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Kovind, Dalit Politics and Hindu Nationalism


By- Ram Puniyani

Image result for kovind

By nominating Ramanth Kovind as the Presidential candidate, BJP has tried to play the politics of tokenism to the hilt. Mr. Kovind is a dalit from UP. While many names were doing round from BJP parivar, finally they settled down for a person who is dalit in name and Hindu nationalist in ideology. Last three years of Modi Sarkar has not only seen rising violence against Muslims, religious minorities but also against dalits in particular. Starting from banning of Periyar Study circle in IIT Madras, to creating a situation where Rohith Vemula, a dalit research scholar, had to take his life, to ‘cow-violence’ against dalits in Una, the dalits as a social group have come under severe attack, which is by product of Hindu nationalist politics. Apart from this; there are also instances where the a Central minister equated dalits to dogs, a BJP leader, UP BJP vice President Kripa Shankar Singh said that Mayawati was worst than a prostitute. Incidentally he was apparently reprimanded but through back door his wife was given the ticket for assembly elections and later was made a minister in Yogi cabinet in UP. To add salt to the injury one saw the horrific anti-dalit violence against dalits in Saharanpur as Mr. Yogi came to power and upper caste are feeling more powerful. When the Bhim Army under Chandrasekhar protested against the attack on dalits, the young Dalit leaders were arrested while to attackers were left off with minor charges.

This move of nominating Kovind, seems to be a superficial attempt to assuage the deep injury inflicted upon the dalits of the society. One recalls here that after the Gujarat carnage, orchestrated on the pretext of Godhra train burning, and the deep wounds inflicted upon Muslims in Gujarat Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam was chosen by BJP to be the President of India. It was another tokenism, which did not change the deeper anti minority dynamics in the society. This is what tokenism is supposed to be doing, creating an impression that one is offering a helping hand.

Mr. Kovind has been a RSS swayamsevak; he has donated his ancestral house for RSS work. His opinions as reflected in many of his statement show that he regards Islam and Christianity as alien religions. This came out when he was participating in the debate on Rangnath Mishra commission report, when the issue of reservations for dalits converting to Islam or Christianity came up for discussion. Mr. Kovind says that education should have primacy over reservations, undermining reservations for dalits.

As a part of BJP, Kovind has been trying to woo the non-Jatav Dalits in UP in particular. BJP-RSS have won over many a dalits. Likes of Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, who has been compromising the interests of dalits for the sake of personal power, said that all those who oppose Kovind should be regarded as anti dalit! What does it mean to be a dalit leader today? There are many of the likes of Kovind and Paswan who seal their lips when atrocities against dalits are going on and are rising. The dalit leadership is in the dilemma today. Many of Ramvilas Paswan variety of dalit leaders are aligned with Hindu Nationalist politics of BJP-RSS as it gives them perks and power. But there is a large number of others who are engaging in the protests against the system on the issues of survival and dignity of the dalits, for their rights as equal citizens. For the dalits the major achievement has been the coming into being of Indian Constitution, a document giving them theoretical equality. It gives them the ground on which they can stand and struggle for their rights.

On the other hand the politics of RSS has been opposing Indian nationalism, in favor of Hindu nationalism. RSS politics has been upholding the scriptures which have provisions of caste hierarchy inherent in them. As such Hindu nationalism has come a long way during last close to a century or so. Is it a coincidence that RSS came up in the context of the rising protests by dalits in the form of non Brahman movement in Vidarbha region of Maharshtra. This movement was against the social structure which gave primacy to landlord Brahmin. The movements based on equality have been running parallel to the freedom movement. The dalits were articulating their needs through agitations and movements for equality. Hindu nationalism upheld the age old system; it upheld the caste structure in a subtle way. In due course, especially after the decade of 1990s the politics of RSS-BJP has been opposing reservation and equality for dalits. It has operated at multiple levels to co-opt the dalits in to their political fold. Adding on to Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, which has been working for Hidnukaran of Adivasis (Hinduisation), Samajik Samrasta Manch (Social harmony forum) came up to oppose the struggles for Samata (equality) in favor of ‘harmony amongst castes’. Through cultural mechanisms it has been trying to propagate that dalits have been defending Hinduism against the attacks from Islam.

Lately RSS combine has been making attempts to pay respect to Ambedkar, by calling him Great Hindu, by observing his anniversary at grand scale etc. Ambedkar’s politics and Hindu nationalist politics are polar opposites. Ambedkar stands for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity while Hindu nationalism is for the hierarchical values of Vedic times. Through social engineering dalits have been made to participate in destruction of Babri Masjid and also to participate in anti Muslim violence. How do assess Mr. Kovind? The politics of a person is not just guided by birth, dalits propagating and working for Hindu nationalism are harming dalits in a serious way, while even non dalits upholding the path of Ambedkar are truly working for uplift of dalits!

Mr. Kovind must have taken the oath of RSS, which calls for primacy of Hindu nation.

Indian Constitution is for Indian nationalism.

What will he uphold as President of India, the former or the latter?

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Activists set for another legal war against new Kudankulam nuclear plant units in Tamil Nadu


Even the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, being built by Russia, is using the heavy water reactor valves and motors manufactured at the city plant of Peekay Steel Castings Pvt Ltd. | Express Photo Service

CHENNAI: Anti-nuclear activists are gearing up for yet another legal battle with the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) granting ‘first pour of concrete’ (FPC) to units three and four in the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP).

A writ petition is likely to be filed in the Madras High Court in a week.

The activists claim the regulatory body has overlooked its own guidelines and the clearance is illegal. The AERB has given the FPC order at the 121st meeting held on June 19. The activists said the order is in violation of AERB code that defines the “Criteria for regulation of health and safety of nuclear power plant personnel, the public and the environment, 2001.” Para 2.4 (b) of the Criteria reads: The total population in the sterilised area should be small, preferably less than 20,000.

In the case of Kudankulam, within a distance of five km from the site for KKNPP units 3 to 6 (sterilised zone) there are three villages having a population of 23,060 (as per 2001 census). Since the sterilised zone has more population than specified in the Criteria, the AERB ought not to have granted the FPC clearance to the units in question, said Sundar Rajan of city-based NGO Poovulagin Nanbargal.

The NGO has been fighting the case against the clearance. Not just the FPC, the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance granted to units 3 to 6 of Kudankulam is based on an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) done by Engineers India Ltd, a non-accredited agency to do EIA for nuclear power plants and it is under the Supreme Court review.

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Aadhaar Not Valid Identification Document for Travel to Nepal, Bhutan: Home Ministry

Aadhaar Not Valid Identification Document for Travel to Nepal, Bhutan: Home Ministry

Aadhaar is not a valid identification document for Indians travelling to Nepal and Bhutan, the Union home ministry has said.

Indians can travel to Nepal and Bhutan–both countries for which they don’t need visas–if they possess a valid national passport or election ID card issued by the Election Commission.

Moreover, to ease travel, persons over 65 and below 15 years can show documents with photographs to confirm their age and identity. These include PAN card, driving licence, Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card and ration card but not Aadhaar.

Aadhaar (UID) card is not an acceptable travel document for travel to Nepal/Bhutan,” a communique issued by the ministry said.

The advisory assumes significance as Aadhaar is mandatory for a host of things, including government subsidies on LPG and other social welfare schemes.


The Aadhaar card, which has a 12-digit unique identification number and personal details like name and address, acts as a proof of identification and residence.

Indians entering Bhutan by road are required to obtain an ‘Entry Permit’ on the basis of a valid travel document from the immigration office of Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuentsholing, located on the Indo-Bhutan border opposite Jaigaon, West Bengal.

The border with Nepal is an open one with people who enter the country needing to show any valid identity card.

Nepal shares borders with five Indian states–Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Around six lakh Indians are living or domiciled in Nepal.

Bhutan, which shares borders with Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal, has about 60,000 Indian nationals, employed mostly in the hydroelectric power and construction industry. In addition, between 8,000 and 10,000 daily workers enter and exit Bhutan everyday in border towns.

In another development, Indians flying abroad will not be required to fill departure cards from next month.

However, those going out of the country via rail, seaport and land immigration checkposts will have to fill the embarkation card.

“It has been decided to discontinue the practice of filling up of the departure card by Indians at all international airports with effect from July 1, 2017,” an order issued by the home ministry said.

The move is aimed at ensuring hassle-free movement of Indians going abroad.

At present, those going abroad need to fill in details such as name, date of birth, passport number, address in India, flight number and date of boarding in the departure card.

The decision will help reducing the time required to complete immigration related formalities by passengers and also enable airports and authorities concerned to cater to a larger number of people.

The need for Indians to fill such cards on their arrival in India has already been done away with.

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Kashmir – With Facebook banned, youth reach out via Kashbook


Not locked out: Youth near Dal Lake use smartphones and new social media options to connect.

Tech-savvy teens develop alternative social networking platforms for the Valley

A bright and windy day, when tourists were out and about in Srinagar, turned dark in minutes. Shops and schools shut, children rushed home, police swarmed the streets and internet links snapped, as news of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat’s death broke. But amidst the chaos, two teens were busy making plans to attract more traffic to their ‘business projects’.

“We need to plan, during calm and chaos…call me later,” said one of the teenagers, Zeyan Shafiq. Three days later, the 15-year-old met this correspondent in one of Srinagar’s swankier cafes. Zeyan’s ‘projects’ are rooted in the successful model of giants like Facebook, and WeChat of China. Along with Uzair, a second year engineering student, he has created Facebook’s alternative for Kashmir – Kashbook.

The site, Zeyan claimed, has over 10,000 users since it launched in mid-May, in the wake of the April 26 social media ban. Facebook is among 22 top social media sites blocked in the valley.

“People miss Facebook. I was toying with the alternative since 2013, and the ban spurred Kashbook’s launch,” said Zeyan. Registering on Kashbook is “as simple as Facebook” and the site looks attractive with a blue-white theme. While the user base seemed smaller than what Zeyan claimed, Kashbook does connect many people. Several posted comments; a few videos, some with disturbing scenes were added. Zeyan considers blocking “incendiary material against any country” his key responsibility.

“Anything anti-national will be removed,” said Abid, Zeyan’s cousin, and a lawyer. But not events like stone pelting. That is “news”, Zeyan argued. He has not got a call from the police for running Kashbook.

Things went differently for Usman Tareen, founder of, a social networking site. Police said he had been questioned, but Usman denied it. The 16-year-old said since Class VII, he had been learning to develop the “perfect app and interactive platforms.” He plans to launch a YouTube-like site. Both entrepreneurs have messaging apps.

“I learnt from friends and on the Internet,” he claimed. Usman, with an untrimmed moustache, is preparing for a polytechnic entrance test, and wants to study web and application development outside Kashmir.

“Most of our sites are modelled on WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter, and about half a dozen cannot be accessed frequently,” he said. “Often, the site is under maintenance and on other occasions, the internet is down or blocked.”

Since the death of Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, in July 2016, there has been a sharp rise in protests. South Kashmir virtually spun out of control and even now many villages sport plaques with his name. A senior Cyber Cell official of the Kashmir police told The Hindu that there are “214 militants — alive, recognised and registered [on social media]” as of May, of which “120 are locals.” The social media blockade came due to “largescale circulation of anti-India publicity material.”

VPN usage on the rise

The blockade has made it tough to download from WhatsApp. But such applications are still accessed by those who are technology savvy. A telecom operations manager said, “Many started using Virtual Private Network, bypassing the ban.”

It is impossible to identify a user on a VPN as the Internet Protocol address is masked. Yet, the ban is quite effective. Interestingly, while the use of social media sites and apps has dropped, data usage has not.

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Open letter to the designers and implementers of #UID. .. #Aadhaar

We write this letter to you as a question, a comment, a complaint, and finally an appeal. We do want to clarify at the outset that we have had many intellectual and theoretical problems with the UID (Unique Identification) related to surveillance, privacy and how it actually has the potential to turn the Right to Information (RTI) on its head. Nevertheless, we have since its inception carefully watched Aadhaar or the UID as per its primary stated objective (even in the legislation) to benefit the poor. You promised that there would be at least three big advantages that would accrue from the roll out of this “game-changing” platform.

First, we were told, that it would foster and ensure inclusion at all levels. It is now becoming clear, that Aadhaar is actually just an authentication mechanism using biometric technology threaded through a vast, centralised, data gathering platform. It has provided citizens with no unique benefit, except (potentially dangerously) being used as an ID/KYC card. Since Aadhaar has been made absolutely mandatory for drawing benefits under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in Rajasthan over the last year, we confine ourselves to use the detailed evidence that exists of the devastating consequences of its imposition in rations leading to mass anguish and distress. In a recent meeting with officials from the Department of Food and IT officials in Rajasthan, certain statistics from the Rajasthan Government website were discussed and confirmed- Out of approximately 1 crore NFSA beneficiary families, nearly 30 lakh families i.e. approximately 30% of intended beneficiaries, were not drawing their monthly rations over the last 10 months. These were families with Aadhaar numbers, so you will agree that they could not be “bogus”.

It also makes no sense for these families to willingly forego wheat at Rs 2 per kg when the market price is ten times that amount. The statistic of 30% masked the old and the physically challenged who could not reach the ration shop to place their fingerprints on the machine and those who migrated in search of work, for a season, or even a whole year. The most vulnerable, who should be our highest priority, are being excluded by design. Should the designers not have made sure this situation did not continue for the last 10 months and beyond? Other reasons offered to explain the exclusion are poor performance of the machine, the network, biometric mismatch and even the dealer’s poor performance.

The government has not invested any effort to match the breakdown of numbers with reasons. Instead, it made inflated claims on equating denial with savings and thereby ending corruption. Would you not agree that to classify exclusion as a saving is unethical and cruel? And this continues despite an unequivocal Rajasthan High Court order of May 30 that Aadhaar can’t be the basis for denial of rations. But ignoring Supreme Court and high court orders is a nurtured pattern in the UID paradigm.

Second, we were told that Aadhaar would be an almost foolproof method to de-duplicate and therefore eliminate corruption. Duplication is not the biggest source of corruption in welfare. There are other citizen-based methods to de-duplicate. But, you never had an answer to the many other forms of corruption it leaves untouched. And we now know that in fact, it fosters some new forms of corruption! Out of the 70% of rations the dealer is distributing, he is making his cut in numerous ways. He almost never provides a receipt. He authenticates for everything and gives only kerosene. He authenticates for several months and gives only for one month. He overcharges, overbooks, manipulates seeding and in the cruellest joke on your system, tells the beneficiary that her biometric has failed, even when he gets a positive authentication. The challenge for the anti-corruption RTI user is that the paper trail has been replaced by digital databases, sometimes secret, run by a system that does not have the inclination to act on complaints. The officials often say that biometric authentication means proof of no corruption!

Third, we were told that this delivery highway would greatly increase efficiency. It would allow administrators to see what was going on where and immediately respond at the minutest level. That leads us to ask why not one FIR has been registered for perpetuating the massive corruption that you apparently eliminated. All of you repeatedly assured us from the seniormost levels to those implementing that pilots would be watched very carefully to learn and correct, and you assured us that Aadhaar would become widely used, not from compulsion but from popular demand.

So we address this to all of you who have brought us till here – the celebrated architects, the political leadership pursuing this with an unprecedented zeal, our very competent technocratic friends, researchers who have been singing praises of Aadhaar and administrators at every level. We are baffled about how this can continue. The poor, the excluded, the anaemic and the hungry have questions that relate to their life, and death. So many of those who have passed away over these last 10 months and were not able to access their food grain or pension entitlement have pleas that went unanswered. Can you please answer these questions and tell us who will be held responsible? This calls for an “evidence-based” point by point public discussion. We hope that in the course of the debate if you accept that injustice has been done, you will help correct it. Before we proceed further, citizens across India deserve a chance to better understand what the implications of using Aadhaar could be.

In anticipation..

(The writers are social activists who live and work in rural Rajasthan)

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Demolitions in Dharmshala: Not Smart City, We Need Just City!


Marking the one year since the demolition of their homes in Dharamshala, the community has launched the ‘Citymakers for Justice’ campaign with a message that we want Dharamshala to be an inclusive and just city. As a part of this we are carrying out a photo exhibition that narrates the story of the ‘Charan Khad’ community.


To get updates and news: follow the Facebook Page

Here is a video of the street photo exhibition that was held at Mcleodganj, Dharamshala on 24th June 2017

In hope and solidarity
Kangra Citizen’s Rights Group


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Shashi Tharoor Says BJP Renamed 23 Congress Schemes. He’s Right About 19



On June 15, 2017, Congress member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor claimed that 23 of the BJP-led government’s new programmes were merely renamed versions of schemes launched by the previous governments led by his party.


Why we in @INCIndia insist this is a name-changing government, not a game-changing one!


Another Twitter user made the same claim on June 11, 2017.


We found that 19 of the 23 programmes were indeed renamed versions of older schemes, as Tharoor claimed. Here’s our analysis:


Claim 1: Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana=Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account


Fact: True


Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA) was a no-minimum-balance service with all facilities of a normal banking account except that withdrawals were limited to four a month, according to this Reserve Bank of India (RBI) circular dated August 17, 2012. The accounts came with an automated teller machine (ATM)-cum-debit card too.


The BSBDA accounts were also meant for beneficiaries of government programmes, according to this answer in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) on December 13, 2012.


Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), launched on August 28, 2014, an accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh, overdraft facility up to Rs 5,000 after six months and a life insurance of Rs 30,000 were added to BSBDA accounts.


Unlike BSBDA, PMJDY accounts had a credit limit of Rs 1 lakh because of which pension reimbursements were getting rejected, The Financial Expressreported on September 8, 2016.


While BSBDA covered only villages with above 2,000 population, PMJDY has been extended to all areas–rural as well as urban.


“They are more or less the same. All accounts opened prior to August 28, 2014, were BSBDA. Since then, they have all become PMJDY accounts. It’s only a change of nomenclature,” Prem Singh Azad, deputy general manager, Allahabad Bank, who is involved in the bank’s financial inclusion programme, told IndiaSpend.


Claim 2: Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana=National Girl Child Day programmes


Fact: True


The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-I declared January 24 as the National Girl Day in 2008-09 and several objectives associated with previous continuing programmes were adopted as targets.


Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana (BBBPY), launched in January 2015 under the ministries of women and child development, health and family welfare and human resource development, was a consolidation of old programmes scattered across schemes and ministries under the UPA government.


For instance, the girl child education programme of BBBPY was a repackaging of older education schemes such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, according to this February 2016 report by the Centre for Development and Human Rights, a research and advocacy organisation in New Delhi.


Similarly, BBBPY’s objectives of improving the child sex ratio and reducing school dropout rates among girls were already present in the UPA’s Dhanalakshmi and Sabla schemes, respectively. Dhanalakshmi was later discontinued as states already had better schemes in place.


Claim 3: Swach Bharat Abhiyan=Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan


Fact: True


In September 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government approved a proposal that Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme be restructured into Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, according to this government release.


Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was the new name adopted for the Total Sanitation Campaign on April 1, 2012 under UPA-II, according to the Abhiyan’s guidelines.


Total Sanitation Campaign was the new name given to the Central Rural Sanitation Programme–launched by the Congress in 1986–in 1999, according to the drinking water and sanitation ministry’s website.


Claim 4: Sardar Patel National Urban Housing Mission=Rajiv Awaas Yojana


Fact: True


“The government is shortly going to launch a comprehensive programme named Sardar Patel National Housing Mission by merging and improving existing urban housing schemes,” The Pioneerreported on October 10, 2014, quoting Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Venkaiah Naidu.


A parliamentary committee, headed by Biju Janata Dal member Pinaki Mishra, had even asked the government in December 2014 how merely changing the name could accelerate implementation, The Telegraphreported on December 30, 2014.


Claim 5: Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin)=Indira Awaas Yojana


Fact: True


A parliamentary standing committee report–submitted on August 31, 2016–pointed out that Congress’s Indira Awaas Yojana was “rechristen[ed]” Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin).


The “Guidelines”, “Scheme Allocation” and “FAQs” on the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) website still open Indira Awaas Yojana documents.


Claim 6: Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana=Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana


Fact: True


The UPA’s Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana was “subsumed” under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, according to this government release on July 23, 2015.


Claim 7: Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation=Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission


Fact: True


NDA’s urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu had said on assuming office that they would replace Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with their own urban renewal schemes, The Hindureported on May 29, 2014.


Subsequently, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), smart cities Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Urban) were launched on June 25, 2015.


JNNURM was launched on December 3, 2005, for an initial period of seven years and then extended for two years up to March 2014, according to this Rajya Sabha answer on December 6, 2012.


A comparison of some key objectives of the two programmes shows that under the NDA government, the targets of UPA’s umbrella programme have been spread over several schemes.


The “sectors covered under JNNURM and [AMRUT and other urban development programmes] overlap significantly,” according this March 2016 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a global consultancy .


“[V]arious urban sector components [that] were earlier addressed through a single mission (JNNURM) … have now been split across missions [such as AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission],” the report said.


Comparison of Urban Development Programmes

Sources: Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation,Town and Country Planning Organisation, AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission, PM Awaas Yojana-Urban


Claim 8: Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana=Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme


Fact: Unclear


Three older programmes– Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme of the water resources ministry, Integrated Watershed Management Programme of the land resources ministry and the On Farm Water Management of agriculture and cooperation department–were merged to create the NDA’s Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, according to Yojana’s website.


As government websites (click here, here, here, here and here) do not reveal when exactly the programme was launched in 1996, it is difficult to check this claim, as three prime ministers–Congress’s P.V. Narasimha Rao (till May 16), BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee (May 16-June 1) and Janata Dal (Secular)’s H.D. Deve Gowda (June 1 onwards)–governed India during 1996.


The watershed management programme goes back to the late 1980s when the country was mostly under Congress’s rule.


Claim 9: BJP’s neem-coated urea=Congress’s neem-coated urea


Fact: True


Neem-coated urea was included in the Fertiliser (Control) Order of 1985 in 2004, according to government-owned National Fertilizers’ website, and was notified on June 2, 2008, according to this government communication.


It was finally included in the 1985 Order through an amendment on February 6, 2017.


Claim 10: Soil Health Card scheme=National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility


Fact: True


A soil health card was “added” to the National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility, according to the Outcome Budget 2015-16 of the agriculture and cooperation department.


The centre would earlier provide support to states for issuing soil health cards under the central scheme, according to Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) answers (click here and here).


Under the UPA government, soil health cards were also issued under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, one of its several organic-farming programmes, according to the Outcome Budget 2015-16. This scheme was also merged with NDA’s renamed Soil Health Card programme.


Claim 11: Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana=Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and other programmes


Fact: True


“Some existing components … have been clubbed together as a cluster based programme and named Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana,” according to the Outcome Budget 2015-16 of the agriculture and cooperation department, FactCheckerreported on July 22, 2015.


Claim 12: Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana=Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana


Fact: Unclear


The ministry of women and child development’s website does not use the new name–Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana–for the maternity benefit programme (see the latest release dated May 19, 2017) but archives releases under the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana under the same head.


A senior ministry official was quoted as saying the name had been changed, Hindustan Timesreported on May 25, 2017.


Claim 13: Atal Pension Yojana=Swavalamban Yojana


Fact: True


Even as the Modi government folded Congress’s Swavalamban Yojana–a pension scheme for unorganised sector workers launched on September 29, 2010–under its Atal Pension Yojana, the features of the two schemes remain the same, according to this comparison by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute For Contemporary Studies, a think tank in New Delhi.


Claim 14: Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana=Jan Aushadhi scheme


Fact: True


The decision to launch the Jan Aushadhi scheme, a programme to supply unbranded medicines at lower prices, was taken on April 23, 2008. The first store under the scheme was opened on November 25, 2008, according to the Bureau of Pharma PSU in India, established under the department of pharmaceuticals on December 1, 2008, to coordinate the scheme through government-owned companies.


The scheme is now called Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, according to this Lok Sabha answer on March 14, 2017.


Claim 15: Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana=Comprehensive Crop Insurance Scheme


Fact: False


The 1985 Comprehensive Crop Insurance Scheme concluded in 1999, according to this report of the agriculture and cooperation department.


Claim 16: Make In India=National Manufacturing Policy


Fact: True


The Make In India website not only summarises the scheme as Congress’s “National Manufacturing Policy” but even the broken download link unsuccessfully directs you to a 2011 document of the older policy.

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Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) demand Release of Bhim Army Leader Chandrashekar ‘Ravan’ Azad

Image result for Bhim Army Leader Chandrashekhar ‘Ravan’ Azad‘Immediately Release Bhim Army Leader Chandrashekar ‘Ravan’ Azad, Unconditionally’

Statement by Indian Workers Association(Great Britain)

Chandrashekar Azad, one of the leader and founder of the Bhim Army in UP, was arrested from Himachal Pardesh on Thursday 8th June. He has been falsely accused of spearheading the Saharanpur violence. All he and his Bhim Army were asking for was the right to hold a mahapanchayat to discuss the recent Hindutava violence on the Muslim and Dalit community and demand the culprits be brought to justice.

April 20: BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal led a march of some rightwing Hindu activist in a Muslim dominated village of Sadak Dudhli. The rally was taken out to mark Ambedkar Jayanti with a deliberate aim of driving a wedge between the Dalits and Muslims in the area. The Dalits realised this and were not interested in taking part. The Dalits did not want to upset the recently formed unity in action with the Muslims community. In fact the Dalits had already celebrated Ambedkar Jayanti on 14 April. Clashes broke out between the BJP supporters and the Muslims.

May 5: Thakurs in a clear act of asserting their upper caste dominance, egged on by the Yogi Adityanath government in UP, organised a procession to mark the birth anniversary of a Rajput king in the Dalit neighbourhood, village Shabbirpur. Some reports say that Ambedkar’s statute was attacked and that anti-Ambedkar slogans were raised by the BJP supporters. Other reports allege the processions were held without permission from the administration and were therefore illegal. According to Bhim Army national president, Vinay Ratan Singh, this provocative act took place under the watchful eyes of the police. The incident led to violence between the two sides, resulting in one Thakur killed, 15 Dalits in hospital and 22 Dalits homes burnt. Ratan says that there needs to be a proper unbiased enquiry to establish how the violence was started and those guilty of burning, looting and causing grievance injuries must be brought to account.

May 9: The Bhim Army had asked for a mahapanchayat in Saharanpur to protest against the atrocities on Dalits and police inaction. The police denied permission but many people had gathered anyway. Clashes took place between the Bhim Army supporters and the police. Dalits were beaten up, rubber bullets were fired and at least six Dalits protesters arrested. In response to police violence the Bhim Army led a rally in Jantar Mantar, Delhi, where tens of thousands attended. Shaken by the organising power and the huge following of the Bhim Army, claimed to be at least 10 lakh nationally, the UP state authority has registered several FIR against the Chandrashekar Azad. The charges are all trumped up and designed to put the leader behind bars in order to inflict damage on the Bhim Army and silence their protest.

It has now become routine police procedure that any Muslim resistance is labelled as Islamic terrorist and any Dalit resistance is labelled as Naxalism. All progress people must raise their collective voice against the fascist Hindutava forces and against the state forces that are eroding the democratic space of the Dalits, Tribals, Women, Muslims and other oppressed minority sections India.

We demand immediate unconditional release of Chandrashekar Azad and other members of the Bhim Army.

Lekh Pall
General Secretary
Central Organising Committee
Indian Workers Association (Great Britain)

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Aadhaar Case -Petitioners’ Rejoinder to Govt in Mid-day Meals and welfare schemes #Mustread

Read the Rejoinder-By-ShanthaSinha  petitioner Shanta Sinha (political scientist, anti-child labour activist and padma sri winner) and Kalyani Menon-Sen (noted feminist activist) against the counter affidavit filed by the State on Aadhaar.

It’s not just the savings numbers that have been cooked up, but several other claims as well.

Journalists: Focus on the authentication & savings claims rather than enrollment.
What matters more?
How it works and how much does it save?
 Lies, damn lies & statistics.
1. Aadhaar authentication fails up to 60% of the time.
2. Aadhaar (gross) savings nowehere close to 50,000.
1. The rejoinder relies on government documents and audit records which make the 50,000 crore savings claims incredibly suspect.
 2. The rejoinder relies on government documents to whatever extent available (since UIDAI doesn’t keep records) of authentication failures.
3: Backed up by the tireless work of independent researchers, field workers & activists. Please take some time to read & understand the issues.
4: Denial of rations and exclusion data due to authentication failures from Page 15 onwards.
5: Saving claims of 50,000 crores debunked from Page 19 onwards.
More data in the documents. Built of painstaking field research, analysis of government docs & RTIs by journalists + researchers.

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Odisha- Condemn the arrest of mine workers in Sukanda Valley


Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation strongly condemns the arrest of three mine workers Rabi Murmu, Abhimanyu Mohanto and Ramesh Majhi on June 12, 2017 on false and fabricated charges of conspiring to wage a war against the Indian state and inciting violence. We understand this arrest and the imposition of severe charges as an attempt by the ruling BJD and BC Mohanty & Sons, the company operating the mine in Sukinda valley to intimidate and prevent the mine workers from forming a trade union and challenging human rights violations resulting from mass tribal displacement in the region.
Rabi Murmu is the President and Abhimanyu Mohanto is the General Secretary of the Aancholiko Khoni Khadaan Mazdoor Sangh, a union that has been organizing in the pursuit of regularizing the wages of mine workers as well as their registration in the B Register. The union has also been drawing attention to rights violations of persons displaced by the mines, with an eruption in mining licenses over the past few years in Sukinda valley, which is the chromite-rich belt of Odisha in Jajpur district. Odisha has 98% of the total chromite reserve in India, 97% of which is found in the Sukinda valley. Currently, there are 14 chromite mines in the Sukinda valley of which 12 or 13 are in operation.
According to information gathered by us, on the morning of June 12, Rabi Murmu, Abhimanyu Mohanto and Ramesh Majhi had gathered at the gate of the Kamarda Chromite Mines Company to participate in a peaceful protest demonstration and were carrying with them a memorandum of demands on behalf of the workers. Before the protest could begin, police personnel from Kaliapani Police Station led by IC Yuvraj Swain arrived at the spot and threatened to book them under Maoist cases if they did not abide by the will of Pritiranjan Gharai, the local MLA from the ruling party BJD. In the week leading up to the protest demonstration, the workers had been getting threatening calls from local BJD supporters to back down on their demands. The Police executed their threat, and arrested the three mine workers for possessing Maoist literature, and for inciting tribals to join their union to fight for their rights against displacement, under Ss. 25-27, Arms Act; and Ss. 147, 506, 121 (A), 124 (A), 120 (B) and 149 (17), IPC. See Odisha POST dated June 14, 2017: 3 Ultras held in Kaliapani. The said Maoist literature is, in fact, some copies of Nua Duniya, a weekly newsletter of the CPI, and a journal of the Chaasi Mulia Adibaasi Sangh.
On June 19, 2017, Rebabati Murmu and Padmabati Mohanto, wives of Rabi Murmu and Abhimanyu Mohanto, respectively, petitioned the Odisha Human Rights Commission in Bhubaneswar demanding an inquiry into the arrest, and for proceedings to be initiated against the police personnel, in order to determine the complicity of political parties under whose direction the arrests have taken place. The petition further demands that all phone calls of the police personnel be tracked to establish the nexus of police, administration, mining authorities and the ruling BJD MLA.
CDRO unequivocally endorses the rights of workers to form a trade union as a fundamental right, to fight for their interests, engage in collective bargaining for regularization of wages and to improve working conditions. The witch-hunt launched against the workers, and the baseless accusations of being Maoists foisted upon them by the Police, are an assault on workers’ rights, and is directed to prevent people from collectively struggling for their rights. The complicity of state authorities and political parties in such intimidation is a carte blanche to the mining authorities and the district administration to engage in further rights violations of the mine workers and displaced persons through exploitation and unfair labour practices. The Odisha police follows the old strategy of stifling any challenges to the ruthless exploitation of natural resources, displacement of peoples and the pursuit of unfair labour practices by simply labeling activists/dissidents as Maoists.
C. Chandrasekhar (CLC, Andhra Pradesh), Asish Gupta (PUDR, Delhi), Pritpal Singh (AFDR, Punjab), Phulendro Konsam (COHR, Manipur) and Tapas Chakraborty (APDR, West Bengal) (Coordinators of CDRO).
Constituent Organisations: Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Punjab), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Asansol Civil Rights Association, West Bengal; Bandi Mukti Committee (West Bengal); Civil Liberties Committee (CLC, Andhra Pradesh); Civil Liberties Committee (CLC, Telangana); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR, Maharashtra); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR,Tamil Nadu); Coordination for Human Rights (COHR, Manipur); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS, Assam); Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR); Peoples’ Committee for Human Rights (PCHR, Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum (PDF, Karnataka); Jharkhand Council for Democratic Rights (JCDR, Jharkhand); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR, Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (PUCR, Haryana), Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur (CPDM), Delhi; Janhastakshep(Delhi).

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