Skip to main content
Sabrang

India

Sabrang

Centre refers to 2011-12 data to discuss current poverty!

Minister of State of Ministry Of Planning and the Ministry Of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) talks about current poverty in India using 2011-12 data.

17 Sep 2020

poverty

During the monsoon session of the Parliament, Member of Parliament Arun Sao asked State-wise details about the decline in poverty in the country, if any, and asked about the Centre’s periodical review of the methodology to assess poverty-levels.

In reply, the Centre referred to its 2011-12 data showed that 2,697.83 lakh people all over India were still below the poverty line (BPL) of which 2,166.58 lakh people were from rural areas. In Chhattisgarh, 101.27 lakh people were under the poverty line making up nearly 40 percent of the population. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands had the least number of BPL people (4,000) making up one percent of the population. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh had the greatest number of BPL people (598.19 lakh).

Referring to a 2013 press note, Minister of State of the Ministry Of Planning and the Ministry Of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) Rao Inderjit Singh said, “According to this Press Note, the number of persons living below poverty line in India has been estimated as 27 crore (21.9%) in 2011- 12 as compared to 40.76 crore (37.2%) in 2004-05. The rate of decline of poverty ratio during 2004- 05 to 2011-12 was 2.18 % per year.”

He said methodology for poverty assessment is reviewed from time to time and that the most recent report is under government consideration. Nowadays, the official poverty estimates are based on Tendulkar methodology.

In June 2014, the then Planning Commission under the Chairmanship of Dr. C. Rangarajan submitted a report that reviewed the Methodology for Measurement of Poverty. However, the Government is yet to take a decision on the report submitted by the Expert Group. After the formation of NITI Aayog that replaced the Planning Commission, a Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India was created on March 16, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, former Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. Its report was submitted to the Prime Minister on July 11, 2016.

“The Terms of Reference for the Task Force inter alia included to “Develop a working definition of poverty”. The report of the Task Force primarily focuses on issues of measurement of poverty and strategies to combat poverty. Regarding estimation of poverty, the report of the Task Force states that “a consensus in favour of either the Tendulkar or a higher poverty line did not emerge. Therefore, the Task Force has concluded that the matter be considered in greater depth by the country’s top experts on poverty before a final decision is made. Accordingly, it is recommended that an expert committee be set up to arrive at an informed decision on the level at which the poverty line should be set,” he said.

Such revisions in methodology have been taking place since 1977. Originally, the Planning Commission was the nodal agency in the Government for estimation of poverty. It used a poverty line based on per capita consumption expenditure as the criterion to determine the persons living below the poverty line (BPL).

The last revision report was accepted in January 2011. It was written by an Expert Group under the chairmanship of Prof. Suresh D. Tendulkar in 2005 and submitted in November, 2009.

 

 

Related:

Poverty alleviation requires revision of Poverty Line

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

India tops Global Covid-19 trajectory, will the Health Minister speak up?

1 crore unemployed labourers in India: Ministry of Labour and Employment

Centre refers to 2011-12 data to discuss current poverty!

Minister of State of Ministry Of Planning and the Ministry Of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) talks about current poverty in India using 2011-12 data.

poverty

During the monsoon session of the Parliament, Member of Parliament Arun Sao asked State-wise details about the decline in poverty in the country, if any, and asked about the Centre’s periodical review of the methodology to assess poverty-levels.

In reply, the Centre referred to its 2011-12 data showed that 2,697.83 lakh people all over India were still below the poverty line (BPL) of which 2,166.58 lakh people were from rural areas. In Chhattisgarh, 101.27 lakh people were under the poverty line making up nearly 40 percent of the population. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands had the least number of BPL people (4,000) making up one percent of the population. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh had the greatest number of BPL people (598.19 lakh).

Referring to a 2013 press note, Minister of State of the Ministry Of Planning and the Ministry Of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) Rao Inderjit Singh said, “According to this Press Note, the number of persons living below poverty line in India has been estimated as 27 crore (21.9%) in 2011- 12 as compared to 40.76 crore (37.2%) in 2004-05. The rate of decline of poverty ratio during 2004- 05 to 2011-12 was 2.18 % per year.”

He said methodology for poverty assessment is reviewed from time to time and that the most recent report is under government consideration. Nowadays, the official poverty estimates are based on Tendulkar methodology.

In June 2014, the then Planning Commission under the Chairmanship of Dr. C. Rangarajan submitted a report that reviewed the Methodology for Measurement of Poverty. However, the Government is yet to take a decision on the report submitted by the Expert Group. After the formation of NITI Aayog that replaced the Planning Commission, a Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India was created on March 16, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, former Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. Its report was submitted to the Prime Minister on July 11, 2016.

“The Terms of Reference for the Task Force inter alia included to “Develop a working definition of poverty”. The report of the Task Force primarily focuses on issues of measurement of poverty and strategies to combat poverty. Regarding estimation of poverty, the report of the Task Force states that “a consensus in favour of either the Tendulkar or a higher poverty line did not emerge. Therefore, the Task Force has concluded that the matter be considered in greater depth by the country’s top experts on poverty before a final decision is made. Accordingly, it is recommended that an expert committee be set up to arrive at an informed decision on the level at which the poverty line should be set,” he said.

Such revisions in methodology have been taking place since 1977. Originally, the Planning Commission was the nodal agency in the Government for estimation of poverty. It used a poverty line based on per capita consumption expenditure as the criterion to determine the persons living below the poverty line (BPL).

The last revision report was accepted in January 2011. It was written by an Expert Group under the chairmanship of Prof. Suresh D. Tendulkar in 2005 and submitted in November, 2009.

 

 

Related:

Poverty alleviation requires revision of Poverty Line

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

India tops Global Covid-19 trajectory, will the Health Minister speak up?

1 crore unemployed labourers in India: Ministry of Labour and Employment

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

UP's Special Security Force Act: The good, the bad, the ugly

A look into the provisions of the Act and what it entails

16 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:livehindustan.com

The Special Security Force was announced by the Uttar Pradesh government in June with the objective of reducing the burden on the Provincial Armed Constabulary. On July 30, the state Cabinet okayed the creation of an eight-battalion force, with five battalions comprising about 9,900 personnel, to be raised in the first phase and on August 31, the Special Security Force Act was notified.

The Act can also be said to be a response to the Allahabad High Court directive to the state government to strengthen security inside court campuses in a case of murder within the court premises.

As per the Act, the Force will be led by an Additional Director General-level officer. The purpose of the Act is stated as, “to maintain the smooth and strong security arrangements of the vital establishments and of notified persons, as at the Centre and in other states, there is no special security force established in the state of Uttar Pradesh.”

The Act clearly states that the Force is being constituted for “better protection and security of a body or a person, or the residential premises” as well as courts, administrative offices, shrines, Metro rail, airports, banks, other financial institutions, industrial undertaking etc.

A reading of the main purpose of the Act gives an impression that the Force is akin to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that stands guard at most of the airports in India or the Railway Protection Force (RPF). In fact, the state government has claimed that similar forces exist at the central level and states of Maharashtra and Odisha have a similar Force.

Retired and serving personnel speak up

However, personnel from similar forces in Maharashtra and Odisha told the Hindustan Times, “We can arrest a person without a warrant but cannot search a place without it,” said D Kanakratnam, director general of police (DGP), Maharashtra State Security Corporation. While, a senior police Officer in Odisha stated that the security force in the state did not have the power of arrest, raid or seizure.

On the other hand, S.R. Darapuri, former Inspector General of UP Police, told The Wire, “It is nothing but a government security agency, much like private security agencies, whose primary duty would be to look after, guard and protect government installations such as courts, metro, government offices, and so on.”

He also added that the alarm generated by sections of the media due to the “search and arrest without warrant” provisions but without it will be rendered as nothing more than a private security agency. “Even after a search and arrest, the UPSSF will have to hand over the person(s) to local police, after which normal procedure will follow,” said Darapuri.

Provisions of the Act

Section 10 of the UPSSF Act empowers the force to arrest any person without a warrant or order from a magistrate on suspicion that the suspect is connected to an offence or taking steps to commit one. Section 11 allows the force to detain, and search without a warrant. In both cases, the suspect is to be handed over to a police officer “without delay”. Section 13 said personnel of this force would be considered on duty round-the-clock and could be deployed for security anywhere in the state.

Section 15 states, “No suit or prosecution shall lie against any officer or member of the Force or against any person acting under the order or the direction of any officer of member of the Force for anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith under this Act of any rules made thereunder.”

Section 16 of the Act states, “No court shall take cognisance of an offence against any member of the force with regard to anything done or any action taken or purporting to have been done or taken in the discharge of his duty except with prior sanction of the state government”.

Sanjay Hegde, Senior advocate at Supreme Court commented on sections 15 and 16 and said, “Though the protections under Sections 15 and 16 seem to be pari-materia [dealing with the same subject] with similar provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the Act when taken as a whole, constitutes a special force, gives them a carte blanche and assures them of state protection against allegations of misuse. Absolute, unaccountable power to a police force is the hallmark of a police state”.

Clearly, there are contrasting views on whether this Act poses any threat to human rights and has a potential for misuse. The objective of the Act is abundantly clear and the Force cannot act beyond its mandate; it is only the warrant-free arrest and search that has become a bone of contention and whether that will be misused and abused, only time will tell.

The complete Act may be read here.

Related:

No warrant, no due process: UP's 'Special Force' to bend all rules!
UP just got its first detention camp
NHRC sends notice to Adityanath Govt, DGP Over Lynching of Murder Accused: UP

UP's Special Security Force Act: The good, the bad, the ugly

A look into the provisions of the Act and what it entails

Image Courtesy:livehindustan.com

The Special Security Force was announced by the Uttar Pradesh government in June with the objective of reducing the burden on the Provincial Armed Constabulary. On July 30, the state Cabinet okayed the creation of an eight-battalion force, with five battalions comprising about 9,900 personnel, to be raised in the first phase and on August 31, the Special Security Force Act was notified.

The Act can also be said to be a response to the Allahabad High Court directive to the state government to strengthen security inside court campuses in a case of murder within the court premises.

As per the Act, the Force will be led by an Additional Director General-level officer. The purpose of the Act is stated as, “to maintain the smooth and strong security arrangements of the vital establishments and of notified persons, as at the Centre and in other states, there is no special security force established in the state of Uttar Pradesh.”

The Act clearly states that the Force is being constituted for “better protection and security of a body or a person, or the residential premises” as well as courts, administrative offices, shrines, Metro rail, airports, banks, other financial institutions, industrial undertaking etc.

A reading of the main purpose of the Act gives an impression that the Force is akin to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that stands guard at most of the airports in India or the Railway Protection Force (RPF). In fact, the state government has claimed that similar forces exist at the central level and states of Maharashtra and Odisha have a similar Force.

Retired and serving personnel speak up

However, personnel from similar forces in Maharashtra and Odisha told the Hindustan Times, “We can arrest a person without a warrant but cannot search a place without it,” said D Kanakratnam, director general of police (DGP), Maharashtra State Security Corporation. While, a senior police Officer in Odisha stated that the security force in the state did not have the power of arrest, raid or seizure.

On the other hand, S.R. Darapuri, former Inspector General of UP Police, told The Wire, “It is nothing but a government security agency, much like private security agencies, whose primary duty would be to look after, guard and protect government installations such as courts, metro, government offices, and so on.”

He also added that the alarm generated by sections of the media due to the “search and arrest without warrant” provisions but without it will be rendered as nothing more than a private security agency. “Even after a search and arrest, the UPSSF will have to hand over the person(s) to local police, after which normal procedure will follow,” said Darapuri.

Provisions of the Act

Section 10 of the UPSSF Act empowers the force to arrest any person without a warrant or order from a magistrate on suspicion that the suspect is connected to an offence or taking steps to commit one. Section 11 allows the force to detain, and search without a warrant. In both cases, the suspect is to be handed over to a police officer “without delay”. Section 13 said personnel of this force would be considered on duty round-the-clock and could be deployed for security anywhere in the state.

Section 15 states, “No suit or prosecution shall lie against any officer or member of the Force or against any person acting under the order or the direction of any officer of member of the Force for anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith under this Act of any rules made thereunder.”

Section 16 of the Act states, “No court shall take cognisance of an offence against any member of the force with regard to anything done or any action taken or purporting to have been done or taken in the discharge of his duty except with prior sanction of the state government”.

Sanjay Hegde, Senior advocate at Supreme Court commented on sections 15 and 16 and said, “Though the protections under Sections 15 and 16 seem to be pari-materia [dealing with the same subject] with similar provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the Act when taken as a whole, constitutes a special force, gives them a carte blanche and assures them of state protection against allegations of misuse. Absolute, unaccountable power to a police force is the hallmark of a police state”.

Clearly, there are contrasting views on whether this Act poses any threat to human rights and has a potential for misuse. The objective of the Act is abundantly clear and the Force cannot act beyond its mandate; it is only the warrant-free arrest and search that has become a bone of contention and whether that will be misused and abused, only time will tell.

The complete Act may be read here.

Related:

No warrant, no due process: UP's 'Special Force' to bend all rules!
UP just got its first detention camp
NHRC sends notice to Adityanath Govt, DGP Over Lynching of Murder Accused: UP

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!

Shortly after the Centre claimed no data on death of migrant workers, the Ministry of Health and Welfare now says that it maintained no data on the death of medical staff during the on-going pandemic.

16 Sep 2020

medical StaffImage: Diptendu Dutta/AFP
 

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare does not maintain data on Covid-19 deaths of medical personnel, said Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey a mere day after the Centre's declaration that it does not have a record of migrant labourer deaths.

On September 16, Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament (MP) Ravi Prakash Verma and Binoy Viswam asked Choubey for the number of doctors, nurses, ASHA workers and other health care staff who had either been affected by or died due to coronavirus.

To this the Minister of State had given the disconcerting reply of, “Health is a State subject. Such data is not maintained at Central level by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. However, database of those seeking relief under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Package” is maintained at national level.”

This is the second time that the Centre failed to account for Covid-19-caused deaths in India.

Meanwhile, the insurance scheme only recorded 155 deaths of medical personnel from all over India. Thus, it recognises deaths of only those people whose families sought relief under the government insurance scheme. Accordingly, the data showed that as many as 21 medical personnel had died in Maharashtra with a majority of 12 deaths classified in “Others” category. Maharashtra’s official death count was closely followed by West Bengal and Gujarat with 14 deaths each. Uttar Pradesh recorded eight doctor deaths – highest number in the given data – while Telangana recorded as many as three ASHA worker deaths. Gujarat had the highest nurse, midwife, and health worker deaths at six persons.

When asked to explain why the Centre had failed to contain the spread of the disease despite early inputs from WHO and other countries, The Minister of State said that India had successfully “blunted” the spread of Covid-19 by imposing country-wide lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic. He said that the decision of lockdown had prevented roughly 14–29 lakh cases and 37–78 thousand deaths.

“India has been able to limit its cases and deaths per million to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population respectively, which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries,” said Choubey.

Regarding the Government mechanism to check concealing/ under reporting of Covid-19 deaths, he said that the Centre has advised states as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) circulated guidelines for appropriate recording of Covid-19 deaths in India.

Furthermore, he said that the Centre did not allocate funds to states for testing and treatment.

“Initially the testing equipment and kits were procured by ICMR and provided to the states. Now that the diagnostic kits and equipment are available states have been advised to procure the same,” he said.

MP Viswam also enquired about complaints from Covid-19 designated hospitals regarding protecting gear for medical staff. He also asked about government measures to protect frontline healthcare workers from the disease.

While Choubey did not talk about complaints, he said that the Centre gave the states 3.05 crore N-95 masks and 1.2 Crore PPE kits. He said hospitals and frontline workers were given guidelines on March 24 for rational use of PPEs that followed a risk-based approach and recommended  what kind of PPE should be used in high and low risk areas. Moreover, states were supported with 9.81 crore tablets of Hydroxychloroquine and 28,476 ventilators.

“The healthcare workers were provided with hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis and prevention of infection. N-95 masks and triple / double ply masks were brought under price control. Export of PPEs, N 95 masks, triple/ double ply medical masks, goggles and visors were banned till such time we were self-reliant,” he said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provided guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control practices as well as training programmes to states.

“States were asked to constitute Infection Prevention and Control committees. Hospitals were also to identify a nodal officer who will monitor the healthcare workers and review their exposure status. High risk exposures are placed under quarantine for 7 days. Based on their exposure/clinical profile such doctors, nursing officers and other health workers, a decision shall be taken by the Nodal Officer/Head of the Department (or his appointed Sub-committee) for further period of one week,” he said.

Lastly, he said a package of Rs 15000 crores (USD 2 Billion) under ‘India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’ was approved by the Cabinet April 22.

Related:

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!
SC dismisses plea seeking uniform compensation for kin of Covid victims
Shortages of doctors, blood as healthcare crisis grows in Gujarat

Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!

Shortly after the Centre claimed no data on death of migrant workers, the Ministry of Health and Welfare now says that it maintained no data on the death of medical staff during the on-going pandemic.

medical StaffImage: Diptendu Dutta/AFP
 

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare does not maintain data on Covid-19 deaths of medical personnel, said Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey a mere day after the Centre's declaration that it does not have a record of migrant labourer deaths.

On September 16, Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament (MP) Ravi Prakash Verma and Binoy Viswam asked Choubey for the number of doctors, nurses, ASHA workers and other health care staff who had either been affected by or died due to coronavirus.

To this the Minister of State had given the disconcerting reply of, “Health is a State subject. Such data is not maintained at Central level by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. However, database of those seeking relief under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Package” is maintained at national level.”

This is the second time that the Centre failed to account for Covid-19-caused deaths in India.

Meanwhile, the insurance scheme only recorded 155 deaths of medical personnel from all over India. Thus, it recognises deaths of only those people whose families sought relief under the government insurance scheme. Accordingly, the data showed that as many as 21 medical personnel had died in Maharashtra with a majority of 12 deaths classified in “Others” category. Maharashtra’s official death count was closely followed by West Bengal and Gujarat with 14 deaths each. Uttar Pradesh recorded eight doctor deaths – highest number in the given data – while Telangana recorded as many as three ASHA worker deaths. Gujarat had the highest nurse, midwife, and health worker deaths at six persons.

When asked to explain why the Centre had failed to contain the spread of the disease despite early inputs from WHO and other countries, The Minister of State said that India had successfully “blunted” the spread of Covid-19 by imposing country-wide lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic. He said that the decision of lockdown had prevented roughly 14–29 lakh cases and 37–78 thousand deaths.

“India has been able to limit its cases and deaths per million to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population respectively, which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries,” said Choubey.

Regarding the Government mechanism to check concealing/ under reporting of Covid-19 deaths, he said that the Centre has advised states as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) circulated guidelines for appropriate recording of Covid-19 deaths in India.

Furthermore, he said that the Centre did not allocate funds to states for testing and treatment.

“Initially the testing equipment and kits were procured by ICMR and provided to the states. Now that the diagnostic kits and equipment are available states have been advised to procure the same,” he said.

MP Viswam also enquired about complaints from Covid-19 designated hospitals regarding protecting gear for medical staff. He also asked about government measures to protect frontline healthcare workers from the disease.

While Choubey did not talk about complaints, he said that the Centre gave the states 3.05 crore N-95 masks and 1.2 Crore PPE kits. He said hospitals and frontline workers were given guidelines on March 24 for rational use of PPEs that followed a risk-based approach and recommended  what kind of PPE should be used in high and low risk areas. Moreover, states were supported with 9.81 crore tablets of Hydroxychloroquine and 28,476 ventilators.

“The healthcare workers were provided with hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis and prevention of infection. N-95 masks and triple / double ply masks were brought under price control. Export of PPEs, N 95 masks, triple/ double ply medical masks, goggles and visors were banned till such time we were self-reliant,” he said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provided guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control practices as well as training programmes to states.

“States were asked to constitute Infection Prevention and Control committees. Hospitals were also to identify a nodal officer who will monitor the healthcare workers and review their exposure status. High risk exposures are placed under quarantine for 7 days. Based on their exposure/clinical profile such doctors, nursing officers and other health workers, a decision shall be taken by the Nodal Officer/Head of the Department (or his appointed Sub-committee) for further period of one week,” he said.

Lastly, he said a package of Rs 15000 crores (USD 2 Billion) under ‘India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’ was approved by the Cabinet April 22.

Related:

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!
SC dismisses plea seeking uniform compensation for kin of Covid victims
Shortages of doctors, blood as healthcare crisis grows in Gujarat

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

MGNREGS under microscope: Members of Parliament ask for detailed performance report of scheme

MPs ask the Minister of Rural Development to show records of how MGNREGS had benefited workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

16 Sep 2020

MGNREGS

The Ministry of Rural Development was served a volley of questions regarding implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) on the second day of the Parliament’s monsoon session on September 16, 2020.

Members of Parliament (MP) Pramila Bisoyi, D. K. Suresh, Saugata Ray, P. C. Gaddigoudar and others asked Minister of Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar, a series of questions about release and expenditure of funds for the scheme, details of beneficiaries and possible changes in the scheme in view of loss of livelihood due to the coronavirus pandemic. They were also curious to know whether less employment was provided during lockdown as well as the department’s reaction to the claim that state governments received no funds under MGNREGS.

The MGNREGS is an important government policy that assures 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Needless to say, the Ministers were keen to see the effects of this scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Regarding the implementation of the scheme in the current financial year (FY), Minister Tomar said that from April to August, the highest funds were allocated to Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 7,01,966.37 lakhs, while the total expenditure was Rs. 6,60,761.9 lakhs. The lowest funds were given to Goa at Rs. 91.34 lakhs although the total expenditure towards the scheme was Rs. 105.14 lakhs. Similarly, the total expenditure for Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Telangana and Andaman and Nicobar Islands exceeded the total Central funds released.

He added that a total of 86,81,928 new job cards were issued this year compared to the 64,95,823 new job cards issued during the FY 2019-20.

Regarding possible changes in the scheme, Tomar said that the Government did not plan to change the guaranteed days of employment from 100 to 200. However, the scheme provides additional 50 days of unskilled wage employment in case of drought or natural calamity as notified in rural areas. Moreover, he said that the Centre has not planned any special allowances to workers nor will the scheme be extended to urban areas.

“As per Section 3(4) of the Mahatma Gandhi NREG Act, 2005, the State Governments may make provisions for providing additional days beyond the period guaranteed under the Act from their own funds,” he said.

When asked about State-wise wage rates under MGNREGS, Tomar said that the highest wage rates were given in Haryana and Sikkim. The lowest wages were given in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. He also said that States and Union Territories can provide wages greater than the Centre’s wage-rate but that the department does not maintain the minimum wage rate of different States.

He said that the Centre has been able to meet the demand for work with adequate funding and active support of the state governments. On September 10, the Ministry released Rs. 60,44,098.23 lakh to the states and Union Territories (UT) for scheme implementation.

While employment provided in April decreased by 48 percent as compared to last year, August recorded a 56 percent increase in employment provision under the scheme.

MGNREGS data during lockdown is as below:

MP Arun Sao questioned the Ministry about pending wage payments. He specifically asked for details on Chhattisgarh’s districts of Bilaspur and Mungeli as well as the date by which the pendency will be addressed.

Tomar replied that the question of late-payments does not arise because MGNREGS is a demand-driven wage employment programme that pays unskilled workers on a regular basis.

“Under DBT [Direct Benefit Transfer] wage payment is made directly to the bank/post office account of the beneficiary by the central Government through the National Electronic Fund Management System after receiving the Fund Transfer Order (FTO) from the State Government through PFMS. The wage payment for the State of Chhattisgarh is being made through DBT, except 4 IAP districts wherein cash payment provision is made as an exception till October 2020,” said Tomar.

He clarified that as of September 11, there are no pending wages of Chhattisgarh whose districts receive payments either through DBTs or cash as per need. Similarly, he listed States and Union Territories that had pending Fund Transfer Orders (FTOs) such as Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Puducherry. West Bengal had the highest pending FTO of Rs. 39,757.05115 lakhs while Puducherry had the lowest pending FTO of Rs. 74.12165 lakhs.

On pending material and administration funds, the Minister said that the Government of India releases such funds to the concerned State Government and thus does not directly release material funds to districts.

Member of Parliament Dibyendu Adhikari asked the Ministry of Rural Development to confirm whether as many as 145 million households (over 14 crores households) had applied for work under the MGNREGS between April to July, signifying a 60 percent increase from last year. He asked for the number of people employed until August 31 as well as the Centre’s proposal to provide employment to all applicants.

In reply, Tomar stated that over 12 crore households demanded work under the scheme between the months of April and July in current FY 2020-21. Last year nearly 9 crore households – 8,99,42,082 households – applied under this scheme, indicating a 38.73 increase in the current financial year. The Minister added that over 8 crore beneficiaries – 8,13,67,966 beneficiaries – received employment under this scheme until August 31.

Regarding government proposals, Tomar said that beneficiaries under the scheme are entitled for unemployment allowance from the concerned state, if they are not employed within 15 days of receipt of their application or from the date on which employment has been sought in case of an advance application. He also said that states and UTs prepare a revised shelf of works before the start of a new financial year depending upon the demand of jobs in the field.

Another member of Parliament Ravi Kishan asked the Government whether people were receiving 100 days of assured employment in the continuing demand for MGNREGS.

“The demand for work is influenced by various factors such as rain-fall, availability of alternative and remunerative employment opportunities outside Mahatma Gandhi NREGS etc. During the current FY 2020-21 as on 12.09.2020, a total of 7.93 lakh households is [sic] various States/UTs … completed 100 days of employment under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGS as per their demand,” said Tomar.

In Andhra Pradesh as many as 2.62 lakhs households had completed 100 days of employment while no family completed employment under this scheme in Goa, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep Islands.

MoP S. Venkatesan asked the Rural Development Minister whether the government had any proposal to increase the number of eligible work days under MGNREGA as well as details about the average mandays at the national level and State-wise employed under the policy between April and August this year.

To the first question, Tomar replied with a curt “No sir.” At the national level the scheme provided 12 mandays in April, 17 mandays in May, 6 mandays in June, 14 man-days in July and 12 mandays in August this year.

The state-wise number of mandays can be seen below:

 

Related:

1700 custodial deaths in a year, yet no anti-torture law!

The Crisis of MGNREGA

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

India tops Global Covid-19 trajectory, will the Health Minister speak up?

MGNREGS under microscope: Members of Parliament ask for detailed performance report of scheme

MPs ask the Minister of Rural Development to show records of how MGNREGS had benefited workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

MGNREGS

The Ministry of Rural Development was served a volley of questions regarding implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) on the second day of the Parliament’s monsoon session on September 16, 2020.

Members of Parliament (MP) Pramila Bisoyi, D. K. Suresh, Saugata Ray, P. C. Gaddigoudar and others asked Minister of Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar, a series of questions about release and expenditure of funds for the scheme, details of beneficiaries and possible changes in the scheme in view of loss of livelihood due to the coronavirus pandemic. They were also curious to know whether less employment was provided during lockdown as well as the department’s reaction to the claim that state governments received no funds under MGNREGS.

The MGNREGS is an important government policy that assures 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Needless to say, the Ministers were keen to see the effects of this scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Regarding the implementation of the scheme in the current financial year (FY), Minister Tomar said that from April to August, the highest funds were allocated to Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 7,01,966.37 lakhs, while the total expenditure was Rs. 6,60,761.9 lakhs. The lowest funds were given to Goa at Rs. 91.34 lakhs although the total expenditure towards the scheme was Rs. 105.14 lakhs. Similarly, the total expenditure for Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Telangana and Andaman and Nicobar Islands exceeded the total Central funds released.

He added that a total of 86,81,928 new job cards were issued this year compared to the 64,95,823 new job cards issued during the FY 2019-20.

Regarding possible changes in the scheme, Tomar said that the Government did not plan to change the guaranteed days of employment from 100 to 200. However, the scheme provides additional 50 days of unskilled wage employment in case of drought or natural calamity as notified in rural areas. Moreover, he said that the Centre has not planned any special allowances to workers nor will the scheme be extended to urban areas.

“As per Section 3(4) of the Mahatma Gandhi NREG Act, 2005, the State Governments may make provisions for providing additional days beyond the period guaranteed under the Act from their own funds,” he said.

When asked about State-wise wage rates under MGNREGS, Tomar said that the highest wage rates were given in Haryana and Sikkim. The lowest wages were given in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. He also said that States and Union Territories can provide wages greater than the Centre’s wage-rate but that the department does not maintain the minimum wage rate of different States.

He said that the Centre has been able to meet the demand for work with adequate funding and active support of the state governments. On September 10, the Ministry released Rs. 60,44,098.23 lakh to the states and Union Territories (UT) for scheme implementation.

While employment provided in April decreased by 48 percent as compared to last year, August recorded a 56 percent increase in employment provision under the scheme.

MGNREGS data during lockdown is as below:

MP Arun Sao questioned the Ministry about pending wage payments. He specifically asked for details on Chhattisgarh’s districts of Bilaspur and Mungeli as well as the date by which the pendency will be addressed.

Tomar replied that the question of late-payments does not arise because MGNREGS is a demand-driven wage employment programme that pays unskilled workers on a regular basis.

“Under DBT [Direct Benefit Transfer] wage payment is made directly to the bank/post office account of the beneficiary by the central Government through the National Electronic Fund Management System after receiving the Fund Transfer Order (FTO) from the State Government through PFMS. The wage payment for the State of Chhattisgarh is being made through DBT, except 4 IAP districts wherein cash payment provision is made as an exception till October 2020,” said Tomar.

He clarified that as of September 11, there are no pending wages of Chhattisgarh whose districts receive payments either through DBTs or cash as per need. Similarly, he listed States and Union Territories that had pending Fund Transfer Orders (FTOs) such as Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Puducherry. West Bengal had the highest pending FTO of Rs. 39,757.05115 lakhs while Puducherry had the lowest pending FTO of Rs. 74.12165 lakhs.

On pending material and administration funds, the Minister said that the Government of India releases such funds to the concerned State Government and thus does not directly release material funds to districts.

Member of Parliament Dibyendu Adhikari asked the Ministry of Rural Development to confirm whether as many as 145 million households (over 14 crores households) had applied for work under the MGNREGS between April to July, signifying a 60 percent increase from last year. He asked for the number of people employed until August 31 as well as the Centre’s proposal to provide employment to all applicants.

In reply, Tomar stated that over 12 crore households demanded work under the scheme between the months of April and July in current FY 2020-21. Last year nearly 9 crore households – 8,99,42,082 households – applied under this scheme, indicating a 38.73 increase in the current financial year. The Minister added that over 8 crore beneficiaries – 8,13,67,966 beneficiaries – received employment under this scheme until August 31.

Regarding government proposals, Tomar said that beneficiaries under the scheme are entitled for unemployment allowance from the concerned state, if they are not employed within 15 days of receipt of their application or from the date on which employment has been sought in case of an advance application. He also said that states and UTs prepare a revised shelf of works before the start of a new financial year depending upon the demand of jobs in the field.

Another member of Parliament Ravi Kishan asked the Government whether people were receiving 100 days of assured employment in the continuing demand for MGNREGS.

“The demand for work is influenced by various factors such as rain-fall, availability of alternative and remunerative employment opportunities outside Mahatma Gandhi NREGS etc. During the current FY 2020-21 as on 12.09.2020, a total of 7.93 lakh households is [sic] various States/UTs … completed 100 days of employment under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGS as per their demand,” said Tomar.

In Andhra Pradesh as many as 2.62 lakhs households had completed 100 days of employment while no family completed employment under this scheme in Goa, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep Islands.

MoP S. Venkatesan asked the Rural Development Minister whether the government had any proposal to increase the number of eligible work days under MGNREGA as well as details about the average mandays at the national level and State-wise employed under the policy between April and August this year.

To the first question, Tomar replied with a curt “No sir.” At the national level the scheme provided 12 mandays in April, 17 mandays in May, 6 mandays in June, 14 man-days in July and 12 mandays in August this year.

The state-wise number of mandays can be seen below:

 

Related:

1700 custodial deaths in a year, yet no anti-torture law!

The Crisis of MGNREGA

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

India tops Global Covid-19 trajectory, will the Health Minister speak up?

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

1700 custodial deaths in a year, yet no anti-torture law!

The national tally for reported encounter deaths was 112, in a year

16 Sep 2020

custodial deaths

The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Parliament on September 15, 2020, that Uttar Pradesh (UP) reported the highest number of custodial deaths, while in judicial custody, in 2019-20. UP recorded 400 such deaths, followed by Madhya Pradesh (MP) with 143 deaths and ranking third was Bihar with 105 deaths in judicial custody; all in a matter of 1 year. While this is the data on deaths in judicial custody, the number of deaths in police custody have also been put forth. 

MP topped the list with 14 such deaths followed by Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, both having the same tally of 12 deaths each. There are several states which reported zero deaths in police custody, such as Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Sikkim, Telangana and majority of the Union Territories.

This data was presented for a question put forth by P Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha, during the ongoing Monsoon session of the Parliament. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the house remains in session for only 4 hours and question hour has been eliminated. Thus, only written answers to the questions are put up.

Chidambaram probed the MHA on data on custodial deaths as well as deaths due to encounters in each state in the past year, from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

It is pertinent to note that the data presented above related to custodial deaths is only of “reported cases” and it is known that several cases of deaths in police custody go unreported. Hence, the total tally of 1,697 custodial deaths could probably just be the tip of the iceberg.

On the question of encounter deaths, the data for 2019-20 showed that Chhattisgarh topped the list with 39 encounter killings, followed by UP having reported 26 encounter deaths. The rest of the states reported encounter deaths in single digit while many had reported none. Yet, the total national tally for encounter deaths was 112, in just one year.

Further, as per data submitted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), it recommended monetary relief to the tune of Rs. 4.44 crore in cases of custodial deaths and Rs. 88 lakh in cases of encounter deaths, in total. However, whether these recommendations were considered and implemented, is unclear as the MHA was silent on the same.

Anti-torture law

Another question was posed by Kanimozhi Karunanidhi of DMK, asking whether the government was considering to bring a legislation to prevent torture of individuals by police and public officials. The MHA responded, that no such law was under consideration.

In the winter session of 2019, the MHA had responded to a similar question of anti-torture legislation stating, “the 273rd Report of the Law Commission and the draft of ‘The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017’ has been considered by the government, along with comments from State government and that the ‘government is seized of the matter’.” The Prevention of Torture Bill lapsed in 2019, due to dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.

The Prevention of Torture Bill proposes to provide punishment for torture inflicted by public servants or any person inflicting torture with the consent or acquiescence of any public servant. It defines torture as an act by a public servant or by a person with acquiescence of a public servant, causes grievous hurt or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical).

Further, it proposes punishment of minimum 3 years which may be extended to 10 years and fine, for torture inflicted for purpose of extorting confession, or for punishing or on the ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground.

With the rising number of cases of custodial deaths, it was expected that the government at least show the willingness for introducing a law for prevention of torture in custody, but it only disappoints. From being ‘seized of the matter’ in December 2019, to not considering the law at all in September 2020, the intention of the government is clear. Despite rising cases of custodial deaths, like the killing of father-son in Tamil Nadu, the death of a daily vendor in Gujarat (brought in on suspicion of theft), the encounter killing of most wanted criminal Vikas Dubey as well as the encounter killing of four accused in the Hyderabad vet’s rape case, the government refuses to deal with the matter at all; while granting the police officials responsible for these incidents impunity.

A detailed analyses of the Prevention of torture bill may be read here.


The Parliament responses may be read here.

 

 

 

Related:

Kerala: Muslim youth accuse local police of custodial torture

SC: Punjab SHO denied pre-arrest bail in custodial torture case
Prevention of torture Bill - the forgotten law

1700 custodial deaths in a year, yet no anti-torture law!

The national tally for reported encounter deaths was 112, in a year

custodial deaths

The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Parliament on September 15, 2020, that Uttar Pradesh (UP) reported the highest number of custodial deaths, while in judicial custody, in 2019-20. UP recorded 400 such deaths, followed by Madhya Pradesh (MP) with 143 deaths and ranking third was Bihar with 105 deaths in judicial custody; all in a matter of 1 year. While this is the data on deaths in judicial custody, the number of deaths in police custody have also been put forth. 

MP topped the list with 14 such deaths followed by Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, both having the same tally of 12 deaths each. There are several states which reported zero deaths in police custody, such as Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Sikkim, Telangana and majority of the Union Territories.

This data was presented for a question put forth by P Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha, during the ongoing Monsoon session of the Parliament. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the house remains in session for only 4 hours and question hour has been eliminated. Thus, only written answers to the questions are put up.

Chidambaram probed the MHA on data on custodial deaths as well as deaths due to encounters in each state in the past year, from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

It is pertinent to note that the data presented above related to custodial deaths is only of “reported cases” and it is known that several cases of deaths in police custody go unreported. Hence, the total tally of 1,697 custodial deaths could probably just be the tip of the iceberg.

On the question of encounter deaths, the data for 2019-20 showed that Chhattisgarh topped the list with 39 encounter killings, followed by UP having reported 26 encounter deaths. The rest of the states reported encounter deaths in single digit while many had reported none. Yet, the total national tally for encounter deaths was 112, in just one year.

Further, as per data submitted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), it recommended monetary relief to the tune of Rs. 4.44 crore in cases of custodial deaths and Rs. 88 lakh in cases of encounter deaths, in total. However, whether these recommendations were considered and implemented, is unclear as the MHA was silent on the same.

Anti-torture law

Another question was posed by Kanimozhi Karunanidhi of DMK, asking whether the government was considering to bring a legislation to prevent torture of individuals by police and public officials. The MHA responded, that no such law was under consideration.

In the winter session of 2019, the MHA had responded to a similar question of anti-torture legislation stating, “the 273rd Report of the Law Commission and the draft of ‘The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017’ has been considered by the government, along with comments from State government and that the ‘government is seized of the matter’.” The Prevention of Torture Bill lapsed in 2019, due to dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.

The Prevention of Torture Bill proposes to provide punishment for torture inflicted by public servants or any person inflicting torture with the consent or acquiescence of any public servant. It defines torture as an act by a public servant or by a person with acquiescence of a public servant, causes grievous hurt or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical).

Further, it proposes punishment of minimum 3 years which may be extended to 10 years and fine, for torture inflicted for purpose of extorting confession, or for punishing or on the ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground.

With the rising number of cases of custodial deaths, it was expected that the government at least show the willingness for introducing a law for prevention of torture in custody, but it only disappoints. From being ‘seized of the matter’ in December 2019, to not considering the law at all in September 2020, the intention of the government is clear. Despite rising cases of custodial deaths, like the killing of father-son in Tamil Nadu, the death of a daily vendor in Gujarat (brought in on suspicion of theft), the encounter killing of most wanted criminal Vikas Dubey as well as the encounter killing of four accused in the Hyderabad vet’s rape case, the government refuses to deal with the matter at all; while granting the police officials responsible for these incidents impunity.

A detailed analyses of the Prevention of torture bill may be read here.


The Parliament responses may be read here.

 

 

 

Related:

Kerala: Muslim youth accuse local police of custodial torture

SC: Punjab SHO denied pre-arrest bail in custodial torture case
Prevention of torture Bill - the forgotten law

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

In Madhya Pradesh, eggs blur the line between religion and nutrition

SabrangIndia talks to people from both sides of the argument to understand the long-stretched debate on egg-consumption in Madhya Pradesh.

16 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:huffingtonpost.in

There can be no greater culinary tragedy than the denial of eggs in Madhya Pradesh. For years, the majority of people in Madhya Pradesh have opposed the consumption of eggs due to its largely vegetarian cuisine. The irony is in the fact that Madhya Pradesh, one of the most malnourished States in India denies the intake of this prime source of protein.

Eggs contain all 22 amino acids, providing around 70 calories and 7gs of protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowance report of 2019 by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) stated that children between the ages of one to three years require 16.7gs of protein. Thus, simply two eggs per meal could greatly improve a child’s health.

As per the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) of 2015-16, 42 percent children in the State are stunted, nearly 26 percent are wasted, 9 percent are severely wasted and nearly 43 percent are underweight. Moreover, 69 percent of children between 6-59 months are anaemic.

All of these figures would reduce drastically if the State government would accept Women and Child Welfare Minister Imarti Devi’s proposal of including eggs in anganwadi meals. However, the proposal has met with constant opposition ever since its introduction in 2009. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has gone as far as to say that the inclusion of eggs in anganwadi meals would never become a reality as long as he remained in power.

To understand the legitimacy of such a dramatic statement, one only needs to talk to one of the vegetarians in Madhya Pradesh.

“Eating eggs is a matter of dharma [religious conduct.] It is different from following rituals. How can we allow it?” said co-President of the Jain Social Group (JSG) in Ratlam Lalit Kanthed.

Kanthed said that he does not mind other people eating eggs. However, the inclusion of eggs in anganwadis would be too drastic because even Hindu children visit these places. He said parents who follow vegetarian diet would be scared to send their children to anganwadis on the off-chance that they ate the food item. Kanthed also made the argument that there were many other nutritious alternatives to eggs.

When asked about rumours that said egg consumption resulted in cannibalism, he rubbished the idea but insisted that eggs should not be a part of meals.

On the other hand, Dr. Preeti Shukla has long been a staunch advocate for high-protein food such as eggs. Over the years, she infrequently visited different anganwadis to raise awareness about nutrition and diet. In 2006, she conducted a survey for her doctorate wherein a group of young anganwadi girls consumed a high-protein diet that included eggs. She noted that their health drastically improved over the following six months.

Shukla said that eggs are a complete meal with high biological value proteins. Therefore, it is a good supplement for underprivileged children. However, even she could not fight against the dissent of the vegetarian community. She acknowledged that the majority of people in the State were vegetarian and thus opposed the introduction of eggs in meals. In the same vein, she also stated that most people who came to anganwadis were Maharashtrians or non-vegetarians who did not mind eating eggs. For these people she said that eggs should be allowed as a rich source of protein. She said that providing these 0-5 year children with an egg diet could address their protein requirement to a large extent.

Similarly, for vegetarians, she argued that meals could include alternatives such as ladoos made from peanuts or other nuts. Even so, eggs seem to be a cut above its vegetarian alternatives because the shelled-commodities are hardly ever contaminated. Among vegetarian alternatives, paneer (cottage cheese) can compete with eggs in terms of nutrition but there are chances of contamination with such proteins.

In ‘Community Traditional Food Resource Mapping Study’ by an NGO called Vikas Samvad, it was discovered that 99 percent of the Madhya Pradesh OBC tribes surveyed liked the consumption of non-vegetarian food. Moreover, eggs were consumed more than any meat product. Pregnant women consumed five to seven eggs per month, lactating mothers ate nine eggs per month while adolescent children 10 eggs per month. The data indicated that eggs, although not a part of the majority population’s diet, are still an important part of the State’s cuisine.

According to Market.TodayPriceRates, the product is also sold at an affordable rate of Rs. 5 per egg as of September 15. This makes it cheaper than milk, pulses or any other vegetarian alternative.

Yet the social constraints keep this food group from becoming a part of mainstream diet. There was hope for its normalisation in April 2020. However, once the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, the question of nutrition has once again become politicised.

Related:

Feeding Mothers, Fighting Malnutrition: The East Godavari Experience
BJP States Most Resistant To Eggs In Mid-Day Meals, Cite Vegetarian Sentiments
Daal and Eggs critical to stem hunger in drought areas: Swaraj Abhiyan

In Madhya Pradesh, eggs blur the line between religion and nutrition

SabrangIndia talks to people from both sides of the argument to understand the long-stretched debate on egg-consumption in Madhya Pradesh.

Image Courtesy:huffingtonpost.in

There can be no greater culinary tragedy than the denial of eggs in Madhya Pradesh. For years, the majority of people in Madhya Pradesh have opposed the consumption of eggs due to its largely vegetarian cuisine. The irony is in the fact that Madhya Pradesh, one of the most malnourished States in India denies the intake of this prime source of protein.

Eggs contain all 22 amino acids, providing around 70 calories and 7gs of protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowance report of 2019 by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) stated that children between the ages of one to three years require 16.7gs of protein. Thus, simply two eggs per meal could greatly improve a child’s health.

As per the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) of 2015-16, 42 percent children in the State are stunted, nearly 26 percent are wasted, 9 percent are severely wasted and nearly 43 percent are underweight. Moreover, 69 percent of children between 6-59 months are anaemic.

All of these figures would reduce drastically if the State government would accept Women and Child Welfare Minister Imarti Devi’s proposal of including eggs in anganwadi meals. However, the proposal has met with constant opposition ever since its introduction in 2009. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has gone as far as to say that the inclusion of eggs in anganwadi meals would never become a reality as long as he remained in power.

To understand the legitimacy of such a dramatic statement, one only needs to talk to one of the vegetarians in Madhya Pradesh.

“Eating eggs is a matter of dharma [religious conduct.] It is different from following rituals. How can we allow it?” said co-President of the Jain Social Group (JSG) in Ratlam Lalit Kanthed.

Kanthed said that he does not mind other people eating eggs. However, the inclusion of eggs in anganwadis would be too drastic because even Hindu children visit these places. He said parents who follow vegetarian diet would be scared to send their children to anganwadis on the off-chance that they ate the food item. Kanthed also made the argument that there were many other nutritious alternatives to eggs.

When asked about rumours that said egg consumption resulted in cannibalism, he rubbished the idea but insisted that eggs should not be a part of meals.

On the other hand, Dr. Preeti Shukla has long been a staunch advocate for high-protein food such as eggs. Over the years, she infrequently visited different anganwadis to raise awareness about nutrition and diet. In 2006, she conducted a survey for her doctorate wherein a group of young anganwadi girls consumed a high-protein diet that included eggs. She noted that their health drastically improved over the following six months.

Shukla said that eggs are a complete meal with high biological value proteins. Therefore, it is a good supplement for underprivileged children. However, even she could not fight against the dissent of the vegetarian community. She acknowledged that the majority of people in the State were vegetarian and thus opposed the introduction of eggs in meals. In the same vein, she also stated that most people who came to anganwadis were Maharashtrians or non-vegetarians who did not mind eating eggs. For these people she said that eggs should be allowed as a rich source of protein. She said that providing these 0-5 year children with an egg diet could address their protein requirement to a large extent.

Similarly, for vegetarians, she argued that meals could include alternatives such as ladoos made from peanuts or other nuts. Even so, eggs seem to be a cut above its vegetarian alternatives because the shelled-commodities are hardly ever contaminated. Among vegetarian alternatives, paneer (cottage cheese) can compete with eggs in terms of nutrition but there are chances of contamination with such proteins.

In ‘Community Traditional Food Resource Mapping Study’ by an NGO called Vikas Samvad, it was discovered that 99 percent of the Madhya Pradesh OBC tribes surveyed liked the consumption of non-vegetarian food. Moreover, eggs were consumed more than any meat product. Pregnant women consumed five to seven eggs per month, lactating mothers ate nine eggs per month while adolescent children 10 eggs per month. The data indicated that eggs, although not a part of the majority population’s diet, are still an important part of the State’s cuisine.

According to Market.TodayPriceRates, the product is also sold at an affordable rate of Rs. 5 per egg as of September 15. This makes it cheaper than milk, pulses or any other vegetarian alternative.

Yet the social constraints keep this food group from becoming a part of mainstream diet. There was hope for its normalisation in April 2020. However, once the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, the question of nutrition has once again become politicised.

Related:

Feeding Mothers, Fighting Malnutrition: The East Godavari Experience
BJP States Most Resistant To Eggs In Mid-Day Meals, Cite Vegetarian Sentiments
Daal and Eggs critical to stem hunger in drought areas: Swaraj Abhiyan

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

The Ministry of Labour and Employment declares it has no records, though plight of migrant labourers has been widely reported in the media and documented by organisations like CJP

14 Sep 2020


Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

In a shocking display of ineptitude and lack of committment, the Ministry of Labour and employment stated during the Parliament’s monsoon session on September 14 that the government has no data on the death of migrant labourers during the lockdown! With this is also washed its hands off the issue of compensations.

This shocking revelation begs the question of how could a government not have recorded data on these deaths when journalists, shramik train officials and even local police had kept a detailed record of labourers migrating from one part of the country to another.

While questioning the government on labourers’ migration during lockdown, members of Parliament asked a series of questions one of which asked “whether thousands of migrant labourers have died during lock down and if so, the details thereof.” To this, the government replied that there was no data available regarding the matter thus dismissing the question of compensation as well!

Callousness or impunity? You decide.

This dismissal of migrant deaths comes as a sharp insult to those who had suffered at the hands of the government’s near-impromptu decision to declare a nation-wide lockdown. The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had closely followed the plight of these migrants in the Migrant Diaries series to portray the ordeals faced by these people whose lives had been turned upside down. Similarly, other media publications and channels had reported many stories of migrant labourers breathing their last at train stations and dying on the road back home. There were images of a toddler pulling at his mother’s lifeless body. Moreover, there have been stories of children dying inside shramik trains while travelling back to their home States. According to a World Bank report, the lockdown impacted nearly 40 million migrants in India.

An Indian Express report stated that 110 migrants had died on railway premises between the months of May and July alone. Before that in May, Sabrang India listed 267 migrant worker deaths caused by the lockdown.

While helping out the migrant labourers in their efforts to get back home, the CJP also talked to many migrants. One such migrant Mohammed Jamaluddin from Birbhum talked about how migrants were harassed by police who asked for either permission papers or bribes. He also mentioned that the local government bodies treated migrants poorly.

Yet the Centre has thrown up its hands and refused to compensate these deaths in an act of blatant betrayal. Furthermore, when asked for State-wise data on free ration distribution by the Government, Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, “State-Wise details are not available. However, 80 crore people are being provided additional 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses, free of cost every month till November, 2020 to all the beneficiaries under provisions of National Food Security Act.” If state-wise data is not available, what data is the Minister basing his answer on? Is there a way to verify his claim?

While it is unclear how the Centre will send this ration to migrants considering the complete lack of data, it said that the implementation of One Nation One Ration Card plan would empower millions of migrant workers from various organised and unorganised sectors to receive their food security entitlements irrespective of their physical location in the country. With the implementation of this plan migrants can get food security from any fair price shop of his choice anywhere in the country, said Gangwar.

Another member of Parliament asked the Minister whether the Central government thought it had failed in assessing problems of migrant labourers during the lockdown, including those in Tamil Nadu.

Regarding complaints of corruption in ration distribution the Centre said that action was taken as per existing rules but failed to elaborate further.

To this the government replied, “India, as a Nation, has responded through the Central Government, State governments, Local Bodies, Self-help Groups, Resident Welfare Associations, Medical Health Professionals, Sanitation Workers as well as large number of genuine and bonafide non-governmental organizations in the Nation’s fight against the unprecedented human crisis due to the outbreak of Covid – 19 and country-wide lockdown including Tamil Nadu.”

Despite such absence of data, the Central Government had a lot to say regarding its measures in the interest of migrants. It said the States and Union Territories were advised to maintain updated data of migrant workers to enable welfare schemes for migrant workers. It talked about the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY,) the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan and other measures taken up by other departments of the Centre.

However, these schemes cannot deny the fact that the lives of millions of labourers and workers were disrupted by hasty decisions of the Centre. The fact that the Ministry has no data of migrant worker deaths during lockdown shows the grave apathy the current regime has towards the poor.

Related:

Strangers as pallbearers: Death and grief in lockdown
Migrant Diaries: Munna Sheikh
16 migrant workers run over by train in Aurangabad, Opposition demands answers
‘Lawaris’ or let’s just admit it, Children of a Lesser God

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

The Ministry of Labour and Employment declares it has no records, though plight of migrant labourers has been widely reported in the media and documented by organisations like CJP


Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

In a shocking display of ineptitude and lack of committment, the Ministry of Labour and employment stated during the Parliament’s monsoon session on September 14 that the government has no data on the death of migrant labourers during the lockdown! With this is also washed its hands off the issue of compensations.

This shocking revelation begs the question of how could a government not have recorded data on these deaths when journalists, shramik train officials and even local police had kept a detailed record of labourers migrating from one part of the country to another.

While questioning the government on labourers’ migration during lockdown, members of Parliament asked a series of questions one of which asked “whether thousands of migrant labourers have died during lock down and if so, the details thereof.” To this, the government replied that there was no data available regarding the matter thus dismissing the question of compensation as well!

Callousness or impunity? You decide.

This dismissal of migrant deaths comes as a sharp insult to those who had suffered at the hands of the government’s near-impromptu decision to declare a nation-wide lockdown. The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had closely followed the plight of these migrants in the Migrant Diaries series to portray the ordeals faced by these people whose lives had been turned upside down. Similarly, other media publications and channels had reported many stories of migrant labourers breathing their last at train stations and dying on the road back home. There were images of a toddler pulling at his mother’s lifeless body. Moreover, there have been stories of children dying inside shramik trains while travelling back to their home States. According to a World Bank report, the lockdown impacted nearly 40 million migrants in India.

An Indian Express report stated that 110 migrants had died on railway premises between the months of May and July alone. Before that in May, Sabrang India listed 267 migrant worker deaths caused by the lockdown.

While helping out the migrant labourers in their efforts to get back home, the CJP also talked to many migrants. One such migrant Mohammed Jamaluddin from Birbhum talked about how migrants were harassed by police who asked for either permission papers or bribes. He also mentioned that the local government bodies treated migrants poorly.

Yet the Centre has thrown up its hands and refused to compensate these deaths in an act of blatant betrayal. Furthermore, when asked for State-wise data on free ration distribution by the Government, Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, “State-Wise details are not available. However, 80 crore people are being provided additional 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses, free of cost every month till November, 2020 to all the beneficiaries under provisions of National Food Security Act.” If state-wise data is not available, what data is the Minister basing his answer on? Is there a way to verify his claim?

While it is unclear how the Centre will send this ration to migrants considering the complete lack of data, it said that the implementation of One Nation One Ration Card plan would empower millions of migrant workers from various organised and unorganised sectors to receive their food security entitlements irrespective of their physical location in the country. With the implementation of this plan migrants can get food security from any fair price shop of his choice anywhere in the country, said Gangwar.

Another member of Parliament asked the Minister whether the Central government thought it had failed in assessing problems of migrant labourers during the lockdown, including those in Tamil Nadu.

Regarding complaints of corruption in ration distribution the Centre said that action was taken as per existing rules but failed to elaborate further.

To this the government replied, “India, as a Nation, has responded through the Central Government, State governments, Local Bodies, Self-help Groups, Resident Welfare Associations, Medical Health Professionals, Sanitation Workers as well as large number of genuine and bonafide non-governmental organizations in the Nation’s fight against the unprecedented human crisis due to the outbreak of Covid – 19 and country-wide lockdown including Tamil Nadu.”

Despite such absence of data, the Central Government had a lot to say regarding its measures in the interest of migrants. It said the States and Union Territories were advised to maintain updated data of migrant workers to enable welfare schemes for migrant workers. It talked about the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY,) the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan and other measures taken up by other departments of the Centre.

However, these schemes cannot deny the fact that the lives of millions of labourers and workers were disrupted by hasty decisions of the Centre. The fact that the Ministry has no data of migrant worker deaths during lockdown shows the grave apathy the current regime has towards the poor.

Related:

Strangers as pallbearers: Death and grief in lockdown
Migrant Diaries: Munna Sheikh
16 migrant workers run over by train in Aurangabad, Opposition demands answers
‘Lawaris’ or let’s just admit it, Children of a Lesser God

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Centre halts razing of 48,000 shanties along railway tracks in Delhi

The Supreme Court had, on August 31 ordered removal of shanties, which would have rendered about 2.4 lakh people homeless

14 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:easternmirrornagaland.com

The Central government has submitted to the Supreme Court that the slums along the 140-km railway tracks in New Delhi will not be removed just as yet. The Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta informed the bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, that Railways will find a solution in consultation with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, within 4 weeks and until then the shanties will not be removed.

On August 31, a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra (now retired) had ordered removal of 48,000 shanties along Railway tracks in Delhi. Congress leader Ajay Maken filed a petition in response to this order seeking that it be recalled. The bench, comprising Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari had also directed that no court should grant any stay on the removal of slums.

This order was passed in a petition which was filed by MC Mehta in 1985 and the apex court has been passing directions in the case since then, time and again in issues pertaining to pollution in and around Delhi. The bench ordered, “a comprehensive plan for removal of jhuggies be made and executed in a phased manner. The encroachments which are there in the safety zones should be removed within a period of three months and no interference, political or otherwise, should be there and no Court shall grant any stay with respect to removal of the encroachments in the area in question”.

Further removing any more difficulties in implementation of the order, the court stated, “In case any interim order is granted with respect to encroachments, which have been made along with railway tracks, that shall not be effective.”

Maken submitted to the court that the order was passed in a case where the slum dwellers were not even a party, and hence their grievances and submissions have not been considered at all.

Maken pointed towards Railways admission that 2.4 lakh people will be rendered homeless if the August 31 order is brought into effect and that doing so without giving them an opportunity of being heard would be “one of the gravest tragedy and non-observance of principles of natural justice”. He further contended that the court completely ignored the plight of the vulnerable population while also departing from “audi altrem partem” (a Latin maxim meaning- let the other side be heard as well) especially in a case where the slum dwellers have been living there since 30-40 years.

Related:

SC directs 48,000 shanties to be razed along railways track in Delhi
Slums and judicial manoeuvring

Centre halts razing of 48,000 shanties along railway tracks in Delhi

The Supreme Court had, on August 31 ordered removal of shanties, which would have rendered about 2.4 lakh people homeless

Image Courtesy:easternmirrornagaland.com

The Central government has submitted to the Supreme Court that the slums along the 140-km railway tracks in New Delhi will not be removed just as yet. The Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta informed the bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, that Railways will find a solution in consultation with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, within 4 weeks and until then the shanties will not be removed.

On August 31, a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra (now retired) had ordered removal of 48,000 shanties along Railway tracks in Delhi. Congress leader Ajay Maken filed a petition in response to this order seeking that it be recalled. The bench, comprising Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari had also directed that no court should grant any stay on the removal of slums.

This order was passed in a petition which was filed by MC Mehta in 1985 and the apex court has been passing directions in the case since then, time and again in issues pertaining to pollution in and around Delhi. The bench ordered, “a comprehensive plan for removal of jhuggies be made and executed in a phased manner. The encroachments which are there in the safety zones should be removed within a period of three months and no interference, political or otherwise, should be there and no Court shall grant any stay with respect to removal of the encroachments in the area in question”.

Further removing any more difficulties in implementation of the order, the court stated, “In case any interim order is granted with respect to encroachments, which have been made along with railway tracks, that shall not be effective.”

Maken submitted to the court that the order was passed in a case where the slum dwellers were not even a party, and hence their grievances and submissions have not been considered at all.

Maken pointed towards Railways admission that 2.4 lakh people will be rendered homeless if the August 31 order is brought into effect and that doing so without giving them an opportunity of being heard would be “one of the gravest tragedy and non-observance of principles of natural justice”. He further contended that the court completely ignored the plight of the vulnerable population while also departing from “audi altrem partem” (a Latin maxim meaning- let the other side be heard as well) especially in a case where the slum dwellers have been living there since 30-40 years.

Related:

SC directs 48,000 shanties to be razed along railways track in Delhi
Slums and judicial manoeuvring

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Defending the Constitution, not just my right, but my duty: Sitaram Yechury

Soon after his name was mentioned by the Delhi Police, veteran Parliamentarian Sitaram Yechury in an exclusive interview spoke to SabrangIndia’s Teesta Setalvad

14 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Not one to be cowed down after his name was mentioned by the Delhi Police, indirectly, of being somehow an alleged influence into instigating the North East Delhi communal riots, veteran Parliamentarian Sitaram Yechury in an exclusive interview spoke to SabrangIndia’s Teesta Setalvad, called out the repeated targeting of activists who spoke up against the CAA-NPR-NRC. He said he will not be cowed down by such targeting, and will continue fulfilling his duty to speak up against things he sees as anti-Constitutional, just like he, and other activists did when the national Emergency was declared in 1975.

On the current scenario, which is widely being seen as an ‘undeclared Emergency’ Yechury also drew parallels and said “investigative agencies are being used against dissenters who are speaking up”. The only way to combat this, according to the verteran leaders, was to build up “people's resistance”, which is how the Emergency was fought in the 1970s. However, he did point out a crucial difference that ,“At that time, there was still some semblance of the Parliament and institutions,” but now, “the manner in which institutions are being destroyed is disturbing.” He said that to undermine Constitutional order, and replace it with a “rabidly intolerant and fascist Hindutva Rastra” was the real agenda now.

A case in point is the naming of academics, activists, students, opposition leaders, including Yechury in the “official investigations” on grounds that seem to warrant a double check on the investigation itself. “What they are charging me with is, based on unsigned statements, in garbled language. They said I made a speech in Jafrabad to instigate the Muslims into going for actions that caused the riots. I continue to defend the Constitution. It is not just my right to speak, it is my duty,” said the veteran leader.

He minced no words and said that the Delhi Police were “acting under directions of the Home Ministry” and a “political agenda” was being pursued. The latest statements that name the eminent citizens are “unsigned statements” in identical language, including typos and other errors, as reported. “These are educated young women. I can't believe they write in such language,” said Yechury, as the statements are being attributed to the scholars currently under arrest, “they base this on  unsigned statements and there is doubt on the authenticity. This is their methodology. All these people are named. Then this will be taken to court,” he said adding it is yet to be seen if the court accepts these “statements”.

This is what happened in the Bhima Koregaon case too, added Yechiury, and what is happening to other activists such as Harsh Mander, who has been named in the Delhi riots investigations, and questioned earlier. “The message is that if you do not accept the regime's agenda, you are an enemy of the state. But if they think we can be cowed down, they are mistaken. It is not only my right, but my duty to protect the Indian Constitution,” reiterated Yechury.

While the current session of the Parliament has been truncated, Yechury said the matter has been raised already, especially by the Left leaders. Even in Parliament, the ruling dispensation may “further their agenda,” he warned, adding that “Notices have been given in both the Houses to discuss this issue. Whether the Chairman or Speaker will accept it, remains to be seen.” He said what is being seen in India today is a form of “Phantom Democracy,” as seen in other totalitarian regimes across the world, “It is just the pretence of a democracy.”

When SabrangIndia editor Teesta Setalvad, pointed out that stringent laws such as the UAPA are being increasingly misused to target young Muslim women and men, Yechiry said that, the “The Delhi Police are acting under directions of the Home Ministry. It is a political agenda that is being pursued.” He said attempts were to “destroy the democracy, Parliament, Judiciary, Election commission. Using law and order machinery as a political arm... Undermining the Constitution.”

“The ideologues of the RSS have identified Muslims, Christians and communists as three internal enemies. They see August 5, 2019, when article 370 was abrogated, and August 5, 2020, when the foundation stone was laid for the Ram Temple are the real Independence days for India according to the Hindutva regime. The message is very clear...  If you are opposing me, you will face the music. If you support me, you will be protected," said Yechury.

Yechury added that we are living in surreal times asking, “What is the ground reality and what is propaganda?” He gave examples of how the “unfortunate suicide by a promising Bllywood actor is being used to make political gains in Bihar. The Prime Minister is feeding peacocks. Privatisation is unbridled loot of national resources.What is the meaning of handing over profitable airports to your cronies?” He pointed out that “Indian agriculture is being handed over to private players. Agriculture and the public sector are being destroyed for private profit. And Adivasis and forest dwellers who nurture our forests are being uprooted. All this is happening when the Covid pandemic is raging!”  He said the government was “paralysing people and their protests. People are being left to fend for themselves as the government is furthering their own agenda.”

All that has to be resisted, he said, like the 1975 Emergency was resisted by the people. “My generation fought against the Emergency,” he said that there was a need to continue resisting and fighting against the current scenario. Though even he agreed that politically a “a lot more needs to be done. The Left is together, we had protest actions, but this has to be much larger and wider,” he added the effort must now be on bringing the Opposition together, even though the current Parliament session is truncated, and due to the Covid-19 protocol many members are likely to give it a miss. He added that around  “11 ‘anti-people’ ordinances may be converted to Laws”, in this session. “We have already given notices in both Houses to suspend business and raise the issue.”

“What is the way forward,” asked Setalvad. “Only to strengthen popular resistance. At all levels. Use all available forums. Build people’s protest,” said Yechury. He warned that, the targeting was “much larger” now, “and the Prime Minister in his speech even said the agenda was to 'to liberate India from bondage of 1200 years,' a clear reference and a deliberate attempt to talk as far back as the Delhi sultanate", and now the targeting he said was “of every single patriot” and “those who believe in Constitutional values”. He added that institutions that have to upload law are themselves compromised with no checks and balances. A “move towards more totalitarian regimes.” 

On being asked if he was worried about his name now being attacked by Delhi police, Yechury was candid, “I am not worried. If I was worried I would not have been where I am now.” However, he warned, “If you do not resist, much worse is yet to come. If you resist you can put brakes, hopefully reverse it…”

The full interview may be viewed here: 

Related:

More activists named in riots case: Delhi Police getting desperate?
The State has no religion
Constitutional order collapses if Parliament is paralysed: Sitaram Yechury

Defending the Constitution, not just my right, but my duty: Sitaram Yechury

Soon after his name was mentioned by the Delhi Police, veteran Parliamentarian Sitaram Yechury in an exclusive interview spoke to SabrangIndia’s Teesta Setalvad

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Not one to be cowed down after his name was mentioned by the Delhi Police, indirectly, of being somehow an alleged influence into instigating the North East Delhi communal riots, veteran Parliamentarian Sitaram Yechury in an exclusive interview spoke to SabrangIndia’s Teesta Setalvad, called out the repeated targeting of activists who spoke up against the CAA-NPR-NRC. He said he will not be cowed down by such targeting, and will continue fulfilling his duty to speak up against things he sees as anti-Constitutional, just like he, and other activists did when the national Emergency was declared in 1975.

On the current scenario, which is widely being seen as an ‘undeclared Emergency’ Yechury also drew parallels and said “investigative agencies are being used against dissenters who are speaking up”. The only way to combat this, according to the verteran leaders, was to build up “people's resistance”, which is how the Emergency was fought in the 1970s. However, he did point out a crucial difference that ,“At that time, there was still some semblance of the Parliament and institutions,” but now, “the manner in which institutions are being destroyed is disturbing.” He said that to undermine Constitutional order, and replace it with a “rabidly intolerant and fascist Hindutva Rastra” was the real agenda now.

A case in point is the naming of academics, activists, students, opposition leaders, including Yechury in the “official investigations” on grounds that seem to warrant a double check on the investigation itself. “What they are charging me with is, based on unsigned statements, in garbled language. They said I made a speech in Jafrabad to instigate the Muslims into going for actions that caused the riots. I continue to defend the Constitution. It is not just my right to speak, it is my duty,” said the veteran leader.

He minced no words and said that the Delhi Police were “acting under directions of the Home Ministry” and a “political agenda” was being pursued. The latest statements that name the eminent citizens are “unsigned statements” in identical language, including typos and other errors, as reported. “These are educated young women. I can't believe they write in such language,” said Yechury, as the statements are being attributed to the scholars currently under arrest, “they base this on  unsigned statements and there is doubt on the authenticity. This is their methodology. All these people are named. Then this will be taken to court,” he said adding it is yet to be seen if the court accepts these “statements”.

This is what happened in the Bhima Koregaon case too, added Yechiury, and what is happening to other activists such as Harsh Mander, who has been named in the Delhi riots investigations, and questioned earlier. “The message is that if you do not accept the regime's agenda, you are an enemy of the state. But if they think we can be cowed down, they are mistaken. It is not only my right, but my duty to protect the Indian Constitution,” reiterated Yechury.

While the current session of the Parliament has been truncated, Yechury said the matter has been raised already, especially by the Left leaders. Even in Parliament, the ruling dispensation may “further their agenda,” he warned, adding that “Notices have been given in both the Houses to discuss this issue. Whether the Chairman or Speaker will accept it, remains to be seen.” He said what is being seen in India today is a form of “Phantom Democracy,” as seen in other totalitarian regimes across the world, “It is just the pretence of a democracy.”

When SabrangIndia editor Teesta Setalvad, pointed out that stringent laws such as the UAPA are being increasingly misused to target young Muslim women and men, Yechiry said that, the “The Delhi Police are acting under directions of the Home Ministry. It is a political agenda that is being pursued.” He said attempts were to “destroy the democracy, Parliament, Judiciary, Election commission. Using law and order machinery as a political arm... Undermining the Constitution.”

“The ideologues of the RSS have identified Muslims, Christians and communists as three internal enemies. They see August 5, 2019, when article 370 was abrogated, and August 5, 2020, when the foundation stone was laid for the Ram Temple are the real Independence days for India according to the Hindutva regime. The message is very clear...  If you are opposing me, you will face the music. If you support me, you will be protected," said Yechury.

Yechury added that we are living in surreal times asking, “What is the ground reality and what is propaganda?” He gave examples of how the “unfortunate suicide by a promising Bllywood actor is being used to make political gains in Bihar. The Prime Minister is feeding peacocks. Privatisation is unbridled loot of national resources.What is the meaning of handing over profitable airports to your cronies?” He pointed out that “Indian agriculture is being handed over to private players. Agriculture and the public sector are being destroyed for private profit. And Adivasis and forest dwellers who nurture our forests are being uprooted. All this is happening when the Covid pandemic is raging!”  He said the government was “paralysing people and their protests. People are being left to fend for themselves as the government is furthering their own agenda.”

All that has to be resisted, he said, like the 1975 Emergency was resisted by the people. “My generation fought against the Emergency,” he said that there was a need to continue resisting and fighting against the current scenario. Though even he agreed that politically a “a lot more needs to be done. The Left is together, we had protest actions, but this has to be much larger and wider,” he added the effort must now be on bringing the Opposition together, even though the current Parliament session is truncated, and due to the Covid-19 protocol many members are likely to give it a miss. He added that around  “11 ‘anti-people’ ordinances may be converted to Laws”, in this session. “We have already given notices in both Houses to suspend business and raise the issue.”

“What is the way forward,” asked Setalvad. “Only to strengthen popular resistance. At all levels. Use all available forums. Build people’s protest,” said Yechury. He warned that, the targeting was “much larger” now, “and the Prime Minister in his speech even said the agenda was to 'to liberate India from bondage of 1200 years,' a clear reference and a deliberate attempt to talk as far back as the Delhi sultanate", and now the targeting he said was “of every single patriot” and “those who believe in Constitutional values”. He added that institutions that have to upload law are themselves compromised with no checks and balances. A “move towards more totalitarian regimes.” 

On being asked if he was worried about his name now being attacked by Delhi police, Yechury was candid, “I am not worried. If I was worried I would not have been where I am now.” However, he warned, “If you do not resist, much worse is yet to come. If you resist you can put brakes, hopefully reverse it…”

The full interview may be viewed here: 

Related:

More activists named in riots case: Delhi Police getting desperate?
The State has no religion
Constitutional order collapses if Parliament is paralysed: Sitaram Yechury

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

No warrant, no due process: UP's 'Special Force' to bend all rules!

Force will not need a warrant to arrest, conduct searches, as long as it is “sure about the crime”, meanwhile ‘probes’ into ‘love jihad’ continue 

14 Sep 2020

special force

The Uttar Pradesh government has officially announced the creation of a “special force” that will have the “power to search without warrant”. Any member of the force will have the power to “arrest a person without any order of a magistrate and without any warrant (the manner of the powers exercised under this section shall be governed by the rules prescribed in this behalf.)”

Chief Minister Adityanath’s government announced this and issued a notification Sunday. This confirms the formation of the Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force (UPSSF), which as mentioned will not even need a legal warrant to arrest anyone or conduct searches on any premise or property, as long as it is “sure about the crime”. The announcement was made public on twitter and the state’s ACS, Home & Information, Awanish Awasthi was duly marked.

 

 

The Force will cost around Rs 1,800 crore. According to Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi, “The headquarters of the UPSSF will be in Lucknow and an ADG-level officer will head the force. Initially, five battalions of UPSSF will be formed,” stated news portal The Print. It reported further details, stating that the special force will be responsible for security of important govt buildings, offices & industrial establishments in Uttar Pradesh. Private firms can also hire services of the force. The report added that CM Adityanath announced the formation of the force on June 26 which was then subsequently passed by state cabinet. “The UPSSF got the nod from the DGP of the state. This force will be deployed at places like metro rail, airports, industrial institutions, courts, religious places, banks and other financial institutions,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avaneesh Awasthi was quoted in the news report. Around 9,919 personnel will be deployed with the force within three months in the first phase, and 1,913 posts will be created later.

According to a news report, the UP government, raising the five battalions will initially cost Rs 1747.06 crore. It is being reported that this force is being constituted on the lines of the “Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)” and that the proposal for the constitution of a special force came on the “directions of the Allahabad High Court after incidents of violence were reported on the premises of courts in December last year.” However it is not yet clear why the force will also have sweeping powers to search and arrest any citizen it wants. The existing security forces in the state already have multiple powers.

The Uttar Pradesh government has also continued to push its agenda against what it has termed as “love jihad’. According to a report in The Indian Express the Inspector General, Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal now said, “The inquiry would find out if is there any connection between Muslim youths involved in such cases. The probe team would also look into the conspiracy part and see if youths are being funded from abroad.”

The news report states that one such case is that of a 21-year-old who left home in July to marry her partner, a Muslim man. She had uploaded a video a few days after she left home and shared that she had married a Muslim man and converted. The woman sought protection and said that  her parents had lodged a “false FIR of kidnapping” against her partner. 

Now, stated IE, armed with a list of cases from Kanpur police stations involving Hindu-Muslim couples in the past two years, “a nine-member team headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police-rank officer is looking into allegations of “love jihad”.” The probe follows claims about such cases in the area by right-wing Hindu organisations, including the VHP. 

Even though such cases fall flat as both partners are of marriageable age and in consensual relationships. Recently, reported IE, a  woman testified before a magistrate that she was a major and had married a Muslim youth of her own volition, and deflated all allegations of ‘love jihad’. The IE quotes, Inspector General, Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal, “The inquiry would find out if is there any connection between Muslim youths involved in such cases. The probe team would also look into the conspiracy part and see if youths are being funded from abroad.”

Now a police team, headed by DySP Vikas Kumar Pandey, is “looking at allegations regarding 11 such cases”, by “collecting information on the couples, recording statements of their family members, as well as checking call detail records of the Muslim youths, Pandey said”. Sources told IE that “their bank accounts will also be checked.” According to IG Agarwal “a group of people had met him recently” and sought such a probe. He refused to tell the media who they were, except that they were “locals”. However  Assistant Superintendent of Police, Kanpur, Deepak Bhuker told IE that  the team was only conducting an “inquiry” to see if there was any “planning” behind the incidents, and not an “investigation”. 

The news report quotes Pandey, “We are finding out where and how they met. Has any person played the role of a middleman? The police team is also collecting details from their relatives and friends. We are also finding out if any of the Muslim youths had hidden their real identity. We are also studying call detail records of the youths found involved in such matters.” 

In the the matter of the 21-year-old who left home in July, and put up a video a few days later saying she had married a Muslim man and converted, Suresh Singh, the Senior Sub-Inspector of Babupurwa Police Station, was quoted by IE, as saying that  “the couple had approached the court and the woman had told a magistrate that she had married as per her choice”. He said that “since the woman is a major, there was nothing for the police to do and they would conclude the investigation”.

Another case is of  a Muslim man named Fateh Khan, who is accused of passing himself off as Aryan Malhotra. He allegedly had two separate Aadhaar cards under the two names. The Hindu family in whose house he had rented a room for the past two years had later accused him of abusing their minor daughter, stated IE. Station House Officer, Naubasta Police Station, Kunj Bihari Mishra said the man had  since been booked on rape charges and jailed.

It is reported that VHP’ leader Deen Dayal Gaur, had met the IG, Kanpur range, last month because they suspected “that Muslim youths were targeting Hindu girls who are from poor backgrounds”. “We requested the IG to look into such cases, and also check if these youths are being funded from anywhere,” said Gaur.


 

Related:

UP just got its first detention camp

Men lynched by mobs, cab driver killed by passengers in UP

No warrant, no due process: UP's 'Special Force' to bend all rules!

Force will not need a warrant to arrest, conduct searches, as long as it is “sure about the crime”, meanwhile ‘probes’ into ‘love jihad’ continue 

special force

The Uttar Pradesh government has officially announced the creation of a “special force” that will have the “power to search without warrant”. Any member of the force will have the power to “arrest a person without any order of a magistrate and without any warrant (the manner of the powers exercised under this section shall be governed by the rules prescribed in this behalf.)”

Chief Minister Adityanath’s government announced this and issued a notification Sunday. This confirms the formation of the Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force (UPSSF), which as mentioned will not even need a legal warrant to arrest anyone or conduct searches on any premise or property, as long as it is “sure about the crime”. The announcement was made public on twitter and the state’s ACS, Home & Information, Awanish Awasthi was duly marked.

 

 

The Force will cost around Rs 1,800 crore. According to Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi, “The headquarters of the UPSSF will be in Lucknow and an ADG-level officer will head the force. Initially, five battalions of UPSSF will be formed,” stated news portal The Print. It reported further details, stating that the special force will be responsible for security of important govt buildings, offices & industrial establishments in Uttar Pradesh. Private firms can also hire services of the force. The report added that CM Adityanath announced the formation of the force on June 26 which was then subsequently passed by state cabinet. “The UPSSF got the nod from the DGP of the state. This force will be deployed at places like metro rail, airports, industrial institutions, courts, religious places, banks and other financial institutions,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avaneesh Awasthi was quoted in the news report. Around 9,919 personnel will be deployed with the force within three months in the first phase, and 1,913 posts will be created later.

According to a news report, the UP government, raising the five battalions will initially cost Rs 1747.06 crore. It is being reported that this force is being constituted on the lines of the “Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)” and that the proposal for the constitution of a special force came on the “directions of the Allahabad High Court after incidents of violence were reported on the premises of courts in December last year.” However it is not yet clear why the force will also have sweeping powers to search and arrest any citizen it wants. The existing security forces in the state already have multiple powers.

The Uttar Pradesh government has also continued to push its agenda against what it has termed as “love jihad’. According to a report in The Indian Express the Inspector General, Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal now said, “The inquiry would find out if is there any connection between Muslim youths involved in such cases. The probe team would also look into the conspiracy part and see if youths are being funded from abroad.”

The news report states that one such case is that of a 21-year-old who left home in July to marry her partner, a Muslim man. She had uploaded a video a few days after she left home and shared that she had married a Muslim man and converted. The woman sought protection and said that  her parents had lodged a “false FIR of kidnapping” against her partner. 

Now, stated IE, armed with a list of cases from Kanpur police stations involving Hindu-Muslim couples in the past two years, “a nine-member team headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police-rank officer is looking into allegations of “love jihad”.” The probe follows claims about such cases in the area by right-wing Hindu organisations, including the VHP. 

Even though such cases fall flat as both partners are of marriageable age and in consensual relationships. Recently, reported IE, a  woman testified before a magistrate that she was a major and had married a Muslim youth of her own volition, and deflated all allegations of ‘love jihad’. The IE quotes, Inspector General, Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal, “The inquiry would find out if is there any connection between Muslim youths involved in such cases. The probe team would also look into the conspiracy part and see if youths are being funded from abroad.”

Now a police team, headed by DySP Vikas Kumar Pandey, is “looking at allegations regarding 11 such cases”, by “collecting information on the couples, recording statements of their family members, as well as checking call detail records of the Muslim youths, Pandey said”. Sources told IE that “their bank accounts will also be checked.” According to IG Agarwal “a group of people had met him recently” and sought such a probe. He refused to tell the media who they were, except that they were “locals”. However  Assistant Superintendent of Police, Kanpur, Deepak Bhuker told IE that  the team was only conducting an “inquiry” to see if there was any “planning” behind the incidents, and not an “investigation”. 

The news report quotes Pandey, “We are finding out where and how they met. Has any person played the role of a middleman? The police team is also collecting details from their relatives and friends. We are also finding out if any of the Muslim youths had hidden their real identity. We are also studying call detail records of the youths found involved in such matters.” 

In the the matter of the 21-year-old who left home in July, and put up a video a few days later saying she had married a Muslim man and converted, Suresh Singh, the Senior Sub-Inspector of Babupurwa Police Station, was quoted by IE, as saying that  “the couple had approached the court and the woman had told a magistrate that she had married as per her choice”. He said that “since the woman is a major, there was nothing for the police to do and they would conclude the investigation”.

Another case is of  a Muslim man named Fateh Khan, who is accused of passing himself off as Aryan Malhotra. He allegedly had two separate Aadhaar cards under the two names. The Hindu family in whose house he had rented a room for the past two years had later accused him of abusing their minor daughter, stated IE. Station House Officer, Naubasta Police Station, Kunj Bihari Mishra said the man had  since been booked on rape charges and jailed.

It is reported that VHP’ leader Deen Dayal Gaur, had met the IG, Kanpur range, last month because they suspected “that Muslim youths were targeting Hindu girls who are from poor backgrounds”. “We requested the IG to look into such cases, and also check if these youths are being funded from anywhere,” said Gaur.


 

Related:

UP just got its first detention camp

Men lynched by mobs, cab driver killed by passengers in UP

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Subscribe to Politics