A staggering 330 million Indians, making up a quarter of the country's population (or roughly the entire population of the United States), are currently reeling under the effects of a severe drought, resulting in an acute drinking water shortage and agricultural distress.
The Paris climate change agreement adopted at the end of 2015 has put renewable energy at the heart of global energy system with investments expected to grow further even amidst the decline in fossil fuels.
The rich and the powerful, who meet every year at the World Economic Forum (WEF), were in a gloomy mood this time. Not only because the day they met close to eight trillion dollars has been wiped off global equity markets by a "correction". But because no leader could be in a buoyant mood.
Civil rights groups and child welfare activists have strongly protested against the enactment of a new Juvenile Justice Act by the Indian parliament, lowering the age of a legally defined juvenile for trial from 18 to 16- years old in heinous crimes cases.
Though the state of Karnataka in India counts for a higher Human Development Index of 0.478 against the national average of 0.472 in the subcontinent, the continued deficit in water and sanitation continues and the children there are bearing the brunt of the lack of infrastructure.
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.
The US once led the post-war global effort against hunger and food insecurity, but corporate influence on government trade negotiators now seek to prevent other countries from using some of the very measures it pioneered.
Jeeja Behera, 34, the wife of a fisherman in the village of Sannapatna in India’s cyclone prone Puri district, dreads the onset of the cyclone season between October and January every year due to the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene in cyclone shelters.
“If you look at the submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs, the national commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030) by over 150 countries, most have announced mitigation-centric targets, whereas climate change is also about adaptation. India is among the few that has given a comprehensive INDC,” Ashok Lavasa, a key official of India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and part of its COP21 team at Paris, told IPS.
Already 15 million people are accessing life-saving HIV treatment, according to UNAIDS. New HIV infections have been reduced by 35 per cent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 42 per cent since the peak in 2004.
With Goldman Sachs folding up its haemorrhaging BRIC fund, is it curtains for the acronym that defined the investment bankers’ fancy for emerging markets? It certainly appears so after China’s stock market crash and a fast slowing economy triggered fears that the dragon will set off the next global recession.
On a late Friday afternoon as choking smog descended on the Indian Capital, Francois Richier, the French ambassador to India , took some hard questions from scores of journalists about the upcoming climate change talks in Paris this month.
Until September this year, Lissie Sunny was not a name known to the Indian public. All of this changed when this lean and dark woman, working for over a quarter century plucking tea leaves in the misty mountain slopes of southern India finally had enough and took on one of the most powerful tea companies in the world.
In the semi-darkness of her hut in Berdaballa, a forest village 610 km northeast of Mumbai, 28-year old Babita Mavaskar sat with her newborn baby boy watching him checked by a paramedic in an important antenatal exam. After about 20 minutes the health worker emerged from the shelter and made a big announcement, “All is well. Everything, the weight, temperature and height … is normal.”
Times are a-changing for Bihar, a state popularly described as a state of mind. The recent elections have brought back Nitish Kumar as the chief minister for the fifth time. Since his first innings as a developmental CM from 2005, he has transformed Bihar from being an archetype of India’s backwardness to one of its fastest growing states. Besides improving governance, he has also politically empowered women in that benighted state. Not surprisingly, the women’s vote was decisive for his electoral success. He now has the historic opportunity to shift gears towards sustainable gender-based development.