, have been disillusioned with agriculture and animal husbandry. Due to the gap in the income and inequality of income in agriculture, farmers are looking at agriculture as an alternative livelihood.
The economic condition of small and medium farmers who work extremely hard to fill up the food-grain storehouses is the worst. According to the figures, out of 13.78 crore agricultural land holders in India, there are 11.78 crore small and marginal farmers who run their livelihoods with mixed earnings from farming and casual labour. Young and mature members migrate to the cities in order to earn higher wages in the unorganized sector.
Migration is not only going to cause a population explosion in the cities but also put pressure on the health requirements and employment needs. There are various schemes like Pradhaan Mantree Kaushal Vikaas Yojana, Pradhaan Mantree Rozgaar Protsaahan Yojana, Mudra Yojana, Rozgaar Srijan Yojana and Raashtreya Svaasthya Suraksha Yojana, which can contribute significantly in achieving the goal of sustainable development.
In emerging economies like India, the availability of young human resources compared to other countries in the world is high. If the implementation of youth human resources is done in proper planned manner then we should be free from poverty, hunger, unemployment and there will be an improvement in social security, health, education, food security and welfare programs compared to other countries in the world.
If proper implementation is carried out, there is no reason why India cannot improve its human development index and move in line with other leading developed countries of the world.
The views expressed in the above article are that of Dilip Bidawat of Charkha Development Communication Network. (ANI)
By Rupam Jain and Tom Lasseter
Economic Times | Tue Aug 9, 2016
Two miles down the road from the white marble walls of the fabled Taj Mahal, a heavyset man crouches in the dirt of a cow shed and explains how the future of India belongs to him.
Digvijay Nath Tiwari is commander of a vigilante group that claims 5,000 members in the northern city of Agra, and which cultivates informants, swarms shop owners, ambushes trucks at night and metes out extra-judicial violence, all for one cause: protecting the holy cow, an animal held sacred by Hindu beliefs.
Across the country, hardline Hindu groups have made headlines after being captured on video insulting and beating men they accuse of involvement in cow slaughter.
"Retaliation is important at times," said Tiwari, as he sat with 17 men squeezed around a straw mat on the shed floor. His cell phone contained photographs of stick-wielding men rushing to the aid of fallen cattle.
Local police say they cannot stop Tiwari's actions, laying the blame partly on lax laws.
The "gau rakshaks", or cow protectors, are inflaming tensions among India's religions and castes. They risk undermining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to focus on economic advancement, even as the right-wing Hindu nationalist forces that got him elected promote their own agenda.
The implications reach far beyond the winding alleyways of Agra. Social and religious stability are key to future assumptions of prosperity in India, currently the world's fastest expanding major economy.
"India will remain one of the strongest growth stories in the region," a Goldman Sachs strategist said in April, echoing the sentiment of many foreign investors.
Yet such outlooks built on macro-analysis risk missing a ground truth: if the right-wing groups empowered by Modi's rise do not stop antagonizing minorities, then the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) plans for nurturing that growth will not easily come to pass.
Cow slaughter is illegal in most of India, an overwhelmingly Hindu nation. However, it had long been tolerated under the Congress party, which ruled the country for most of its independent history and prides itself on protecting Muslims and lower castes who ply the meat and leather trade.
Now the Hindu nationalist BJP is in power, and that is changing as vigilante groups gain prominence. And Modi, while saying he's concerned, has been either unwilling or unable to halt their more extreme actions.
The prime minister was trained and nurtured by hardline Hindu organisations that were instrumental in his rise from the son of a train station tea seller to leader of the world's biggest democracy.
Once at the helm, however, he has focussed on more pragmatic and inclusive economic issues: spurring growth and creating enough jobs for a rapidly expanding workforce.
These initiatives could be derailed by a narrower, Hindu nationalist agenda aimed at protecting symbols made sacrosanct by religious texts and countering a perceived threat of foreign influences.
In a speech on Saturday night in New Delhi, Modi lashed out at the cow protectors.
"I feel so angry at times. Some people who are engaged in anti-social activities for the whole night wear the mask of 'gau rakshaks' in the day," he said.
A senior aide to Modi, who is approaching the halfway mark of his five-year tenure, said at the end of July that while the leader is aware of the social and economic implications, "we cannot do much to stop cow protection forces ... cow protection is integral to our core support base."
DALITS FEEL UNDER SIEGE
The violence of cow vigilante groups this year, some of it caught in disturbing videos on the Internet, has unsettled minority groups.
One clip from Gujarat shows four men, shirtless, tied to a bumper being whipped with rods. The victims were Dalits, or Indians at the bottom of the caste hierarchy who traditionally take away cow carcasses which can then be used for leather.
In another, from Haryana, two people are made to sit on the road and eat a concoction including cow dung. They were reportedly Muslims, and the footage was taken during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.
While the BJP does not bank on the support of many Muslims, it does want to secure the votes of the Dalits, a caste formerly known as untouchables.
Together, the two groups account for about 30 percent of India's population, a major consideration with important state elections due next year and a national ballot set for 2019.
Chandra Bhan Prasad, a prominent Dalit writer and adviser to the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, compared the violence to that of Ku Klux Klan racism in the United States.
"It's like India's version of KKK – the past was great so long as these blacks were under our thumb, society was beautiful. So, how to control these Dalits?"
"COW NOT JUST AN ANIMAL"
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the nation's umbrella right-wing Hindu organisation which helped create the BJP, does not appear willing to tackle cow protection forces, blaming outlaws for causing the trouble.
"The cow is not just an animal. We have an emotional and religious attachment to it and we want to make it the centre of our economic activity," said a senior RSS leader in New Delhi, who asked not to be named so he could speak more frankly.
"Vigilantes are instructed to follow the rules and they are a disciplined force. We admire their work."
Champat Rai, a leader of the Hindu activist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), or World Hindu Council, a group formed by RSS leadership which oversees cow groups, was more direct.
"I am a cow patriot and want to free cows from the slavery of Muslim butchers," he said. "It's better we shed our blood to save the blood of cows."
In Agra, some 220 km (135 miles) south of New Delhi, there has already been bloodshed, and the threat of more to come.
One prominent Dalit businessmen in the city, H.K. Pippal, said recently at his shoe factory that he had a plan should the cow protection gang try to interfere with his operations and the cow leather it uses.
"I am very powerful, my workers could kill them."
Tiwari, the cow group leader, blames the butchers for much of the problem.
"It's not just that the butchers get beaten," he said. "They attack us and threaten to kill us. It is a serious clash."
Tiwari acknowledged having four criminal cases pending against him, but said he was innocent in all of them.
In February this year, the vice president of the VHP in Agra, who was also a senior member of Tiwari's group, was surrounded by a group of five Muslims while walking from a temple to his furniture shop, according to a police report.
The men had previously been targeted by the cow protectors for allegedly dealing in beef, according to Tiwari.
One of them boasted: "You think that you are a big leader, we'll teach you a lesson today," said the police report.
A pistol shot rang out and the VHP official, Arun Mahour, fell dead in one of the oldest and busiest markets of Agra.
A mob of young Hindu men set out for a Muslim quarter, said the police officer in charge of the area, S.K. Sharma.
Soon, thousands of people were in the streets, Sharma said. "This almost became a riot between the Hindus and Muslims."
The fallen Hindu leader left behind two sons, aged 12 and 16. Asked about the family's future, his widow, Rajni Mahour, covered her face with the edge of a white sari and caught her breath for a moment.
The way forward, she said, was clear: "My family says that we should know to lay our life down for religion."
The data was compiled based on 2,01,997 students of Class VI from 1,011 schools recognised by the Directorate of Education.
Seventy four per cent government school students studying in Class VI could not read a paragraph from their Hindi textbook, 67 per cent could not do simple three digit by one digit division and 75 per cent children could not read a basic Class II level English story. These findings, released on Monday, were part of an assessment by the Delhi government to evaluate students and categorise them based on their level of proficiency and ability to meet the expectations of the academic level that they are studying at.
The data was compiled based on 2,01,997 students of Class VI from 1,011 schools recognised by the Directorate of Education. The assessment was conducted following the launch of the Delhi government’s Chunnauti 2018 policy, which is aimed at enabling students studying in government schools, especially Class IX students, to overcome the problems faced by them due to adverse effects of the ‘No Detention Policy’.
It was conducted by teachers between July 14 to 16 in the form of a handwritten test for students of classes VII-IX who scored more than 33 per cent in the Combined Summation Assessment of their previous class. The test had five questions each of Hindi, English and Math and assessed comprehension, application and problem-solving skills. Hindi and English Reading are sub-categorised into five common levels — beginner, letter, words, paragraph (Class I level competency) and story (Class II level).
For students in classes VI, VII and IX who scored less than 33 per cent in the assessment of their previous class, an oral one-on-one for basic reading (Hindi and English) and Math competency was assessed. In the first round, online data entry of Class VI children was done by the schools. Data entry of Class VII to IX is likely to be completed soon.
Parliament approved India's biggest overhaul of indirect taxes on Monday after the Lok Sabha ratified a constitutional amendment Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a major step to make doing business easier.
The proposed goods and services tax (GST) is one of the most significant reforms since India opened its economy 25 years ago and the revamping of the tax system since the country's independence in 1947.
The measure will harmonise a mosaic of state and central levies into a national sales tax, creating a single customs union widely expected to reduce business transaction costs, with potentially significant long-term growth benefits.
The Rajya Sabha, where the measure was stuck for months, passed the bill last week.
Modi hailed the passage of the bill as a "great step by team India, (a) great step towards transformation, great steps towards transparency".
"Today, an important move to free the nation from tax terrorism has begun," Modi told lawmakers in the Lok Sabha.
The advancement of the new sales tax is the biggest legislative victory for Modi, who swept to power in 2014 promising to nurse India's then faltering economy back to health.
His plans to simplify rules for land sales got scuttled in parliament last year. Similarly, political opposition forced him to put on hold proposed legislative changes aimed at making it easier for companies to hire and fire workers.
It has been 13 years since the tax was first mooted, but forging a political consensus has been a bruising process, as the measure would curb the powers of Indian states.
Ironically, the GST is getting closer to the finish line under Modi, who while running the state of Gujarat vehemently opposed it - a fact that drew criticism from opposition benches.
Modi defended his stance, saying his experience as a provincial chief helped him better understand and address states' concerns.
"Lots of flaws have been overcome as far as the GST is concerned," he said. "A trust between the centre and states has developed."
Under the new regime, companies will get offsets for taxes paid at different stages of the supply chain, mitigating the dangers of double-taxation.
The finance ministry aims to roll out the GST from next April. Meeting the self-imposed deadline, however, will be a race against time, tax experts say.
The bill now needs the approval of half of India's state legislatures and central and state legislatures must pass three laws to implement the tax.
(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Tom Heneghan)