News Alerts

Shadow of Drought on Delayed Monsoon
January 1, 1970

A good reason why we must not rejoice the late resumption of monsoon rains is that much of the damage is already done and is irreparable. In over 60 percent of India’s agricultural belt, particularly in the North-Western parts, there will be no rabi harvest. Hence, late arrival of rains hardly mitigates the challenges of lower agricultural production, shrinking of rural purchasing power, high inflation of food prices and loss of livelihoods.   The issue was discussed threadbare during the State Agricultural Ministers’ meet on 21 August, 2009. Until a day earlier, the rainfall deficit was 26% resulting in substantial loss of sown area in kharif 2009 and 246 districts had been officially declared as drought affected. A series of measures to combat the grim state of affairs included formulating a ‘Crop Plan’ for the early rabi and summer crops, and a ‘Seed Requirement Availability and Supply Plan’, implementation and completion...

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Give Peace a Chance in Chhattisgarh
January 1, 1970

Many grassroots activists in Chhattisgarh are circulating a note among all democratic elements in the country to raise the demand of de-escalation of conflict between the security forces and the adivasis. They want lakhs of displaced adivasis of Dantewada be allowed to return to their villages and rebuild their ravaged agrarian and forest based economies. However, this time they also want an assurance from the state government on right to life, livelihood and civil liberties. Sudha Bharadwaj of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha argues that this is necessary for averting an impending genocide in the name of counter-insurgency. Enclosed below is the text of the appeal: Activists and citizens from all walks of life now want peace to return to Chattisgarh. They want lakhs of displaced adivasis of Dantewada be allowed to return to their villages and rebuild their ravaged agrarian and forest based economies. However, this time they also want...

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Father of green revolution no more with us
January 1, 1970

World leaders have mourned the sudden demise of Norman E Borlaug on 12 September, 2009 in Texas, United States. He was 95. He is remembered for his role in bringing green revolution technology that increased food production in ‘hunger’ belts of the world during the 1960s and 1970s. His contribution to India’s self-sufficiency in foodgrain production is well-known. It is his work that earned him the popular title of the ‘father’ of the Green Revolution. Borlaug’s earlier work in the 1940s with the Mexican Government in a Rockefeller Foundation programme involved breeding wheat crops that were immune to wheat rust that had devastated crops there. He was a guide and a personal friend to many of the agricultural scientists from India, Pakistan and Indonesia whom he trained at International Maize and Wheat Development Centre (CIMMYT, http://www.cimmyt.org/) based in Mexico. He worked closely with the World Food Programme (WFP) of Food...

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It is raining Environment Reports!
January 1, 1970

India has recently witnessed the release of two important environment reports just before the Copenhagen Summit to be held in December, 2009. The National State of the Environment India (SoE) Report 2009 was launched on 11 August, 2009 by Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh. Another report titled United Nation’s World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) Report 2009 was released in early September, 2009 by Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, India. Some critics have found the reports as old wine in new bottles.      The SoE Report 2009 has been prepared by Development Alternatives with active support of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. It covers the state and trends of the environment (land, air, water, biodiversity) and five key issues namely, Climate Change, Food Security, Water Security, Energy Security, and Urbanization. The Ministry initiated the SoE reporting process with all State Governments and...

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Richer states, poor performance, in reducing malnutrition
January 1, 1970

We normally assume that malnutrition is a disease of the poorer states, which the richer states are in the process of curing. It now transpires that malnutrition among women and child undernourishment, two essential markers of human development, are rampant in richer states as well. States with high per capita incomes such as Gujarat and Haryana have performed poorly in transforming the growth they have experienced into the well-being of women and children. For instance, the fourth highest prevalence rate of underweighted children is in Gujarat (47.4%), according to a close scrutiny of the National Family Health Survey-III among children below 3 years. The state also has the third highest prevalence of the rate of stunted growth among children of the same age group. Haryana (35.9%) too has confronted a relatively higher prevalence of stunted growth among infants. In contrast, states like Kerala (21.1%), Manipur (24.7%), Punjab (27.0%) and Tripura...

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