Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 11.07.15
'I wanted money to settle my debts'- The Hindu
The Times Of India
CM DevendraFadnavis pitches for Bharat Ratna for Jyotiba and Savitribai Phule-
STOP OPPRESSION TO FIGHT OUT ODISHA'S POVERTY- The Pioneer
SP PLAYS DALIT CARD, EVENTS LINED UP TO SPREAD WORD ON UP GOVT'S WORK- The Pioneer
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'I wanted money to settle my debts'
Fighting a gram panchayat election proved costly for 32-year-old Shashikala. The Dalit woman and mother of two from a BPL family was ultimately forced to sell her kidney for Rs. 3 lakh to repay the debt she incurred in her unsuccessful poll campaign.
A weak Shashikala at the Magadi government hospital told The Hindu that her cup of woes overflowed in 2012 when she contested the Taggikuppe Gram Panchayat elections and lost by just two votes. She claimed to have incurred a debt of Rs. 7 lakh towards election expenses.
Shashikala recently shifted out of the Nagashettyhalli village with her husband Venkatesh to Peenya in the city where they were working as construction labourers.
"Srinivas, a cloth merchant in Cubbon Pet, had financed my election expenses. When he said his mother was unwell and needed a kidney, I agreed to donate one of mine, for which Srinivas paid me Rs. 3 lakh that I used to settle most of my debt," Shashikala claimed.
But her answers on how she knew Srinivas were vague. She claimed to have met him at a nearby temple three years ago. However, initial investigation by the police has pointed the presence of a tout, who may have facilitated the meeting between Srinivas and Shashikala. Police also confirmed that she had repaid a part of her loans using the money she received for donating a kidney.
Shashikala was also anxious about her husband, who had a bitter tiff with her last week over the kidney transplant issue and walked out on her. Weeping, she said, "He did not know of the donation. He was upset after the family slipped into debt trap."
A deserted house
Bengaluru: Shashikala's one-room kacha house in Nagashettyhalli was deserted when The Hindu visited the village on Thursday. Though the unplastered mud brick house did not have flooring, it had a new double cot and a television set with a dish connection.
Her two sons Surendra Kumar (12) and Suresh Kumar (9) were loitering around the village after having lunch with their neighbours. "My mother fell ill and she is in the hospital. Appa came home last week, quarrelled with her and went out in a huff. I do not know his mobile number but I want to speak to him," said young Suresh, pleading with the neighbours to take him to his mother.
The Times Of India
CM DevendraFadnavis pitches for Bharat Ratna for Jyotiba and Savitribai Phule
Sources in the government said, "Jyotirao and SavitribaiPhule's name should not be seen in narrow prism of caste and party politics.
Chief Minister DevendraFadnavis has written to Prime Minister recommending the name of one of the state's greatest social reformer couple Mahatma Jyotirao and SavitribaiPhule for the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.
An official said, "The Centre has sought the state's list for the Padma awards by August-end. It then is scrutinised by the panel after receiving the list of all candidates across the country."
Although Bharat Ratna is not clubbed with other civilian awards, each state gives its own own recommendations to the Centre. In the letter to Modi, Fadnavis has explained the pioneering social reforms undertaken by the couple who belonged to the "mali" community in fighting against the evils of casteism which was deep rooted during the 19th century.
At a time when the Prime Minister has launched a "betibacho, betipadao" (save and teach the girl child), Savitribai's contribution is worth recalling as rising above the orthodox society she was the first to start a girls school and advocate the widow re-marriage, Fadnavis wrote.
Sources in the government said, "Jyotirao and SavitribaiPhule's name should not be seen in narrow prism of caste and party politics. They were social thinkers whose work is great inspiration for generations to come."
According to Fadnavis, "It is highly notable to see how he courageously upheld the cause of the untouchables and took up the cudgels for the poorer peasants. He was a militant advocate of their rights. The story of his stormy life is an inspiring saga of a continuous struggle, which he waged relentlessly against the forces of reaction. It is only in recent decades that there is a increasing appreciation of his services and sacrifices in uplifting the masses."
While outlining the struggle, the letter mentions, "In those days there was conflict between the rationalist and the orthodox. His period can, therefore, be aptly described as the dawn of revolution in the history, not only of agriculture, economic, upliftment of the social status of women and widows, human rights, untouchability and social equality."
The chief minister's letter sates, "Savitribai's work in the field of education and her contribution to the SatyaShodhak Movement (a movement to bare the truth about religion) is well known."
STOP OPPRESSION TO FIGHT OUT ODISHA'S POVERTY
The most recent reports by the Government and research bodies such as Oxford Poverty and Human Development Report 2015, Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 and Millennium Development Goal (MDG) report 2015 have again revealed that the situation of poverty and hunger in India especially in the poor States such as Odisha has not improved to the desired extent and still remains a matter of grave concern.
The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative by using a unique index (The Global multidimensional poverty index 2015) developed at the University of Oxford concluded there are more poor people in India than in the Sub-Saharan Africa and it further said the largest number of people classified as destitute in the developing countries are in India.
The poorest region in South Asia is Bihar and the other seven States having large numbers of poor people are Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Odisha. The SECC, 2011 data revealed recently has exposed the overall socio-economic status of households and the status of different social groups. Illiteracy, landlessness and low income still continue as a feature of rural India. 30 per cent of rural households are landless and earn a major part of their income from manual and causal labour.
Their income level has not increased to ensure a standard living. As it is revealed, about 75 per cent of rural household members' monthly income is less than Rs5,000. It is much higher in case of poor States such as Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
The MDGs identify eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Its first goal is to reduce 50 per cent of population below the national poverty line as well as the poverty gap ratio. The MDG India report 2015 released by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation says the incidence of poverty, as per Poverty Head Count Ratio( PHCR) has reduced from 49.4 per cent in 1994 to 24.7 per cent in 2011 but this reduction in poverty is less than achieved by our neighbouring countries because of India's slow progress.
The report further says the share of poorest 20 per cent in national consumption was always less than 10 per cent during 1993 - 2012.The poor States such as Odisha with their slow progress have missed the MDG target narrowly. The PHCR estimate of Odisha was 59 per cent in 1993-1994, 57 per cent in 2004-2005 and 32.59 per cent in 2011-2012. The PHCR estimates are based on Tendulkar methodology of consumption expenditure.
About 70 to 80 per cent of the consumption expenditure accounts for the consumption basket and there has been continuous increase in price of food grains. It is being argued that a major reason of poverty is lack of purchasing power due to low income and unemployment.Odisha has been fighting poverty with support from international agencies, the Central Government and others, but in spite serious efforts in this direction, the impact level has been consistently slow and the cause behind it needs deep reflection by all concerned involved in poverty eradication issue.
The Central Government has framed a number of schemes and programmes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guaranty Act 2006(MGNREGA), National Rural Livelihood Mission(NRLM), National Urban Livelihood Mission(NULM), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Indira Awas Yojana(IAY) and Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS), etc targeted to improve the employment, income and quality of life of the rural and urban poor people but many such schemes have been largely suffering from improper implementation in States like Odisha. Many times it is reported that the Central Government funds remain unspent or the Central Government does not release the funds in time. There are also numbers of non economic reasons, socio-political and socio-cultural issues, which affect the implementation of anti- poverty programme.
The beneficiaries of the programmes have very insignificant involvement in the implementation due to lack of informed organisation of the rural poor and ineffective local service delivery system run by Government officials. Corruption in development programmes has been a matter of concern because it has been very often found by evaluations that the targeted funds are not reaching to the targeted beneficiaries due to exploitative role of middleman between the Government system and the beneficiary.
In order to avoid the problem to some extent, direct cash transfer benefit has been introduced in programmes such as MGNREGS. It is further observed that though NREGS aims to ensure 100 days employment of unskilled manual work for every rural household but in many villages the beneficiaries are motivated to rent their cards to get a percentage and machines are used in their place. Similarly, the beneficiaries of IAY have been routinely visiting block offices to get their due but they face non cooperation of the block officials and PRIs at different levels.
The women self help groups in rural villages are facing difficulties in dealing with bank and block officials while getting loan and in getting them involved in self employment activities. The assertion of rural poor women of marginalized sections is largely witnessed in anti-liquor movements where they join to destroy the liquor shops. While the poor women are fighting to save their family from addiction, they are not getting adequate State support. Rather the State suppresses anti-liquor movement by using police through lathi charge, illegal arrest, detention and false case.
All it wants is to promote liquor business on the pretext of revenue generation, regardless of the fact that liquor ruins hundreds of rural poor households and pushes them to the brink of poverty. Continued poverty and hunger in rural poor households leads to domestic violence and family employability. It is reported in June 2014 by Minister for Women and Child Development in the Odisha Assembly that 42 per cent of women between 15 to 49 years of age face physical or sexual violence.
The people who face violence are mostly in distress condition due to continued poverty, illiteracy, resourcelessness and victims of State apathy to their rights and entitlements, issues and problems which remain unaddressed by institutional mechanism setup by the Government. They face continuous harassment by various wings of Government such as revenue, forest, police, judiciary and other service providers. People living in poverty are also mostly from marginalized communities and socially excluded groups.
The large non-representation of marginalized sections in administration and policy making bodies, CSOs, and media has been the major reasons of their protest in various forms through which they have been trying to ventilate their concerns and views to the Government. Their issues are not being discussed in the appropriate forum of the Government and many of the decisions relating to their life and livelihoods are being imposed on them and their decent protests are suppressed by using police and military.
The Home Ministry reported in 2014 that mostly the poor States such as Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh etc are reeling under Left-wing extremism and over 12,000 killed in Naxal violence in past 20 years out of which 9,471 were civilians and 2,712 were Central and State security forces personnel. There has been continuous violence against the vulnerable sections such as Adivasi, Dalit, farmers and women.
It is unfortunate that mostly the poor and illiterate people are being killed in violence. It is reported that the people killed in protest movements in different parts are mostly poor Adivasis, Dalits, farmers and women who suffer historical injustice. The State violence along with social oppression by dominant social groups against the poor marginalized minority has been continuing and getting intense. But when the poor become assertive to realize their basic entitlements and rights for living a life with prosperity and dignity, they are not allowed to do so and have to undergo many trials and tribulations.
Therefore beyond the Government schemes, the agenda of eradication of extreme poverty and hunger must address the non–economic causes of poverty.
The poor people's initiative in different forms including protest to fight out poverty and asserting their rights and entitlements over land, livelihood, wage, social security, education, health, housing and movement against liquor, social oppressions and corruption ought to be seen as a larger process towards poverty eradication because poverty eradication should be integrated to people's initiatives and seen as a larger holistic process of change in quality of life of poor people.
(The writer is a researcher and rights activist, who can be mailed email@example.com)
SP PLAYS DALIT CARD, EVENTS LINED UP TO SPREAD WORD ON UP GOVT'S WORK
With an eye on the Dalit votebank the Samajwadi Party plans a series of Dalit sammelans with one to be held at Azamgarh, Mulayam Singh Yadav's parliamentary constituency, on Saturday where the party will try to educate dalits about the achievements of the Akhilesh Yadav Government.
All the Dalit Ministers in the Akhilesh Yadav Government are camping in Azamgarh to ensure a good show. The party's SC/ST cell's head Subhash Passi is the convener of the sammelan, while SP MP Dharmendra Yadav is supervising the preparations.
"It is a wrong notion that Dalits are BSP supporters. The BSP has done nothing for them. The Dalits know that only the Samajwadi Party Government is their true saviour and we will educate them about the policies initiated by the Akhilesh Yadav Government," Passi said.
The party plans more such sammelans in near future and if Passi is to be believed such meets will be held in all the 18 divisional headquarters. Other sammelans will be held in Varanasi, Kanpur, Jhansi, Meerut, Agra, Banda, Gonda and the series will culminate with a rally in Lucknow on December 5, which is the eve of the death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar.
The last Lok Sabha elections and the by-elections have given a belief among the political parties that Dalits do not always stick with the BSP. In Lok Sabha elections, the Dalits voted for the BJP resulting in the party winning 71 seats, while the BSP drawing a blank. While the BSP did not contest the polls, the Dalits voted for the SP as the BJP came third.
News Monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.