`Lack of training led to Dantewada slaughter`

How could the Maoists butcher 75 CRPF personnel in Dantewada so easily? "They had no training." That was the crisp response from Brigadier B K Ponwar. He should know. For several years, Ponwar has been training the police and paramilitary forces to take on the Maoists at the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College of Kanker in Chhattisgarh. "And

Honouring Mother India

This is the story of two women. This is the story of India in transition. This is the story of Chandrapati. This is the story of Vani Gopal Sharma. The former is a 55-year-old widow from a Haryana village who steadfastly took on the dreaded system of ‘khap panchayat,’ in her fight for justice against the brutal killing of her son by his in-laws. The latter a judge who did not blink

South leads the way in e-readiness: NCAER

Tamil Nadu, AP, Karnataka along with Delhi and Chandigarh named leaders in NCAER report. Karnataka, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, AP have been ranked as leaders in e-readiness assessment as per the India e-Readiness Assessment Report 2008 released last month by the Department of Information Technology, government of India. The report published by department in coll

Afghanistan tops in hashish production: UN

Afghanistan is world’s biggest producer of hashish, says a 2010 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The latest survey adds to the world’s concern on the war torn Afghanistan’s drug cultivation. Afghanistan is already world’s top opium producer. Now, according to the report, the country produces more hasish than opium. The report points out tha

The promise of All Fools Day

April Fool’s should be the last day to heed promises, especially for the Aam Aadmi who has seen enough of tokenism while suffering chronically bad governance. It’s impossible, however, not to be tempted by the many promises of today. It’s the day when the Right to Education Act comes into force and what is billed as the ‘largest ever census in human histo

Sonia`s NAC agenda

The Congress seems to have developed into a fine art the difficult practice of running two power centres. Ever since the party came back to power in 2004, there was hardly any doubt that Sonia Gandhi is the political boss but there came a time, especially during the nuclear deal and the first few months of UPA2 when it seemed like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a mind of his own, too.

Postcards from the Republic of Hunger

Starvation deaths and Orissa have become synonymous. It does not raise eyebrows anymore. Nobody loses sleep over them, least of all the local administration. A series of reports has appeared in a national daily pointing out that about 50 people have perished to hunger in Balangir (one of the three districts infamous as KBK, along with Korapur and Kalahandi) alone in the past two to three years.

Rural India’s housing woes

Coming down heavily on the housing finance companies which have played a key role in housing for urban India, a report prepared by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) says that these companies have done nothing for the rural India. There is a collapse of government’s social housing development programme - Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), the report says. The key finding is that

Deforestation slowed down globally in the last decade: FAO

An ambitious tree planting programme in Asia has slowed the deforestation in the last decade, says a report document of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). It also says that the net loss of forest area slowed down to 5.2 million a year between 2000 and 2010 from 8.3 million in the 1990s, which is still an area the size of Costa Rica. The report also points out that 32 millio

Agatha Sangma on development. And the northeast

The first thing you notice as you enter Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha Sangma’s office at Krishi Bhawan is that her petite frame does not match with her rather big chair. The next thing you notice is that her desk is free of the usual clutter— papers, briefs, files and the paraphernalia. The daughter of P.A. Sangma, veteran Nationalist Congre

This rollback is no relief

Increasing taxes and withdrawing subsidies at the time of a generally extortionate price rise and then "rolling back" some of the burden on the consumers in the name of providing "relief" to the common man! Sheila Dikshit government has managed to sound very cavalier in gauging public opinion and managing public finances. That`s happening even as the social c

“Sick Water” Kills more people than War: UNEP

It is the polluted water which kills more people than any type of violence including wars, says an annual UN report. According to the report, “diarrhoea, mostly from dirty water, kills around 2.2 million people a year.” In India, over one lakh people die of water-borne disease annually, the report reveals.   It also states that 3.7 percent of all deaths are linked

Drug resistant TB on rise: WHO

Almost half of all people with the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis disease are in China and India, says the World Health Organisation in its latest report. It estimates that 440,000 people worldwide had multi-drug-resistant forms of the disease (MDR-TB) with about one-third of them fatal. The report based on the figure till 2008 says that there were 9.8 million cases of tuberculosis, with 1.8

Feeling rich, Pranab-da?

It took actor Aamir Khan to highlight what veterans in the tax machinery have repeatedly failed to bring out in the open. The day after the budget, the actor used his quick quote in a leading newspaper to ask why refunds by the income tax department were unduly delayed. Aamir also complained about the inherent harassment that honest taxpayers have to go through to procure their refunds. I wonde

"India improving slum-dwellers` lot"

The annual UN-HABITAT report this year has praised India and China’s effort in lifting people out of urban slums. The report specifies that both countries have lifted more people from urban slum conditions than any other countries. The figures speak for themselves. China and India have im

Open defecation – India’s shame

This is one statistics that will put India in the poor light. A report by WHO-UNICEF says that Indians comprised 58 percent of all people who defecate in the open. However, the worldwide figures show a decline from the previous years’. The report points out that open defecation worldwide is on decline from 25 per cent in 1990 to 17 per cent in 2008.

Maya mirrors larger malaise

The brouhaha over Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s garland of currency notes only confirms that in India morality is selective and sensibilities too fragile. This is not the first time that Mayawati has overtly displayed her affection for material wealth. She has been consistently doing this on many social occasions, including her own birth anniversaries. By accepting garlands of c

Face the future

The much-awaited reconstitution of the BJP`s national executive and team of office bearers reflects the party`s drift rather than a coherent political strategy. The appointment of nearly a dozen vice-presidents and an equal number of general secretaries is a testimony to craving for power and pelf among top leaders who successfully coerced Nitin Gadkari to appoint their minions.

Indian spices and vermillion contain lead

Lead, a dangerous toxin that affects nerve cells especially younger children, has been found in imported Indian spices and vermillion powder, according to an American study. The researchers at the Children’s General Hospital Boston and Harvard School of Public Health, USA found more than 1 microgram of lead per gram in the samples, which could cause cognitive damage and behavioural change

The story of Raj Kumar & why your sugar is sour

Raj Kumar, 50, from Nagla Mubarik village of Muzaffar Nagar in western Uttar Pradesh, is a much relieved man these days. In his four-decade life as a farmer, he had encountered many financial ups and downs. But now he thinks he has insured himself against the uncertainties of life and farming. That is because, three years ago, he changed his crop pattern and instead of growing sugarcane on a su

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


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