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India: Eased industry regulations may endanger human rights

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India's environment ministry has recently eased rules for mining, roads, power and irrigation projects and other industrial sectors. It has diluted a host of regulations related to environment, forest and tribal rights. More changes in regulations are in the pipeline. Human rights and other civil society groups are concerned about these changes. For example, Amnesty International India has warned, "Many corporate-led infrastructure projects could severely affect the rights of communities to clean air, water, health, livelihood and a healthy environment...Attempts to shut these communities out of the decision-making process are short-sighted and counter-productive."

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Article
25 May 2015

Land acquisition bill not at cost of farmers

All Ambedkarites in the city too have joined hands to oppose the BJP government-driven Land Acquisition Amendment Bill which was recently proposed in Lok Sabha. All their views are seen corresponding to the other key position parties all over the nation who have called the proposed amendments anti-farmer and anti-poor...Opposing the earlier UPA law, as the amendment bought in by NDA does not look for the consent of farmers before acquiring their cultivable land, it has drawn a lot of criticism not only coming from political circle but also from various agriculture activists where a lot of them had actively protested. 

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Article
19 May 2015

Land-Acquisition Warnings From India’s Special Zones

Author: Prachi Salve, India Spend

there is strong evidence that past acquisition of land by the government has gone awry. A 2012-13 report issued by the Comptroller and Audit General of India (CAG), the auditor of the central government, revealed...No more than 62% of land—much of it acquired from farmers—for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) has been used for its intended purpose: to boost manufacturing, exports and jobs...Most SEZs are populated with information technology (IT) and IT-related companies, while manufacturing accounts for only 9% of all SEZ projects...SEZs fell short of their job, investment and exports targets by wide margins. For instance, they generated less than 8% of the jobs expected..The report, in conclusion, said “The SEZ policy and procedures need to be integrated with the sectoral and state policies with the involvement of the unique advantageous points therein.”

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Article
6 May 2015

India: An open letter to India's Prime Minister on communities' right to consent & civil society's right to dissent

Author: Aruna Chandrashekhar, www.coalscamblog.com

Dear Prime Minister Narendra Modi...I write to you as a citizen of this country, a consumer of its resources and a benefactor of its largesse. As a citizen, I have what your Environment Minister called a ‘vested interest’ in my own survival...We are at a cusp of our nation’s history- economically, politically and socially. While a large portion of us now walk the liberal road of wider economic choices, far greater millions are yet to see evidence of basic development, and are being pushed into wider chasms of inequity...by removing safeguards on social impact assessment and acquiring the consent of affected communities’ for a series of different projects, you say that businesses don’t have the time to meaningfully consult with stakeholders, ignoring your obligations to protect citizens from human rights abuses.

 

 

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Article
13 April 2015

India: Social activist Medha Patkar criticizes new land acquisition bill

Author: Mallinath Basavarajappa, Times News Network

Social activist Medha Patkar describing "Make In India" slogan as "graze in India" said proposed land acquisition bill is intended to help corporate bodies and deprive the farmers their sustainable livelihood...resent bill has given more powers to government and buyers with total disregard for farmers opinion. " Consent of farmer should be made mandatory" she suggested...Patkar said corporate bodies and rich are exploiting natural resources and land at their will and wish and they are not bothered about protecting these resources for next generations.

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Article
12 April 2015

India: At least 100,000 farmers to protest Land Bill in Bengaluru

Author: Express News Service

 At least one lakh farmers will take part in a protest scheduled to be held at Freedom Park in Bengaluru on April 28 against the anti-farmer policies of the state and Central governments, said Maruthi Manpade, state president of Karnataka Pradesh Raitha Sangha on Sunday. At a farmers’ convention, Manpade said by amending the Land Acquisition Act the Modi government is snatching land from farmers and giving it to corporates...Under this amendment, the corporate companies can acquire agricultural land without the consent of the farmers, he said.

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Article
12 April 2015

India: At least 100,000 farmers to protest Land Bill in Bengaluru

Author: Express News Service

 At least one lakh farmers will take part in a protest scheduled to be held at Freedom Park in Bengaluru on April 28 against the anti-farmer policies of the state and Central governments, said Maruthi Manpade, state president of Karnataka Pradesh Raitha Sangha on Sunday. At a farmers’ convention, Manpade said by amending the Land Acquisition Act the Modi government is snatching land from farmers and giving it to corporates...Under this amendment, the corporate companies can acquire agricultural land without the consent of the farmers, he said.

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Article
12 April 2015

India: Social activist Anna Hazare plans anti-Land Bill protest

Author: Press Trust of India

Social activist  Anna Hazare, who is opposing the controversial Land Acquisition Bill, is said to be keen on undertaking a fast in Delhi on the issue, but he is being dissuaded by activists from doing so on health grounds...Vishwambhar Choudhary, an associate of Hazare, who attended a closed-door meeting held by Hazare with like-minded organisations on the land issue here yesterday, told that a country-wide protest was being planned to oppose the Bill, actual format and dates of the proposed agitation were, however, yet to be finalised.

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Article
30 March 2015

India: Union Cabinet clears repromulgation of Land Ordinance

Author: India Today

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday decided to recommend re-promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance incorporating nine amendments that were part of the bill that was passed in Lok Sabha earlier this month...The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the bill passed by the Lower House and is pending before the Rajya Sabha has no chance of being cleared before April 5...Once it is re-promulgated, it will be the eleventh ordinance to be issued by the Modi government.

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Article
25 March 2015

India: Why Social Impact Assessment is crucial to Land Bill

Author: Aruna Chandrashekhar, Financial Express

While the government’s efforts to extend compensation and rehabilitation benefits to the exempted projects are laudable, removing the Social Impact Assessment and consent processes threatens the effectiveness of these measures. How will compensation be calculated without factoring in the costs and impacts of private assets, including bore wells, temporary sheds, electrical fittings and housing materials and animal sheds? How can companies possibly hope to generate meaningful employment without assessing existing wage rates and poverty levels or understanding the specific livelihood activities that men and women carry out, across castes and communities?..The Bill cannot be seen in isolation from other policy changes that have weakened the rights of citizens to be consulted on decisions affecting their lands and livelihoods. These changes provide evidence of a troubling shift in the perception of the relationship between business and human rights, which assumes that compensation is the only currency that matters. 

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Article
24 February 2015

India: Government Tables Land Acquisition Bill In Parliament Today Amid Protests

Author: Rituparna Chatterjee, Huffington Post

…[G]overnment…reintroduced the contentious land acquisition amendment bill 2015 to replace an ordinance that lawmakers from the Opposition slammed as anti-poor and claimed threatened India's food security….Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked his party MPs to aggressively defend the land acquisition bill saying that it is pro-farmer…Social activists and the Opposition Congress have termed the ordinance amending the land acquisition act as "anti-people". "This is not democracy. Without consultations, they (ministers) are taking big decisions," activist Medha Patkar told reporters.

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