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RIGHT TO EDUCATION: TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE?
January 1, 1970

Is the Right to Education Bill a landmark legislation as it is made out to be? The opinion is divided and it is not an exaggeration that the Bill has disappointed India’s educationists and Civil Society activists alike. To say the least, what got passed in Lok Sabha was a huge compromise from the state’s earlier commitment of providing the country’s children easy and equitable access to quality education without discrimination. It provides easy but not equitable, and the bare minimum rather than quality education. The biggest problem is that there is no commitment to quality in the Bill and there is no punishment for those who flout its provisions. It guarantees promotion by removing exams without setting standards for learning. It has ignored an earlier suggestion to benchmark the minimum quality of education to the level of Kendriya Vidyalayas. The other problem is that it has nothing for children...

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MINING & DISPLACEMENT: SAME STORY EVERYWHERE
January 1, 1970

Government of India is preparing to allot alternative sites to the South Korean mining giant POSCO for its Rs 51000 crore steel plant in Orissa because it fears a major tribal backlash against forced displacement from their lands and livelihoods. The plan is to ‘arrange’ alternative sites for the company without moving it out of the state. It is no secret that the hugely profitable mining industry thrives on corruption and opaque land transfers and is indifferent to the tribals’ main demand -- long-term rehabilitation of the displaced. However, now when the Government is working on a Land Acquisition Bill, there is little effort on the ground to involve the tribals in their own affairs. The situation is not very different in other districts of the mineral-rich tribal region of India where national and international mining lobbies are awaiting transfer of humongous tracts of tribal and forest land. The area...

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