Tuesday, June 21, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Fwd: PM denies existence of scavenging!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shiva Shankar <sshankar@cmi.ac.in>
Date: Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 9:08 AM
Subject: PM denies existence of scavenging!

Everywhere across the coutry, wherever there is a railway station,
people are cleaning shit from the tracks with the most primitive
equipment imaginable, and the prime minister of the country denies its

"... On manual scavenging, the NAC appears disappointed: The NAC
sources said that despite a letter written by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh to Ms. Gandhi that manual scavenging had been tackled, the
feedback the council had received was that it still existed in many
places. ..."

The Hindu

NAC to discuss land acquisition, relief and rehabilitation


Smita Gupta

The other issues are: ICDS, manual scavenging, legal rights for street vendors

Heading the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC)'s agenda
on Wednesday will be land acquisition, relief and rehabilitation. On
the table will be a detailed note prepared by the Working Group (WG)
on land acquisition that not only goes beyond the pending government
Bills on the subject, but also recommends that the two be merged into
a single National Development, Acquisition, Displacement and
Rehabilitation Act.

The NAC sources told The Hindu that Wednesday's discussion will first
try and resolve the differences within the WG on the issue. These
relate to the role of the government in land acquisition. One view is
that the government must be proactive when the land to be acquired
belongs to the poor and vulnerable; the other view is that it should
be left to market forces, with the government playing a regulatory
role. The Council, however, hopes to achieve a consensus on Wednesday,
so that Ms Gandhi's promise at the United Progressive Alliance
celebration dinner on May 22 to bring the Bill on land acquisition to
Parliament in the next session can be kept.

The other three issues relate to reform of the Integrated Child
Development Services (ICDS), a follow up on an earlier attempt to push
the government to end the scourge of manual scavenging, and legal
rights for street vendors.

On manual scavenging, the NAC appears disappointed: The NAC sources
said that despite a letter written by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
Ms. Gandhi that manual scavenging had been tackled, the feedback the
council had received was that it still existed in many places. The NAC
therefore now wants joint surveys to be conducted to establish that
manual scavenging has, indeed, ended, and will also press for a strong
law to deal with it.

The NAC will also propose a law for the Protection of Livelihood
Rights and Social Security of Street Vendors, as they number about 10
million across the country. The NAC note points out that while the
National Policy on Street Vendors has provided some relief, it is
rarely implemented because it lacks legal enforceability, and
therefore the urgent need for a law.

The sources added that it was likely that two more Working Groups
might be set up – one on gender and the sex ratio, and another on
rights for Dalits, that would include a look at the Special Component
Plan as well as implementation of the SC/ST Atrocity Act.

The need for a WG on gender and the sex ratio was acute, the NAC
sources said, as the 2011 Census revealed that there were 7.1 million
fewer girls than boys aged 0-6 years, a substantial increase in the
gap of 6 million fewer girls recorded in the 2001 census and 4.2
million fewer girls recorded in the 1991 census.

As for the disagreement on land acquisition among the among the WG
members -- Harsh Mander, Aruna Roy and N.C. Saxena, it centres round
one major issue. Dr. Saxena feels the government should acquire land
for private companies as otherwise, they would exploit unorganised,
small and particularly tribal cultivators and pay them a pittance,
depriving them of R&R benefits. The alternate view is for-profit
private companies must work within the market, and pay enough to
land-holders for them to voluntarily sell their land, thus preventing
unnecessary displacement. As for exploitation, it should be addressed
by strict State regulation of this interface.


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