Category Archives: India

Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge


Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life’s most valuable lesson: “I can.” Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents. She is the founder of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, Kiran Sethi has launched an initiative to make our cities more child-friendly. Full bio and more links


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India: Gigantic corporate fraud at Satyam Computers deals body-blow to Indian elite’s global ambitions

By Deepal Jayasekara and Kranti Kumara
published at the World Socialist Web Site

India’s fourth-largest information technology (IT) company, Satyam Computers, is on the verge of collapse following its chairman’s admission that for “several years” he fraudulently misstated the company’s financial position, including cash on hand, revenues, profits and debt load.

In a January 7 letter to the company’s board of directors, Satyam Chairman Ramalinga Raju said the company had US$1 billion less than claimed in its most recent quarterly report.

Satyam’s share price has since fallen almost 90 percent and, in a desperate attempt to avert Satyam’s outright collapse and reassure investors, the Indian government has replaced the company’s boards of directors and promised a thorough and far-reaching investigation. The now-defrocked Satyam chairman, his brother and Satyam managing director, Rama Raju, and the company’s chief financial officer, Srinivas Vadlamani, have been arrested, as have two PwC (PricewaterhouseCooper) auditors. Continue reading

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INDIA: Why is the eradication of malnutrition a mission impossible?

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

The success of the first phase of Chandrayann-1, undertaken on Tuesday, 21 October 2008, entitles India to claim membership in the elite club of countries that have proved their technological and financial capabilities in sending a mission to the moon.  According to the Indian government, the project that is estimated to have cost 78 million USD stands as proof of India’s scientific advancement and financial standing. Among other studies to be carried out, Chandrayaan-1 will put a probe on the moon’s surface to explore the possibility of the presence of water there.

India’s mission to the moon is not merely the culmination of the dreams of a few individuals. Persons ranging from the former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, an accomplished scientist, to politicians and millions of ordinary Indians have dreamt about it. A successful moon mission will be a true acknowledgment of expectations that will satisfy the dreams of many citizens.  It will be the proof that when India has the will, it can deliver. Continue reading

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India: RTI activist appointed central information commissioner


Sixty-one-year-old Shailesh Gandhi, who was awarded the Nani Palkhiwala Award for civil liberties this year, is widely known for using the RTI Act effectively for better governance and accountability in public life
The recent appointment of Mumbai-based Right to Information (RTI) activist Shailesh Gandhi as one of four central information commissioners has been widely hailed as a boost to civil society.
Other newly-appointed central information commissioners are Satyananda Mishra, presently secretary with the department of personnel and training, M L Sharma, special CBI director, and Annapurna Dixit, widow of veteran diplomat and former national security adviser J N Dixit. Continue reading


Filed under Development, India

West Bengal completes rural e-governance project

Published by Indo-Asian News Service on Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The West Bengal government, in association with microprocessor manufacturing major Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Monday announced successful completion of rural e-governance programme in the state.

To bridge the digital divide, the programme was targeted at providing effective governance through computer penetration within the Panchayati Raj institutions, covering 210 rural local bodies across 19 districts. Continue reading

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Poverty the eye cannot see

By: Harsh Mander
Faye Hall

In India, there are near-constant debates about defining and measuring poverty, hunger, malnutrition and starvation. If these were merely of academic interest, this writer could pass them by in his uneducated ignorance. Any confusion could be rationalised by echoing an irreverent professor at the Delhi School of Economics, who compares statistics to a hapless and impoverished tribal man, arrested by a police inspector in a dreaded Indian police station. “If you torture both enough,” the professor tells his students, “you can force them to admit to anything!”

Yet we cannot afford to ignore the sometimes complex calculations of estimating poverty and hunger levels. Especially since the 1990s in India, these calculations have been deployed by public planners and finance managers to justify cutting back public expenditures on food security, by targeting a hitherto universal public distribution system (through a country-wide network of subsidised foodgrain ration shops) at only those who are officially ‘certified’ to be poor. The same calculations of allegedly declining poverty and hunger are used to limit public expenditures on a range of other programmes for the poor – such as pensions for destitute old people and maternity benefits – and to minimise official acknowledgement of the adverse impacts of the policies of ‘structural adjustment’ programmes. Continue reading


Filed under India, Inequality, Poverty

In India, the paradox of ‘choice’ in a globalized culture

SOURCE: International Herald Tribune
AUTHOR: Anand Giridharadas
DATE: 11 September

MUMBAI: A decade ago, the world hurtled toward a calendrical crisis, and India seized an opportunity.

An affliction called the Y2K bug impended. Thousands of Indian techies were marshaled to repair the software glitch. The rest is outsourcing history.

The outsourcing boom craved English speakers. Hole-in-the-wall “academies” from Kerala to Punjab began to sell English classes for a few dollars a week. A colonizer’s language was recast in the minds of many young lower-income Indians as a language of liberation, independence and mobility.

A decade hence, Indians who have achieved that mobility may struggle to understand the newspaper headlines in Mumbai in recent days. They tell of brigades of young men shattering the windows of shops and restaurants whose signs declare their names only in English, not in the regional language Marathi.

The men are cadres of a political party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, that has electrified a section of lower middle-class youth in this city. Many of them view English as a language of exclusion: a secret code that, having become success’s prerequisite, traps millions of non-English speakers in failure. Continue reading

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