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Spotlight: India’s adivasis and the web of indifference

India is home to about 700 tribal groups with a population of 104 million, as per 2011 census, constituting the second largest tribal population in the world after Africa. Down to Earth magazine examines the many grave threats they face from government, corporations and phenomena like climate change, and our continuing indifference to their plight.

The stark divide between rich and poor, from above

Photographer Johnny Miller wanted to capture South Africa’s dramatic rich-poor divide from a new perspective, and decided to shoot many areas from several hundred feet in the air. The result, as seen in the series titled ‘Unequal Scenes’ , are startling. They also make us  us wonder; what if Miller had attempted the same in today’s India?

India’s heat waves spell doom for the working poor

Deaths due to heat waves in India have been in the thousands–in the years 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2015 in particular. Numbers, which are how the deaths are usually reported, are class- and gender-neutral. It’s one of the grave ironies of global warming that those least responsible for it are affected the most by it.

For 10 Years, Niyamgiri’s adivasis have resisted a takeover of their land by the government and Vedanta

Susmita Mukherjee writes: The Supreme Court has scrapped a petition filed, yet again by the Odisha Mining Corporation, challenging the resolutions of the Gram Sabhas of Niyamgiri Hills. For ten years, the Dongaria Kondhs have been looking beyond the education facilities being offered to them by Vedanta and continue their struggle to protect their land.

India’s perfect storm: Environmental and demographic stresses building up

Kanti Bajpai writes: India’s water crisis is a clear sign that a storm of epic proportions is on its way. India’s per capita water availability is now below the threshold level of 1,400 cubic metres per person. If so, India is heading from ‘water stress’ to ‘water scarcity’ and the possibility of internal water wars.

Spotlight: Millennials who’re broke, hungry, but on trend

Gayatri Jayaraman writes on India’s new ‘urban poor’, “the metro-dwelling twenty somethings who’ve internalised the pressures surrounding them, and spend a majority of their salaries on keeping up the lifestyles that they believe are essential to earning those salaries.” We present the original BuzzFeed article which went viral recently, and some of the responses it provoked.

Anti-mining activist Deba Ranjan Sarangi on the alarming situation in Odisha

Activist, filmmaker and writer Debaranjan Sarangi, actively involved in the struggle of adivasis in Odisha’s Kashipur to protect their lands from bauxite mining, was arrested on March 18, 2016 on the basis of a 2005 case. In this interview with Countercurrents.org following his release on bail, he describes his experiences and the present situation in Odisha.

Famines and Public Distribution System in India

Debarshi Das writes: The neoliberal State seeks to cut down welfare expenditure, hence it is against PDS. It also relies on the market. Although contemporary advocates of free market are not motivated by extraction of colonial revenue, in terms of policy prescription they do not differ from the advocates of free market of colonial era.

On burning ground: The human cost of India’s push to produce more coal

Fred Pearce reports: As part of India’s modernization program, Prime Minister Narenda Modi has called for doubling the nation’s coal production by 2020. If it moves forward, India seems set to create a mounting tide of victims — from the cycle-wallahs and refugees of Jharia’s coal fires, to the country’s air quality, to the planet’s climate.

Video & Report: Is India’s 100 smart cities project a recipe for social apartheid?

Shruti Ravindran reports: In a monograph for a conference on smart cities, the economist and consultant Laveesh Bhandari described smart cities as “special enclaves” that would use prohibitive prices and harsh policing to exclude “millions of poor Indians… For if we do not keep them out, they will override our ability to maintain such infrastructure.”

Jan Breman: “76 per cent of the Indian population is living in poverty”

“India’s economic policies are determined by the World Bank. They are therefore pro-capital, and anti-labour. Today the World Bank’s at the end of its tether. Its formula of formal capital in the informal economy failed because the poor don’t own capital. Having run out of ideas, they’ve now started blaming the poor for being poor.”

Video: What it really means when the top 1% own half of India’s wealth

This short animated video on inequality from Krishi TV shows what it really means when the top 1% of India owns half of the country’s wealth. The benefits of India’s economic growth of the past years have been largely appropriated by this small group, at the expense of the welfare of the majority of Indians.

World Bank warns climate change could drive millions into extreme poverty

Efforts to curb climate change must be twinned with programmes to cut poverty, warns a study of the threat posed by global warming to food security View/download World Bank report pdf): Shock Waves : Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty The Guardian UK The world must pair efforts to stabilise climate change with

Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change – Selected Excerpts

The Encyclical by Pope Francis is being hailed by environmentalists as the second coming. It’s hardly that, in my view. Nonetheless, I was struck within minutes of starting it, by the incisive and accurate commentary it offers on our true predicament. Here are some passages that resonated with me and that I found highly insightful. Manu

Growth and Inequality in a Carbon-Constrained World

Incrementum ad Absurdum: Growth and Inequality in a Carbon-Constrained World David Woodward The paper seeks to assess the timeframe for eradication of poverty, defined by poverty lines of $1.25 and $5 per person per day at 2005 purchasing power parity, if pre-crisis (1993-2008) patterns of income growth were maintained indefinitely, taking account of the differential

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