Society, Culture, Religion and History

  • The serious implications of privatisation of natural resources like water, which is often brought under the overarching umbrella of market reforms, often evade us. There is a qualitative difference in the state withdrawing from the social sector as opposed to the economic sector, and in the increase...
    arathiposted 1 year 11 months agoread more
  • India's groundwater crisis: Gujarat's solar irrigation cooperative embarks on a solution The world's first Solar Pump Irrigators’ Cooperative Enterprise (SPICE) has been formed in Dhundi village in Gujarat's Kheda district. Members of the enterprise have not only made a switch from diesel to sola...
    swatiposted 1 year 11 months agoread more
  • The year 2009 was an exceptionally dry year for Maharashtra. There was an acute shortage of water. The farmlands went dry. The farmers, unable to pay their debts, were a worried lot. Lakshman Ambilkar of Kinni village in the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra was one such farmer who could not take it ...
    makarandpurohitposted 1 year 11 months agoread more
  • When torrential downpour submerged thousands of villages and claimed about 300 lives in Jammu & Kashmir in September 2014, loss of wetlands was cited as one of the reasons that aggravated the impact of the natural disaster. Wetlands are areas where the water level is close to the surface of the ...
    arathiposted 1 year 11 months agoread more
  • Kokapet, one of the study villages for the project ‘Ensuring Water Security in Metropolitan Hyderabad’, was the first village that we visited for field work. Even though we refer to them as ‘villages’, there was very little that we found village-like here. It’s a truly peri-urban site with...
    arathiposted 2 years 6 days agoread more
  • Kakkoos, a compelling documentary film on manual scavenging in Tamil Nadu is all about showing the practice as it is without any filter. The pictures are shocking and watching them is easier said than done -- toilets teeming with shit, sanitary napkins lying scattered, people collecting faeces with ...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 2 years 6 days agoread more
  • Pankaj Sekhsaria’s recent book Islands in flux--The Andaman and Nicobar Story is a collection of around 20 years of his writings on the environmental and conservation concerns faced by the indigenous tribal communities of the region. Unlike his previous book, The last wave, a factual fiction adven...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 2 years 1 week agoread more
  • After becoming a human entity, Ganga river receives first legal notice The Uttarakhand high court has issued the first legal notice to the Ganga river, which was accorded human status recently. The court has sought a response from the river for allowing construction of a trenching ground in its lan...
    swatiposted 2 years 2 weeks agoread more
  • Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana vulnerable to severe water scarcity As per the latest assessment by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana consume much more groundwater than their rechargeable limit every year, making them vulnerable to severe water sc...
    swatiposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • Government releases fund for water conservation under MGNREGS Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the ministry of rural development has released Rs 23,443 crore to states to ensure priority work on water conservation measures. The ministry has also joined ...
    swatiposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • India's urbanisation continues unabated but most of its 53-million plus cities offer an appallingly low quality of life. Ten of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India as per a report by the World Health Organization. Despite this, most of India is now aspiring to produce smart cities. Wi...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • A woman stands with a begging bowl and a placard strung around her neck. An old man shuffles along barefoot in the street at Jantar Mantar, the official site of a farmers’ protest in the heart of New Delhi. He finds his way through a group of farmers gathered at the protest site on a hot summer af...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • The annual droughts in Maharashtra have put tremendous pressure on the available water resources in the state. While the government has not been able to provide adequate, potable water to people in both rural and urban areas, the need to explore other decentralised and localised means of harnessing ...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • Sneh Bhati, a 52-year-old farmer from Madanpur Khadar in Delhi’s fringes finds the change in the landscape of her 100-year-old village in the last two decades remarkable. Yet it has not taken away the rural charm. Men still sit for hours at the village chaupal (a common meeting spot) cha...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • It was in the late 90s that Raigarh emerged as the hub for power, coal mining and sponge iron in Chhattisgarh. The coalfield in Mand Raigarh is spread over an area of more than 1,12,000 hectares with an estimated 21,117 metric tonnes of coal.  Kosampalli, a small village in the Tamnar block in...
    makarandpurohitposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • Can forest conservation policies that ignore the livelihood needs of local, indigenous populations succeed in protecting biodiversity and wildlife? Experiences from the Sundarbans show that such policies not only result in the suffering of the local population, it also leads to the exploitation of ...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • As bamboo trees bloomed with long wispy spikes, Loknath Nauri knew it would be a tough year. “More the density of the flowers, the more severe the drought we face,” he says. This was in March 2015 in the forests of southern Odisha. Around the same time, he saw black-hooded oriole building a nest...
    Manu Moudgilposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • Acute water shortage impacts thermal power generation The country has lost nearly 5,870 million units of power generation due to the nonavailability of water till February in this financial year. Moreover, the loss of generation has significantly increased over the past three years. Power minister ...
    swatiposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • “That was a very scary place to be in,” says Nandini frowning at the memory of dealing with a rape allegation against a colleague. The allegation had severely fractured the community of activists that she worked with. “These were people who we knew really well, we were comrades on so many issu...
    chicuposted 2 years 2 months agoread more
  • The key issue in the Manipur Assembly election is the ongoing economic blockade in the state, which, in turn, is attributed to the present government’s decision to bifurcate districts. The Centre claims to have brokered a peace deal between the Manipur government and the United Naga Council, a reb...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 2 years 2 months agoread more

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Livelihood and education affected, villagers of a marooned land look for solutions.

“Our village is also called the swimmers’ village because almost all of us including small children know how to swim. To learn swimming is not a luxury but a necessity for us.

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A photo exhibition focuses on the changing lifestyles of local communities in the Himalayas with changes in their environment.

Delhi’s Jor Bagh metro station is the site of an ongoing photographic exhibition with thought-provoking images and narratives exploring escalating water crises Indian and Nepal Himalayas face. Titled “Pani, Pahar: Waters of the Himalayas”, the exhibition combines contemporary work by photojournalist Toby Smith with academic research led by Dr Bhaskar Vira and Dr Eszter Kovacs at Cambridge University’s department of geography, in association with collaborators in India and Nepal.

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Phoolbasan Yadav’s journey towards empowering women in Chhattisgarh is an inspiring one.

Phoolbasan Yadav from the remote Sukaldaihan village in the Rajnandgaon district in Chhattisgarh shot to fame for her untiring effort in empowering the women of her village. "Since my childhood, I had experienced extreme poverty and hunger, and I feel that similar is the plight of lakhs of women in the country. I want to help them,” says Yadav.

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The editor of a new book that lays out alternative futures for India discusses India, democracy and development with a noted journalist.

Alternative Futures: India Unshackled is a new book that dares to imagine what India could be. Published by Authors Upfront, 35 author-activists, researchers and thinkers have drawn upon their experiences to write on alternative political, ecological, economic and sociocultural scenarios that will benefit India in its surge forward.

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While the three anicuts on the Mahanadi are hampering its free flow, another one is being planned by the government.

Gopal Nishad, a fisherman in his early 40s, is frustrated that there is hardly any fish left in the Mahanadi’s basin at Pitaibandh due to the lack of water in the basin. This basin is located near Rajim-Nawapara in Chhattisgarh, the proposed site for the fourth anicut on the Mahanadi. He reminisces the good old days when he, along with his brother, used to catch plenty of fish from the Mahanadi. 

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Along with protesting against dams, the ACT leaders are leading by example and showing people of Sikkim more constructive ways to live.

Tenzing Lepcha, the lead activist of Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT), is proud of his work in the last year. “All this was overgrown,” he says pointing at the orderly farm. “I created the fields myself.” He shows us the carefully dug out pond for water storage, the irrigation system, the compost heaps, the neatly staked peas and rows of mustard. It is difficult to recognise him now, my earlier image of him being that of a listless young Tenzing, weak from fasting for months.

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This study finds that smallholder farmers who undertake group micro irrigation through pooling of land and water resources greatly benefit through increase in productivity and profit margins.

Agriculture is of central importance to India’s economy with more than half of the workforce in the country depending on it for their livelihoods. However, it is increasingly being threatened due to climate-change-induced changing rainfall patterns and water scarcity having a negative impact on production.

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The video tells the story of residents of Korba and nearby villages who are affected by the fly ash from power plants which makes Korba the fifth critically polluted area in the country.

Korba in Chhattisgarh is an industrial area which has a significant number of coal mines and thermal power plants. Fly ash is a byproduct of the thermal power plants and has become a significant problem for the residents of Korba now. More than one lakh metric tonnes of fly ash is generated annually by the eight thermal power plants in Korba in Chhattisgarh which produce 6090 megawatts of electricity.

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A study by Action India provides insight into Delhi’s recycling nightmare and its unacknowledged waste pickers.

Eight-year-old Meera (name changed) got ill after eating filthy food remains from a dump at Mansarovar park in Delhi. Children like her work in filthy environments, rummaging through hazardous waste with bare hands and feet. They play in these dumping ground strewn with syringes, scrap iron, rotting waste, solid and liquid household waste.  

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Better surveillance systems will help to keep a check on the excessive exploitation of coastal resources.

Indian scientists have developed a remote sensing technique that uses satellite data to delineate between various coastal landforms like beaches, mangroves and marshes. This method can help monitor and understand impacts of natural disasters as well as human activities on coastal ecosystem.

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