“We hang the petty
thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.":
Aesop - (c. 550 B.C.)
Editor: Rima Kashyap Also: CONNECTiNG- the Editorial
- No Sex Please- We’re
Indian! A parliamentary committee is
left to decide whether or not sex education will be
taught in schools. Students, teachers and parents
in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chandigarh –
were asked what they really want!.
- World Bank in the dock:
The four day Independent Peoples Tribunal (IPT) on
the World Bank in India held in September heard numerous
depositions indicting the Bank's policy and project
interventions in India. Over six hundred people from
communities, social movements, research institutes,
NGOs and universities attended the proceedings held
- Relief work in Nandigram:
- A People’s Manifesto:
In what is being claimed as a first of its
kind initiative by activists in Gujarat, the Vikas
parishad has released a 'Peoples Manifesto' which
they claim highlights the concerns of citizens from
all strata of the society.
- Ratings don’t score:
An evaluation done by ORG Marg to evaluate
and grade (A, B, & C) all community based care
and support centers in India. Many of the leading
(if not all) organizations providing quality care
and support for PLHAs over the years, being funded
by the respective SACS have mysteriously been graded.
- Learning disability tests in
Indian languages: Two Mumbai-based teachers
from SNDT University's Centre for Special Education-professor
Dharmishta Mehta and lecturer Apoorva Panshikar, have
designed tests to detect Learning Disability in Hindi,
Marathi and Gujarati.
- People’s Action:Citizens
of a village invoke an old law to arrest a bootlegger
with Lok Satta’s help.
- Corporate ART Centre in Orissa:
The first corporate anti-retro viral therapy (ART)
centre in the State will come up at Koraput. Two more
are likely to be operational at SCB Medical, Cuttack
and VSS Medical at Burla by the end of this year through
the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The latest in the world of films and books in the
- More Stories:
I quote from a letter from a filmmaker in Bhubaneshwar
as this is a topic that requires event managers to be
sensitive and alert.
“I would like to bring to everyone's urgent attention
a disturbing trend emerging in Bhubaneswar amongst the
film fraternity & media persons. Over the last few
years more and more film festivals are being sponsored
by corporations facing charges of gross human rights
violations & environmental damage. The best example
being Vedanta Alumina Ltd., a company that has been
internationally hounded for its activities in Orissa.
Vedanta sponsored Bring Your Film Festival in Puri two
years back and now it has sponsored the Bhubaneswar
Film Festival '07.
The timing of these festivals sponsored by Vedanta
is always when the company is going through a tough
time. The Bhubaneswar Film Festival '07 kicks off a
week after the company was denied permission to carry
out bauxite mining in the pristine primary forested
Niyamgiri Hills by the Supreme Court of India on many
grounds; a week after the State Pollution Control Board
issued a notice to the company for affecting more than
25,000 villagers in 10 villages by the air and water
pollution caused by its illegal factory in Lanjigarh
and three weeks after the Govt of Norway withdrew its
investments in the company for its malpractices in Orissa.
The people's movement against Vedanta has been raging
for five years now. Many innocent civilians have been
beaten up by goons, and arrested under false charges.
Vedanta's factory was built in the most dubious manner
and many villages were forcefully displaced with ample
support by district administration. Their villages were
bulldozed while the police held them captive. Their
cattle was shooed away and they have been put in a virtual
prison -which the company has termed Rehabilitation
Colony. One local person was allegedly killed by the
goons of the company for resisting displacement and
protesting strongly against the atrocities of the company.
Around the factory there are many stories of deaths
that have been hushed up.
A headline in the front page of The Times of India
asked: "Whats good for Orissa, bad for Norway?"
The same question can be put to the organisers of the
Bhubaneswar Film Festival who choose to ignore the mis-happenings
in other parts of the state caused by their patron company
Vedanta. Just google keywords like Vedanta, Niyamgiri,
& Lanjigarh and one finds hundreds of webpages with
adequate information on how the company has violated
almost every law of the land in order to get its way
One doubts if the organisers are ignorant partners
in this event. Nonetheless, their disrespect towards
other citizens of the state who are suffering due to
the company's activities, cannot be more overt than
the mammoth billboards plastered all over Bhubaneswar,
advertising the film festival and Vedanta's name. These
bilboards might create some goodwill amongst lovers
of cinema and distract them from the real nature of
the sponsors which is most certainly a planned strategy.
Unfortunately these kind of festivals which are supposedly
for the cause of meaningful & good cinema will cause
more damage to society than the very meaningless &
commercial cinema with whom they are fighting for space.
In Orissa erring companies like Vedanta and Tata need
all the goodwill they can and are more than happy to
pay these people organizers. Being a volunteer in some
festivals in the past I am aware of how budgets are
proposed to potential sponsors who are mostly companies
with overactive PR wings (meaning they require more
Inscreen Film Society of which I was once a part is
also planning on a film festival next month in Bhubaneswar
and it will not be a surprise if names like Vedanta
or Tata pop up again as with BYOFF in Puri. Ironically
BYOFF was born to liberate and democratise film festivals
but has only proved to be facade for 'consent manufacturing'.
Now Bhubaneswar Film Society is doing it with the Bhubaneswar
Film Festival '07 from today without any regard for
thousands of people in Orissa who might be displaced
if Vedanta Alumina has its way. This film festival cannot
be treated as a film festival, rather an advertising
vehicle by Vedanta. I would call it a Trojan horse and
would like to sincerely appeal to everyone to boycott
such film festivals.
Shankar Dash, filmmaker, Bhubaneswar
Indians want sex education
While politicians are still debating on whether
or not children should receive sex education,
the mandate is clear as far as people, to whom
the issue really matters, are concerned. TIMES
NOW conducted a poll end-October to find out
how the issue is perceived across India.
According to the survey, it's an issue that
has divided public opinion right down the middle
and now a parliamentary committee is left to
decide whether or not sex education will be
taught in schools. Students, teachers and parents
in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chandigarh –
were asked what they really want!
The results showed that while politicians are
still squeamish about the sex education debate,
almost all teachers, students and parents are
unanimous in their decision for imparting sex
education in schools.
When probed, one of the parents spoke in favour
of sex education and said: "Schools will
do a better job of it because there could be
a sense of embarassment which could creep up
between the parent and their children."I
think children are more aware of sex than we
think because times have changed."
Out of the places surveyed, Bangalore presented
a slightly different picture. While 97% teachers
and 77% of the parents spoke in favour of sex
education, its the students who are slightly
divided on the issue -- 56% of the respondents
spoke in favour of the issue, while 44% of them
were against the sex education.
Moreover, in comparison, students in Chandigarh
are far more open about sex education -- 83%
of the students spoke in favour of it, while
their parents, who are slightly more conservative
do not want sex education to be imparted to
their children in school. Around 36% of the
parents were totally averse to the idea.
More than half of the respondents said that
the appropriate age to impart sex education
is between 15 to 18 years. However, teachers
felt that the earlier the better. "In case
of ignorance, students will try to experiment
or try to find out things on their own, which
could perhaps be riskier than providing them
education," said a teacher.
And while it has been left to a parliamentary
committee to take the final call, most teachers,
parents and students are against leaving it
to politicians to decide whether or not sex
education should be taught in school. The crux
of the poll clearly surmises that teachers,
students and their parents are unanimous in
their view that sex education in the curriculum
will go a long way in helping reduce sexual
abuse and teenage pregnancies.
Officials Refuse to be Held Accountable
'Tribunal charges W Bank with serious violations
of democracy, human rights and sovereignty'.
New Delhi: The four day Independent Peoples
Tribunal (IPT) on the World Bank in India held
in September heard numerous depositions indicting
the Bank's policy and project interventions
in India. Over six hundred people from communities,
social movements, research institutes, NGOs
and universities attended the proceedings held
The IPT invited the World Bank and while they
did agree to make a presentation responding
to some of the evidence, they failed to show
up They stated on their website that they had
taken this decision because they are not accountable
to the Tribunal process. We must record our
shock at their blatant disregard of any need
to be accountable to civil society and to a
Jury comprising retired justices of the Supreme
and High Courts as well as leading writers,
academics, religious leaders and activists.
In its preliminary findings, the IPT
observed the Bank had an undue and disturbingly
negative influence in shaping India's national
policies disproportionate to its contribution,
financial or otherwise.
While India is the world's largest single cumulative
recipient of World Bank assistance, with lending
totaling about $60 billion (Rs. 2,40,000 crores)
since 1944, current annual borrowing amounts
to less than 1% of the country's GDP. The loans,
however, have been used as leverage to bring
about important policy changes and impose conditions
in areas such as governance reform, health,
education, electricity, water and environment-
many of these with obvious political and social
consequences. The loans also legitimize substantial
additional funding from a diversity of bilateral
and multilateral donors such as the Asian Development
Bank and Department for International Development
(DFID-UK). The Bank's loans have caused extensive
social and environmental harm from mass displacement
in the Narmada valley to loss of livelihoods
of traditional fishworkers in places such as
It was noted that such overbearing influence
on India's policy making was in violation of
the World Bank's own Rules of Association, which
mandate it to be an apolitical institution that
should not interfere in political processes
of any member country. Further, the IPT depositions
stated that the presence of former Bank officials
in senior government positions was unacceptable
and involved conflicts of interest.
Vice Chairman of the Kerala State Planning
Board Professor Prabhat Patnaik in his deposition
cited the example of the Jawaharlal Nehru National
Urban Renewal Mission (NURM), which is a World
Bank designed project. In the Kerala NURM project,
the state government, he said, was being forced
to accept a condition to reduce stamp duties
to 5% from the earlier 15-17%. To avail a loan
of about Rs. 1000 crores, Kerala would lose
up to Rs.7000 crores of government revenue.
Vinay Baindur of the Bangalore based Collaborative
for the Advancement of Studies in Urbanism (CASUMM)
showed evidence of how the Karnataka Economic
Restructuring Loan (KERL) resulted in the conversion
of a state government and its economy into a
corporatised entity meant to generate funds
for "private sector and enterprise development"
The $250 million loan resulted in far reaching
changes; the closure/privatisation of the public
sector; the restructuring process led to a steep
rise in farmer suicides; many of those who committed
suicide did so because they were unable to pay
the arrears in power costs that were suddenly
slapped on them on account of power tariff hikes.
Jury member and scientist Meher Engineer said
that he found the depositions on how the Bank
forced inappropriate technology on India such
as incinerators especially damning. 'The Bank
is pro-rich, pro-urban and anti-environment',
The IPT was organized by an inclusive platform
consisting of over 60 national and local groups
(see list below). Activists, academicians, policy
analysts and project affected communities presented
evidence against the World Bank in over 26 sectors
from 21-24 September. Jury members included
historian Romila Thapar, writer Arundhati Roy,
activist Aruna Roy, former Supreme Court Justice
P B Sawant, former Finance Secretary S P Shukla,
former Water Secretary Ramaswamy Iyer, scientist
Meher Engineer, economist Amit Bhaduri, Thai
spiritual leader Sulak Sivaraksa and Mexican
economist Alejandro Nadal amongst others.
In response to the depositions
the Bank posted a Q&A document on its India
home page. Where it claims that, "The World
Bank definitely has not recommended the privatization
of water supply services in India". In
a sign of convergence with the Bank, the Government
of India also failed to send even a single representative
to the event,
Preliminary Findings by the Jury
After four days of testimony and depositions
from affected people, experts and academics
from some 60 grass roots, civil society groups
and communities from all over India covering
26 different sectors of economic and social
development, ranging in scope from the macro-economic
impact of wide ranging economic policies to
testimony from representatives of communities
said to have been harmed and impoverished by
specific World Bank financed projects. The evidence
and depositions present a disturbing and shocking
picture of increased and needless human suffering
since 1991 among hundreds of millions of India’s
poorest and most disadvantaged in rural areas
and in the cities.
It is clear to us that a significant number
of Indian government policies and projects financed
and influenced by the World Bank have contributed
directly and/or indirectly to this increased
impoverishment and suffering. All this has taken
place while a minority of India’s population
that constitutes the middle class and rich has
enjoyed the fruits of an economic boom.
The most disturbing leading indicator for this
suffering is the alarming increase in farmer
suicides since the 1990s. From 2001 to 2007
alone, according to the Indian Minister of Agriculture,
137,000 poor farmers have killed themselves.
These deaths are not random events; the evidence
we heard points to increasing financial pressures
on farmers all over India as a result of some
or all of the following policies, such as: reduced
subsidies from the Center and states, higher
prices for poor farmers for irrigation water,
electric power, and seeds; reduced subsidies
for agricultural inputs, reduced access to low
interest loans for the poor, and opening up
of the Indian economy to an uneven playing field
in international trade in agricultural commodities.
It is clear to us that major World Bank Economic
Restructuring, Structural Adjustment, and Sector
Loans have directly promoted and helped to finance
these economic policy changes which are a disaster
for much of India’s more than 700 million
rural inhabitants, and most disastrous of all
for poor farmers.
The net effect of many Bank prescribed policy
“reforms” appears to be the reorientation
of the Indian State priorities from striving
to secure a safety net for the poor and vulnerable
to providing a safety net for large domestic
and international corporations and investors.
What emerges is a picture of an institution
whose influence on the economic and social policies
of the Indian government is much greater than
the amount of its lending might indicate.
India and the international community must join
to hold the World Bank accountable for policies
and projects that in practice directly contradict
its mandate of alleviating poverty for the poorest.
contact the IPT secretariat at email@example.com
and +09820039557 www.worldbanktribunal.org.
Relief work for affected
communities in Nandigram
Nandigram has been in the centre-stage of barbaric
violence, gross human rights violations interspersed
with state-sponsored political suppression in
West Bengal, India for nearly a year now. CPI
(M), the ruling party in West Bengal, has come
under severe criticism globally.
Normal lives of 10,000 – 12,000 families
in Nandigram have been adversely affected, being
displaced from their dwellings, livelihoods
being jeopardised, and remaining scattered mostly
staying with their relatives.
The CPM cadres have forcibly closed down all
other relief camps. The only relief camp running
with about 1500 people is at Brij Mohan Tiwari
Shiksha Niketan in Nandigram.
`Dharna Manch' has been set up in Dharamtalla,
Kolkata, from where relief work is being coordinated.Every
day relief trucks leave from here with clothes,
food grains,tarpaulin sheets, baby food and
other items accompanied by some volunteers.---
NAPM, Asha Parivar, AID Contact:Debjit Dutta
9433624241 and Sudipto 9433972662
Donations should be sent in the name of 'Nandigram
Support Fund' to A/c No. 15210153262 of Canara
Bank, Bowbazar Branch, Kolkata.
Activists present 'People's Manifesto' to political
Ahmedabad : In what is being
claimed as a first of its kind initiative by
activists in Gujarat, the Vikas parishad has
released a 'Peoples Manifesto' which they claim
highlights the concerns of citizens from all
strata of the society.
Besides the issues of law and order, employment,
women's issues, tribal rights and minorities,
they have brought to the fore some pertinent
issues often neglected. The non-availability
of the promised Narmada water to farmers in
the absence of the requisite canals, absence
of availability of institutes of higher education
and realizing the significance and potential
of the state's 1,650 km long coastline have
been highlighted. Activists Digant Oza, Gautam
Thakar, and Vidyut Joshi, said one of the major
issues of the state is Narmada. "The height
of the dam may have been increased after much
hype to 121mt and further to 138 mtrs too but
Narmada water has yet to reach the farmland
in 3,400 villages. This requires the government
to construct a canal of 56,000 km, but the construction
of these canals has not gone beyond Vadodara,"
The Manifesto was prepared after meeting 4,000
persons in seven conferences across the State.
The 20 point manifesto is intended to be reached
to all political parties with request to accommodate
in there respective manifesto and their views
would be taken on issues raised in it, they
Human rights activist J.S. Bandukwala, who
was felicitated here along with Dr. Ram Puniyani
for getting the Indira Gandhi Award for National
Integration at a well attended function held
under P.U.C.L. Both felt that if civil society
had started these exercise before 50-60 years
then things would have been different today.------Ilaben
Pathak of Ahmedabad Women's Action Group, Dr.
Sudarshan Iyangar vice chancellor of Gujarat
Vidyapeeth were other speakers on the occasion.
The states inform us that there has been an
evaluation done by ORG Marg to evaluate and
grade (A, B, & C) all community based care
and support centers in India.
Many of the leading (if not all) organizations
providing quality care and support for PLHAs
over the years, being funded by the respective
SACS have mysteriously been graded in the so-called
B category and relatively new and rather small
care and support interventions have been categorized
as A; a few have been categorized as C and have
been disqualified without any intimation.
The letter states that all organisations in
the ‘A’ category will receive ongoing
funding as per the revised NACP 3 guidelines.
Organisations listed as ‘B’ would
basically have to apply and compete as and when
advertisements are released for new care and
support units in the uncovered districts. Organisations
listed as ‘C’ grade have been left
out from the over all scheme of things.
It has been brought to our notice that the above
was the result of a so- called evaluation process
supposedly conducted by ORG Marg of all low
cost community based care and support centers
in India. While we all appreciate a transparent
process of evaluation and grading with clear
terms of reference, the reports that we have
received from the Managers and coordinators
of the various care and support units of Freedom
Foundation supported till late by the respective
SACS, clearly state that there have been gross
violations of the so called evaluation.
We have also had the privilege of hearing similar
concerns from many of the other NGOs and Institutional
heads in the country whose organizations are
listed as A, B, & C in the rather infamous
Freedom Foundation-India, Nigeria, and Botswana
(Centers of Excellence- Substance Abuse &
email:freedom@bgl. vsnl.net. in, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Learning disability tests
in Indian languages
Mumbai: In a new milestone
for the Learning Disability (LD) movement in
India, two Mumbai-based teachers from SNDT University's
Centre for Special Education-professor Dharmishta
Mehta and lecturer Apoorva Panshikar, have designed
tests to detect Learning Disability in Hindi,
Marathi and Gujarati in a project funded by
the National Association of Adoptive Familie..
LD is not indicative of low intelligence, but
refers to a group of disorders that affect academic
and functional skills, like the ability to speak,
listen, read, write, spell, reason and organise
information. Some of the disorders are dyslexia,
dyscalculia and dysgraphia. The tests were standardised
with the help of 1,123 Class IV and V students
from municipal and private schools across Mumbai.
The tests include auditory as well as visual
Workshops are conducted on four consecutive
Saturdays, starting September 29, for those
who have done an MEd/BEd in special education
or an MA in counselling psychology.
Lok Satta makes history by effecting
For the first time in independent India's history,
the Lok Satta Party has invoked Section 43 of
the Criminal Procedure Code and effected the
arrest of a belt shop operator at Satukupadu
village in Jarugumilli mandal of Prakasam district
in Andhra Pradesh. Illegal sale uncertified
liquor is a serious crime under various laws.
Section 43 enables citizens to arrest persons
committing non-bailable and cognizable offences
and hand them over to local police or the magistrate.
The Mahila Satta, after a 45-day state-wide
campaign against belt shops, had warned the
Government that it would resort to direct action
if the Government did not shut down the shops
by October 2. The Lok Satta Party, which as
a matter of philosophy does not believe in `rasta
rokos' and `bandhs' as forms of protest since
they inconvenience the public, decided to invoke
the Criminal Procedure Code section dealing
with citizen arrests.
In a statement, Mrs. D. Lakshmi, State Mahila
Satta convener, said that local women led by
Dr. Radha Devi, district Mahila Satta coordinator
and Mr. C. Venkata Reddy, district Lok Satta
Secretary, seized 67 liquor bottles from belt
shop operator Nadagatla Gopi, conducted a `panchanama'
and arrested him.
According to the Lok Satta, there are more than
one lakh unauthorized liquor outlets playing
havoc with people in the rural areas of Andhra
Pradesh. In response to a representation from
the Mahila Satta on October 5, Chief Minister
Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy conceded the existence
of belt shops and advised the leaders to mobilize
local women and get the shops closed since the
Government alone could not do it. He had already
instructed police and excise officials to cooperate
with the women in their mission, he added.
Corporate ART Centre in
The first corporate anti-retro viral therapy
(ART) centre in the State will come up at Koraput.
Two more are likely to be operational at SCB
Medical, Cuttack and VSS Medical at Burla by
the end of this year. Confederation of Indian
Industry (CII) will facilitate setting up of
the first ART centre by corporates in the State,
Consultant Health and Programme Manager, CII
Dr Rammnik Ahuja said.
CII has entered into a unique agreement with
National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) for
setting up more ART centres which would be supported
by the corporate houses. As of now, two CII-facilitated
centres are running in the country and in the
next three years, 10 more would come up, Ahuja
As per the MOU, NACO will provide the rapid
test kits and drugs to patients who come for
"Happiness behind Tragedy",
25 mins. DVD
Original in Korean, dubbed in English and Tamil.
The film is a documentary on Child labour recently
in Sivakasi, after a lot of opposition. Sivakasi
is well know for its dangerous fire [cracker]
works and match factories. The documentary tells
us the tragedy of children working in very dangerous
circumstances and also it explains the aftermath
of accident victims.
Video clippings, :] http://www.tamilinfoservice.com/manitham/hr/children/labour/1.htm.
Part of your contributions goes to the affected
children of Sivakasi.
Rates for India- Tamil Rs. 300, English Rs.
400 [both inclusive of postage charges].
MANITHAM - Promoting Human Rights, Protecting
274 GC, Avvai Shanmugam Salai, Royapettah, Chennai
- 600 014, Tamil Nadu.
Mobile : +91-94433 22543
mail : email@example.com.
English, Hindi and Marathi (with English subtitles)
Directed and produced by Matthew Gandy
The tortuous flow of water through Mumbai presents
one of the most striking indicators of persistent
social inequalities within the globalizing metropolis.
The documentary film explores the complexity
of water politics in Mumbai ranging from the
engineering challenge of transferring nearly
3,000 million litres of water a day to the city
from the jungles, lakes and mountains of the
state of Maharashtra to debates over flooding,
privatization and social conflict. The film
is based on a unique collaboration between academics
and film makers based in London and Mumbai and
combines in-depth interviews with activists,
engineers, local residents and other voices
The film was developed in collaboration with
PUKAR and was funded by the Arts and Humanities
Research Council. Email:: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website:: www.pukar.org. in <http://www.pukar.org.in>
Resisting Coastal Invasion
English, 52 minutes
Directed by K P SasiI.
Today, both coastal ecosystems as well
as the customary rights of fishing communities
over coastal areas are severely eroded by developmental
activities and market interests - tourism, industrialization,
sand mining, infrastructure-building, aquaculture
and rapid urbanization. The only piece of legislation
ever enacted to regulate developmental activities
along the Indian coast was the Coastal Regulation
Zone (CRZ) Notification of 1991. Not surprisingly,
in today's age of globalization, the CRZ Notification
is increasingly being regarded as an impediment
to free market. Moves are afoot to dispense
with it altogether. Resisting the Coastal Invasion
explores these questions: what are the implications
of such a deregulation agenda? Who benefits?
Who loses? Who's accountable? Who is to blame?
The film captures the struggles of fishing communities
who are fighting tooth and nail against the
takeover of their lands by the forces of globalization.
For further information:
Phone: 28031935, E-mail: email@example.com.
Shree Prakash, INSAF Secretariat, Tel: 26517814,
6 Yards to Democracy
Script and Direction: Nishtha Jain and Smriti
Camera: Deepti Gupta, Sound: Anita Kushwaha,
Editing: Vipin Sharma,
Sound Design: Niraj Gera, Produced by Raintree
6 Yards to Democracy revisits a gruesome stampede
that took place during an election rally in
north India. Thousands of women from poor localities
of Lucknow city had been lured there by the
promise of free saris; 22 died and hundreds
This seemingly stray incident uncovers the sordid
side of Indian democracy, and connects in significant
ways with the daily humiliations forced upon
these women and their families.
As boomtown dynamics keep pushing them further
into the margins, we observe the women's struggles
to keep their homes, hopes, and dignity intact
while petitioning an apathetic state for their
dues. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Once Upon a Time in Chheharta
130 minutes-Hindi, English, Punjabi (with English
Directed by Nakul Sawhney.
A border town, Chheharta has been conspicuous
in the public eye for reasons other than just
its proximity to the Attari/ Wagah border or
its religious history. It was also an important
industrial centre on India 's map, home to 13-14
large mills and several other small scale factories,
power looms and handlooms.
Once Upon a Time in Chheharta is both a personal
journey and a historic account of the working
class movement of Chheharta, now included in
the Amritsar Municipal Corporation. The film
chronicles the important events and aspects
of the movement, from the early 1950's- when
the director’s grand uncle and grand aunt,
Satyapal Dang and Vimla Dang, both veteran leaders
of the undivided Communist Party of India moved
The last five decades in Chheharta have been
marked with moments of turmoil, resistance,
protest, victories and failures and this film
looks at some of the more prominent events while
attempting to chronicle this history. Events
that talk about how the working class of this
town fought to safeguard its rights, how the
women of Chheharta, under the banner of the
"Punjab Istri Sabha" participated
in every strike and struggle, thus becoming
an integral part of the movement.
The film ends with a look at Chheharta today
and examines the reasons for the closure of
Contact: Mobile (0) 991 0721 252
Film - CHANDAN SARMAH
A still from the film The Tai Phakeys.
They have withstood the histories of fragile
socio-political scenario and managed to keep
their identity intact. They are the Tai Phakeys
a tiny tribe of less than 3,000 people residing
in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam.
Mridul Gupta's 21-minute documentary film The
Tai Phakeys is a befitting tribute to this community.
The film talks about the migration of this tribe
to Thailand from the Hunan province of China
in the 18th century and their entry into Arunachal
Pradesh in 1838.
Caught in the outrage of the warrior tribe Khamtis
and the Ahom rulers, they finally relocated
to Dibrugarh and Tinsukia district mainly on
the banks of the Dihing river, as well as adjacent
parts of Lohit and Changlang districts of Arunachal
The film is a sincere effort to depict the way
in which Tai Phakeys lead their lives. In the
process, it also gives us an insight into the
tribe's food habits, its patriarchal system
and the manner in which funerals and marriage
ceremonies are conducted. The film mainly focuses
on three major aspects of their day-to-day life
– their agricultural life, their religious
beliefs and their intimate bond with the river
Mazi Goshta (My Story)
Has English subtitles. The film is a dramatized
story based on life of an artist suffering from
Schizophrenia, his and his family's successful
battle against the psychological disorder.
Dr.Vidyadhar Bapat Psychotherapist
M - 9850415170
Directed by - Parvez Imam.
This film comprising of six short sections,
brings together a variety of such issues related
to mental illness in India. Each section deals
with a different issue ranging from people’s
perceptions of mental illness to debates among
professionals and from the problems of women
languishing in mental hospitals to experiences
of those who have recovered.
Tamil (English subtitles)
Written and directed by KP Jayasankar
and Anjali Monteiro.
Camera KP Jayasankar.
Editing and Sound Design by KP Jayasankar
and Anjali Monteiro.
What does it mean to cross that line which sharply
divides us on the basis of gender? To free oneself
of the socially constructed onus of being male?
Is there life beyond a hetero-normative family?
Set in Tamilnadu, India, `Our Family' brings
together excerpts from Nirvanam, a one person
performance, by Pritham K. Chakravarthy and
a family of three generations of trans-gendered
female subjects. Aasha, Seetha and Dhana, who
are bound together by ties of adoption, belong
to the community called Aravanis (aka Hijras,
in some parts of India). Aasha Bharathi, the
grandmother, is the president of the Tamilnadu
Aravanigal Association, Chennai. Seetha, the
daughter lives with her male partner Selvam,
in Coimbatore. Dhana, Seetha's adopted daughter
also lives with her and shuttles between her
adopted and her natal families.
Global Warming - a fable from the Himalayas
by Nitin Das (8 mins/ English)
A short 8-minute film shot near Tibet, this
is a magical tale about a young boy who finds
the solution to global warming from a monk in
the mountains. The entire cast of the film is
from Kaaza, a small town in Spite Valley. The
film was made possible by spit ecosphere, an
NGO based out of Spite. The main intention of
this film is to spread the message of how fast
global warming is impacting the fragile ecosystems.
Changing Climates: The Science
by Television Trust For The Environment
27 minutes/ English.
Ever since the industrial revolution sparked
the widespread burning of fossil fuels, climatologists
have been preoccupied with measuring the effects
of carbon dioxide on the earth's climate. In
the first of films on climate change, Earth
Report takes a look back over 200 years of evolving
scientific thought - sometimes confusing and
contradictory - that has shaped the global warming
Climate Change – an Untold Story*
…a series of 4 films, winners of the UK
Environment Fellowships, 2005
45 minutes/ English.
Climate's First Orphans
by Nila Madhab Panda
The Weeping Apple Tree by Vijay S. Jodha.
A Degree of Concern by Syed Fayaz,
This film looks at the implications of climate
change on glaciers, and how artificial glaciers
are improving the water supply of Ladakh for
now. A Green Agony by Geeta Singh.
This film explores the unique ecosystem of the
Sunderbans and analyses the impact of global
climate change on this Indian coastal zone.
Contact Mobile: (0)9999564815 Email:
The Many Faces of Madness
Directed by Amar Kanwar.
The Many Faces of Madness emerges from the reality
of ecological destruction in India. The film
travels through different parts of the country,
revealing glimpses of traditional water harvesting
systems, mining and chemical pollution, community
forest protection, displacement, deforestation,
bio-piracy and coastal ecosystems. This award
winning film brings people face to face with
the intensity and impact of globalisation and
industrialisation and passionately pleads for
wisdom while facing these challenges.
Contact : email@example.com
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
ViBGYOR Film Collective, invite your films to
the 3rd edition of the ViBGYOR Short and Documentary
Film Festival, to be held from February 13th-
17th, 2008 in Thrissur, Kerala, India. ViBGYOR
is a meeting place for filmmakers, social activists
and media students, a dedicated place for films
on social and environmental issues, and a campaign
space for people's movements.
Films can be submitted under the following categories.
There is no entry fee for the Non-Competitive
categories. All films entered in all categories
will go through a Pre-selection round. The last
date for submission is December 15, 2007 (post
2. Focus of the Year: ENERGY
3. Music Videos, Animation, Experimental (Micro
films, Mobile phone films, etc)
4. Competition Section: KERALA SPECTRUM (restricted
to residents of Kerala)
ViBGYOR Festival Office
Chetana Media Institute,
3rd Floor, Kalliath Royal Square, Palace Road,
Thrissur, Kerala, India – 680 020.
For more information contact 9447000830/9446529991/0487-2330830
Website of ViBGYOR 2008 : http://www.vibgyorfilm.com
will be up soon.
Telugu audio/video songs to spread HIV/AIDS
This is a video album on condom usage. These
are dancing condoms are funny and hilarious.
The clip is on youtube – url: http://au.youtube.com/watch?
v=BTLj_3R0- 2g. It is a good way of spreading
the messages on HIV/AIDS/STI' s specially among
youth. Contact Srinivas e-mail: email@example.com.
Religious Division and Social Conflict: the
Emergence of Hindu Nationalism in Rural India
by Peggy Froerer, Social Science Press, New
Delhi, Distributed by Orient Longman Pvt. Ltd.,
1/24, Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110002. Rs. 650.
Peggy Froerer's book examines the transmission
of Hindu nationalist ideas by members of the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
to rural "adivasis" and the impact
it came to have on inter-group relations, in
particular the relations between Christians
and Hindus. She argues that it is particularly
important to understand how the Hindutva ideology
has penetrated into the everyday lives of "adivasi
groups" because despite the setbacks that
the movement has received at the national level,
it seems to be gaining in strength in states
with large "adivasi" populations.
Alternative Schooling in India
Edited by Sarojini Vittachi,
Founder Director, Girls Education Plus, Bangalore
and Neeraja Raghavan, writer and educational
Consultant, Bangalore with Kiran Raj, technical
writer, Bangalore. 2008, 252 pages, Paperback:
For India, Nepal, Bhutan: Rs.360.00
This book brings into focus the innovative methods
of learning in many Indian schools. It sheds
light on schools that make the learning process
fun for the teacher as well as the taught, in
contrast to the whirl of examination- oriented
learning in mainstream schools.
The book includes exclusive articles by leading
practitioners in the field, who offer an insight
into the ground reality when a certain philosophy
is applied to a school, and also experiential
accounts of how such alternative practices mould
the learner, teacher and impact on parents as
well. It includes a directory of alternative
schools in India, including many schools that
are tucked away in remote corners of the country.
Interestingly, the common thread binding these
'alternative schools' is concern for the welfare
of the child by teachers who see their work
as much more than a job.
Edited by Dr. Kartik Shanker and Dr.
This is a new popular science publication on
conservation launched with the support of the
Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) and
the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and
the Environment (ATREE). It carries the latest
in research news from the natural- and social-science
facets of conservation, such as conservation
biology, environmental history, anthropology
and sociology, ecological economics, and landscape
Contact: Meera Anna Oommen.ATREE 659, 5th A
Main Road, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, Karnataka.
Tel: 080 353 0069, 353 3942 Fax: 353 0070. http://www.conservationandsociety.org/currentconservation.html
Local Governance In India — Decentralization
Edited by Niraja Gopal Jayal, Amit Prakash,
Pradeep K Sharma
Oxford University Press, YMCA Library Building,
Jai Singh Road, New
It contains essays on the functioning of local
government institutions in contemporary India.
These papers, originally presented at a UNDP
and UN-Habitat conference in New Delhi in 2002,
dispel many myths about Indian democracy. The
collection, focusing on local government institutions,
shows that at the very point where the Indian
state most needs to involve the public and to
work, it fails, and even intensifies the suffering
of hundreds of millions in one of the world's
most unequal and oppressive societies.
A Guide for Monitoring and Evaluating Population-Health-Environment
Programs - by Theresa Finn.
For well over three decades, dozens of community-based
development and conservation projects experimented
with a seemingly unlikely innovation: combining
efforts to help communities manage and conserve
their natural resource base with efforts to
improve their health and access to family planning
information and services. These projects came
about as conservation or community development
projects focusing on natural resource management
found that women came forward and asked for
help to plan pregnancies and improve their communities’
health. Conservation, community development,
and health nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
then took the initiative to create programs
linking health and conservation. These programs
evolved into the current generation of population,
health, and environment projects, or PHE projects
as they are now more commonly known.
New Web Edition of Economic and Political Weekly
The EPW web edition has been comprehensively
redesigned with a new look, feel and additional
features. The web edition will now have interactive
features (Blogs), provision to review papers
submitted to EPW, featured Themes with selections
from the archives, etc. Visitors to the site
no longer need to register. Non-subscribers
can read all the articles in the current and
past four issues without registration.
There is a Guide to the Site explaining all
features in detail.
Campaign for improved electoral process and
Bangalore: A group of citizen-activists
under the banner of Citizens' Action Forum and
a number of reputed NGOs / CBOs, CIVIC, Election
Watch, KKNSS [Karnataka Kolageri Nivasigala
Samyuktha Sanghatane], the Public Affairs Center
and Swabhimana have come together for the purpose
of initiating the cleansing of our electoral
system & processes. The objective of this
cleansing program is to shift the focus of all
elections from vote-bank politics to one that
This campaign is focused on a five-pronged agenda
1. Cleansing of the Voters' Lists: to ensure
that voters' lists are error-free, with all
genuine voters' names entered therein and /
or incorrect names deleted.
2. Voters' Charter: that defines the relationship
between the elected representative and the voters
of the relevant constituency.
3. Voters' Manifesto: - the issues of concern
to the aam aadmi at each election.
4. Encouraging Independent Candidates: in order
to enhance the quality of candidature.
5. Motivating Voters: an on-going campaign till
the desired level of purity in elections is
Tackling HIV/AIDS: Saathi Home for Truckers
Saathi Care Home Ujjain starts a second clinic
in Mahidpur specially for truckers. Here two
doctors will be available for the drivers and
for cleaners. Mahidpur is the largest truck
drivers tehsil in Madhya Pradesh (MP). Saathi
care home started a HIV clinic in 2005 at Ujjain.
Dr Anil Jain is giving service to people living
with HIV AIDS (PLHA). Free Nutrition is another
facility for PLHAs. This is available for all
the PLHAs in MP. Helpline number :0734-2580402.
Contact: Fr John, Saathi, E-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Observing World AIDS Day
The Red Ribbon Express a train
which aims at spreading awareness about HIV
and AIDS stopped at various stations in Karnataka
in December 2007. This seven coach train is
specially designed jointly by the National AIDS
Control Organisation (NACO), the Rajiv Gandhi
Foundation and the Nehru Yuvak Kendra. An exhibition
providing information on various aspects of
the disease would be showcased in two coaches,
while one coach each would be devoted for AIDS
interactive training, conference meeting counselling
and administration and management functions.
Another coach will have artists who would render
performances to spread awareness about AIDS.
According to Collector R K Mathur, directions
had been issued to Railways, Police, District
Panchayat, Education, Health and Woman and Child
Welfare departments to make arrangements so
that maximum people could visit the train.
World AIDS Day Campaign on 1 December, 2007
was also observed by the Bangalore HIV
and AIDS Forum with the 2007 theme,
"leadership", which highlights the
need for innovation, vision and perseverance
in the face of the AIDS challenge. The campaign
called on all sectors of society such as families,
communities, civil society organizations and
governments to take the initiative and provide
leadership on AIDS. In Bangalore, activists
organised a programmes of fasting in solidarity
for the rights of People Living with HIV and
cultural activities and other events on the
two issues of 1) Treatment care and Support
and 2) Stigma and Discrimination. Contact: Action
Aid India, No. 139, Richmond Road, Bangalore
- 560025, Tel. (080)25586682, Mobile: 9845538873.
A public campaign to observe the World Aids
Day and International Human Rights Day was organised
on 8th and 9th Dec 2007 at Bannappa Park in
Bangalore by Sadhane, Samara, Karnataka
Sexworkers Union, Sangama and Suraksha.
Contact: Reginald Watts, Sangama, No.9, 'ABABIL',
Patel Cheluvappa Street, J.C.Nagar (M.R.Palya),
Bangalore 560006, Phone.No.080- 23438843 / 23438840.
More than 700 school students were from various
government and private schools and out of school
adolescents took the lead to pledge support
to ‘World AIDS Campaign - Stop AIDS Keep
the Promise’, at Ansal Plaza, Amphitheatre
in Delhi. They shared their opinions on the
topic of “sex education” in schools.
They reconfirmed the need of education in the
reality of HIV and AIDS. At the same time they
showed their commitment to end all forms of
discrimination against those living with virus.
“We may be informed about sex but we need
to be educated about it” declared an 11th
grader loud and clear. The programmes started
with the performance of a rock band ‘Ekam
Satyam’. Dr Fiona Barr, Country Director,
India HIV/AIDS Alliance commented, “The
importance of the programmes was highlighted
in a skit performed by out of school children
that emphasised the right to dignity and well-being
for children living with HIV. It is important
for children of all ages to realise what it
is to be in a family affected by HIV and AIDS”.
This collaborative initiative of UNESCO, India
HIV/AIDS Alliance, Save the Children, Plan,
Care, Medicare Foundation, Red FM and 10-Delhi
based NGOs ushered a partnership between UN,
International NGOs, corporate house, local NGOs
and Media to accelerate programmess targeted
at children. Contact: India HIV/AIDS Alliance,
Indian Development Foundation
and Vivek Education Society
organised a World AIDS Campaign on December
1, 2007 - World AIDS Day at Goregaon West, North
Mumbai. Nearly 300 Students from class XI onwards
formed the major audience who received the vital
information on HIV/AIDS. A group of 40 students
from Podar International School (IB) also took
active part in the campaign. Red Ribbons were
distributed to all the participating students
while pamphlets on HIV/AIDS were exchanged for
more knowledge. Students and dignitaries joined
in lighting candle to mark the World AIDS Day
and pledging to fight against the disease.
The Alliance Francaise of Madras
in association with Solidarity and Action Against
the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII), Shakti
Center, Nalamdana and Prakriti Foundation organised
a series of events over four days from the 30
Nov-3r December, which included panel discussions
on 'Gender, Sexuality and HIV' and 'Women, Chidren
and HIV', performances, film-screening and an
exhibition. Contact: SAATHII: Solidarity and
Action Against the HIV Infection in India 78,
Pushpa Nagar Main Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai
600 034. Tel. (044) 2817-3947/48. website:http://www.saathii.org.
Activism Against gender violence
The 16 Days Activism originated from the first
Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored
by CWG L in 1991. Participants chose the dates,
25 November, International Day against Violence
against Women and 10 December, International
Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link
violence against women and human rights and
to emphasize that such violence is a violation
of human rights. This 16 Days period highlights
a range of significant international awareness
days that fall within the 16 Days of Activism
including: 29 November, International Women
Human Rights Defenders Day; 1 December, World
AIDS Day; and 5 December, International Volunteer
New Delhi: The theatre group of Swayam,
an NGO, staged plays highlighting the provisions
of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence
Act 2005."We want to dispel the myths about
the Act, which is not about punishment but stopping
violence being meted out to women," said
Anuradha Kapoor, the director of Swayam. "The
authorities are yet to take adequate measures
for effective implementation of the law. There
are not enough protection officers, who are
to be appointed by the government — one
for each district," she added. "The
campaign period is significant, as it coincides
with International Day Against Violence Against
Women, World AIDS Day and World Disability Day".
The campaign also featured a rally on wheels,
workshops with police and "protection officers"
and information with fairs exhibition of posters
on violence against women. Aman: Global Voices
for Peace in the Home, an international network
of NGOs, organised a fortnight-long drive as
part of the International Campaign to Stop Violence
against Women and Girls.
South Asian Women’s Day
New Delhi: Activists from over
20 organisations with orange bands on their
foreheads marked their silent presence gathered
at the Central Park in New Delhi on 30 November
to celebrate the South Asian Women’s Day
– an occasion to spotlight women’s
struggle for peace, justice, human rights and
democracy in South Asia. The women of South
Asia, on this occasion, expressed solidarity
with the people of Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh,
demanding restoration of democracy. In a powerful
statement from the podium, the popular Bangladeshi
band 'BANGLA' led by Anusheh Adil, played a
piece that was specifically dedicated to South
Asian Women’s solidarity. According to
Anusheh, “It is time that the region's
women come together to speak out against violence
against women and girls and for women's empowerment.”
Kamla Bhasin of the SANGAT
secretariat, pointed out that other events were
also happening in the region. “Kriti,
Peace Women Across the Globe, and SANGAT jointly
organized an exhibition of 1,000 Peacewomen
at Kashmir. The same exhibition
was also showcased in Islamabad
by Rozan and SANGAT. The Aurat Foundation along
with others in Lahore, the
Women and Media Collective in Sri Lanka;
SANGAT in Dhaka, Bangladesh;
Strii Shakti, WOREC and others in Nepal,
IWID in Tamil Nadu, SWAYAM
in Kolkata, Olakh in Vadodara,
and SAHRWARU in Ahmedabad,
the North East Network in Guwahati,
have all organised demonstrations in their respective
countries on this day,” she said. Participating
organisations included ANHAD, Action Aid India,
Amnesty International, CADAM, Centre for Democracy
and Social Action, CWLR, HRLN, ISI, Jagori,
Kriti Team, Muslim Women’s Forum, NEN,
One World South Asia, Peace Women Across the
Globe, SANGAT, and WNTA.
10 years since AID INDIA started its education
activities in Tamilnadu. Starting with a few
tuition centers in 1997, today its education
programmess touch nearly a million children
in villages and schools across the state.
1. Padippum Inikkum (Tamil Reading Campaign
is mow reaching out to almost a million children
across 10 districts of Tamil Nadu.
2. Eureka Children's Libraries: 2300 low cost
villages libraries in 17 districts reach out
to over 1 lakh children in the state. Recently
a Children's Drama Festival was organized as
part of the library program in which 15000 children
3. Ariviyal Anandam (Science is Fun): In 1000
schools across the state, running a number of
smaller scale but very important education initiatives
like the Eureka Schools, Learning Centers, English
Classes, Math Program, Computer Centers and
Eureka Books. Contact: AID INDIA New No 34,
Rathenam Street, Gopalapuram, Chennai –
600086. Tel. (044) 28350403, 94440-61033 Email:
Seminar on Leprosy
Indian Association of Leprologists - Maharashtra
Branch as a part of its Continuing Medical Education,
in collaboration with the Bombay Leprosy Project
organized an Academic Review meeting on the
Proceedings of the conference of Indian Association
of Leprologists, held at Kanpur in Nov 2007.
This meeting was held on 4 December 2007 in
Mumbai, where experts from the field of Leprosy,
Dermatologists and Public Health Specialists
and programmes Managers from Mumbai and Thane
district, Faculty and Post graduate students
from the city medical colleges deliberated on
the proceedings including current scenario and
recent developments in Leprosy. Contact: email@example.com.
World Volunteer Day
To salute the spirit of volunteerism
and acknowledge the contribution of volunteers
who have given valuable time for social causes,
The Society for Service to Voluntary Agencies
(SOSVA) organised a programme
and s human chain on 5 Dec 2007 at Bandra Bandstand,
Mumbai with chief guest, Dr. Harish Shetty,
Psychiatrist, who is the founder of " Maitri"
an organisation that works with families affected
by mental illness. Contact: Society for Service
to Voluntary Agencies (SOSVA), Petit Municipal
School, Ground floor, Room no. 2& 3, Opposite
K. B. Bhabha Hospital, Bandra (W), Mumbai 400
050. Tel: (022) 26555704, 26403490, 26411205,
Fax: 26422026. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
VCTC Peer Counsellor
Bangalore: A peer counsellor at an
ART centre or the Voluntary Counselling and
Testing Centre (VCTC) is also an HIV positive
person who is taking the ART medicine her/himself.
Peer counsellors at the ART centers basically
create confidence in the patients and talk about
the basic facts of HIV infection, testing methods,
the importance of a good lifestyle and taking
regular medication. Many women living with HIV
are looking for job opportunities since most
of them are widows and have no means to survive.
Even if they do get jobs, they lose their job
whenever they fall ill. Milana, a family support
network of people living with HIV and AIDS,
has appointed eight women as peer counsellors.
There are 10 more women who desperately need
financial support,'' says Jyothi Kiran, project
director of Milana. If your organization can
sponsor peer counselors can call (080) 25545691
or e-mail: milana–email@example.com.
Disability Awareness Week Website
Bangalore: Diversity & Equal Opportunity
Centre (DEOC) has launched the National Disability
Awareness Week (DAW) and the Disability Awareness
Week Website: www.wdd.co.in.
to create awareness on the issue of disability
in the corporate sector and to commemorate the
World Disability Day 2007 on 3rd December.
Disability Awareness Week Website: (www.wdd.co.in),
provides information and significance of WDD;
information on the common theme; activities
that corporates can do during the Week; downloadable
awareness & promotional materials; checklists,
online Awareness / Training Module, etc. The
website is a common platform for creating awareness
and for sharing experiences. Sign up at www.wdd.co.in
to get regular notification regarding the various
updates during the Disability Awareness Week
Interested companies will be provided with necessary
information and support from DEOC to conduct
awareness activities. The companies can also
upload their events for the DAW. Contact: (0)98805
83277 / (080) 23217588.
International Funding for AIDS prevention
The National AIDS Control (NACO) programmes
Phase III aims at reducing new infections estimated
in 2007 by 60% in high prevalence states so
as to obtain the reversal of the epidemic &
40% in the vulnerable states so as to stabilise
the epidemic by 2012.
It was approved with a total outlay of Rs.8023
crore for the five-year period 2007-2012. Of
this, Rs.1125 crore (US 250 million dollar)
has been obtained from the World Bank. The World
Bank loan is proposed for up-scaling targeted
interventions among high risk groups and vulnerable
population, improving access to safe blood,
strengthening services for the treatment of
sexually transmitted infections, capacity building,
condom promotion and increasing awareness about
preventive measures and demand generation for
services available. The fund will also be utilized
for augmenting the capacity for programmes delivery
at district, state and national levels and also
to strengthen the information management system
to improve the effectiveness of data collection
and analysis. These activities will be taken
up throughout country with a higher focus on
195 districts, which have a higher prevalence
of HIV infection in the country.
Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, Minister
for Health & Family Welfare, informed the
Rajya Sabha that during the period 2007-2012,
the funding proposed by international agencies
is as follows: World Bank = Rs.125 cr., DFID
= 862, GFATM = 1787, USAID = 675, UN Agencies
= 323, Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation
=1425, Clinton Foundation = 113, EU =77, Others
= 741. The World Bank support is a loan and
other funding are grants.
Contrary to conventional wisdom that high prevalence
of HIV/AIDS is restricted to southern states
and some places in the North-East, a new classification
done by the National AIDS Control programmes
(NACO) shows that the disease is spread across
as many as 20 states in 163 districts. These
163 districts have been categorized as "A
districts" in the third phase of the NACO
programmes beginning April 1, 2007: districts
where more than 1% of the general population
and more than 5% of the high-risk group is infected
with the virus. Experts say this means these
districts have crossed the "epidemic threshold"
for the disease.
3rd Ambulance in PAWS's fleet
Mumbai: PAWS has acquired its third
ambulance - new Maruti Omni Ambulance came with
help from Wildlife S.O.S. -Delhi & WSPA
- London (World Society for Protection of Animals)
& support from Philip & Trix Woolen
of 'The Winsome Constance Kindness Trust ' Australia.
PAWS in its first year of inception (2001) got
their first ambulance service for Animals in
Mumbai which catered large animals till 2006.
In year 2006, PAWS got new ambulance from funds
that came from Animal Welfare Board & PAWS
staunch supporter Mrs. Fizzah Shah. Now by introducing
this third ambulance, PAWS can separate and
attend the domestic animals & wild animals-mammals
calls. Contact: Nilesh Bhanage Tel: (022)251-2625059,
Cell: +91 9820161114 or log on to www.pawsasia.org
Relief Work in Nandigram
Normal lives of 10,000 – 12,000 families
in Nandigram have been adversely affected, being
displaced from their dwellings, livelihoods
being jeopardised, and remaining scattered mostly
staying with their relatives. The CPM cadres
have forcibly closed down all other relief camps.
The only relief camp running with about 1500
people is at Brij Mohan Tiwari Shiksha Niketan
in Nandigram. Volunteers are needed to go to
the area to break the atmosphere of terror created
by CPM cadres so that families may return to
`Dharna Manch' has been set up in Dharamtalla,
next to Esplanade Metro Station in Kolkata,
from where relief work is being coordinated.
Every day relief trucks leave from here with
clothes, food grains, tarpaulin sheets, baby
food and other items accompanied by some volunteers.
Contact: Debjit Dutta 9433624241 and Sudipto
9433972662. Donations should be sent in the
name of 'Nandigram Support Fund' to A/c No.
15210153262 of Canara Bank, Bowbazar Branch,
Kolkata.National Alliance of People's Movements
(NAPM), Asha Parivar (www.ashaparivar.org),
Association for India's Development (AID, www.aidindia.org).
VHS receives donation
Chennai: The Voluntary Health Services
(VHS), Taramani, received a donation worth Rs.1.76
crore from the estate of S. Krishnaswamy and
his wife, S. Kamala. Elaborating on the projects
the donation would fund, honorary secretary
of the VHS N.S. Murali said that a new block
at a cost of Rs.40 lakh would be constructed
in the name of the couple, two mini health centers
would be set up at a cost of Rs.11 lakh, new
equipment would be purchased for Rs.25 lakh
and the remaining Rs.1 crore would be deposited.
The interest received on the deposited amount
would be used to revise pay packages for the
VHS staff, he said. Agriculture scientist and
VHS president M .S. Swaminathan said the vision
of VHS founder Dr. Sanjivi was more relevant
today, when a large section of the population
had a purchasing power of only Rs.20 per day.
Failures in agricultural production were partly
due to farmers' poor health, he said. "This
donation is very significant, " he said,
particularly in the context of realising Dr.
Sanjivi's vision of providing high quality medical
care to all.
Ma Foi Foundation celebrates
Chennai: MFF in Chennai celebrated
its first anniversary on 26 Sept 2007. It has
adopted 1130 poor children from the Sivakasi
and Chennai areas from 46 schools – they
get scholarship, mentorship and career education
from 5th standard to college completion (Rs.1200
pa up to 10th std, Rs.1500 pa during higher
secondary and Rs.5000 pa during college). All
its Corporate Social Responsibility efforts
have been integrated under MFF since last Sept.
It runs a school for the underprivileged in
Chennai with about 650 children and has taken
micro-finance to about 8000 women through Self-Help
Group and fostered about 450 tiny enterprises.
It has also recognized 10 Young Achievers (unmined
gems) every year during this function. Contact:
K Pandiarajan, Chennai -Tel. (044) 6622 8000
Kanpur: Two camps organized
under the title ‘Ghoos ko Ghoonsa’
(Lets Beat up Corruption) focused on raising
awareness among local communities about Right
to Information and providing training to people
on how they could take advantage of this right
and access information from government offices.
On 10th October, the awareness camp and workshop
organized at Phoolbag Grounds, coincided with
‘Tehsil Day’ when communities from
the ‘Tehsil’ come to meet with government
officials. Between 500 to 600 people took advantage
of the support by camp volunteers to file RTI
requests from government officials.
The camp shifted outside the Kanpur Development
Authority office on 11th October. This was the
culmination of a 6-month campaign in Kanpur
during which time various workshops were held
- in fact this was the 5th camp outside KDA
offices in the 6 months. In Kanpur the campaign
was run by the help of Asha, local labor unions,
NAPM, RTI Center, Janhit Jagrukta Kendra (Public
Welfare Awareness Center), and others.
In Assam, RTI camp were held in Baksa
district on 26th September. This one day camp
was held at Tamulpur Development Center with
literature and handout presented in Assamese
and Bodo languages. Over 300 women from local
villages joined the camp. RTI guidelines and
procedures were explained at the workshop. Numerous
RTI applications were filed by these women during
Electricity Supply Monitoring Initiative
Mumbai: Prayas launched a Electricity
Supply Monitoring Initiative (ESMI) which captures
supply interruptions data as well as voltage
levels at the ordinary consumer location. The
ESMI provides specially-developed data loggers,
which are installed at different locations in
an area, record voltage as well as supply interruptions.
This data will be periodically published on
the website. Poor supply quality (i.e. frequent
supply interruptions and low voltage levels),
is the most common complaint by electricity
consumers and often results in consumers unwillingness
to pay. Poor supply quality forces consumers
to either invest in back-up devices such as
stabilisers, inverters and generators or they
suffer loss of productivity and inconvenience.
Villagers File Police Report Against
Ballia, UP : On October 25th,
2007, over 600 people marched and rallied against
the Coca-Cola bottling plant in the village
of Sinhachawar in Ballia, demanding that the
plant be shut down permanently. The community
has accused the bottling plant of pollution
and also illegally occupying land held by the
In 2003, the Central Pollution Control Board
(CPCB) of India assessed the sludge at eight
Coca-Cola bottling plants, and found them all
to contain excessive levels of lead, cadmium
or chromium. As a result, the CPCB ordered the
Coca-Cola company in India to treat its waste
at all its bottling plants as industrial hazardous
waste, and deal with it accordingly. A visit
by community members to the factory premises
in May 2007 found the bottling plant indiscriminately
dumping its hazardous waste inside and outside
the factory premises. The dumping of such hazardous
waste violates the Hazardous Wastes (Management
and Handling) Rules, 1989 from the Ministry
of Environment and Forests of India. The Coca-Cola
bottling plant in Sinhachawar has also built
its boundary walls encompassing some land that
is owned by the village assembly. The community
is also concerned about water shortages in the
area as a result of the extraction of water
by the Coca-Cola bottling plant.
"We are demanding that the Coca-Cola bottling
plant cease its operations permanently because
they are destroying our land and water, the
very source of our livelihoods," said Mr.
Baliram Ram of the Coca-Cola Bhagao,
Krishi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, the
main organizer of the protest. The protest at
the Coca-Cola bottling plant came a day after
another demonstration at the District Magistrate's
office in Balia on October 23 where community
members presented their demands to the District
Magistrate. The head of the village council,
Ms. Chinta Devi, has led the campaign to permanently
shut down the plant.
Condemnation of victimisation of activists
“We strongly condemn the attempts
by Rajasthan Government to replace the 1861
Police Act by a new draconian law which gives
more powers to the police against the people.
We further take serious exceptions to the Rajasthan
Government's attitude of victimization of several
social-political activists belonging to progressive
organizations and the minority community. They
include Kavita Srivastava of PUCL, Nisha Sidhu
of NFIW and Mohammed Haroon Rashid, Mohammad
Imran, Ayaz Siddiqui, Abid Mohammed, Abdul Majid,
Ghiyas Anwar and Mazar Beg some of whom are
also associated with the Jamat-e-Islami Hind.
We believe these steps are against democratic
spirit and must be immediately reversed. We
also believe that keeping dossiers and profiling
of activists and people's organizations which
is presently happening in Rajasthan is illegal.
It is a violation of the right to expression
and basic human rights”. Signed
by: Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Harshmander,
Dr. Sunilam,Arvind Kejriwal, Anand Patwardhan,
Prashant Bhushan ,Colin Gonsalves, Anil Chaudhary,
Arundhati Dhuru, Sandeep Pandey. Contact:
Aruna Roy: 9414007305, Medha Patkar 9869446684,
Harsh Mander 9810523018; Sandeep Pandey and
Arundhuti Dhuru 9415022772.
Domestic Violence Act with Retrospective
The Delhi court has given a ruling allowing
women to seek relief under the Protection of
Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 for atrocities
committed even before the statute came into
force. This means pending cases on matrimonial
disputes or maintenance under other Acts filed
before the enforcement of the Domestic Violence
Act on October 26, 2006 can ask for civil remedies
under this Act. These are related to protection,
residence or custody order, monetary relief
or compensatory claims.
International Non-Violence Day (pix)
Mumbai: PCGT and Bombay Sarvodaya
Mandal along with the NSS and NCC units of S.N.D.T.
and Mumbai Universities jointly organized a
mega hour-long event at the Mumbai University
Stadium grounds on 2nd October, 2007, to commemorate
International Non-Violence Day.
More than 9000 students from 90 colleges and
5 schools participated in this mega event. The
programme started with an introductory speech
by Dr. P. N. Pabrekar, NSS Coordinator, Mumbai
University, followed by Gandhiji’s bhajans
and motivational speeches on non-violence by
Dr. Chandra Krishnamurthy, Vice Chancellor of
SNDT Women’s University; Dr. Arun Sawant,
Vice-Chancellor of Mumbai University and Mr.
Julio Ribeiro, Executive Chairman of PCGT, who
also made the gathering aware of the Right To
Information Act and its benefits. The culmination
of the programmes was the pledge of non-violence
read in English by Dr. Chandra Krishnamurthy
and in Hindi by Dr. Arun Sawant and repeated
by the entire gathering.
Barrier-free School for disabled
Kolhapur: Helpers of the Handicapped,
Kolhapur has been providing rehabilitation to
persons with disabilities since 1984. During
this period it has provided medical aid, education,
vocational training, as well as employment to
more than 13,500 persons so that they can earn
their bread and live with dignity and self-respect.
The Samarth Vidya Mandir integrated co-ed school
at Shanti Nagar Uchgaon was established in 2000.
In the existing school building there are 305
physically challenged as well as able bodied
boys and girls studying from Class I to Class
VII. `Samarth' is the only integrated school
in the region which is totally barrier free.
All facilities including toilets are easily
accessible by even the most severely handicapped
student. A wheel chair bound student can move
around the entire school without any help. No
zilla parishad school has this kind of facility.
`Samarth' has been providing quality education
at minimal cost to rural boys and girls coming
from economically backward families. The Government
of Maharashtra has sanctioned it a two-acre
plot adjacent to our existing hostel-school
complex for construction of new school building
The construction which is being managed only
from individual donations can not be completed
without adequate support from general public.
Contact: Naseema Hurzuk, Helpers of the Handicapped,
Kolhapur Tel.Off : (0231) 2680026 / 6521294;
Medical services available
Mumbai: A heart and multispeciality
hospital at Byculla in Mumbai with all modern
amenities and diagnostic facilities is willing
to serve any NGO or any person who need treatment
or any hospital facilities at nominal price.
It can also arrange free camps. Contact: Dr
Kagzi, Tel (022) 23740000 or visit website for
more information: www.balajihospital.net.
UNITAID fund for drug purchase
Healthcare NGOs, physicians and networks of
people with HIV/AIDS have sent a memorandum
to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him
to speedily ensure that India joins UNITAID,
an international drug purchase facility.
They say that in the next few years there will
be huge fund shortages to buy essential medicines
in countries like India. Malaria, tuberculosis
(TB), HIV/AIDS are illnesses for which, experts
say, a second line of medicines will soon be
A part of the fund generated by each country
goes to UNITAID. With this UNITAID does bulk
purchase of drugs and gives it to needy countries.
Every flight ticket purchased automatically
donates a dollar or two to UNITAID. In the past
one year, over $300 million has been collected
from nine member countries through this mechanism.
India has about 450 airports, 50 foreign airlines
flying in, and 12 domestic airlines. Air traffic
in India is projected to be to the tune of 90
million people by 2015. Today there are 50 million
air travellers in India, annually.
Useful Documents and Helplines
Here are some very useful documents and links
that would help patients and their families
reduce medical expenses. These have been uploaded
in the helplines section on Karmayog. (http://www.karmayog.org/helplines/)
• Rates of various medical procedures
at recognised Hospitals, New Delhi
(36 pages) - http://www.karmayog.org/redirect/strred.asp?docId=10373.
• Hospital Online Listing
(a website that provides details of Doctors,
their speciality, contact address, lists of
hospitals, diseases, procedures, drugs , lab
• Find a Doctor / Give me a Quote - from
the Wockhardt Hospitals website -
• Community Initiatives and Charitable
Foundations of the Apollo Hospitals -
Free surgery available for needy children
Manipal Foundation is looking for "poor
and needy" children below 16 yrs of age
who require heart surgery. All kinds of heart
surgery are possible. The surgery, bed, medicines
etc will be completely FREE and taken care of
by Manipal Foundation. The children must be
from poor and needy family. No middle class
or rich children please. Operations will be
done in Bangalore at Manipal Hospital. Send
details to Bala Warrier, CEO, Manipal Foundation,
Citizens for Animals (CFA)
CFA (Citizens for Animals) gathered
for a peaceful rally to express their concern
for the deterioration of animal rights and the
escalating levels of cruelty towards them.
• Our urban spaces "animal free"
• To voice our disapproval of haphazard
and half-baked implementation of animal policies.
We question the lack of transparency, corruption,
misuse of funds and managerial negligence that
shrouds animal welfare schemes. We call for
definite, tested and effective animal policies
that WORK at all levels.
• Scientific and humane management of
monkeys in urban spaces.
Contact - Rishi Dev -9868881566, Kanishka Sharma
9818887373, Rukmini Sekhar - 9818432176
E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse
Chennai: EMPOWER working in
urban slums in Tuticorin has formed 40 teen
health clubs. Active members of the Teen Health
Clubs in the age group of 10- 14 years were
recruited as Peer Educators; 50 volunteers were
trained on Personal safety education and life
skills training. They had imparted the same
to about 500 peers of the age group 7 - 14 years
in the slum communities in Tuticorin backward
settlements and empowered the children of Tuticorin
slum areas to identify sexual abuse, openly
seek help of elders if subjected to abuse (confidence,
connection), would be equipped with life skills
to prevent abuse (competence), with values and
ethics imbibed (character) , would be willing
to help their peers and friends (caring) and
in the process pave way for community free of
abuse among children (contribution).
This project is supported by Youth Service
America which is a nonprofit resource center
that partners with thousands of organizations
in more than 100 countries and is committed
to increasing the quality and quantity of volunteer
opportunities for young people ages 5-25, to
serve locally, nationally, and globally. Contact:
A. Sankar, Executive Director, EMPOWER, Tuticorin-,
Tamil Nadu. Telefax: 91 461 2310151. Mobile:
094431 48599, www.empowerindia.org.
A large congregation of people resumed their
march from Mathura to Delhi in support of the
Millennium Development Goals. They all marched
with posters and banners especially made to
mark the occasion on October 17. The 25,000
are part of the people’s march organised
by the Ekta Parishad along
with 290 organisations from across the country
under a campaign called Janadesh 2007
or People’s Verdict, demanding a pro-poor
national land reforms policy. The other participating
organisations include Mazdoor Kisan
Shakti Sangathan, Sarva Sewa Sangh, Jal Biradari,
These people, old and young, women and children,
represent the most deprived people of this country
– the tribals and the dalits. They are
landless, they are poor. Invisible and voiceless,
they have decided to walk all the way to the
capital to be seen and to be heard by all those,
who in the glitter of neon lights and in the
cacophony of blaring horns, have lost the capacity
to see and hear.
For more than 16 days they have been on the
roads in a five-kilometer long queue –
walking, singing and dancing. They carry flags,
banners and posters reflecting their woes and
“The land and livelihood resources should
be primarily used for eradicating poverty and
not to protect the interests of the likes of
Tatas and Birlas,” said P.V. Rajagopal
of the Ekta Parishad. But the irony is that
issues concerning livelihood of the poor are
not in the priority list of even the Central
Government. In Delhi at Jantar Mantar where
the Ekta Parishad is simultaneously holding
a dharna (sit-in) since October 3, some 350
people took out a procession in support of the
MDGs from Rajghat.
What the government claims
As per the official records of the Orissa state
government, it provided 799 lakh person days
of employment to 13,94,169 households during
2006-7 and no family was denied wage employment.
In other words, every needy and demanding family
in the state was given an average 57 days of
wage employment during the year and not a single
needy household was denied wage employment in
19 NREGS districts of the state. The Orissa
government also claims that 1,54,118 families
in the state completed 100 days of wage employment
However the Delhi-based Centre for Environment
and Food Security (CEFS) conducted a survey
in 100 villages from six districts of KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput)
region – which revealed that over 90 per
cent families in rural areas of Orissa are desperate
for wage employment. This amounts to 39 lakh
The random survey in 100 villages of Orissa
has revealed that all the govt claims are bogus
and exist only in official records in order
to siphon off NREGS funds. The survey conducted
in Orissa's six poorest districts has uncovered
that of Rs.733 crores, more than Rs.500 crores
has been siphoned off and misappropriated by
the government officials.
Contact: Prabhjot Sodhi, National Coordinator,
GEF UNDP Small Grants Program
Centre for Environment Education (CEE), C-40;
South Extension II; New Delhi 110049
(o) 00 91 11 26262878; 79 (f) 80. (m) 00 91
98118 11996. email@example.com.
Integrated Plan of Action to Prevent
Lok Sabha: The Ministry of Home Affairs, The
Ministry of Women and Child Development, the
National Human Rights Commission and National
Commission for Women are working in collaboration
to draft an Integrated Plan of Action to Prevent
and Combat Human Trafficking with Special Focus
on Children and Women.
The various steps being taken by the Government
to combat trafficking are:-
(i) Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act is
in the process of being amended to make it more
stringent against traffickers. (ii) The Ministry
of Home Affairs has set up a Nodal Cell to coordinate,
matters relating to trafficking in human beings
between the State Governments/ Union Territory
Administrations (iii) The Bureau of Police Research
and Development (BPR&D) has prepared a training
manual on "Human Trafficking Handbook for
Investigators" for use in the Police Training
Institutes. (iv) BPR&D is organizing regional
anti-trafficking workshops for sensitizing police
personnel towards the safety and security of
women. (v) The Ministry of Women & Child
Development is also implementing a pilot project
to combat trafficking of women and children.
This was stated in a written reply to a question
in Lok Sabha by the Minister of State in the
Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri Manikrao. H.
Amendment of the Persons with Disability
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
of the Government of India is in the process
of amending the Persons with Disability Act,
1995 to make it more effective in the present
context. Stating this at a joint workshop of
the Ministry and the World Bank, the Minister
of Social Justice & Empowerment, Smt. Meira
Kumar said that her Ministry is following a
consultative process for this purpose where
the stakeholders representing Disabled Peoples'
Organizations, NGOs, experts of various disciplines
and members of civil society are participating.
Increasingly, asymptomatic HIV is considered
per se disability. It may be appropriate for
the Indian HIV/AIDS civil society to explore
the implications of Amendment of the Persons
with Disability Act, 1995. Referring to the
UN Convention on the rights of persons with
disabilities, the Minister said that it has
brought out a number of new concepts like alternative
mode of communication, concept of accessibility
of Information and Communication, Technologies
including web access to PWDs and the concept
of reasonable accommodation to enable them to
be equal participants in all spheres of activities.
These concepts would be considered in due course
and necessary changes in legislations, rules,
policies and programmes of the Government would
be made, she said.
Organic farming changes fortune of Rajasthan
Rajasthan: Farmers in villages
in Jhunjhunu district are not affected by the
problems that have driven their counterparts
in Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra's Vidharbha
region to suicide, thanks to the steady incomes
generated by organic farming. The Rajastani
farmers use natural manure or vermicast -- which
is made from the process of vermiculture --
instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Murli Prasad Saini of Jamalpuria Organic Krishi
farm talks of how his life changed after he
adopted this method of farming seven years ago
on his two-acre field. "Due to the use
of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and urea,
the soil in my field had become hard. The soil
started turning barren, and its capacity to
hold water decreased sharply. These side effects
resulted in a drop in the quantity and quality
of produce," he said. His investments now
too are lower than before. "It has reduced
drastically as we don't need to buy costly fertilizers
and pesticides. And we prepare vermicast on
our own from natural waste and cow dung with
the help of earthworms which decompose them
to vermicast," he said. "Now the soil's
water retention capacity has increased, and
our profits have increased one-and-a-half times,"
said a smiling Saini, who sells his vegetables,
pulses and wheat in the local and Delhi markets.
The concept of organic farming was introduced
in this region by the M RMorarka-GDC Rural Research
Foundation, which is propagating such farming
in other parts of the country too. The NGO,
which claims to be a leader in vermicast production
worldwide, provides farmers organic manure.
The NGO also helps farmers get their farms certified.
But with the Foundation contemplating marketing
plans with an eye on big corporates like Reliance
and Bharti, things are expected to get better
for the farmers. Contact: Kisan Mehta, , Save
Bombay Committee and Prakruti, 102, Mausam,
Plot 285, Sector 28, Vashi, Navi Mumbai 400705,
Tel. Kisan Mehta: 9223448857, Priya Salvi: 9324027494.
Forum for HIV+ women
A State-level forum for HIV positive women was
set up by an NGO, Chiguru,
at Venkatapalem village, Andhra Pradesh. Delegates
from 23 districts, who met in the village, elected
a seven-member executive body.
Telugu Network of People Living with AIDS, HIV
(TNP+) started in Guntur in 2003 and was extended
to all the 23 districts in the State. As many
as 30,000 people affected by AIDS/HIV joined
the network. 70 percent of them, women. As a
result, a district-level Positive Women's Forum
has been set up.
Swarna Vani (Krishna) was elected State chairperson
of the forum. India Network of People Living
with AIDS-HIV (INP+) women coordinator Asha,
TNP+ president Ramesh and secretary Jadgeesh
Data on HIV-infected children needed
Jaipur: The NGO- Faith
requests information or data base on the situation
of children affected by HIV so that they can
help such children to get better education and
shelter along with medical help. Contact: Ms.S.
Singh, Faith (Registerd NGO), 2, Kailash Vihar,
Rajawat farm New Sanganer Road, Jaipur- Mobile:
09829216875. E-mail: <alingan.faith@
International Non- Violence Day (pix)
In Australia a Gandhi Outreach programmes
was arranged on 28th Oct 2007 at Sydney. Around
100 Children and their families attended the
programmes. The programmes was compared, staged
and managed by children between 8 and 14 years.
They are now planning a book exhibition on Gandhi
on a larger scale to commemorate Gandhiji's
death anniversary on 30 Jan 2008. In
Mumbai The PCGT, Bombay Sarvodaya held
a rally of students at the International
Peace Day Week celebrations, several
activities to observe international peace day
week were organised by the Kriti Team in New
Delhi between 19h –24 September 2007.
These included peace exhibits, theatre, puppetry,
painting, music, dance and interactions with
civil society organizations; film shows, on-the-spot
painting and slogan writing on peace for children.
Candle lighting marked the end of the Peace
Day week. Participating organisations included:
Sahmat, Lakshya, Ankur, Janbat, Wiscomp, Action
India, Niranter, Zubaan, Tarshi, Viveka, ISD,
HRLN, Abhudaya, Katha, Sruti, Sweccha: We for
Change, Sangat, Jagori and others. Contact Kriti
Jaipur: A "Dissemination
Workshop on HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention
Programme for Rural and Tribal Youth in India",
was organised in Jaipur by VIHAN - Society for
Child Development and Education in Rajasthan
in association with Oxfam India and European
Commission. The workshop highlighted the needs
of high-risk groups such as men who have sex
with men (MSM). About 1.3 lakh of the 6.5 lakh
people, reportedly practicing homosexuality
in Rajasthan, constitute a high-risk group.
It was noted that the targeted intervention
was covering less than one per cent of homosexuals
Bangalore: A Workshop to initiate
action on improving the state of policing
in Karnataka was organised by Commonwealth
Human Rights Initiative and the Coalition
of Karnataka NGOs for Better Policing
on 29 September 2007. It included presentations
on the Supreme Court Directives on Police Reform;
CHRI; s first-hand account of policing in Karnataka;
What’s involved in improving our police?
A discussion session facilitated by CHRI, The
State Government’s Response: Karnataka
Police (Amendment) Bill 2007 and making the
demand for better policing people-centric. Contact:
South India Cell for Human Rights Education
and Monitoring, Bangalore Ph: 080- 25804072-73
Mobile: 9449816942 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Hyderabad:The Deccan Development Society (DDS),
in association with Community Radio Forum, India
with assistance from UNESCO, conducted a residential
workshop on Operationalising Community
Radio for NGOs working in Andhra Pradesh
from October 11-13, 2007. The new policy allows
community-based organizations with a track record
of development work to apply for a FM radio
license, with transmitter power of up to 100W,
which could serve people residing within a 15-20
km radius. The Community Radio Forum-India (CRF-India),
with modest support from UNESCO, is organizing
a series of regional-level workshops for creating
greater awareness and contribute to building
the capacities of communities to set up radio
stations that would be community-owned and managed,
and run on a not-for-profit basis. The workshop
focused on introducing Community Radio (CR)
as a development tool to NGOs working in Andhra
Pradesh to equip organisations with technical
information as well as details of the application
process for initiating the process of establishing
CR stations in their region and including CR
as a meaningful tool for social change in their
area. Contact: Jayasri email:
or General Narsamma at email@example.com
Tel: 040-2776 4577 or 08451-282271.
Open Forum organized a National
Advocacy Conference on Agriculture and Rural
Development on October 6, in New Delhi
for participants from grassroots organizations,
NGOs, multilateral organizations, and private
sector, media, academicians and Governments
from South Asia. The primary aim of this conference
was to organize focused group discussions with
different stakeholders like farmers, traders
of green agricultural inputs, government officials
involved in promotion of agriculture, agricultural
scientists, extension officers and NGO's who
have revealed that multi-pronged initiatives
at different levels would contribute towards
enhancing greening of Indian agriculture. Contact:
Vishwendra N. Thakur, Open Forum, connecting
communities, New Delhi Tel. (011) 46010181 F.
(011) 46010184. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
New Delhi: The India Rural Business
Summit was organized by Federation
of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry
(FICCI) in association with
the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, on
October 8-9, 2007, at FICCI Auditorium, New
Delhi. This unique Business Summit, the first
of its kind, was supported by the Ministries
of Rural & Urban Development,Panchayati
Raj, Small Scale Sector, Textiles, DONER, Food
Processing, Ministry of Finance – Banking
& Financial Resources and Planning Commission.
The focus of the Summit was to harness the potential
of the non-farm sector in India and explore
new markets and business opportunities for promoting
rural entrepreneurship. It also aimed at leveraging
financial intermediation for promoting investment
in rural enterprises, promotion of sustainable
technologies amongst other issues. Contact:
Santosh Nautiyal, Ananya Tel : Dir. (011)23318416,
23765321), 23738760-70 Extn. 483 & 330,
The United Nations Development programmes (UNDP)
in partnership with SDC (Swiss Development Cooperation)
organized a Media Workshop
near Delhi, from Oct. 29-31 2007 to sensitise
South and South East Asian journalists to the
human impact of Climate Change. The aim of the
Workshop was to create a pool of well informed
reporters in selected Asian countries who would
be able to report on the findings of this year's
HDR when UNDP launches it at the end of November
2007 .Contact: email@example.com
or Surekha Subarwal, Regional Communications
Adviser (South Asia) United Nations Development
programmes, New Delhi (011)46532346 Direct,
(011), 91- 9810153924 Mobile. Website: www.undp.org.in.
A seminar, Managing Microenterprises
– Issues and Challenges was organized
by SVKM's NMIMS University, Mumbai on November
27, 2007 supported by AICTE.The seminar took
a critical look at the various business models
which have evolved for providing small credits
and other non-credit inputs at the grass root
level, and discussed current issues facing microenterprises
including the legal framework of operations,
the procedure for sanction and disbursement
of credit, issues such as interest rates and
transaction costs, infrastructural and managerial
problems, the impact of microenterprises on
poverty alleviation and women's empowerment
etc. Contact: Dr. Sangita Kamdar, Professor
and Head- Economics, SVKM's NMIMS University.
Mobile: 9223449181. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CIVIC Bangalore and INHAF,
organised a National Seminar
on JNNURM in Bangalore, on Oct 26 and
27. The theme was” The Shape of Our Cities
and Towns: Socially Inclusive & Economically
Productive? “JNNURM's basic premise is
that the growth and development of urban centres
is constrained by the indifferent implementation
of the 74 th Amendment and outmoded statutes.
Its primary objectives include economic productivity,
efficiency, equity and responsiveness. Resource
persons with experience in NURM, the 74th Amendment
and Decentralization issues, from both Government
and civil society, reviewed policies and their
translation into reality; case studies on specific
cities that are covered by JNNURM and studies
on impact on various sections of the public.
Contact: Dr.R. Padmini [Trustee, CIVIC &
G.C.member, INHAF] – 94484 52465 Email:
A seminar on ‘Alternate Livelihood
Support for Conservation of Forests and Wildlife
in Bodoland’, was jointly organised
in September by the Bodoland Territorial Council
(BTC), the Forest Department and the Green Heart
Nature Club in Kokrajhar. The BTC Deputy Chief
said the success of the tourism initiatives
in the Manas National Park had encouraged focus
on alternative methods of livelihood support
as part of its forest and wildlife conservation
programme and tourism was one of the areas being
stressed on. Residents of 169 forest villages
participated in the seminar. Source: www.wildlifewatch.in.
PSI Mumbai's Global IPC Training Workshop was
held on Nov 19 – 24. Through its Global
IPC Training Workshop, Communicating
Without Borders (CWB), PSI Mumbai actively
engaged and challenged interpersonal communicators
(IPCs) in a 4-day, highly participatory and
interactive workshop. CWB honed their field
communication skills through fostering creativity
and a sensitized approach when developing and
implementing customized communication messages.
The training also provided a learning platform
for participating PSI countries to share field
experiences, innovative strategies, lessons
learned and best practices.
Empowering Grassroots Democracy
A course for activists and students of social
movements was offered by Asha Ashram on Dec.14-20
at Asha Ashram, in U.P. The subjects included
Right to information, Role of journalism-- Right
to food and work; Dalit, Gender and human rights;
Field Work; Agriculture, land and related issues
in the context of Globalization; People's struggles
and strategies for change-contact Arundhati
Dhuru, M: 9415022772, email@example.com.
Forum Makes United India Pay Mediclaim
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad
(Rural), has partly allowed a complaint filed
jointly by Consumer Education and Research Society
(CERS), Ahmedabad, and Mrs. Reshma Trivedi,
holding United India Insurance Company Ltd.
liable for negligence and deficiency in service.
The Forum has ordered the company to pay Reshma
Rs. 30,000 towards her mediclaim policy with
9 per cent compound interest from the date of
complaint till realisation and Rs.5,000 towards
The National Commission had stated that "Only
on the basis of assumptions and experience of
a doctor, who had not seen, examined or treated
the patient, the insurance company stands no
authority to reject a claim". CERS contended
that it was the responsibility of the insurance
company to prove that in Reshma’s case
hernia was a pre-existing disease and that the
occurrence of hernia had in no way any relation
with her hysterectomy and Caesarean operations.
Contact: Consumer Education and Research Society,
Ahmedabad Tel. (079) 7489945-46, 30121001-2-3
Fax: (079) 27489947 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook for the jobless
Babajob, an Indian start-up aiming to bring
the Facebook/MySpacerevolution to the world's
poor, is just one example of an unanticipated
by product of the outsourcing boom. Babajobs
is a quintessential example of how Indian back
offices have spawned poverty-inspired innovation.
The best-known networking sites connect the
computer-savvy elite to one another. Babajob,
by contrast, connects the Indian elite to the
poor at their doorsteps, people who need jobs
but lack the connections to find them. Job seekers
advertise skills, employers advertise jobs and
matches are made through "friend-of-a-
The founder of babajob.com, Blagsvedt, 31, joined
Microsoft in Redmond in 1999. Three years ago,
he was sent to India to help build the local
office of Microsoft Research, the company's
To deal with the connectivity problem, Babajob
pays anyone, from charities to Internet cafe
owners, to find job seekers and register them.
(Babajob earns its keep from employers' advertisements,
diverting a portion of that to those who sign
up job seekers.) Also, instead of creating an
anonymous job bazaar, Babajob replicates online
the process by which Indians hire in real life:
using chains of personal connections.
To recreate this dynamic online, Babajob pays
people to be "connectors" between
employer and employee. So far, more than 1,100
have registered on Babajob. The listings are
a portrait of the floating underclass in India,
--- chauffeurs, nannies, gardeners, guards and
The Durbar Way of Being
Kolkata Durbar's members commit to donate eyes
after death. To celebrate this Puja, 54 sex
workers are going to will their corneas on 19th
Slum-dwellers run a health insurance
Pune: Dandekar bridge slum
in Pune is unlike any other slum in the country.
When someone here falls ill, the family just
has to dial a 24-hour helpline, whose doctor
advises them which government hospital the patient
should consult. The family also receives money
for treatment. When the rest of the country
is going in circles seeking health insurance
for the society's most vulnerable, these slum-dwellers
are part of a health security fund to which
each person contributes Rs.60 annually. The
unique fund is run by the slum-dwellers themselves
along with those living in 88 other slums in
Pune. So far, 30,000 have joined the fund, which
covers all Pune slums and some villages in two
other districts of the state. Dandekar bridge
slum in east Pune accounts for 8,000 members.
The fund was started as an experiment four years
ago by an NGO, Swayam Sikshan Prayog,
and Uplift India Association.
The NGO runs 13 offices in Pune slums while
a committee comprising members settles claims.
A 30 bedded rural hospital with OPDs and primary
care facilities including basic investigations
in Snehalaya Campus was “We are advocating
use of government hospitals," says Shailabh.
The annual reimbursement limit is Rs 5,000.
While diagnosis is through allopathy, ayurvedic
and homoeopathy are allowed for treatment. In
Osmanabad and Sholapur districts of Maharashtra,
30 villages each are experimenting with such
funds. Each village has a security fund, explains
actuary and consultant to the project, Frenchman
Francois Xavier Hay, the managing director of
Uplift and the guiding force behind the project.
The working of the project is simple. In France,
he adds, 90 percent insurance takes place through
small mutual funds. No one goes for the expensive
health insurance, says Hay, who also works for
GTZ, a partner in the project. Another partner
is French NGO Intel Aid, French Mutual MACIF,
besides the International Labour Organisation.
A total of 60 hospitals in the area have become
a part of the network.
The India Rhino Vision 2020 programme, which
aims to attain a population of 3,000 rhinos
in the wild in Assam, is likely to begin by
end of 2007. Under this programme, the rhino
population will be distributed over seven protected
areas by 2020. The programme would involve translocating
rhinos from two source populations into at least
three target protected areas. The Indian Rhino
Vision 2020 project is being implemented by
the Department of Environment and Forests of
the Assam government and is being supported
by a number of other organizations including
WWF India and the International Rhino Foundation
(IRF). (Also see PA Update Vol XIII, No. 2,
Metal detectors at Kaziranga
The Guwahati based NGO Aaranyaak
has decided to gift metal detectors to the Kaziranga
National Park to help deal with the poaching
problem. It is hoped that metal detectors will
help forest guards locate guns and rifles hidden
in the park by poachers. 17 rhinos have already
been poached this year, 10 of which were shot
inside the park. The NGO is looking for different
models of metal detectors in various countries
and the one best suited for the situation in
Kaziranga will then be procured. This is being
tried as a pilot project and if successful similar
detectors will be made available in other PAs
as well. Contact: Bibhab Talukdar,
Aaranyaak, Guwahati Assam. Email: email@example.com.
Project to cover open wells in Gir
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed,
in September, between the Rajkot based Wild
Life Conservation Trust (WLCT) and
the Gujarat Forest Department to construct parapet
walls around open wells in and around the forests
of Gir. There are nearly 9000 such wells in
158 villages in this landscape where nearly
50 lions are reported to have fallen into them
in the last six years. At least 24 of these
big cats eventually died. Already 700 of these
wells have been covered by the Forest Department
The expenditure per well is Rs. 10,000. The
WLCT, along with the Reliance Rural
Development Trust (RRDT) and Ambuja
Cement would also construct parapets
on 2,000 wells. Other corporates who are interested
in supporting this project include the Tatas
The Forest Department has prepared two plans
for the implementation of the project. The first
is where the government would monitor the process
of parapet construction and would give a total
of Rs 4,000 per well and the remaining would
have to be financed by the NGOs and corporates.
In the second model, the NGO would give the
money to Lion Conservation Society formed by
the state government and the government would
take up the construction on behalf of these
NGOs or the corporates. Contact: Bharat
Pathak, CF (Wildlife) Junagadh, Gujarat.
Tel: 0285 - 631678/ 630051. Fax: 631211. Email:
Wildlife research institute for Karnataka
The Central Government has sanctioned Rs. Two
crores for an animal husbandry and wildlife
research institute to be set up in Kodagu in
Karnataka. The institution will be the first
of its kind in the country. It will come up
on 74 acres of land in Chikkaaluvaara village
of Somwarpet taluk in about a year’s time
and will be governed and monitored by the Karnataka
Animal Husbandry and Fisheries University, Bidar.
Our food, our farmers
New Delhi: The Association for India’s
Development (AID) celebrated Gandhi Jayanti
(2 October) this year with an “Our Food,
Our Farmers” global vigil organised at
18 locations across India and 39 locations in
the United States. More than 3000 individuals
participated in this vigil across the two countries,
with one message for the Indian farmer, "We
are with you."
The vigil was intended to highlight the agrarian
crisis in India, extend support for the farmer
community and demand genuinely pro-farmer policies
from the government. The demands, circulated
in the form of a petition, included strengthening
the minimum support price system to cover the
real cost of production, waiver of debt and
proactive support to low input sustainable agriculture
especially in rainfed areas.
Marches, rallies and candlelight vigils marked
the day. In New Delhi, two days of street plays
were followed by a photo exhibition on 2 October.
About 40 organisations participated in the vigil
at Hyderabad. In the US, about 1000 people participated
in candlelight vigils held in locations such
as Seattle, San Diego, Bay Area, New York and
Washington DC, as well as university campuses
such as Cornell, Univ. of Texas, Univ. of MD,
West Virginia University and so on. Caption:
Gandhi Jayanti: AID rally in support of farmers
at Chandigarh, Pic: AID A street play at Delhi,
Trade unions want workplace policies
Recognising that HIV/AIDS has become a serious
threat to the world, India's central trade unions
have come out with a joint statement of commitment
asking workers and their representatives to
set up workplace policies on the infection in
collaboration with employers. They said internal
committees on HIV/AIDS would be set up at the
central and state levels to review and monitor
the implementation of these policies and programmes.
"We encourage workers and their representatives
to consult and collaborate with their employers
on the development and implementation of an
appropriate policy for their workplace, designed
to prevent the spread of the infection and protect
all workers from discrimination related to HIV/AIDS,"
--Gurudas Das Gupta, general secretary of the
All India Trade Union Congress, Girish Awasthi,
president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, MK
Pandhe, president of the Centre of Indian Trade
Unions, Umraomal Purohit, general secretary
of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha and Dr G Sanjeeva
Reddy, president of the Indian National Trade
Union Congress, said. They asked all "affiliates
and member comrades to give the issue a priority
and act upon its prevention and care of infected
and affected". The trade unions said that
there should be no discrimination or stigmatisation
of employees on the basis of real orperceived
HIV status, and screening for HIV/AIDS should
not be required of job applicants or persons
in employment. Testing for HIV should not be
carried out at the work place except as specified
in the "ILO (International Labour Organisation)
Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of
Work". Access to personal data relating
to a worker's HIV status should be bound by
the rules of confidentiality consistent with
the existing ILO code of practice, the statement
said recognising HIV/AIDS as a workplace issue.