Stories written by Neeta Lal

Family Planning in India is Still Deeply Sexist

The tragic death of 12 women after a state-run mass sterilisation campaign in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh went horribly wrong in 2014 made global headlines. The episode saw about 80 women "herded like cattle" into makeshift camps without being properly examined before the laparoscopic tubectomies that snuffed out their lives. In another incident in 2013, police in the eastern Indian state of Bihar arrested three men after they performed a botched sterilisation surgery without anaesthesia on 53 women over two hours in a field.

India Needs to “Save its Daughters” Through Education and Gender Equality

Women constitute nearly half of the country's 1.25 billion people and gender equality -- whether in politics, economics, education or health -- is still a distant dream for most. This fact was driven home again sharply by the recently released United National Development Programme’s Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 which ranks India at a lowly 130 out of 155 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII). India trails behind most Asian countries, including lesser developed Bangladesh and Pakistan which rank 111 and 121 respectively, and fares not much ahead of war-ravaged Afghanistan at 152.

New Census Paints Grim Picture of Inequality in India

Despite being Asia’s third-largest economy, positioning itself as a major geopolitical player under a new nationalist government, India's first ever Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) paints a grim picture of poverty and deprivation despite billions of dollars being funneled into state-sponsored welfare schemes.

Poor Bear the Brunt of Corruption in India’s Food Distribution System

Chottey Lal, 43, a daily wage labourer at a construction site in NOIDA, a township in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is a beleaguered man. After a gruelling 12-hour daily shift at the dusty location, he and his wife Subha make barely enough to feed a family of seven.

India Erupts Over Loopholes in Child Labour Law

In a bid to overhaul the country's child labour laws, the Indian government has banned the employment of children below 14 years of age in various commercial ventures, while permitting them to work in family enterprises and on farmlands after school hours and during vacations.

The Neglected Street Vendors of India

For the past nine years, 27-year-old Jignesh has been hawking bed sheets on the bustling pavements of Janpath, a major throughway in India’s capital, New Delhi, as kamikaze traffic swirls around him.

The Definition of ‘Rape’ Cannot Change with a Marriage Certificate

"I was brutally raped thrice by my husband. He kept me under surveillance in his Dubai house while I suffered from severe malnutrition and depression. When I tried to flee from this hellhole, he confiscated my passport, deprived me of money and beat me up," recalls Anna Marie Lopes, 28, a rape survivor who after six years of torture, finally managed to board a flight to New Delhi from the United Arab Emirates in 2012.

In India, a Broken System Leaves a ‘Broken’ People Powerless

As India paid glowing tributes to Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the architect of its constitution and a champion of the downtrodden, on his 124nd birth anniversary last month, public attention also swivelled to the glaring social and economic discrimination that plagues the lives of lower-caste or ‘casteless’ communities – who comprise over 16 percent of the country's 1.2 billion people.

In India, a Broken Systems Leaves a Broken People Powerless

As India paid glowing tributes to Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the architect of its constitution and a champion of the downtrodden, on his 124nd birth anniversary last month, public attention also swivelled to the glaring social and economic discrimination that plagues the lives of lower-caste or ‘casteless’ communities – who comprise over 16 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people.

Acid Attacks Still a Burning Issue in India

Vinita Panikker, 26, considers herself "the world's most unfortunate woman".

No Rest for the Elderly in India

As more and more people in India enter the ‘senior citizen’ category, ugly cracks are beginning to appear in a social structure that claims to value the institution of family but in reality expresses disdain for the bonds of blood.

There’s No Such Thing as Equality in India’s Labour Force

It calls itself the ‘world’s largest democracy’ but the 380 million working-aged women in India might disagree with that assessment.

Big Trouble in the Air in India

Like many others of her age, 15-year-old Aastha Sharma, a Class 10 student at a private school in India’s capital, New Delhi, loves being outdoors, going for walks with her friends and enjoying an occasional ice-cream. But the young girl can't indulge in any of these activities.

Millennium Development Goals: A Mixed Report Card for India

Despite being one of the world's fastest expanding economies, projected to clock seven-percent GDP growth in 2017, India – a nation of 1.2 billion – is trailing behind on many vital social development indices while also hosting one-fourth of the world's poor.

India Still Struggling to Combat Child Labour

Eleven-year-old Chottu* works 12 hours daily at a roadside tea joint near New Delhi's bustling interstate bus terminus.

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