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25 Issues Of Increasing And Serious Concern In India

There is increasing worry that in some areas of critical importance the situation in India has been deteriorating steadily during the last eight years or so. As India is home to about 18 per cent of people in the world, this is clearly a matter of urgent concern. Hence a review of these disturbing trends is urgently needed with a view to suggesting suitable remedial actions for checking this deterioration. Inequalities have been increasing recently to record levels. According to the World Inequality Report, after years of significant reduction of inequalities in the post-independence period, inequalities are coming back to their colonial levels in recent times. This report tells us that the bottom 50% have only 6% of the wealth, while the top 1% have 33% of the wealth. The bottom 50% have only 13% of the income, while the top 1% have 22% of the income.

Dare To Win: Lessons From The Indian Farmers Movement

The Farmers Movement in India has inspired millions around the world who are fighting for justice, democracy and solidarity. The farmers held their ground in the face of threats, intimidation and relentless propaganda, and forced the Modi government to repeal the farm bills. This was one of the most spectacular victories of ordinary people against the combined assault of corporate power and the state, showing that determined struggle can defeat the mightiest of forces. On 19 November 2021 the Government of India announced that three highly contentious Farm Bills introduced in June 2020 would be repealed. The Government introduced the laws in the early months of the Covid-19 crisis, when opportunities for public and democratic discussion were extremely limited.

India: Workers Made Homeless On May Day

On May 1, in the presence of heavy police force, demolition squads of Chandigarh swooped on huts and houses of colony number 4, Industrial Area Phase 1. The homes and hearths of nearly 5000 people, all of them from the poorest sections of one of the most affluent cities of India, were destroyed within a few hours. Many of those removed have been living in this 40 year old colony for decades and have never known any other home. While this action would have been condemned under any circumstances, there are three particular reasons why this was excessively insensitive and ill-advised at this time. Firstly, this region has been passing through heat-wave conditions in the recent past and weather forecasts are for even more hot weather in the coming days.

May Day—Workers In India Feel Increasing Need For Unity

This year May Day is being observed at a time of increasing need for wider unity by workers in the wake of adverse government policies leading to increasing burden of unemployment and inflation at the same time. Policies relating to demonetization, poorly conceived tax reform in the form of GST, privatization, excessively stringent and poorly planned lock-downs have led to massive job losses and reduced income across vast areas of economic activity, while policies which favor big business interests contribute at least partly to rise of price of several essential commodities. At a time of adverse external factor including the Ukraine war policy distortions have made the situation for workers much more difficult than would have been the case of more protective policies had been followed.

Ukraine And The Strength Of Nonalignment

China and Russia appear to have understood from the first that the Ukraine crisis would affect the geopolitical maps in these two ways. Their joint statement on Feb. 4, the eve of the Beijing Olympics and slightly more than two weeks before Russia began its intervention, was a not-very-veiled rejection of the West’s claim to global hegemony and an invitation to begin constructing a new world order based on principles Western nations profess but pay no mind to. If nonalignment is the emergent drift in global politics and policy, India is logically prominent among the battlegrounds where the fight is engaged. India is big and populous. It is influential among non–Western nations. And Washington has long entertained ridiculous fantasies to the effect that it can pull New Delhi decisively into the Western camp against Russia and China alike.

Millions Strike In India Against Modi Government’s Policies

The last two years have seen a further deterioration of the living standards of working people in India due to the pandemic and the lack of enough policy interventions by the Modi government. Around 200 million industrial workers, employees, farmers and agricultural laborers observed a two-day general strike in India on March 28 and 29. The strike is a challenge by working people to the far-right Narendra Modi government as well as a fight to save the people’s future and save the country.

Tens Of Millions Of Indian Workers Join General Strike

Tens of millions of workers across India participated in a two-day general strike Monday and Tuesday against the class-war, “pro-investor” policies of the far-right, Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Many workers did so in the face of government and management threats of disciplinary action, even firing. The strike impacted all parts of India, from Assam in the northeast and Punjab in the northwest, to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the south, as millions of workers in road transport, steel, oil, coal, power generation, postal and telecom services and public health walked off the job. In all or parts of several opposition-led states and territories, including Kerala and Pondicherry, the strike resulted in a bandh, a general shutdown of all stores, business and schools.

Why Is India Going On A General Strike On March 28-29?

India’s industrial workers, employees, farmers and agricultural laborers will observe a two-day general strike on March 28-29, 2022 under the slogan ‘Save People, Nation’. This means that not only will the country’s vast manufacturing sector workforce stop work, but all banks, other financial institutions, government and public sector offices, transport, construction, ports and docks, government scheme workers, educational institutions, etc will remain closed. Rural areas are likely to see mass protests by farmers and agricultural workers. By all estimates, it is going to be a historic protest action involving up to 250 million working people. This protest will be supported by students and youth, including big sections of unemployed youth, artists, intellectuals, scientists and other middle-class sections.

New ‘Compromise’ On IP Waiver For Covid Vaccines Is Worse Than No Deal

On Tuesday, after a year and a half of negotiations over an intellectual property waiver for Covid-related products, the United States, European Union, India and South Africa reportedly reached agreement on a temporary waiver of patent rules for Covid vaccines. “The difficult and protracted process has resulted in a compromise outcome that offers the most promising path toward achieving a concrete and meaningful outcome,” said U.S. Trade Representative spokesperson Adam Hodge in a statement. Global health activists, however, are slamming the tentative deal as not only insufficient, but a potential setback, because it excludes tests and treatments, includes a carveout for China, and introduces new barriers for the production of generic treatments that could have implications far beyond the Covid crisis.

What Red Book Will You Read This Year On Red Books Day?

On 16 February 2015, Govind and Uma Pansare went for a morning walk near their home in Kolhapur, in the western state of Maharashtra, India. Two men on a motorcycle stopped them and asked for directions, but the Pansares could not help them. One of the men laughed, pulled out a gun, and shot the two Pansares. Uma Pansare was hit but survived the attack. Her husband, Govind Pansare, died in a hospital shortly thereafter on 20 February at age 82. Raised in poverty, Govind Pansare was fortunate to go to school, where he encountered Marxist ideas. In 1952, at the age of 19, Pansare joined the Communist Party of India (CPI). While in college in Kolhapur, Pansare could often be found at the Republic Book Stall, where he devoured Marxist classics and Soviet novels that came to India through the CPI’s People’s Publishing House.

The WTO Threatens The Farmers’ Victory — Unless We Resist

The ministerial level meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will take place from November 30 to December 3. Generally, during such meetings, imperialist countries pressure developing countries to abolish their agricultural subsidies according to the policies of “free trade.” The new agricultural laws [the BJP’s neoliberalizing reforms against which the farmers’ movement struggled] were a result of the dictates of such meetings. Even now, the [farmers’ movement’s] demands pertaining to the legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP), the state purchase of crops, and the legal guarantee of the Public Distribution System (PDS) stand in direct contradiction to the dictates of the WTO. Indian rulers have already committed there, in writing, not to guarantee MSP, and the coming meeting is destined to bring more of the same.

‘Fortress Conservation’ Is Driving Us From Our Homes

Kaziranga is also a World Heritage site recognized by UNESCO and listed as a global hotspot of biodiversity by the IUCN. However, all that is under threat thanks to an increasingly militarized form of conservation. This is being promoted by the Indian Forest Department, in a feudal, colonial setup, assisted by large international and national NGOs. A flawed and exploitative idea has emerged: the plan to turn 30 per cent of the world’s surface into Protected Areas by 2030 (30x30). This idea, being pushed by the IUCN, has been greenwashed, whitewashed and sold to the world, alongside ‘nature-based solutions’ (NBS), as a way to solve climate change.

India’s Farmers Win On Many Fronts, Media Fails On All

Farmers of all kinds, men and women – including from Adivasi and Dalit communities – played a crucial role in this country’s struggle for freedom. And in the 75th year of our Independence, the farmers at Delhi’s gates reiterated the spirit of that great struggle. Prime Minister Modi has announced he is backing off and repealing the farm laws in the upcoming winter session of Parliament starting on the 29th of this month. He says he is doing so after failing to persuade ‘a section of farmers despite best efforts’.  Just a section, mind you, that he could not convince to accept that the three discredited farm laws were really good for them. Not a word on, or for, the over 600 farmers who have died in the course of this historic struggle.

This Victory Gives Confidence For Future Struggles

On 19 November 2021, a week before the first anniversary of the farmers’ revolt, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi surrendered. He accepted that the three laws on agricultural markets that had been pushed through the parliament in 2020 would be repealed. The farmers of India had won. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), one of the organisers of the protest movement, celebrated the triumph and declared that ‘this victory gives more confidence for future struggles’. Many pressing struggles remain, including the fight for a law to guarantee a minimum support price that is one and a half times the cost of production for all crops of all farmers. The failure to address this, the AIKS notes, ‘aggravated the agrarian crisis and led to the suicide of over [400,000] farmers in the last 25 years’.

Salute To India’s Farmers! A Big Win For Peoples’ Power!

In a big win for India’s protesting farmers, who were leading a historic agitation for nearly a year, the Government of India – on the 19th of November – announced the repeal of three controversial farm laws that threatened to corporatize the country’s agricultural sector. It is an inspirational account of what peoples’ power can achieve even in the most adverse conditions. The Indian farmers’ protest, one of the largest mobilizations in recent history, completes a year on 26th November 2021. In the course of this historic protest, peasants and workers have braved harsh winters, heavy rains, brutal crackdowns and a wave of campaigns that tried to criminalize, imprison, defame and delegitimize the protestors and their supporters.
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