As India’s Parliament prepares to pass a bill to provide heavily subsidised food to 810 million people, there are misgivings over its implementation through a notoriously corrupt public distribution system (PDS).
India’s environmental and food security activists who have so far succeeded in stalling attempts to introduce genetically modified (GM) food crops into this largely farming country now find themselves up against a bill in parliament that could criminalise such opposition.
For years India’s pro-liberalisation, Congress party-led coalition government chafed at civil society groups getting in the way of grand plans to boost growth through the setting up of mega nuclear power parks, opening up the vast mineral-rich tribal lands to foreign investment and selling off public assets.
Harsh police handling of public protests erupting across India over a spate of sensational rapes since December has resulted in renewed demands to reform a force that retains the repressive features of its colonial origins.
India’s planners worry about ‘jobless growth’, but perhaps nothing illustrates this phenomenon better than a policy of handing over the collection and disposal of the capital’s refuse to large private corporations, leaving close to 50,000 ragpickers unemployed.
Bhagwat Singh Gohil frets for the future of his bountiful orchards in Mithi Virdi village in western Gujarat state’s coastal district Bhavnagar. “After contending with droughts, rough seas and earthquakes we are staring at the possibility of a man-made disaster in the shape of a nuclear power park.”
After one of the six males under trial for the rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old woman was deemed an adolescent and therefore entitled to leniency, juvenile rights activists have found themselves pitted against irate members of the public demanding death sentences for all the perpetrators.
When India was admitted to the world’s nuclear power industry nearly five years ago, many believed that this country had found a way to quickly wean itself away from dependence on coal and other fossil fuels that power its economic growth.
While India has drastically reduced the spread of HIV over the past decade, new strains of the virus that cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are troubling medical scientists in this country.
One day after voting against a United Nations General Assembly draft resolution seeking to abolish the death penalty, India executed Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab for the November 2008 terror rampage in Mumbai that left 166 people dead.
Environmental activists are cautiously optimistic that a call by a court-appointed technical committee for a ten-year moratorium on open field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops will shelve plans to introduce bio-engineered foods in this largely agricultural country.
Far-flung South Asian communities, from the high Himalayan slopes to the Indian Ocean coasts, united in the face of extreme and uncertain weather, continue to hold on to the hope that the Rio+20 focus on disaster risk reduction (DRR) will positively influence national policies.
Ignoring widespread concern over the safety, efficacy and cost of pentavalent vaccines, India’s central health ministry has, this month, approved inclusion of the prophylactic cocktail in the universal immunisation programme in seven of its provinces.
At their summit in the Indian capital on Thursday, leaders of the coalition known as BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – made several noteworthy decisions that experts say hint at the converging of economic and political interests of a disparate regional bloc.
By allowing a generic manufacturer to produce a patented cancer drug at a fraction of its current cost, India has declared that it is not about to abandon its role as the ‘pharmacy of the world’s poor'.