Rss

  • stumble
  • youtube
  • linkedin

Archives for : CSR

A Treaty to End Corporate Abuses ? #humanrights

 
JULY 1, 2014
 

Governments at the UN’s Human Rights Council stunned companies last week when they voted to start negotiations on a treaty to address corporate responsibility for human rights abuses. If done right, this could lead to much-needed action by governments to approve common-sense rules on companies and ensure victims of corporate abuses can seek justice. Yet there are pitfalls as well.

It’s a polarizing issue, pitting many developing countries at the council, led by Ecuador and South Africa, against the United States and European Union. Critics warn it will draw the ire of some of the world’s largest companies. Western countries that are home to major multinationals have threatened to sit out the negotiations. There’s a real danger we could end up with a contentious treaty that doesn’t actually solve the problem.

That would be a shame: we need stronger human rights rules. Companies have been implicated in a litany of abuses around the world and almost never pay a price for them, because governments fail to impose even basic regulations, such as requiring businesses to review and monitor rights risks.

Three years ago, the council unanimously approved the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which included no firm requirements and no monitoring of progress. It’s no surprise that implementation has been woefully inadequate. Frustrated by continued inaction in the face of widespread abuses, activists mobilized to line up government support for a binding treaty.

The vote may have been premature. A fundamental flaw lies in Ecuador’s insistence that the treaty focus on multinational companies, even though any company can cause problems and most standards, including the UN principles, don’t draw this artificial distinction. Otherwise you could have a situation where an international apparel company was bound by human rights standards, but abusive local factories aren’t. A treaty with credibility should cover all businesses, whether they have ties to global brands or not. That doesn’t excuse governments from enacting national laws to protect workers and others affected by business gone bad, or to allow victims to seek justice in national courts.

The treaty process represents an opportunity to better safeguard communities and individuals around the globe from abuses involving companies. Perhaps the best outcome is for the governments to negotiate transparently, consult widely with all stakeholders, and act in good faith. Politicizing this process would be an insult to victims and a squandered chance for human rights.

 

Read mor ehere – http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/01/dispatches-treaty-end-corporate-abuses

Related posts

#India – Political funding kept out of #CSR ambit

HINDU  BUREAU

New norms take away corporates’ discretion on the spending

NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 27:

 

Corporate India may not have the liberty of deciding the activities on which they will spend their CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds.

The final CSR framework notified by the Corporate Affairs Ministry is largely prescriptive in nature. The new norms come into effect from April 1.

Setting ambiguity at rest, the Corporate Affairs Ministry made it clear that political contribution will not be considered as CSR activity under the new rules. Corporate India had sought clarity on this issue.

Besides broadening the scope of certain already specified activities that could be counted as CSR, the Ministry has added several new activities, such as rural development projects, protection of national heritage buildings and support for promoting rural sports.

However, the new framework has not left it open to company boards to decide on the CSR activities.

The CSR spend should not include any expenditure on an item “not in conformity or not in line with activities which fall within the purview of Schedule VII”, said the Rules notified by the Corporate Affairs Ministry.

The flexibility that Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot promised to corporate India after the enactment of the new company law seems to be missing, some corporate observers said. “It (notified framework) is slightly prescriptive. Not absolutely prescriptive. It limits the boundary within Schedule VII,” Santosh Jayaram, Technical Director-Sustainability and Climate Change, KPMG India, toldBusiness Line.

Lalit Kumar, Partner, J Sagar Associates, a law firm, said activities outside Schedule VII will not be considered as a permitted CSR activity and this is reflected in many places in the CSR Rules 2014. The Ministry has overhauled the Schedule VII, which had spelt out activities that could be included in CSR policy. The effect of the amendment is that some activities provided in the current Schedule VII, such as ‘social business projects’ have been completely deleted..

Some activities that have been added include protection of national heritage, art and culture, including restoration of buildings and sites for historical importance and works of art.

Measures for the benefit of Armed Forces veterans, war widows and their dependents have also been added.

The scope of promoting education has been expanded to include special education especially among children, women, the elderly and differently-abled.

Read – http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/political-funding-kept-out-of-csr-ambit/article5733385.ece
Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

Coke’s Rajasthan plant #CSR claims lack merit: Study

Dr Karnani says in his report that his findings are the result of his visit to Kala Dera to conduct his research

ANI  |  <news:geo_locations>New Delhi 

 Last Updated at 12:36 IST
 

Soft drink giant Coca-Cola’s claim that has been maintaining its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) around its bottling plant in Kala Dera, Rajasthan, have been found to be lacking in merit, according to a recent study carried out by theUniversity of Michigan.

The study, which has been carried out by Dr Aneel Karnani, an Associate Professor with the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, found that results indicate that Coca Cola still needs to develop regulatory regimes with appropriate incentives and also possess the ability to enforce sanctions.

Dr Karnani says in his report that his findings are the result of his visit to Kala Dera to conduct his research.

He says that he has met with various community members in Kala Dera, was assisted by the India Resource Center, and also met and engaged with Coca-Cola company officials separately.

Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Kala Dera has been the target of a community-led campaign for several years now.

The community, which includes large numbers of farmers, blames Coca-Cola for causing severe water shortages in the area. A study paid for by Coca-Cola and conducted by one of India’s largest NGOs, the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), asked Coca-Cola to shut down the plant in 2008 because its water use was not sustainable.

Coca-Cola has refused to acknowledge its part in contributing to the depleting groundwater resource in Kala Dera. Instead, Coca-Cola has embarked upon an ambitious CSR drive in Kala Dera, and claimed that it recharges 15 times as much groundwater as they use in Kala Dera.

“There is thus absolutely no evidence to support the company’s claim that it recharges 15 times the amount of water it withdraws,” states Dr. Karnani’s study, echoing the findings of the community and the India Resource Center which have labeled Coca-Cola’s claims as impossible to achieve and greenwash.

Even as Coca-Cola makes such fantastical claims, it is worth noting that Coca-Cola has not installed any meters to measure the amount of water recharged, even though such meters exist and are relatively cheap for the company to install and maintain.

“Instead of actually measuring the recharge, the company uses a mathematical model to calculate the “recharge potential” of the RWH (rainwater harvesting) structures. When I asked for the mathematical model and its assumptions with the intent of getting it examined by a hydrogeologist, the company responded, “the calculations shown in the spread sheet are an internal document and not meant for external usage,”” noted the report.

Dr Karnani’s research also found Coca-Cola’s claims that its “water consumption is very limited and has no impact or very minimal impact on the local ground water regime” to be erroneous and misleading.

Dr Karnani looked at the livelihoods supported by agriculture versus those supported by Coca-Cola, and concluded that “the Coca-Cola plant is not a low user of groundwater” because it takes much more than its “entitled” share of groundwater in Kala Dera, “calculated on a per person basis.”

In the summer months, when Coca-Cola reaches maximum production, the 2008 TERI study had found that the “plant alone accounted for about 8% of the total water extraction at the localized level” – within a 2 km radius of the plant.

Kala Dera’s groundwater resources were declared as “overexploited” in 1998 by the government and Coca-Cola built a new plant and started operations in 2000. Coca-Cola claims to have conducted a “due diligence report” prior to setting up the plant, but when asked to share the due diligence report by Dr Karnani, Coca-Cola declined to do so, stating that, “We do not share due diligence reports externally. These reports may contain sensitive information of both – business and legal nature.”

“If the company were truly serious about being socially responsible, it would stop the mining of groundwater in Kala Dera because the company’s selfish use of water – to generate profits for its shareholders – is leading to a tragedy of the commons, the complete destruction of the groundwater resources in Kala Dera,” said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international campaigning group.

“The lessons to be learnt from this case study are much broader than Coca-Cola and Kaladera. Unless we regulate the commons, tragedy looms for Kaladera, for Rajasthan, for India, and for the world, with regard to water and other CPRs (common property regimes),” writes Dr Karnani in the study.

“For CSR to help avert the tragedy of the commons, it is necessary to define CSR as a company’s responsibility to voluntarily undertake socially desirable behavior that decreases the firm’s profits. Only then does CSR become the business equivalent of altruism at the individual level, and help avert the tragedy of the commons,” concluded Dr. Karnani.

Read more here — http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/coke-s-rajasthan-plant-csr-claims-lack-merit-study-114022600387_1.html

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

#India – Faking Happiness is forced to Present the ‘ VEDANTA ANTHEM” #HipHop #mustshare

Kamayani for FAKING HAPPINESS CAMPAIGN

 

 

An Indo-German collaboration with production by the talented DJ BC from Germany and the lyrics and vocals by A-List from India. A List is a raptivist and a member of Faking Happiness campaign. This track is a quick freestyle in response to Vedanta trying to salvage it’s reputation by sponsoring , NDTV‘S ”  Our Girls Our Pride ” , a  PR Exercise and a desperate attempt to salvage themselevs after they were kicked out  by the Gramsabhas and after attempting to exploit the Dongria Kondh  tribal community in Odhisa for the Niyamgiri Hills.

 

Pic- courtesy Down to Earth

It has been learnt that Mining Giant Vedanta, is shitting  in their pants after  their exposure by  Faking Happiness: Activists Strike Back at Vedanta Ad Campaign, which was such a huge set back. Recently , after they were Kicked out in a Match of 12-0, by the Dongria Kondh ,  tribal of Odisha, they have once again planned a Corporate social responsibility ( CSR)  campaign, called ‘Our Girls our pride and once again, we are back with a   BANG.

 

Our two petitions  to NDTV and Priyanka Chopra haS crossed the 2500 mark, do sign if you have not so far, if you have not  ?

NDTV WITHDRAW VEDANTA

and

PRIYANKA CHOPRA WITHDRAW AS AMABASSADOR

 

Faking Happiness also  sent birthday wishes wishes Happy Birthday Dr Prannoy Roy – Withdraw Vedanta #ourgirlsourpride

So, Now Vedanta, CSR initiative is in a soup , as many  Craetive Faces with Political Voices, join Faking Happiness Anti Vedanta Campaign , and the voices are increasing every day

Hence, what they did ?

 They kidnapped, our very own , Ashwini Mishra aka A-list while he was  recording at his studio, and  coerced him to  to sing the ‘ VEDANTA ANTHEM “, they wanted to tell world that…… they will not take their defeat down and here are the lyrics—-

We are Vedanta, everywhere that we go,
Faking Happiness, you know how we roll,
We are Vedanta, everywhere that we go,
Faking Happiness, you know how we roll,
That’s right, this is the Vedanta anthem,
All the corporate greedy people chant them,
That’s right, this the Vedanta anthem,
All the corporate greedy people anthem,
That’s right, let’s go ahead and do this,
We thought we’d put our corporate greed to some music,
And tell you exactly where we come from,
Come on man, this is not a protest, this not a dumb song,
You see we kidnapped A-List, he’s in the back,
So Vedanta rep could come here and rap,
And tell you the truth,
That is the youth,
That needs to understand this is so much more than booth,
SO,
Listen to this, let the world know,
Matter of fact, for the girls though,
Let’s really talk about ‘coz the world dies,
When we build a mine, but we do the girl child,
We do a program for them on NDTV,
And now look, all these emcees be free,
But they never really talk about what we do,
“Coz corporate sponsorship taken, BOOM!
Now what you gonna do, what you gonna say,
‘Coz we do this like every single day,
Exploiting poor people like it is fun,
Actually it is when that shit has done

This is Vedanta and this is our anthem,
All the corporate greedy people chant them,
This is Vedanta and this is our anthem,
All the corporate greedy people chant them

That’s right, ain’t this a crazy world,
We are evil but we got Desi Girl,
That’s right, we got Priyanka Chopra to endorse us,
Now we got all kinds of endorsements,
All sorts of people saying that it’s cool,
What they did in the past, but they sent kids to school,
But hear the truth, we didn’t send anyone though,
That’s right, and that’s how we get through the flow,
That’s right, yo, this is such a crappy fest,
We make an art form out of  faking happiness,
And that’s us, that’s the Vedanta anthem,
All the corporate greedy people chant them,
And yo, you know Niyamgiri’s ill,
And we will come back, we will take Niyamgiri Hill,
And all the tribal people who had opposed us,
Come on man, you had proposed us
To be gone, but we will be back,
And when we come, we will come, we will be wrath,
We will buy over the police and the army,
That’s right, I’m rich, tell me who’ll harm me,

Vedanta Signing Out.


SO WHATS THE BACKGROUND OF VEDANTA AND WHY YOU SHOULD BE BOTHERED ?

BACKGROUND

Niyamgiri hills, home to 8,000-odd Dongria Kondhs, tribal group, a few hundred Kutia Kondhs and other forest-dwellers who eke out a living cultivating pulses, paddy and collecting naturally-grown horticultural crops, is considered sacred by the indigenous tribes and others as it is the abode of Niyamraja – their presiding deity.

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had rejected (Stage-II /final approval) Forest Clearance on 24.8.2010 for the Bauxite mining on the basis of issues outlined by the Forest Advisory Committee which stated that ‘the Primitive Tribal Groups were not consulted in the process of seeking project clearance and also noticed the violation of the provisions of Forest Rights Act, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and also the impact on ecological and biodiversity values of the Niyamgiri hills upon which the Dongaria Kondh and Kutia Kondh depend’ and the detailed report of Naresh Sexana Committee specially appointed to look into the issue. This MoEF Order was challenged in a petition at the Supreme Court of India by Orissa Mining Corporation.

The Supreme Court of India had decided on 18 April 2013 that if Bauxite Mining Project of Vedanta affects the religious right of Schedule Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers like Dongaria Kondh, Kutia Kandha and others over the Niyamgiri hills in Odisha ‘right has to be preserved and protected’. The Court has left it to the Gram Sabhas to decide if such right is affected by the proposed mine.cts.

In India  first time an environmental referendum was conducted on a directive by the Supreme Court to find out whether mining in Niyamgiri will tantamount to an infringement of the religious, cultural, community and individual rights of local forest-dwellers. During July-August this year, 12 gram sabhas, selected by the Odisha government for the referendum on mining in Niyamgiri hills, had rejected the proposal. The tribal villages, located on the hill slopes, are part of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts.

image

1.   The first  village council  was held at Serakpadi village of Raygada district.  In the sabha 36 out of 38 voters in the first Palli Sabha in Niyamgiri have voted against mining in Niyamgiri.

2.T he second, three hour long ,  village council meeting at Kesarpadi in Rayagada district-, in which -Thirty-three of 36 eligible voters , including all 23 women, voted against bauxite mining……At the three-hour-long sabha, 33 of 36 adult voters from Kesarpadi  unanimously adopted a resolution as per the Forest Rights Act, conveying their opposition to mining in the Niyamgiri hills.

3  The third village council meeting was held in a non -tribal forest hamlet of Tadijhola, which is imporant note also  unanimously rejected proposed bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills t.Nineteen of the 22 voters in the village were present  including eighty-seven year old Sugri Gouda. Hard of hearing and barely able to stand on her own, she insisted on signing the resolution before leaving the meeting venue. Three bare words she uttered drew a cheer from those present: “Niyamgiri dibu nai” (won’t give up Niyamgiri). Gauda was the also most sought after by media, with a slew of video cameras following her fragile steps as a family member walked her home.

4.  The villagers of Kunakeda, a Dongaria Kondh village in Kalahandi district, today unanimously rejected the proposal for mining in Niyamgir..All 21 out of 22 voters, who attended the meeting, voiced their opposition to Vedanta .

5  The 5th village coucil meeting w s held at Palberi, where .Fifteen of the 16 adult voters from the forest village were in attendance. and voted out vedanta.

 

6 The sixth Pali sabha , Batudi rejected settlement of community forest claims in Niyamgiri ,  31 among 40 voters from the hamlet in attendance, also rejected a joint verification report to settle community and religious rights to the forests granted under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.

7  The seventh village council , Phuldumer – again voted unanimously to reject Vedanta’s mine.—49 of the 65 listed voters were present to voice their opinion, in the meeting.

8  Ijurupa  village council meeting was a CLASSIC ,  where there is just a famiily, and the  four  members of te family nailed down a 72 MT mining proposalvillage in Kalahandi district, Odisha

9   At Lamba ninth pallisabha ,Braving intermittent rain, the 38 voters in the remote village, ousted Vedanta

10.The largest village council fo 12 villages , Lakhpadar village under Kalyansinghpur of Rayagada district located on the slopes of Niyamgiri, the 97 Dongaria Kondhs present in the pallisabha unanimously rejected the proposal to mine the hills for bauxite.

11. Khambasi village in Rayagada district , was the  the eleventh palli sabha , which  also unanimously opposed Vedanta

12-   On August 19th In Jerapa, 16 out of 26 voters, including 10 women, gathered at the final Palli Sabha on Niyamgiri. Under heavy police presence, and in heavy rain, they repeated the statements given in previous meetings – that they opposed the mine and would not leave the mountain no matter what. The twelve voters said they were ready to face bullets to prevent the digging of their sacred mountain.

On August 19th, NDTV and VEDANTA LAUNCHED the ‘ our girls our pride’ campaign. Coincidence ?

 

While our friends at  FOIL VEDANTA protested on the streets of london , On August 1st at the AGM  of Vedanta , When asked about Lanjigarh refinery and the scandal that is the attempted Niyamgiri mine, Anil Aggarwal ,  responded with a dreamy speech about believing that Niyamgiri was meant for Vedanta. he talked about hearing about Kalahandi as a child – a ‘black spot’ on India, and its ‘poorest poorest place’, and how he’d always wanted to do something about it. He said:

“We took courage to go there, no road even or bridge, it was all isolated, we created infrastructure, 7000 got work, not a blade of grass was moved in Niyamgiri .”

DOWNLOAD FULL PROCEEDINGS HERE

 

JOIN US – FAKING HAPPINESS

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

Happy Birthday Dr Prannoy Roy – Withdraw Vedanta #ourgirlsourpride #NDTV #CSR

birthday1

Join  FAKING HAPPINESS CAMPAIGN  in wishing  Dr Prannoy Roy of  NDTV  on his birthday,  on 15th Oct 2013 , and hope he withdraws VEDANTA form the our girls our child campaign , in the  name of TRUTH, as he claims  for his 24 x7 channel .

Faking happiness campaign came into being last year when Vedanta launched its first CSR social media campaign called khushi- creating  happiness, which was a complete sham and facade. 

 “Creating Happiness” – a series of short films about Vedanta that aired on 37 TV channels – was an advertising campaign conceived by India‘s ad guru Piyush Pandey of Ogilvy & Mather. It was launched  last year with a technically slick film that focused on the apparent happiness of Binno, a small girl in Rajasthan, when she discovers that she can get an education from the anganwadis (child day care centres) set up by the company.

The company announced an initiative for students at media and film institutes to produce short films about the company that would then be judged in competition by a heavy-weight jury consisting of Pandey, actor Gul Panag and noted director Shyam Benegal who had championed “art cinema.” (Benegal’s early films realistically depicted feudal conditions in rural India).


Following our campaign  Benegal and Panag withdrew from the jury saying they were unaware of Vedanta’s role in the competition.  We had our own competition .” Blog posts, short films, cartoons and spoofs poured in on Facebook and YouTube that charged Vedanta with falsehoods.

Once again when NDTV  launched ourgirlsourpride campaign we are back in action .

 Our two petitions to Priyanka Chopra and Prannoy Roy have crossed the 2000 mark, and its amazing to see the voices and support not only from india but from world over, there are signatuers from USA, Pakistan, Iran , belgium, italy , Japana, China, UAE, South Africa, Canada

 

and many other countries 

If you have not still sign the petition please do at

NDTV WITHDRAW VEDANTA AS PARTNER IN OUR GIRLS OUR PRIDE CAMPAIGN

and

PRIYANKA CHOPRA WITHDRAW AS AMBASSADOR FROM OUR GIRLS OUR PRIDE
 WATCH OUR GREETING IN TWO VIDEOS BELOW 

 




Many Creative faces with political voices have joined the campaign and a few known   names who have sigend petition are

 Indian classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai

Theatre and Film Actor, Joy Sen Gupta
Admiral Ram Das
Film Maker Anand Patwardhan
Film Maker Rakesh Sharma
Film Actor Sushant Singh
Noted Violinst Sunita Bhuyan
Sufi Singer — Dhruv Sangari
Hindustani  Clssicial Singer –Neela Bhagwat
Playback singer in Indian Films –  Shefali  Alavares
Cinema, and theatre actor-  Asif Basra
Theatre actor and  Shamiana founder- Cyrus Dastur
Actor and Comedy Artiste – Gurpal Siingh
Lok shahir and Sambhaji Bhagat
Poet and writer-  Meena Kandasamy
Rap artist and performer- Ashwini Mishra aka  @Alist
 Kannada actor and theatre artiste- P D Sathishchandra
Noted  Cine actress- Suhasini Mulay

For those on Facebook you  can check the album BELOW

Creative Faces with Political Voices against VEDANTA

U CAN SEND BIRTHDAY GREETINSG TO [email protected],  and ask him to withdraw  VEDANTA from ourgirlsourpride campaign

sample messages below

1 For the Pride of Tribal Girls , Withdraw Vedanta as Partner on your Birthday.Wishes & Compliments on this day Mr. Roy

card2
2.Roses are Pink and Sky is Blue , Vedanta is One Friend which does not Suits you .Withdraw Vedanta as Partner Mr. Roy Tons of Wishes & Blessings on your Birthday

card


3.Twinkle Twinkle little star , kick Vedanta desh ke bahar. for sake of Tribal girls withdraw Vedanta as Partner on your Birthday . Happy Birthday & Be Blessed Mr. Prannoy Roy

CARD1


4.Our Earth, Soil, Water, Air and Life became polluted by your friend Vedanta. Withdraw Vedanta as your pratner from Our Girls our Pride on your Birthday . happy BDay Mr. Roy

card3

 

in solidarity
 
Kamayani
 
for Faking happiness campaign
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/1000-plus-signatures-to-ndtv-and-priyankachopra-against-vedanta-socialmedia-csr-must-share/" target="_blank">1000 plus signatures to #NDTV and #PriyankaChopra against #Vedanta #socialmedia #CSR #must share
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-balco-operated-by-vedanta-mired-in-land-diversion-controversy-in-chhattisgarh/" target="_blank"> #India – BALCO operated by Vedanta mired in land diversion controversy in Chhattisgarh
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-niyamrajas-tribals-wont-bow-to-vedanta-indigenous-mustread/" target="_blank"> #India – Niyamraja’s Tribals won’t bow to #Vedanta #indigenous #mustread
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-do-we-really-need-the-bauxite-from-niyamgiri-vedanta/" target="_blank"> #India – Do we really need the bauxite from Niyamgiri ? #Vedanta

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

1000 plus signatures to #NDTV and #PriyankaChopra against #Vedanta #socialmedia #CSR #must share

 

Mumbai Mirror, Oct 2, 2013 sign_petiton_vedanta

    We were the first to tell you about Aishwarya turning down an offer to be the face of a girl child campaign launched by a controversial mininggiant. The honour, if one may call it that, was eventually bestowed on Priyanka Chopra.

A counter signature campaign has since then been gaining momentum, urging Priyanka to step down from the position. Supported by individuals and NGOs, the petition also requests the media house backing the initiative, to step away and highlight the irrevocable damages caused to the environment by the mining company.

 

It will be interesting to see if either Ms Chopra or the media company take note.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE PETITIONS BELOW SIGN AND SHARE WIDELY

NDTV stop sleeping with the enemy Vedanta

and

Priyanka Chopra withdraw as Ambassador of the Our Girl Our Child Campaign

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

#Vedanta funding can land big political parties in a soup #India #CSR #mustshare

Vedanta funding can land Congress, BJP in a soup

Civil society group ADR makes case for keeping political parties under transparency law

Ashish Mehta | new delhi | September 13 2013

The Congress and the BJP have been receiving huge amounts in funds from Anil Agrawal’s London-based Vedanta Group through its subsidiaries in India, raising questions from a civil society group over the alleged foreign funding of the political parties.

Between 2003-04 and 2011-12, three Vedanta Group firms – Sterlite Industries India Ltd, Sesa Goa Ltd and Solaries Holdings Ltd – have contributed a total of Rs 9.78 crore to the Congress. During the same period, the BJP has been more fortunate, receiving a total of Rs 19.41 crore from two firms – Vedanta Madras Aluminium Ltd, Sesa Goa Ltd – and a curious entity called Public and Political Awareness Trust (which alone has given BJP Rs 14.50 crore), which has also been traced to be part of the Vedanta conglomerate.

This information has been dug out by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) from the income-tax returns of the two major political parties. The only dubious part is that under sections 3 and 4 of the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act [FCRA], 1976, political parties are not permitted to accept contributions from foreign companies or companies in India controlled by foreign firms. ADR has filed a PIL in Delhi high court in this respect.

The Vedanta payments, as well as payments from trusts formed by corporate groups like Aditya Birla, Tata and Bharti, form the ‘known’ part of income generated by political parties. [The trusts include harmony Electoral Trust, Corporate Electoral Trust and Satya Electoral Trust which have been supporting the two parties handsomely, and yet it is not clear who have set them up.]

The fact that Anil Agrawal, whose mining project in Odisha’s Niyamgiri has been opposed by the tribals there, has been making payments to the BJP and Congress might seem shocking but – barring the FCRA tangle – there is nothing irregular about it. All the payments are in cheque.

The really shocking part is that no one knows – and there is no way to know – who or what is the source of 75 percent of the total income of six national parties, Trilochan Sastry and Jagdeep Chhokar, two of the founding members of ADR, said at a media briefing here Friday.

Over the past eight years, the six national parties – Congress, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI, CPI(M) – have received a total of Rs 4,895.96 crore. Less than one-fourth of it is from known sources – for example, contributions from well-wishers like Anil Agrawal and membership fees – but 75.05 percent of it is from sources only they know of.

This is so because the political parties, which receive tax breaks among other privileges, are not required to reveal the sources of payments of less than Rs 20,000. Parties seem to be exploiting this loophole and dishing out ridiculous figures in their declarations to the election commission. Thus, between 2004-05 and 2011-12, the Congress got a staggering Rs 1,951.07 crore (82.5 percent of its total income) from ‘unknown sources’. The party would like us to believe this amount came from people who could not shell out more than Rs 20,000 to support the party. At a token rate of Rs 20,000, the party has got 9.75 lakh such well-wishers, ADR has calculated.

In the murky world of political funding, all parties seem to be in the same range, except for the two communist parties. For CPI, only Rs 1.47 crore (or 14.7 percent of its income) is from unknown sources, while for CPM it is 53.8 percent. For BJP, BSP and NCP, the unaccountable portions of incomes come to 73 percent, 61.8 percent and 91.58 percent.

FOR DETAILS OF PARTY FUNDING: See attachments

FOR MORE ON ADR: visit adrindia.org

READ PROF CHHOKAR’S ARTICLES ON ELECTORAL AND POLITICAL REFORMS here

ADR said in 40 countries, including Nepal and Bhutan in our neighbourhood, political parties are expected to account for every penny they receive in donations – down to the counterfoil of the coupons of small amounts.

While the election commission has recommended lowering of the Rs 20,000 cut-off, political parties have stoutly resisted amending the law.

Sastry and Chhokar said the figures “strain credulity”. More importantly, there is no way anybody can find out anything about those unidentified sources. Even as transparency is expected everywhere else, and even a small-time NGO or a salaried employee is supposed to explain all sources of income, political parties are one exception.

Indeed, parties are an exception to all rules and laws. The larger point ADR made with its detailed analysis of “sources of funding of national political parties” is that application of the RTI Act to political parties, as ruled by the central information commission (CIC) in a June verdict, is a necessity even as a modest step in subjecting them to transparency. Though parliament could not pass the necessary amendments to shield parties from the RTI Act, the government and the opposition have maintained that they are “committed” to doing so.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

Indian villagers defeat British billionaire over plans to mine sacred mountain #Vedanta defeated !

An Indian tribe which worships its remote jungle mountain as a living god has inflicted a humiliating defeat on one of Britain’s wealthiest billionaires over his plans to open a vast aluminium ore mine on their land.

<script src=”http://player.ooyala.com/player.js?height=315&embedCode=Q4dHB0ZDpsPps02yUSPlqGUfsv6CLG9k&video_pcode=RvbGU6Z74XE_a3bj4QwRGByhq9h2&width=560&deepLinkEmbedCode=Q4dHB0ZDpsPps02yUSPlqGUfsv6CLG9k”></script>

By Dean Nelson, Lakhapadar, Orissa, The Telegraph

Anil Agarwal, who rose from humble beginnings as a scrap metal dealer in one of India’s poorest states to a life of luxury in London’s Mayfair, had planned to boost his fortune by mining and processing bauxite in Niyamgiri, Orissa, south East India.

He promised to bring new jobs, build schools and hospitals to bring the hill’s ‘backward’ Dongria Kondh tribesmen into the modern world.

Anil Agarwal, Chief Executive of Vedanta Resources. (JUSTIN SUTCLIFFE FOR THE TELEGRAPH)

His plan however, which was agreed with the Orissa state government as far back as 2005, infuriated the Dongria who saw the proposal as an attack not only on their way of life but also on ‘Niyamraja‘, the sacred hill they worshipped as their provider.

They launched a protest movement to save their verdant tropical forest paradise populated by tigers, leopards and elephants from Mr Agarwal’s plans to replace its mango and sal trees with mine shafts and busy roads.

And this week they clinched a decisive victory. Lakhapadar, the largest of twelve Dongria villages on Niyamgiri, rejected the mine plan unanimously in a vote described by an Indian minister as a historic moment in the country’s democracy – the first time the government had allowed its tribal people to decide their own future.

The Dongria speak Kui, a language few outsiders understand, and live in remote mud hut villages with little contact with the outside world. They live without electricity, have no access to television, and have survived without schools and hospitals. Few, if any, of them have ever been to the nearest town, Bhawanipatna, two hours away by car or watched a Bollywood film.

Their men, who keep sharp forest axes hooked over their shoulders and wear clips and combs in their centre-parted, pony-tailed hair, collect bananas, mangoes, oranges and medicinal plants from the forest and barter some of their bounty for salt, cloth and other items they cannot find. Dongria women have three nose rings and wear few clothes except for a backless sari cloth which loosely covers their breasts.

Dongria Kondha tribal villagers observe and listen to proceedings from inside the Gram Sabha meeting hall in Lakhapadar village. (Simon De Trey-White)

The conflict between their old world and the new one of Mr Agarwal first emerged after the tycoon’s Vedanta Resources began building a vast aluminium refinery at the foot of Niyamgiri to process the bauxite he was confident he would be allowed to mine below its higher slopes. Many Dongria were forced to leave their homes and their traditional subsistence living to make way for the construction.

Villagers listen to proceedings outsdie the Gram Sabha meeting hall. (Simon De Trey-White)

Their eviction led to a series of legal challenges to halt the mining plans which culminated with a Supreme Court order for the villagers themselves to decide on the £1 billion mine investment in a series of votes.

On Wednesday, several hundred Dongria gathered for the tenth and largest of 12 village council elections in what the government regarded as the decisive vote.

The Telegraph travelled with judge Sarat Chandra Mishra, appointed to record their decision, as he made his way under the thick forest canopy on the two hour steep hike to Lakhapadar. The judge was accompanied by several hundred heavily armed paramilitary police to protect him after the government alleged the area had become ‘infested’ by Maoist insurgents. The tribesmen say the claim is false and the government has used it to justify a campaign of intimidation against them.

Under a makeshift pagoda in Lakhapadar and amid driving monsoon rain, many villagers wielding their axes and squatting on their haunches were called out one by one by the judge to record their vote and make a speech. Their angry rejections were broadcast across the hills over a generator-powered public address system.

It quickly became clear no one was prepared to support the state government and Vedanta‘s vision of progress and many vowed to attack any officials or company staff who tried to exploit their hill with their weapons.

Sikaka Kunji, a 50 year old grandmother with nose-rings and a white backless sari, sent fellow villagers scurrying as she started swinging an axe in the air to express her anger. “I will sacrifice my life, I will use my axe and cut whoever comes for mining,” she said.

Sikaka Kunji (50) demonstrates with her axe how she would resist the Vedanta mining operation in her area. (Simon De Trey-White)

The state government, which supports the mining plan, had deployed armed police on the hill to intimidate her villagers, she claimed. “They are using the police force and disturbing us in our homes. We don’t want them and we are telling the government and the company we will cut them with our axes. Niyamraja is our god,” she added.

Accounts of intimidation of villagers appeared to be corroborated when the Telegraph’s reporter and photographer were detained by police intelligence officers and a local campaigner was summoned to the their headquarters in Bhawanipatna for questioning and denounced as a ‘foreign agent’ for assisting this paper.

A spokesperson for Vedanta meanwhile said it “categorically rejects and abhors all forms of violence, intimidation and coercion. We are very disappointed and surprised to hear these allegations.”

But other villagers confirmed that intimidation by police was now a way of life.

Sikuka Sani, a 36-year-old villager, told the Telegraph: “We’re getting beaten up and we’re living in terror. We’ve been unable to go to the nearby villages because the police goons follow us.”

Tribeswomen carry copper pots of water into the meeting hall. (Simon De Trey-White)

“We don’t want the refinery and this kind of [mining] development. For thousands of years we have been living here and for thousands of years our children will live here but these refineries will drain the mountains of water. As the refinery has come up, we’ve been facing more and more difficulties.”

Mr Sani said he rejected the advance of development and expressed the hope that his eight year old son Dili will never go to school, watch television or play computer games.

But he conceded that despite the famous victory of his small village over a mining giant, the march of development was probably unstoppable.

“Once he is educated, he will leave this mountain and learn this lifestyle. He will sell our land to the company. At these schools, they don’t teach how to live with nature, they teach how to live by exploitation,” he said.

Dongria Kondha tribal people leave Lakhapadar village after a unanimous ‘against’ vote in a Gram Sabha meeting. (Simon De Trey-White)

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

Peter Buffet – Is Charity nothing more than ‘Conscience Laundering ‘ ? #CSR

By PETER BUFFETT

The Charitable Industrial Complex

Published: July 26, 2013, NYT

I HAD spent much of my life writing music for commercials, film and television and knew little about the world of philanthropy as practiced by the very wealthy until what I call the big bang happened in 2006. That year, my father, Warren Buffett, made good on his commitment to give nearly all of his accumulated wealth back to society. In addition to making several large donations, he added generously to the three foundations that my parents had created years earlier, one for each of their children to run.

Early on in our philanthropic journey, my wife and I became aware of something I started to call Philanthropic Colonialism. I noticed that a donor had the urge to “save the day” in some fashion. People (including me) who had very little knowledge of a particular place would think that they could solve a local problem. Whether it involved farming methods, education practices, job training or business development, over and over I would hear people discuss transplanting what worked in one setting directly into another with little regard for culture, geography or societal norms.

Often the results of our decisions had unintended consequences; distributing condoms to stop the spread of AIDS in a brothel area ended up creating a higher price for unprotected sex.

But now I think something even more damaging is going on.

Because of who my father is, I’ve been able to occupy some seats I never expected to sit in. Inside any important philanthropy meeting, you witness heads of state meeting with investment managers and corporate leaders. All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left. There are plenty of statistics that tell us that inequality is continually rising. At the same time, according to the Urban Institute, the nonprofit sector has been steadily growing. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of nonprofits increased 25 percent. Their growth rate now exceeds that of both the business and government sectors. It’s a massive business, with approximately $316 billion given away in 2012 in the United States alone and more than 9.4 million employed.

Philanthropy has become the “it” vehicle to level the playing field and has generated a growing number of gatherings, workshops and affinity groups.

As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundering” — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity.

But this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over. Nearly every time someone feels better by doing good, on the other side of the world (or street), someone else is further locked into a system that will not allow the true flourishing of his or her nature or the opportunity to live a joyful and fulfilled life.

And with more business-minded folks getting into the act, business principles are trumpeted as an important element to add to the philanthropic sector. I now hear people ask, “what’s the R.O.I.?” when it comes to alleviating human suffering, as if return on investment were the only measure of success. Microlending and financial literacy (now I’m going to upset people who are wonderful folks and a few dear friends) — what is this really about? People will certainly learn how to integrate into our system of debt and repayment with interest. People will rise above making $2 a day to enter our world of goods and services so they can buy more. But doesn’t all this just feed the beast?

I’m really not calling for an end to capitalism; I’m calling for humanism.

Often I hear people say, “if only they had what we have” (clean water, access to health products and free markets, better education, safer living conditions). Yes, these are all important. But no “charitable” (I hate that word) intervention can solve any of these issues. It can only kick the can down the road.

My wife and I know we don’t have the answers, but we do know how to listen. As we learn, we will continue to support conditions for systemic change.

It’s time for a new operating system. Not a 2.0 or a 3.0, but something built from the ground up. New code.

What we have is a crisis of imagination. Albert Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem with the same mind-set that created it. Foundation dollars should be the best “risk capital” out there.

There are people working hard at showing examples of other ways to live in a functioning society that truly creates greater prosperity for all (and I don’t mean more people getting to have more stuff).

Money should be spent trying out concepts that shatter current structures and systems that have turned much of the world into one vast market. Is progress really Wi-Fi on every street corner? No. It’s when no 13-year-old girl on the planet gets sold for sex. But as long as most folks are patting themselves on the back for charitable acts, we’ve got a perpetual poverty machine.

It’s an old story; we really need a new one.

Peter Buffett is a composer and a chairman of the NoVo Foundation.

 

Cenk talks to Peter Buffett, composer and son of Warren Buffett about his philanthropic work and the problems with corporate charity. “Who in their right mind is going to get up in the morning and hope that they’re going to lose their job?” Buffett asks. “In fact, that’s what everybody working in any foundation should hope for… they [shouldn’t] want to have to get up tomorrow and solve the problem they’re trying to solve today. That’s just not the case. This is big business… nobody really wants to stop doing this.

Watch the video here –http://current.com/shows/the-young-turks/videos/cenk-talks-to-peter-buffett-about-philanthropy-and-creating-conditions-for-change

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

London- Protest call out! Join us at #Vedanta AGM, 1st August #mustshare

.

1st August, 2pm. The London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, W1K 6JP.

Join us for our major annual demonstration at Vedanta’s AGM.

We will bring the defiant energy of the Dongria Kond tribe to London, as they fight the final stages of their 10 years battle for survival against Vedanta’s planned mega mine.

Parallel demonstrations are already planned in Odisha and Delhi in India on this international day of action.

Bring drums, placards, banners and lots of energy!

See last year’s successful AGM demonstration here

Please see below for more information and background.

 

JOIN OUR GRASSROOTS SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT TO STOP THIS KILLER CORPORATE!

Vedanta Resources is a FTSE 100 British-Indian mining company guilty of thousands of deaths, environmental devastation, anti union action, corruption and disdain for life on earth. They have become one of the most hated and contentious companies in the world.

In Odisha, India they are trying to mine a mountain inhabited by an ancient tribe – the Dongria Kond – who have successfully fought them off for more than 10 years. Their fight is in its final stages, and we need to mobilise all our energy to ensure Vedanta is kicked out of the Niyamgiri mountains forever.

Vedanta is now diversifying into oil and gas, and expanding into Africa, Sri Lanka and possibly even the Arctic. They currently operate in Zambia, South Africa, Liberia, Namibia, Australia, Sri Lanka, and across India.

Coverage of last year’s AGM demo in the Guardian newspaper

Since last year’s AGM Vedanta are guilty of a major toxic gas leak affecting thousands of people at their Sterlite subsidiary copper smelter in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu. At their Jharsuguda Aluminium complex they released fly ash over farmland polluting rivers and villages. In Zambia they tried to fire 2000 workers from their Konkola Copper mines and smelter before being stopped by the Zambian Government. One Zambian employee was shot dead at the plant.

At Niyamgiri, Odisha, Vedanta with it’s cronies in the Odisha state government are trying to force their mega bauxite mine through at any cost. They are using police harassment,manipulation, threats and distortion of the legal systemto prevent the Dongria Kond from voting against the project in the coming weeks. Forces have even opened fire on women and children threatening them not to oppose the mine. But the Dongria are stronger than ever and prepared to fight tooth and nail to save their mountain in these final stages.

Vedanta are supported by the British government, as well as our banks, pension funds and financial institutions. Vedanta is 64.9% owned by CEO Anil Agarwal and his family via various tax havens. Top shareholders include Standard Life, Blackrock inc. and JP Morgan – the same financiers of South African miner Lonmin who shot and killed 34 protesting mine workers in August 2012.

 

 

Last year’s AGM demo

Foil Vedanta is a grassroots network of activists in direct solidarity with our friends affected by Vedanta in India and elsewhere. We are currently trying to get Vedanta de-listed from the London Stock Exchange.

Please join activists who will be rallying in Odisha, Goa and Delhi on 1st August as part of an international day of action to stop this killer corporate and it’s supporters.

We will be rallying outside Vedanta’s Annual General Meeting in solidarity with the Dongria Kond tribe of Odish

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts