Info Change India

An archive of knowledge resources of social justice and sustainable development
in India

Mon10162017

Last updateSat, 22 Jul 2017 6am

Linguistic inclusion on the internet

Linguistic inclusion on the internet

By AlokeThakore

Not a single one of the Eighth Schedule Indian languages is used by more...

Net neutrality: Superhighway to digital inclusion

Net neutrality: Superhighway to digital inclusion

By Ashoak Upadhyay

If users have to pay for the services available via the internet unde...

Ambivalent internet: Freedoms and fears

Ambivalent internet: Freedoms and fears

By Shivani Gupta

The internet is not a gender-neutral space. Women from patriarchal backg...

Digital inequality in the Global South

Digital inequality in the Global South

By TT Sreekumar

Studies which focus on information and communication technologies (ICTs)...

Caste concerns in landmark e-governance projects

Caste concerns in landmark e-governance projects

By Rahul De’

Many e-governance programmes in developing countries reach into the furthes...

By Vineet John Samuel

As 195 countries meet at CoP21 in Paris to hammer out a treaty on climate change, the only viable solution appears to be to enable and create new bodies to fund the development and transfer of green technology between countries

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Unhappy with the increasingly democratic nature of the WTO, the US is striking back with the Trans Pacific Partnership, which will enable powerful corporations to override the legal frameworks of nation-states, writes Suman Sahai

increasingly democratic nature of the WTO

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The Indian government seems to resolve all contentious issues related to environment and economic growth by setting up more committees, writes Milind Wani

Environmental protection

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By Parineeta Dandekar

In a small stretch of the Chenab river basin, Himachal Pradesh is planning 49 major hydroelectric projects which will convert a living river into a series of puddles. It is time India took the cumulative impact of cascading mega hydro projects seriously

Hydroelectric power, Dams, Chenab river, Environment impact assessment study

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With the World Bank adopting PforR (Programme for Results) as a new lending instrument, it is virtually abandoning many of its rights protection policies, says Joe Athialy

World Bank’s lending policies

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By Himanshu Thakkar and Bipin Chaturvedi

Only four of the 12 hydropower projects in the Northeast generate at their projected 90% dependability or higher. The rest are underperforming miserably. Regardless, several big projects are under construction in the Northeast. Why don’t the stakeholders analyse the performance and impact of large hydro projects before promoting more of them?

Large hydropower projects in Northeast Inbdia

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New research from Navdanya and from the US Union of Concerned Scientists proves that Bt cotton yields are actually a third of what Monsanto claims. Genetic engineering is not going to help feed the world, writes Vandana Shiva, but it is going to harm public health and ecosystems

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By Aakash Mehrotra and Bhomik Shah

Three recent oil spills off the Mumbai coast have drawn attention to the fact that India, which has 11 major and 20 minor ports, still does not have the response systems to handle oil spills that were mandated by a 1993 law

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India must respond to the SOS for a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol or it may be forced into emission cuts based on global emissions rankings while completely neglecting its poor human development index, says Siddharth Pathak

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By Milind Wani

If we want economic growth, ‘there is no alternative’ to nuclear power and to the displacement of 1,000 farmers and 6,000 fishermen in Jaitapur. When Lavasa builds over hundreds of hectares, overlooking environmental norms, then too there is no alternative but to appraise the project post-facto! Milind Wani on the mysterious compulsions of the MoEF

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By Ajit Thamburaj

Nuclear fission has attracted dissent from the time of its inception. But the Fukushima disaster has pushed the nuclear industry into stormy waters worldwide. Local resistance and anti-nuke pressure will result in cost escalations for new nuclear power plants, possibly halting the current nuclear renaissance

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The Japanese have been very conscious of the dangers of nuclear weapons, but there has been little support for campaigns against nuclear power. Just as Japan’s unique Peace Constitution evolved from the ruins of World War II, the Fukushima disaster could initiate a new, peaceful and environmentally harmonious society, says Yuki Tanaka  

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The crisis in four nuclear power plants in Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami is cause to rethink India’s strategy of boosting nuclear energy capacity and setting up the world’s largest nuclear power plant at Jaitapur, says Ranjan K Panda

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‘Who let Warren Anderson go?’ is the wrong question; the right question is ‘Who didn’t let Warren Anderson go?’ writes Jyoti Punwani as she chronicles the betrayals and sellouts after the Bhopal gas tragedy

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By Rakesh Shukla

The sorry 26-year saga of the Bhopal gas leak case -- in which the Supreme Court reduced charges from culpable homicide not amounting to murder to death by negligence while the administration bent over backwards to accommodate Warren Anderson -- spotlights the inadequacy of the Indian system to fix liability in industrial disasters and bring the guilty to book

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By Sakuntala Narasimhan

A report in an American journal that Indian spices and ‘cultural powders’ caused lead poisoning in children, seemed to lack the scientific rigour expected of such studies, but the issue of standards of safety to be followed in the manufacture of food stuffs is a very relevant one

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The marketplace for ideas and information is never completely free, open and fair, says Rajni Bakshi. So how do we the people make sense of the conflicting views of the alarmists on climate change and those who deny its seriousness?

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By Richard Mahapatra

The World Bank Group is poised to play a major role in managing climate change funds after Copenhagen. And yet, its lending for fossil fuels has more than doubled in the last decade. Since 1997, the Bank has financed over 26 giga tonnes of carbon emissions. The Bank’s lending to developing countries has ensured that no country will escape the carbon trap for at least 30-40 years

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By Shelley Saha-Sinha

India’s new mineral policy is long on ways to maximise the benefits of mining for “the economy” but short on measures to alleviate the social and environmental destruction that mining activity inevitably brings in its wake

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By Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon

Though the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead to the POSCO project in Orissa in August, community resistance continues, fuelled by the arrest of anti-POSCO activist Abhay Sahu

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By Indira Khurana, Richard Mahapatra and Romit Sen

A soon-to-be released WaterAid India review of India’s Total Sanitation Campaign in five states finds both positives and negatives in the ambitious programme. It also raises some serious questions about sustainability

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By Rahul Goswami

Instead of having a strongly articulated, clearly thought through vision, India’s new National Action Plan on Climate Change has a basket of eight ‘missions’ and no durable plan that will include the poorest and most vulnerable

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By Sudhirendar Sharma

Over 3,465 km of embankments have been built as a flood-control measure in Bihar since 1952, and more embankments are in the offing. When will government realise that it is the embankments themselves that are responsible for Bihar's recurrent floods?

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By Darryl D'Monte

By conventional standards, Mumbai has perhaps the least amount of open space per person -- 0.03 acres per 1,000 people. But, as a recent study by the design cell of the Kamala Raheja College of Architecture in Mumbai shows, a little 're-imagining' can throw up innovative solutions to enhancing public spaces in Indian cities

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By Darryl D'Monte

One of the worrying outcomes of the recent G8 summit in Hokkaido was the general euphoria about the revival of the nuclear industry, supposedly in the fight against climate change. This is an illusion at best. Only 3% of India's electricity is produced by nuclear plants, and with the Indo-US deal this will increase to 7%, which is by no means radical

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By Richard Mahapatra

An expert group of the Planning Commission establishes a strong correlation between social unrest and the spread of Naxalism and poverty, landlessness and inequitable management of natural resources

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At one stage, Bajaj Auto was using captive wind power to generate 90% of its electricity from its own turbines and "banking" the rest. There are indeed businesses that are going green, but the majority of these claims are still greenwash, says Darryl D'Monte

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The Indian government is planning a major initiative to document all traditional knowledge on biodiversity and natural resources in order to safeguard against biopiracy. Notwithstanding its many potential benefits, without inbuilt safeguards this move could prove to be the undoing of traditional knowledge, says Ashish Kothari

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By Darryl D'Monte

Can the collateral damage of a growth-at-all-costs economic model be addressed by a "regenerative" economy as opposed to a "degenerative" one based on fossil fuels and outmoded notions of industrialisation?Veteran social activist K R Datye believes it can

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By Vikram Soni and Sanjay Parikh

The fundamental human rights on which human survival depends are nature's rights, and it is time we safeguarded them

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By Darryl D'Monte

There are three ideal attributes of food, according to Carlo Petrini of the Slow Food movement: It should appeal to the senses; it should be clean and environment-friendly; and most of all these days, it should be fair

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By Darryl D'Monte

The best that can be said about the recently concluded Bali climate change conference is that negotiations didn't break down altogether. Although India is being unnecessarily self-congratulatory about the correctness of its stand at the UN conference, it should adopt a much more proactive position on energy consumption at home

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By Devinder Sharma

For a country that prides itself on being the third largest biodiversity region in the world, the complete lack of respect for traditional animal breeds is unpardonable. We've lost half of the 27 breeds that once existed. Forty years after we began importing livestock, we are realising the folly of it

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By Darryl D'Monte

Everyone -- including venture capitalists -- seems to be jumping onto the global biofuels bandwagon. But the ethanol needed to fill an SUV just once requires 200 kg of corn, which could feed a person for a whole year

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By Darryl D'Monte

Ranthambhore has becomes the latest wildlife sanctuary to express fears about 'missing' tigers. Will this jewel in the Project Tiger crown go the same way as Sariska? Does the answer lie in relocating villages outside national parks, thereby minimising contact between man and animal?

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By Darryl D'Monte

Five companies are bidding to manage the 7,000 tonnes of waste New Delhi generates every day. But surely it's more important to reduce garbage generated at source than to apply lucrative but environmentally unsound technological solutions to waste management?

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Sanitation remains one of the most neglected issues both in the national policies of many countries and by the global community. Failure to increase the number of people with access to clean water and basic sanitation endangers progress towards other important development targets

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By Darryl D'Monte

With growing calls for the reintroduction of DDT to fight the resurgence of malaria worldwide, we must not forget the reasons why many countries have banned this toxic substance and other dangerous chemicals that cause cancers and other persistent diseases that impair health and possibly prove fatal

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By Himanshu Thakkar

The UNDP's annual Human Development Report for 2006 focuses on water and advocates small-scale solutions and efficiency improvements to tackle the global water crisis

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By Manshi Asher and Rifat Mumtaz

At a time when hundreds of proposed Special Economic Zones are likely to displace millions more, the ministry of rural development has come up with a toothless draft National Rehabilitation Policy 2006 which only carries forward the weaknesses of earlier drafts

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By Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli

The new notification for environment impact assessments displays the environment ministry's enthusiasm to compromise with industry, not regulate it

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By Divya Badami and Kanchi Kohli

The final version of the National Environment Policy 2006 continues to put the interests of the economy before those of the environment. What then has the process of 'public participation', in the course of which grassroots organisations pointed out the contradictions and weaknesses of the policy, achieved?

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By Ashish Kothari

In the current debate over the rehabilitation of those displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Project, the fundamental question about the environmental impact of the dam, and whether such a dam should be built at all, has been forgotten, says Ashish Kothari

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By Richard Mahapatra

Piggybacking on the goal of reducing carbon emissions, multilateral banks are aggressively re-orienting their lending priorities. On April 23, the World Bank will discuss a confidential report that advocates big hydro projects and nuclear energy to mitigate the effects of climate change in transition countries like India and China

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By Darryl D'Monte

If relocating the 66,000 families that live in India's 28 protected areas is not feasible, the solution, according to tiger task force chairperson Sunita Narain, is to include the tribals in the protection of this endangered species, giving them a share in the profits from the tourist trade in the sanctuaries

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By Nityanand Jayaraman

A Supreme Court committee has found that Vedanta falsified information to obtain environmental clearances and began construction on its aluminium refinery in Orissa without the necessary clearances under the Forest Conservation Act. Why doesn't the law apply equally to the rich and powerful, asks Nityanand Jayaraman

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By Manju Menon

The National Environment Appellate Authority was set up as an independent body to address cases in which environmental clearances granted by the ministry of environment are challenged by civil society. But is the authority really independent of the ministry?

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By Darryl D'Monte

Last year, weather-related losses crossed $100 billion for the first time, and 30 million ecological refugees were displaced by drought, flood or other environment-related causes. Whether it's New Orleans or Mumbai, the lessons are virtually identical, as climate change intensifies across the globe

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By Aditi Sen

Can a market-based solution work to combat climate change? Should emission rights be allocated by GDP or per-capita?

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By Aditi Sen

The increasing occurrence of extreme weather conditions, such as the recent deluge in Mumbai, points to a dangerous threat - climate change. This is the first of a series of articles on human-induced climate change

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By Darryl D'Monte

The United States recently unveiled the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, a regional pact that seeks the support of the world's most populous countries to bypass the Kyoto Protocol, take a "business-as-usual" approach and solve the global warming crisis through technology rather than global law

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By Darryl D'Monte

Market forces could prove the environment's best friend -- if only greens could learn to love them, says The Economist in a recent cover story. Rubbish, says Darryl D'Monte. Economics and ecology have always been uneasy bedfellows

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By Darryl D'Monte

India generates mind-boggling quantities of waste: 320 million tonnes of agricultural waste and 4.4 million tonnes of hazardous waste every year. But Indian garbage, which consists of around 85% organic matter, is not suited to the burn technologies that we are importing from the West to manage our solid waste. What are the alternatives?

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By Darryl D'Monte

The gold industry consumes a tenth of the world's energy, spews out 30-50% of the globe's toxic emissions and imperils 40% of the frontier forests A single gold ring generates a staggering 20 tonnes of waste

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By Darryl D'Monte

A recent meeting in Tuscany, Italy, explored the stormy relationship between economics and ecology and questioned the concept of growth without limits

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By Manju Menon

While attempting to simplify the environmental clearance process, the ministry of environment is watering down the few norms that question the long-term environmental, social and economic viability of development projects

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By Fritjof Capra

In the coming decades the survival of humanity will depend on our ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and to live accordingly, writes Fritjof Capra. Teaching this ecological knowledge, which is also ancient wisdom, will be the most important role of education in the 21st century

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By Pankaj Sekhsaria

The inclusion of two new categories of protected areas in the Wildlife Protection Act, in 2002, raised hopes that more areas would be drawn into the protected areas network, with the full participation of local communities. But concerns are being raised that the new categories could actually undermine community initiatives, creating serious conflicts on the ground

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By Manju Menon

The new National Policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation for Projected Affected Families is a regression from the earlier draft. While the earlier one believed in 'total rehabilitation', the new policy does not even give a timeframe for rehabilitation! Conservative estimates put the number of families displaced by development projects at over 20 million up to 1991

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By Darryl D'Monte

Every progressive city has shown that improving public transport is the best way to clean up the air. Mumbai, on the other hand, is geared towards providing 55 flyovers, sea links and coastal highways to the 9% of the population that uses private vehicles. Surely these are examples of topsy-turvy priorities, says Darryl D'Monte

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By Ashish Kothari

What does the new government need to do to tackle environmental degradation head-on? Ashish Kothari an environmental manifesto

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By Pankaj Sekhsaria

The government pays only lip service to the concept of sustainable economic development. But serious doubts are being raised about the independence and freedom of the new National Board for Wildlife

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