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state apathy

The precarious situation of India’s water problem

Hari Pulakkat writes: The country’s water data has been largely hidden from public view, and what was available was poor or untrustworthy. This brings up a question rarely asked by policymakers. If scientists find it difficult to analyse the country’s water resources at the moment, how valid are the reports that forecast India’s water future?

Pumped dry: India’s accelerating and invisible groundwater crisis

From Policy Forum: India is now facing a water situation that is significantly worse than anything previous generations ever faced. All water bodies near population centres are now grossly polluted. Interstate disputes over river water allocations are becoming increasingly intense. Surface water conditions in the country are bad. However, the groundwater situation is even worse.

Darryl D’Monte: Does India’s refusal to tackle air pollution amount to genocide?

There were 1.1 million premature deaths in India due to long-term exposure to pollutants. While China registered slightly higher figures, it has now acted against this hazard—the situation in India, in contrast, is getting worse. The highest number of premature deaths globally due to ozone is also in India. Might all this qualify as genocide?

‘Ganga, Yamuna are drains, no party cares’

The Third Pole reports: Over 140 million people are eligible to vote as Uttar Pradesh —the land of the Ganga and the Yamuna— goes to polls. Everybody agrees that the poison affects drinking water and irrigation. Still, the apathy is mirrored in town after town in eastern UP. Candidates rarely address it in their campaigns.

The terrible truth behind the wave of farmer suicides in India

Nikita Sattiraju writes:  Farmer suicides in India have largely been attributed to debt, drought, crop failure or poor returns. However, farmers have been taking the drastic step regardless of a good rainfall year or bad, a good price year or a disappointing one. Why? Questions arise on the exact nature and reasons behind the deepening problem.

Report: Farmer suicides spiked by 42% in 2015; debt leading cause

Samar writes: Indebtedness was behind 38.7% of farmer suicides in 2015; the corresponding figure for the same head in overall suicides in India is a mere 3.3%. Nearly 80% of those who killed themselves because of indebtedness had taken loans from “Financial Institutions like Bank/Registered Micro Financial Institutions”, and a mere 302 from “Money Lenders”.

Dia Mirza on the Uttarakhand fires and how we fail our forests

Dia Mirza writes:  We cannot call this devastation of ecology and livelihoods ‘natural calamities’ anymore; it’s evident that there is a nexus of powerful people who are ignorant to the ramifications of their idea of “development” and “progress” that is gutting our forests, polluting our rivers and leading many states to a state of drought.

Are we working harder to make India’s farmers suffer?

Suraj Kumar Thube writes: Much of the naturalisation of the suicides has also got to do with the urban perception of rural areas and rural lifestyles. The oriental imagination still does not cease to colonise our minds in terms of perceiving the rural as a stagnant and unchanging space characterised by divisive notions of caste-consciousness.

Landmark NGT judgments hold private firms, not god or government, responsible

Nehmat Kaur writes: The National Green Tribunal covered new ground for the ‘polluter pays’ principle by invoking it in two landmark judgments recently. Activists are hopeful that this will help deter corporations from functioning with impunity, under the cover of governmental apathy. The judgments in both cases acknowledged governmental inaction in dealing with environmental damage.

Spotlight: India’s perennial (manmade) flood problem

India is presently in a strange situation–there’s an unrelenting drought in some parts of the country, while rain has inundated other parts, leading to loss of life and property. Like our droughts, our floods too are often manmade, critics say–a product of official incompetence, ignorance and apathy. These examples from across the country show they may have a point.

India has sacrificed agriculture on the altar of GDP

Devinder Sharma writes: The real cost of economic reforms is being borne by rural India. The first-ever Socio Economic Census has now clearly brought out this stark reality… The economic wealth of 15 families in India equals that of 600 million people… On the other hand, 60-crore farmers are paying the price for unjust economic reforms.

Digital story of drought and death

Osama Manzar writes: As part of a digital literacy project in Maharashtra, rural students identified the following major consequences of drought— lack of water for basic needs, irregular supply of drinking water by government authorities, supply of unhygienic water, shortage of fodder for cattle, unemployment, health issues and lack of awareness about water conservation schemes.

Video: Bihar’s great walls of destruction

Floods are not a new thing in Bihar, a state in the lap of these flood plains. Around the time of India’s independence, the state started caging its rivers with embankments. In this video, Dinesh Mishra explains why Bihar is so vulnerable to flooding and more importantly, why embankments have caused more harm than good.

A calamity bigger than drought

Archana Mishra writes: Authorities failed to use MGNREGA and NFSA provisions meant for relief in difficult times. Even delayed wage payments forced downtrodden farmers to migrate towards cities. The national average of MGNREGA wages delayed beyond the statutory limit of 15 days is 62 percent of all wage payments for 2015-16, an RTI query revealed.

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