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Starving to live, not die

Posted by vikasjaiswal on March 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM



When the Supreme Court has recognised the right to go on hunger strike, why is Irom Sharmila’s protest against impunity of the armed forces a criminal act?


Over the past 12 years, Irom Sharmila Chanu has carried on an inconceivable hunger strike, which has seen her body wither and her skin turn pale. During this period, she has emerged as the face of the civilian resistance to the immunity, and impunity, granted by the Armed Force...

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The past & present of Indian environmentalism

Posted by vikasjaiswal on March 29, 2013 at 10:00 PM

On the 27th of March 1973 — exactly 40 years ago — a group of peasants in a remote Himalayan village stopped a group of loggers from felling a patch of trees. Thus was born the Chipko movement, and through it the modern Indian environmental movement itself.


The first thing to remember about Chipko is that it was not unique. It was representative of a wide spectrum of natural resource conflicts in the 1970s and 1980s — conflicts over forests, fish, and past...

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Balancing Relation

Posted by vikasjaiswal on March 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM

India is adopting a cautious policy on the disputes involving China and some of its neighbours in South-East Asia. It has a lot to gain by keeping good relations with both China and ASEAN countries. ...

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Posted by vikasjaiswal on March 23, 2013 at 3:15 AM Comments comments ()





An action plan


The J...

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In search of a revolutionary road

Posted by vikasjaiswal on February 16, 2013 at 1:25 PM

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) will release the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) in May 2013. DSM-5 has been years in the making. The process included planning sessions, international research conferences, review of literature, a series of monographs, secondary analysis of data and field trials involving hundreds of scientists and clinicians, drawn from many countries and disciplines, and feedback from the public. Many interest groups — neurolog...

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The rising menace of intolerance

Posted by vikasjaiswal on February 15, 2013 at 6:45 PM

“Our tradition teaches tolerance; our philosophy preaches tolerance; our Constitution practises tolerance; let us not dilute it.” These stirring sentiments were expressed by Justice Chinnappa Reddy in a Supreme Court judgment pronounced in August 1986 which invalidated expulsion from school of students belonging to Jehova’s Witness faith. Regrettably, over the years, tolerance has been replaced by the rising menace of intolerance which strikes at various fields of human ende...

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India's benign constitutional revolution

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

This is the story of how and why the framers of the Constitution of India deliberately designed a procedural error in the adoption of the new Constitution with a view to severing the seamless transition of legal authority from the British Crown-in-Parliament to the new Republic of India. The deliberate procedural error consisted in a deviation from the Constitution making procedure prescribed by the Indian Independence Act, 1947 — the law enacted by the British Parliament granting India...

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Manmohan Singh's abject surrender

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 24, 2013 at 2:30 PM



It was the hysterical campaign by the electronic media that led the Prime Minister to change course on the India-Pakistan dialogue after the LoC hostilities

“We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.” Macaulay’s words aptly describe the fits of chauvinism that seize Indians. But this time it has exacted a toll of consequence, the result of a pathetic surrender by a man of vi...

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Taking on gold imports

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 24, 2013 at 1:30 PM

The hike in Customs duty on gold imports by 2 percentage points to 6 per cent was entirely expected, although a similar hike in the case of platinum imports was not. In the government’s view, higher gold prices might drive some traditional gold users to its likely substitute. Indeed, the Finance Minister had more than once hinted at a hike in tariffs for the yellow metal; the only question was the timing. Along with the imports of petroleum and edible oils, the purchase of gold from abr...

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Decoding Manmohan Singh Red Line

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Many eyebrows were raised in Delhi and around the world when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted that ?it cannot be business as usual? with Pakistan after the recent incident on the Line of Control (LoC). Merely because these remarks came after the National Security Adviser briefed Opposition leaders about the government?s approach to the issue, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha took credit for the Prime Minister?s tough stance, while welcoming it. That Dr. Singh adopted a mor...

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Diluting GAAR

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM

In postponing the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) of taxation to April 2016 and reducing its rigour, the United Progressive Alliance government has accepted most of the Parthasarathi Shome Committee’s recommendations. Since GAAR has been incorporated in the Finance Act 2012, its deferment can be formalised only during the forthcoming budget. To justify the postponement, the Committee had cited, among other reasons, the need to train tax officials in the finer aspects of internationa...

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Not by military means alone-Mali

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

The French military intervention in Mali, which started on January 11, has predictably caused international shockwaves. President François Hollande has increased his forces from 1,700 to 2,000, and French warplanes based near the capital, Bamako, have attacked the central towns of Konna and Diabaly, retaking the latter according to latest reports. Several European countries have offered logistical support, and the EU plans to help an African force under United Nations auspices. The Frenc...

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Going from Zero FIRs to e-FIRs

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM

On January 18, 2013, Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar announced that Zero First Information Reports (FIRs) may be registered on the basis of a woman’s statement at any police station irrespective of jurisdiction. This means women can file an FIR at any police station and the complaint is required to be registered on the basis of the woman’s complaint verbatim. Mr. Kumar stated: “The woman’s statement has to be taken as gospel truth and a probe needs to be initiated on i...

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The Cost of Food Security

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food, which examined the draft food security bill, has recommended one more version in terms of the coverage and support that the Act should guarantee. It has reportedly argued for mandatory coverage of 67 per cent of the population based on multiple criteria that would separate the population into groups either “included” or “excluded”. However, it has scaled down the monthly entitlement of subsidised grain to a uniform 5 kg per...

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The more India engages with ASEAN, the more it can reap the benefits?

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 18, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was in New Delhi for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, tells that the Southeast Asian region is keen on a constructive partnership with India.


Hasn’t ASEAN’s task become more difficult in terms of balancing the different priorities of nation states with the joining of the US and Russia as Dialogue Partners? Wha...

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Cash transfers can help make India less unequal, but are not a magic bullet?

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 18, 2013 at 6:20 PM Comments comments ()

It is not the modality of cash transfer that is the only issue, but also how much, and for whom, and also, instead of what, asks Amartya Sen.


The Union Government has launched the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) programme to give benefits like scholarships, pensions, NREGA wages, etc. directly to the bank or post office accounts of beneficiaries. There are also talks of direct transfer of subsidies for food, fertilizer and kerosene at a later stage. Will the scheme work?

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Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Ujjwala is a comprehensive scheme that was launched in 2007 for prevention of trafficking and rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation


What is human trafficking?


Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings mainly for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour. These are mainly divided as:


Bonded labour - Victims become bonded labourers when the...

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Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Bioremediation is the use of microorganisms for the degradation of hazardous chemicals in soil, sediments, water, or other contaminated materials. It uses naturally occurring bacteria and fungi or plants to degrade or detoxify substances hazardous to human health and/or the environment. Microorganisms destroy organic contaminants in the course of using the chemicals for their own growth and reproduction.


There are three classifications of bioremediation:


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National Institution in the field of art and culture

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 17, 2013 at 5:15 AM Comments comments ()

• Lalit Kala Akademi


To promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country, the Lalit Kala Akademi was established in 1954 at New Delhi.


The Akademi has regional centres called Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendras at Lucknow, Kolkata, Chennai, Garhi in New Delhi and Bhubaneswar with workshop facilities in painting, sculpture, print-making and ceramics.


Broadly the objectives of the Akademi are - to enco...

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National Policy For empowerment of women

Posted by vikasjaiswal on January 17, 2013 at 5:10 AM Comments comments ()

As a follow up action to the commitments made by India during the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing during Sep. 1995, the Department has drafted a National Policy for the Empowerment of Women after nation-wide consultations to enhance the status of women in all walks of life on par with men and actualize the constitutional guarantee of equality without discrimination on grounds of sex.


The goal of this Policy is to bring about the advancement, development and...

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