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Archives for : November2015

India’s bank frauds under Modi rose by 90%; in Gujarat 177%; in Tamil Nadu 229%, in West Bengal 667%: RBI 


By Our Representative
A Bangalore-based startup, which helps citizens file queries under the Right-to-Information (RTI) Act,, has revealed in the year since Narendra Modi’s government took charge, there has been a whopping 90 per cent increase in bank frauds, as per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data obtained through RTI.
“Over the year since Modi’s government took office, the amount involved in bank fraud rose from Rs 10,170 crore in the fiscal year 2013-14 to Rs 19,361 crore in 2014-15”, says a report based on the data, adding, “The fraud ranged from cheque alteration to fake loans, debit/credit card fraud to cyber fraud.”
The data further show that the banks in Maharashtra saw a 150 per cent increase in fraud, from Rs 2,445 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 6,115 crore in 2014-15, and banks in West Bengal notched a 667 per cent increase in fraud, from Rs 773 crore to Rs 5,930 crore. The two states together accounted for more than 50 per cent of the total loss through fraud.
Gujarat, which for long has been touted as India’s “model” state, witnessed a 177 per cent rise in bank fraud – from Rs 453 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 1,256 crore in 2014-15. Significantly, in the year 2012-13, Gujarat reported just about Rs 51 crore worth of bank fraud. In Tamil Nadu, it rose by 279 per cent — from Rs 483 crore to Rs 1,831 crore.  During the same period, Delhi saw a fall in bank fraud by 33 per cent and Andhra Pradesh by 26 per cent.

Bringing these and other facts to light, an online data analysis website,, said that the rise in bank fraud is a major reason why Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was forced to set up “the fraud registry and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) reviewed the fraud-detection system”, says the report.
An RBI circular issued in July 2015, taking a serious view of the rise in bank fraud cases, said that when banks discover fraud, they should to report cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the police or to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office.
“Public-sector banks appear to have borne the brunt of the fraud-spike, with the Punjab National Bank, which lost a sum of Rs 2,310 crore, topping the list for 2014-15, followed by the Central Bank of India, where the lost amount stands at Rs 2,150 crore, the data further reveal. Both banks recorded a fraud increase of more than 200% since 2012-13”, the report, authored by analyst Gangadhar S Patil, said.
It added, “Despite a market share of 30 per cent, private banks collectively account for around 40 per cent of losses from bank fraud.” India has 20 private banks, 26 public-sector banks and 30 foreign banks.

Patil said, “In some cases, bank staff were involved: 47 such cases of fraud, valued at Rs 177 crore, were detected during 2014-15, according to data submitted to Parliament”, adding, “When staff are involved, banks have always tried to suppress fraud and categorise them as non-performing assets or NPAs (to show they were business loses).”
The report pointed out, NPAs, in fact, are a “fig leaf behind which fraud hides, soared 23% from Rs 2,51,060 crore in March 2014 to Rs 3,09,409 crore in March 2015, according to a statement in Parliament this July by Minister Of State (Finance) Jayant Sinha.”

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Jashodaben strives for official evidence as PM Narendra Modi’s wife

Passport denied as rules demand evidence of the marriage registration certificate which Jashodaben does not possess

Sohini Das  |  Ahmedabad  November 18, 2015 Last Updated at 16:28 IST


Jashodaben, wife of PM Narendra Modi, with a copy of an RTI application she has filed in Mehsana to seek details of her privileges

While Prime Minister might be travelling globally on official visits, his estranged wife seems to be grounded as her ‘incomplete’ application for a passport could not be processed. Despite being acknowledged as his spouse by Modi in his Lok Sabha candidature affidavit, efforts by Jashodaben and her family to secure an identity document or some official evidence of her marriage to him have been in vain.

Ashok Modi, Jashodaben’s brother who runs a provision store (kirana) at Unjha, and with whom she resides for most part of the year, said, “We are trying to secure a document that would serve as the evidence for her marriage to Narendra Modi. Things have not been smooth sailing for my sister.”

Recently, Jashodaben, accompanied by her brother, had been to the regional passport office (RPO) in Ahmedabad, seeking a passport. The application, however, could not be admitted as it was incomplete. “As per rules, when someone claims that she is married and wants to have a passport with the married name, one has to produce a marriage registration certificate (if the marriage was solemnised after 2006) or submit a joint affidavit with the spouse,” explained Z A Khan, regional passport officer.

In the absence of such a document, the application had to be turned down. She had gone with a copy of the election affidavit filed by Narendra Modi in 2014.

The document required is that of a jointly signed affidavit, which she does not possess. Will she write to the PM seeking such a document? Ashok Modi sounds helpless, “I don’t think she would. I can only help her this far. Beyond this, she has to pick up the cudgel herself.”

Life changed for this unusually reticent woman after Narendra Modi acknowledged her as his spouse. Media attention, scribes from across the globe vying for a brief chat with her, a security cover, fan-letters from across India (the family had proudly showcased them upon a prior visit), even invitations to attend a handful of public functions. The aspirations have also perhaps changed, with Jashodaben now seeking a formal acknowledgement of her relationship with Modi.

She has also objected to her being called by her maiden name, informed a family member who added that in her second RTI application before the State Information Commission in Gandhinagar in May this year, Jashodaben has re-asserted her legally married name of Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi.

The family further claimed that in response to her RTI in November 2014 seeking details of her security arrangements and her privileges as PM’s spouse, the Mehsana Public Information Officer (PIO) had referred to her as ‘Shrimati Jashodaben, daughter of Chimanlal Modi’.

Her efforts to learn about the reason for her security cover was stonewalled, as the Mehsana Superintendent of Police had refused to share any information on the matter. The SP had denied information stating that as security details are not disclosed under RTI.

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Tribals condemn gunning down of villagers, demand judicial probe

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhawanipatna, Nov 18:

The Kalahandi Zilla Adivasi Sangh (KZAS) today strongly condemned the gunning down of three villagers of Panchkul Nisanaguda by the police and SOG jawans during combing operations in the Karlapat forested area in Odisha’s Kalahandi district on Sunday and has demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.

Anti Maoist operation combing securitymen_20100920

The KZAS which has demanded for a judicial probe into the incident will hold a grand protest rally at Jugsaipatna tomorrow.

The killing of innocent villagers by the police was condemned at a joint press conference here today by the KZAS, CPI, Green Kalahandi, Niyamgiri Surakshya Parishad and other organisations. Those organizing the press meet demanded an assistance of Rs 15 lakh each to those injured in the firing and Rs 50 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.

“Judicial inquiry into the incident will be more relevant and appropriate instead of police investigating charges against it. We demand judicial inquiry into the incident. The guilty should be penalized on the basis of truth and facts. That’s most important. The need of the hour is to immediately stop killing of innocents in the name of Maoists,” said Lingaraj Azad, an office bearer of Niyamgiri Surakshya Parishad.

Notably, three villagers, including a ward member, were killed and two minors were seriously injured when police and SOG jawans opened fire on them on Sunday mistaking them to be Maoists, during joint combing operations in the Karlapat forested area in Kalahandi district.

The deceased were identified as Panchu Majhi, Sukru Majhi and Jay Shankar Naik all natives of Nisanaguda in Panchakula village. Jaya Shankar Naik was a ward member of the village.

The bodies were handed over to the family members of the deceased on Monday. The final rites were performed later in the day.

The critically injured minors Arjun Majhi and Ichhu Majhi are undergoing treatment at VIMSAR, Burla.

While Arjun has been hit by a bullet on his nose Ichhu has been hit on his back. All of them had reportedly gone to the forest to graze their goats when security personnel fired at them suspecting them to be Maoists.

Meanwhile, acting chairperson of Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC), Justice Bira Kishore Mishra Monday directed the DIG (South Western Range) to enquire into the matter and file a detailed report within four weeks.

On the other hand, Maoists have called for a shutdown in three blocks of Kalahandi district on November 23 in protest against the police encounter in Karlapat forest. The bandh call was given by Umakant, secretary of Bansadhara-Ghumusar-Nagabali committee of the CPI (Maoist) in an audio clip released to the media on Tuesday.

Umakant in the audio clip had claimed that there was no exchange of fire from the Maoist side in the Karlapat forest as claimed by the police.

He said police had fired at villagers to create panic among the public. The Maoist leader has demanded Rs 10 lakh as assistance to next of kin of the deceased villagers.

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1000 Indian Muslim Leaders issue Fatwa against ISIS

In Hindu-controlled India, over 1,000 Muslim leaders and scholars have sanctioned a religious ruling, or fatwa, against the Islamic State as contrary to the true teachings of Islam.

The group, which met in recent days to discuss and search out new strategies to “protect the image” of a moderate Islam, has forcefully condemned religious extremism and the violent attacks perpetrated by ISIS militants.

Mumbai-based Islamic jurist Manzar Hasan Khan Ashrafi Misbahi drafted the fatwa earlier this week, with numerous Muslim groups and leaders signing on. The declaration denounced Islamic State’s religious vision and activities as “un-Islamic and inhuman” and said that its practices showed it had “no relation with Islam.”

In the declaration, the leaders expressed “deep concern about the spread of extremist propaganda” that is likely to spread like wildfire.

In the state of Kerala, a Muslim group called Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM) also launched a campaign, focusing on social media platforms, against Islamic State ideology that is spreading fast among Muslim youth.

Leaders of the group initiated the campaign after reports about several men from Kerala who were detained in UAE for propagating Islamic State ideas. Not long ago UAE had deported two Keralites for propagating ISIS ideology through social media.

“We have decided to bring out videos of speeches by our scholars on contentious issues and upload them on the social media. We have been conducting classes regularly to warn the youth against the hate-mongering of the IS,” Abdul Majeed Swalahi, state president of Ithihadu Subbanil Mujahideen (ISM), a feeder organisation of the KNM told The Times of India.

In recent days, Indian authorities have intensified checks to prevent terrorism in the country. The interior minister, Rajnath Singh, declared that 17 young Indians had joined the Islamic state, while about thirty Indian Muslims were arrested as they were about to leave for Syria and join the radical militant group.

Home Ministry officials said that at least half of the Indians who have joined Islamic State were living outside the country when they enlisted, some in Pakistan as members of a homegrown terror group called the Indian Mujahideen and others in the Persian Gulf region, Australia and Singapore.

Indian officials said they grew worried when four young men from a Mumbai suburb traveled to Iraq to fight in 2014. Last year, online recruitment videos also began to appear with subtitles in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil and other languages spoken in India.

Although the number of recruits is small compared to India’s population and even relative to those who have enlisted in many European countries, the Indian authorities have raised an alert against the spread of the phenomenon.

Minister Singh announced that the government has decided to ban the Islamic state based on the Indian “law for the prevention of terrorist acts.” On Friday, Singh announced that a computer engineer from Bangalore had been arrested because he used his twitter account to send messages in support of ISIS.

Abdur Rahman Anjaria, a leader of the Muslim community in Mumbai, the largest and most influential Islamic community in India, said he firmly reject the “torture, killings and violence” carried out by the extremist group.

India is home to over 170 million Muslims, giving the country the second largest Muslim population in the world, after Indonesia. Muslims in India constitute about 14 percent of the population, which is predominantly Hindu.

As practiced in India, Islam has long been considered moderate, said the religious leaders, in contrast to Islam’s radical strain, exemplified by al Qaeda and ISIS.

At the same time, Muslim leaders in India have further motivation to come out strongly against Islamic extremism, given their precarious position in many Indian states.

Recently released census figures showed Muslims’ share in India’s population has grown in the last decade, while that of Hindus had fallen to slightly below 80%.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which has deep roots in Hindu nationalism, has introduced measures to shore up India’s Hindu identity. Right-wing Hindu activists have long tried to incite fears that higher rates of population growth among Muslims will eventually change the balance of power in the predominantly Hindu country.

The 2015 report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) placed India on the “Tier 2” list of countries, where religious freedom violations “engaged in or tolerated by the government” are serious and are “characterized by at least one of the elements of the ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious’ standard.”

Indian officials expressed intense indignation over the report, saying it reflected ignorance of India and its culture and called it “a conspiracy to tarnish the image of the country.”

India has been ensconced in Tier 2 for the past six years, and the situation shows little probability of improvement. The Commission has found incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence to “have increased for three consecutive years.”

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Do you know about Surayya Tayyabji, who contributed in designing Indian Flag ?

This Woman Made A Big Contribution In Designing The Indian Flag And Sadly, No One Knows Who She Is

It may be commonly known that the Indian flag – patriotic pride dressed in saffron, white and green – was designed in 1921 by Pingali Venkaiah. But what if we told you this common knowledge is not the whole truth? According to The New Indian Express and Mission Telangana, new research shows that this is not the entire truth.

A study by Capt. L. Panduranga Reddy recently substantiated claims that while the current Indian National Flag evolved over several decades of the independence movement, it was a woman from Hyderabad who gave us the final tricoloured beauty that we call our flag. Surayya Tayyabji made the remarkable and incredible contribution that gave us our flag as we know it today.

Source: Google Plus
To begin with, the Home Rule League movement by Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Beasant merged with the Congress who added a charkha to their flag. It is at a meeting in 1921, that Venkaiah is supposed to have presented the tricolour inspired from Lala Hansraj and Mahatma Gandhi‘s ideas. However, there is no mention of this in accounts of meetings within the Congress or in the contemporary newspapers of the period – both vernacular and English.

Source: Mission Telangana
Meanwhile, erudite English historian Trevor Royle revealed in his book The Last Days of the Raj that the final National Flag was made by Surayya Tayyabji – wife of Badruddin Tayyabji – an ICS officer in Prime Minister’s office in 1947 and niece of Sir Akbar Hydari of Hyderabad. According to Royle, the flag was designed and approved on July 17, 1947.

He wrote: “By one of those contradictions which run through India’s history, the national flag was designed by a Muslim, Badr-ud-Din Tyabji. Originally the tricolour was to have contained the spinning-wheel symbol (charkha) used by Gandhi but this was a party symbol, which Tyabji thought might strike the wrong note. After much persuasion Gandhi agreed to the wheel because the Emperor Ashoka was venerated by Hindu and Muslim alike. The flag which flew on Nehru’s car that night had been specially made by Tyabji’s wife.”

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#Goodnews – Andhra Pradesh puts Eastern Ghats bauxite mining project on hold 

The bauxite deposits fall in tribal areas protected by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution and have been opposed by tribal groups right from the beginning

More than 90 per cent of Andhra's bauxite reserves are concentrated in the Eastern Ghats of Visakhapatnam (Image for representation; photo courtesy: Adityamadhav83/Wikipedia)

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to put on hold a bauxite mining project in the Eastern Ghats forest due to resistance from tribal groups in the region. The project had been given a go-ahead by the state forest department earlier this month.

In its order, the forest department had permitted the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APDMC) to divert 1,212 hectares of forest land in Chintapalli and Jerrila Reserve Forests of Narsipatnam Forest Division in Visakhapatnam district for mining bauxite.

The project has been controversial right from the start. All the bauxite deposits fall in tribal areas protected by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution and are located in the ecologically sensitive Eastern Ghats.

Clearances given to the projectStage I forest clearance and environment clearance granted in 2008 and Stage II forest clearances granted in August 2015—also attracted opposition due to concerns over violation of community rights, requirements of public hearing and environmental issues.

The state government’s latest order allowing the diversion of forest land was also opposed by civil society organisations and tribal groups. Ravi Rebbapragada, executive director of non-profit Samata, said, “The project undermines many of the tribal rights concerns that should be considered before mining can be allowed in those areas.”

Tribal rights bargained? 

Andhra Pradesh holds reserves of more than 600 million tonnes of bauxite, which, according to the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), is 18 per cent of the country’s total reserves. More than 90 per cent of this reserve is concentrated in the Eastern Ghats of Visakhapatnam.

The project in question is located in a tribal area protected by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. It contains four mining blocks—the Jerrela Block-I, Jerrela Block -II, Jerrela Block-III and Jerrela Block-VIII—all located next to each other. Bauxite mined from these blocks is to be supplied to ANRAK Aluminium Limited, a joint venture of Hyderabad-based Penna Cement Industries and the government of Ras Al Khaimah, a member of the United Arab Emirates.

In 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Andhra Pradesh government and the government of Ras al-Khaimah. According to the MoU, the APMDC, a public sector entity owned by the Andhra government, would supply 3.8 million tonnes of bauxite ore to ANRAK from the Jerrela deposits.

According to civil society organisations such as Samata, APDMC was included in the agreement to circumvent the requirements of the Supreme Court’s Samata judgement which prevents any private company from owning or leasing land for mines or industry in Scheduled Areas of the state. The Samata judgement, which emphasised the need for protecting the rights of tribal people and getting their consent for mining projects, had specifically noted that “the competing rights of tribals and the State are required to be adjusted without defeating rights of either”.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs had also taken note of this agreement. In March 2012, the then Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Kishore Chandra Deo, had written a letter to Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, requesting him to invoke the governor’s special powers and cancel the MoU signed by the state government with companies in connection with bauxite mining. He had pointed out that the entire belt of Schedule Five areas (Agency areas) in Visakhapatnam district had become a hotbed of Maoist activities because of the proposed mining plans. It was noted that mining projects violate the constitutional rights of the tribal communities living in Schedule Five areas and that state and Central laws must ensure protection of their land and livelihood.

The recent order allowing bauxite mining is also in contradiction with the observations made by a committee of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. In January 2013, the Petitions Committee had recommended scrapping of the MoU for bauxite mining in Visakhapatnam district.

Consultation with Tribes Advisory Council sidelined

Activists say the project has also skirted the need for consulting with the Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) as given in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. Since the proposed mining activities are in a Scheduled Area, V S Krishna, general secretary of Human Rights Forum, considers TAC “mandatory”.

Para 4 (1) of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution requires a TAC to be established in each state having Scheduled Areas. It further notes that if the President so directs, a TAC should also be established in states having Scheduled Tribes but not Scheduled Areas. Of the maximum 20 members of the TAC, three-fourths are required to be the representatives of the Scheduled Tribes in the legislative assembly of the state.

Andhra Pradesh has not had a TAC in place for the past two years. The process of re-constituting a TAC is underway and is expected to be completed soon, said B V Balayogi, joint director of Andhra Pradesh Tribal Welfare Department. He added that any mining proposal in tribal areas which will impact the community, should be appraised by the TAC before it comes up.

Despite the Samata judgement, people in the region fear exploitation. Krishna Rao of Adivasi Aikya Vedika said, “The proposal has prompted the community to convene protests.”

The government is now faced with the task of addressing the concerns of the tribal community and ensuring that environment is safeguarded.

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India – Emergency Antidote

India is indebted to Shanti Bhushan for undoing Indira Gandhi’s 42nd Amendment.

The criticism coming from the party patron assumes significance as there has been a discontent brewing within the party.Shanti Bhushan’s role in and contribution to fighting corruption in the judiciary displays matchless courage.A significant milestone was reached on November 11, when Shanti Bhushan, a doyen of the legal profession and an advocate extraordinary, celebrated his 90th birthday. On occasion brusque, prickly and opinionated, his razor-sharp mind and good intentions disarm critics. His achievements are the stuff of legend. Shanti Bhushan earned national and international fame on June 12, 1975, when he won Raj Narain’s election case, unseating Indira Gandhi.

Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court held the prime minister guilty of electoral offences and set aside her election while imposing a mandatory disqualification under the law. Shanti Bhushan had reached the apogee of his forensic career and came to be known as a giant-killer. The events of 1975-77 are mostly unknown to young lawyers and citizens.

On her appeal to the Supreme Court for an unconditional stay, Gandhi was represented by the legendary advocate, Nani Palkhivala. Before the vacation judge, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, Shanti Bhushan succeeded against Palkhivala, who had argued for an unconditional stay. On June 24, 1975, Justice Iyer gave Gandhi only a partial stay — she could continue as an MP and PM but could not vote or participate in Lok Sabha proceedings.

On June 25, hardly 12 days after the election verdict and a day after the conditional stay, the internal Emergency was declared and many opposition leaders were detained without trial, including Jayaprakash Narayan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani. The press was muzzled, censorship imposed, and even judgments could not be reported. A pall of fear enveloped the country. Justice Iyer’s conditional stay and Shanti Bhushan’s victory in Allahabad earned them the unmerited distinction — unintended and unforeseen — of being the fathers of the Emergency.

Meanwhile, during the Emergency, the 42nd and other constitutional amendments emasculated judicial review, curtailed the powers of the higher judiciary, and almost extinguished and eclipsed fundamental rights. The Constitution was defaced and defiled.

In March 1977, the Janata party swept to power after defeating the Congress led by Gandhi. Shanti Bhushan became law minister. He masterfully managed Parliament and was the architect of the 43rd and 44th Amendments, which undid the damage caused by the 42nd Amendment. Shanti Bhushan’s amendments not only repealed many of the malignant articles but revived judicial review and the powers of the higher judiciary, and restored Article 226 to its pristine glory. For this unmatched achievement, generations of Indians must be beholden to him. This was his finest hour.

His role in and contribution to fighting corruption in the judiciary displays matchless courage. He fought several cases representing the Sub-Committee on Judicial Accountability against Justice V. Ramaswami, whose impeachment failed in Parliament. He is not afraid of standing up to sitting CJIs when a question of judicial integrity is in issue. The case of Justice Ashok Kumar, who gave bail to M. Karunanidhi, needs to be recalled. The judge was appointed additional judge of the Madras High Court with seven others. He was not confirmed as a permanent judge by the collegium on grounds of doubtful integrity. Yet, he was given extensions as additional judge by two CJIs. Immediately on his appointment as CJI, K.G. Balakrishnan, without consulting the collegium, overturned the earlier decision, and appointed him as a permanent judge. Prashant Bhushan asked me if I would appear and question the appointment of Justice Kumar — this meant taking on

CJI Balakrishnan. I said I had no hesitation, provided that the petitioners were high-profile individuals with a penchant for upholding judicial integrity. Shanti Bhushan and Kamini Jaiswal unhesitatingly agreed to be the petitioners.

We failed — although the SC bench made highly disparaging remarks against the extensions given by the two former CJIs, it upheld the appointment, showing deference to the serving CJI. The bench observed: “The then CJI should have stuck to the view expressed by the collegium and should not have been swayed by the views of the government to recommend extension of the term of Respondent Two for one year, as it amounts to surrender of primacy by jugglery of words”.

Justice J. Chelameswar in his dissent in the NJAC case commented on this appointment: “It appears to have been a joint venture in the subversion of the law laid down by the second and third judges’ cases by both the executive and the judiciary which neither party is willing to acknowledge.”

There are some, like Shanti Bhushan, who never count their years but make their years count. Here’s hoping he masters the “nervous nineties” and scores a century

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RSS only an agency of global capital

Nationalist RSS - Bhagwa flag
Eram Agha,TNN |
ALIGARH: Anil Sadgopal, who for long was a teacher at the Central Institute of Education, Delhi University, was in Aligarh on Monday as part of the Occupy UGC campaign.

Sadgopal, who had to fight his way into the national capital’s prestigious St Stephen’s College, having had his school education in the Hindi medium at Nainital, said, ” WTO-GATS is an attempt to commoditize education, which means to open it to unregulated profiteering and thereby increase discrimination and inequality in education.”

Students are bracing for the “All-India Resistance Camp Against Committing the Higher Education to WTO”, scheduled to occur in Delhi next month.

The activists said that in October this year, just two months before the 10th ministerial meeting at World Trade Organization (WTO) at Nairobi, Kenya, where the Union government plans to enter into a commitment to make higher education a tradable service, University Grants Commission (UGC) came up with the decision to scrap non-NET fellowships.

Sadgopal came down heavily on the nipping of so many scholarships, saying it was ironical that a government that constantly harps on “vikas” (development) should end up making away with scholarships.

“This government needs to define development. Is it really development of people that the government talks about? Or are they developing corporate capital? They are not contemplating WTO-GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) for the sake of increasing access to education, they are doing it at the behest of WTO, IMF and the World Bank. This is to make education a commodity,” Sadgopal said.

Recalling the Ambani-Birla Report on Education 2000 during NDA rule, which stated that education is the source of profit, he said this was something even subsequent governments followed. He said, however, that no other Union government had stooped so low when it came to causing harm to education. “The goal is to dismantle social justice agenda for the backward classes and castes,” he said.

He said commoditization of education would help in changing the character of knowledge provided in schools and colleges. “It will be such that it promotes profit in the market. Instead of enhancing the democratic spirit and cultivating a scientific temper and critical thinking, the focus will be on profit,” Sadgopal said.

He asserted that AMU, being such an old university, could assert its voice in the matter. “The university has been part of the freedom movement and now if they join the protest it will give the movement a new dimension,” he said.

Calling on the students to join the campaign, he said, “When Zakir Hussain was a student of AMU, he heeded the call of Mahatma Gandhi in establishing a national education system. That led to the foundation of Jamia Milia Islamia.”

Asked of the saffronization of education and divisive politics, he said, “A divisive communal agenda is a bigger need for global capital than for RSS, which only serves as an agent of global capital.”

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Film censors to Mr. Bond: No kissing please. We’re Indian #FOE #WTFnews

The CBFC has ordered that four scenes in the new James Bond film be trimmed, including at least two kisses between the lead actors, Daniel Craig and Monica Belluci

An Indian couple rides past a movie hall displaying a poster of the latest James Bond movie "Spectre," in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. India's film censor authorities have ordered that kissing scenes in the film be shortened before it is released in the country. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)


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NEW DELHI (AP)India’s film censor authorities have ordered that kissing scenes in the latest James Bond movie, “Spectre,” be shortened before it is released in the country.

The Central Board of Film Certification has ordered that four scenes in the new James Bond film be trimmed, including at least two kisses between the lead actors, Daniel Craig and Monica Belluci.

The decision to reduce the length of the kissing scenes was trending on social media Thursday as Indians mocked the prudishness of film certification authorities.

Earlier this week the film certification board gave “Spectre” a U/A rating suggesting parental discretion for children under 12. The film will be released in theaters on Friday.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, scores of Indians used the satirical hashtag #SanskariJamesBond, or “traditional James Bond” to ridicule the cuts.

“James Bond’s women must be feeling so safe now that our Censor Board is there to protect their honor from that creep,” said Bollywood director and producer Shirish Kunder in a tweet.

Compared to Hollywood, movie norms in India are extremely strict. Censorship authorities often order filmmakers — both Indian and foreign— to chop scenes deemed offensive. Films with graphic content can be barred completely.

In years past, Indian filmmakers circumvented censors by showing two flowers bending and touching when they wanted to depict a kiss between the hero and heroine.

Public kissing is frowned upon in India’s conservative society, and even a peck on the cheek can upset some people.

An arrest warrant was briefly issued for Hollywood star Richard Gere in 2007 after he kissed the cheek of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness rally.

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Gender Bender – Why women voted against Modi in the recent Bihar elections

Gender Bender In Bihar
Why women voted against Modi in the recent Bihar elections…

For 20-year-old Nageena, a college student in Patna, life is about possibilities. She dreams of becoming an engineer.

For the first ten years of her life, she ran ragged on the dirt path of a red-light district in Forbesganj, Bihar. Her home, a mud hut had no doors, no roof, no toilet, no drinking water and no electricity. She could not read right or write, used to feel hungry all the time, was scared to go to the local school.

Her mother, Savita, could not get the police to rescue her other daughter from a brothel in the neighbouring district of Katihar. Savita would tremble with fear when a trafficker passed by. She was invisible to government authorities.

Today, Nageena is a graduate of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s famous pink boarding schools. She is also a beneficiary of the free bicycle, school uniforms, text books and college incentives that the JD(U) government ensured for marginalised girls since it came to power 10 years ago.

Her mother, Savita, has government ID cards, accesses subsidised rations, has bought her own plot of land and built her house. She has electricity and a hand pump in her courtyard for water. She sometimes talks about fighting elections.

Both mother and daughter cast their vote in this election. Both voted for the Grand Alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress(I).

They voted for a government and a Chief Minister, who had helped them from destitution to social and economic stability.

Savita remembered how the Chief Minister had personally visited the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya boarding school her daughter and her friends studied in, in a public show of support to girls from the red-light area.

Nageena remembered how the education ministry in Patna had sent down a team to mobilise the local police to protect the girls from the traffickers besieging their hostel. She saw how the administration responded to her mother’s Mahila Mandal’s petitions for BPL cards, voter ID cards and later to getting subsidised food, health care and even land. She saw how life changed.

Her mother was able to open a bank account. They were able to wear proper clothes, go to school, eat something, study in the evening. They had water and toilets at home. They did not feel scared of traffickers anymore. Her mother was no longer invisible. She had a political and social identity and their family had some economic and social stability.

She saw the red-light area become a non-red light area as woman after woman got govt IDs and subsidies and girls got educated, traffickers got arrested. She saw other women from the neighboring panchayats get more power, more girls passing out from her school get jobs, better health care. She too began to have dreams. That she would be an engineer. Her friends felt for the first time in generations that they too could get out of their cycle of poverty-become doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, politicians. After all, other women in Bihar were achieving all this.

Nageena and Savita are just two of the 60.57 % of women who have voted in Bihar.

The emphasis on girls education and women’s safety has paved the way for a great social change in Bihar. Two out of every three women have voted in Bihar. They have turned out in such large numbers to hold on to their newly found social, political and economic independence. To keep the public spaces now available to them through the 50 % reservation in government jobs and women-only seats for Mahila Mukhiyas in village councils.

These newly-educated women in the public space were alarmed by the implications of the BJP’s national annual budget presented 8 month ago.

The Modi government had phased out shelter homes for single women, one stop crisis centres, hostels for working women, cut the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya boarding school budget by 9.5 percent, reduced allocations to the ICDS and Midday Meal Schemes and to the gender budget for school education by 8.3 percent. To add insult to injury he spent Rs 100 crore on an international branding exercise called Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Abhiyan with no money spent on actually educating the girl child. These were the very schemes that helped them out of destitution and deprivation.

The budgetary allocations in absolute terms has decreased by almost 49.3 percent to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

In addition the increase in indirect taxes led to a sharp price increase in their daily consumables like daal creating more difficulty for working women. One of the most popular slogans doing the rounds in the last two phases was Har Har Modi se Arhar Modi (Arhar is a daal, which is a staple diet for all Biharis with rice).

The last straw on the camel’s bank for poor, marginalised mothers was when they heard that the BJP Cabinet had approved a Bill to legalise child labour and his National Commission for Women wanted to legalise pimping and brothel keeping.They wondered how they would protect their children from those who wanted to exploit them and how would they educate their daughters if schools shut down, mid-day meals were not available. They were relieved to see that that state of Bihar kept the mid-day meals, boarding, schools, cycles, uniforms and reservations going against all odds.

They, therefore, refused to be drawn into the BJP’s attempts to fuel religious and caste hatred over beef, cow-dung, pork, toilets, tantriks, and urine. They voted for harmony and peace, and for economic and social incentives for the poor and marginalised. The overall turnout of women voters in this Assembly elections was 60.57 per cent, whereas that for men was 53.41 per cent.

Women understood that a government that allocates big money to weaponry, smart cities, superhighways, international public relations contracts but peanuts to increasing literacy and lowering infant mortality values them less as citizens.

Tax money is being spent on Modi’s international tours, fancy suits, grandiose meetings with Facebook and Google, while government aided schools are being closed, child labour is being legalised to address shortage of wages, pimping and brothel keeping are being legitimised to address the lack of sustainable and dignified work for women, formerly self-sufficient groups are being pushed out by land acquisition for mines, factories, multi-national agro-businesses and a non-cash economy for women’s productive or reproductive work is becoming justified in the name of “Hindu” values.

Bihar has shown that women are not buying it

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