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March-April 2008

Central to culture is freedom, …, the freedom to decide what we have reason to value, and what lives we have reason to seek.
"–Amartya Sen*

Top Stories: -

  1. The Budget proposals 2008 affects NGOs: The most drastic amendment proposed in the Finance Bill, 2008, relates to the withdrawal of concession for voluntary agencies having activity or receipts in the nature of business, if they are established for carrying out the fourth object of general public utility.
  2. A moving Impact: On April 28, Impact India Foundation celebrated the 100th Lifeline Express Project—at Atgaon Station, Shahapur, Maharashtra. From April 28 to May 8 cleft lip, ear, polio and cataract surgeries will be conducted for the villagers around the area.
  3. What is wrong with Orissa’s POSCO project: An analysis of both the direct and indirect economic impact of this project leads us to conclude: Orissa state government is clearly under-representing the interests of the people of the state.
  4. Madhya Pradesh High Court gives land-mark judgment: Directs allotment of land to oustees of Omkareshwar dam: If land allotment for SEZs possible, then possible and must be given to oustees as well, it directs.
  5. Success sans grants!!! The registered units of LG&DES group- Koya Wes, Madhuri Sewa Nyas and Gokul University, do not get any grant from any Funding Agency, all land was donated by the people.
  6. The Red Ribbon Express: spreading HIV awareness, prevention, re. HIV around the countryside was flagged off from New Delhi Railway Station on December 1, 2007. …after travelling across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, parts of Maharashtra and Chattisgarh, to Uttaranchal, Jharkhand, and Bihar reached Guwahati on March 8.
  7. Environment groups oppose World Bank funds to Coal plants:Six environmental groups said the bank could not effectively fight climate change while also funding high carbon-emitting projects, such as the 4,000 megawatt Tata Mundra coal project in Gujarat.
  8. TN Appoints welfare Board for transgenders: Apart from secretaries of law and finance, and other senior officials heading various agencies like Women's Commission, police, and State Human Rights and Social Justice Commission, a number of transgenders have been included as non-official members of the board.
  9. Media: The new films and books on development issues. Including “The War against Growth Fundamentalism: Pampering Corporates, Pauperizing Masses” by Arvind Sivaramakrishnan. Drawing extensively from the Government of India's economic and performance reports and several international reports, it confirms Paul Brass's
    observation: India is not headed for catastrophe but is a living catastrophe.
  10. More News: The new films and books on development issues. Including “The War against Growth Fundamentalism: Pampering Corporates, Pauperizing Masses” by Arvind Sivaramakrishnan. Drawing extensively from the Government of India's economic and performance reports and several international reports, it confirms Paul Brass's observation: India is not headed for catastrophe but is a living catastrophe.

The Budget proposals 2008 affects NGOs

The most drastic amendment proposed in the Finance Bill, 2008, relates to the withdrawal of concession for voluntary agencies having activity or receipts in the nature of business, if they are established for carrying out the fourth object of general public utility.

On the ground, according to the Finance Minister, "obviously, this was not the intention of Parliament" followed by an assurance that "genuine charitable organisations will not in any way be affected."

There are a number of charitable organisations with the fourth object of general public utility, which carry on activities incidental to their objects, who, will lose exemption.

If the proposal becomes law, the fourth object of general public utility will continue to be a charitable object, but income from activities now exempt will become taxable. The amendment is provoked by the Supreme Court in CIT v Gujarat Maritime Board (2007) 295 ITR 516 (SC), which found that the statutory authority formed for the purpose of development of minor ports, was eligible for exemption on its receipts, since the activity was in respect of the fourth object of advancement of an object of general public utility. A public trust running a newspaper is exempt as decided in Trustees of the Tribune In re (1939) 7 ITR 415 (PC) followed in other trusts, running language newspapers, besides those in other decided cases with the objects of promoting hand-spinning, welfare of farmers, promotion of cottage industries and handicrafts, running a chamber of commerce, promoting exports, running a choultry or dharmashala, conducting a professional association, promoting scientific research, assisting widows to earn a livelihood, helping rural development, promotion of sports, dissemination of useful knowledge and forest preservation. The vast panorama of activities undertaken by numerous organisations enrich the life of the citizens. The instances cited are only few of the trusts, which were considered to be carrying on business, but all the same treated as exempt being incidental to the fourth object.

The claim of the Finance Minister that the exemption in cases of institution with the object of general public utility was not the intention of Parliament can hardly carry conviction in the light of the long history of the provisions and the judicial interpretation well accepted by the Government thus far, not because they were against the intention of Parliament but because these were considered to be in keeping with its intention.

Mixed trusts

Trusts and institutions do not all exclusively deal with relief of poor, education or medical relief. Their objects may invariably cover objects of general public utility. An educational institution may have some activity like distribution of text books at a profit for its students or a hospital may run a pharmacy so far considered as permitted activity to be incidental to the fourth object even if not solely confined to education or medical relief.

Even in the case of medical relief, which offers livelihood for the blind or otherwise disabled may not strictly fall under medical relief, but would be covered by the fourth object. National institutes formed for promotion of particular profession such as accountants would become liable on their income from placements service or supply of books and publications or conduct of examinations.

So far there had been no problem in the past, because they had qualified for exemption as their services were for the benefit of general public or a cross-section of public like aspiring professionals, with profit utilised for the objects. These may also be affected by the proposal.

Impact on donors

It is true, investment income need not be a casualty, because the amendment of "charitable purpose" excludes only income from commercial activity. But the effect of the amendment on Sec. 80G will be adverse. Recognition of Commissioner under Sec. 80G is necessary for a trust or institution to merit 50 per cent deduction for the donor. Recognition will not be forthcoming, if the trust or institution having a fourth charitable purpose has some taxable income, even if only part of its income is not exempt on account of the amendment.

Section 80G does not recognise eligibility, where part of income of charitable institutions may be taxable, because the amendment is to the definition of "charitable purpose" itself. In the result, the amendment made to "charitable purpose" could lose for most of the institutions not only the right to exemption for part of its income, but also recognition under Sec. 80G blocking the source of funds, the mainstay of their operations.

The Income-tax Department already has brought various amendments in Sec. 11 to 13 and section 10(23C) providing for rigid regulations for charitable institutions as regards investments, application, accumulation, audit, timely filing of returns with reports from Chartered Accountants, bar against any private benefit and the like. Registration can be withdrawn for violation of conditions for exemption. A separate wing for monitoring the exemption cases was also established. Instances of abuse of concessions requiring withdrawal of exemption on the close scrutiny undertaken for the past few years have not been significant. The sudden need for this amendment is not, therefore, understood.

Many public sector organisations, which have lost exemption like housing boards, city improvement trusts and marketing committees with effect from April 1, 2003, are availing themselves of exemption, subject to regulations now applicable for them, because they are covered by the fourth object. There would be absolutely no point in making them pay tax, when they are undertaking State functions under State supervision.

The Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes has gone on record promising a circular exempting chambers of commerce, though the proposed amendment would squarely cover them. If chambers of commerce, which are also directly affected are to be spared, there are obviously other targeted institutions, which are not indicated. Are the trusts running language newspapers, sports bodies, professional institutions, home for disabled, women and children? It would be far better to withdraw exemption for targeted institutions under Sec. 11 to 13 by making an amendment to the definition of charitable purpose under Sec. 2(15) than a wholesale withdrawal.

There are a number of charitable institutions involved in the fourth object of general public utility, which are assisted by the State either by funds, grants or State co-operation. There are others, which are doing extremely useful services complying with all the regulations. At a sweep, this amendment could withdraw exemption for all.

Need for second look

The least that could be done now is to defer this amendment and some of the other far-reaching procedural amendments in a separate Amendment Bill, since these amendments could not have received as much attention as was required even on the part of the Finance Minister, since this has not been the subject matter of any prior discussion any time before. Hopefully.

Members of Parliament and knowledgeable public would react to the proposals after examining them. The amendment has to be definitely deferred, if not altogether scrapped.

A moving Impact

On April 28, Impact India Foundation celebrated the 100th Lifeline Express Project—at Atgaon Station, Shahapur, Maharashtra. From April 28 to May 8 cleft lip, ear, polio and cataract surgeries will be conducted for the villagers around the area. A month before, volunteers had gone around identifying potential patients. On the first four days the patients are checked and surgeries scheduled in the next four days.

The schedule of the train:

June--Mansur (Ratlam); July –Nellore; August- Hoshangabad; September- Ujjain; October-Amethi.

Each of the stops are sponsored by groups from all over the world who often send representatives along. The Railways are partners of course and provide platforms, electricity and water at the stops. The brand new five-coach train, with two operating theatres equipped with five operating tables, was inaugurated in July last year by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, and Mr. Lalu Prasad, at the National Rail Museum, New Delhi. During the trains transformative journey across India it goes about restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, smiles to those affected by clefts and mobility to those afflicted by polio.

Impact India Foundation's Lifeline Express is the world's first hospital train on which surgeries are conducted. At a typical project (approximately four to six weeks), the following types of operations are performed.

1. Orthopaedic: Correction of post-Polio contractures, lower limbs, generally up to the age of 15 years, barring Cerebral Palsy patients

2. Ophthalmic: Cataracts - Intra Ocular Lens implants

3. Middle ear operations

4. Plastic Surgery: Cleft lips

Volunteers help with: Dressings of operated patients, sorting medicines, feeding in data on the computer, running errands, Observe operations in the Operation Theatre with the permission of the Surgeons.

The older four-coach train, equipped with three operating tables, has been dedicated as a permanent hospital to Impact India's Community Health Initiative in Thane District .Contact Tel.022-66339605-7, email:


It is estimated that the Indian government will lose Rs 89,000 crores and state government of Orissa will lose Rs 22,500 crores for SEZ alone. POSCO would have paid import tax on approx $6 billion of machinery with a loss to Indian central and state governments of 10 to 15%. This is another Rs 2,400 crores to Rs 3,600 crores subsidy, without any justification, as the competitors of POSCO, TATA and Mittals are paying that amount. There is no explanation of this action anywhere in the documents. This also does not account for duty to be paid on 12 million tonnes of steel every year for the 1st few years.An analysis of both the direct and indirect economic impact of this project leads us to conclude:

* Orissa state government is clearly under-representing the interests of the people of the state. Even at global market conditions, it would have been able to get orders of magnitude greater benefits for the people than it is today as part of this deal

* It is questionable whether the people of Orissa actually gain from this project or whether the opportunity cost of implementing this project outweighs the benefits. The project is certainly not an unquestionable boon as it is being made out to be.--Sandip Dasverma and Dr Sanat Mohanty

Madhya Pradesh High Court gives land-mark judgment

Giving a land-mark judgment yesterday in a case filed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan seeking rehabilitation and resettlement for the oustees of the Omkareshwar dam, a bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court comprising of Hon'ble Chief Justice Shri A.K. Patnaik and Justice Shri Ajit Singh directed that every farmer, encroacher, and adult son of farmer must be provided agricultural land for land with a minimum allotment of 5 acres of irrigated land, as per the R&R Plan, R&R Policy and GOI approvals. The Hon'ble High Court also directed that every adult son of such cultivator must be also allotted such land, even if he is not a titleholder.

The bench of the High Court also directed that the present water level of 189 meters cannot be raised until the R&R of all the oustees of the project including the allotment of land is completed. The High Court also directed the State government to pay Rs. 10,000 to the petitioner – the Narmada Bachao Andolan as costs.

It may be noted that the Omkareshwar dam is one of the large dams being constructed in the Narmada valley. 30 villages and nearly 8000 families are affected by this dam.

High Court holds Oustees have a fundamental right to be better-off after displacement

The High Court stated that it is a fundamental right of the oustees under Article 21 of the Constitution to be made better-off after displacement. The High Court held that the oustees may be made better-off by various means, whether by the allotment of land, or employment, or other schemes. However, the High Court held that " If the Government assures land, but later does not offer land, it will be the duty of the Court to enforce the right"

The High Court held that it is the constitutional obligation of the State government to provide R&R entitlements to the oustees including the allotment of land.
The State government tried to escape its responsibility by modifying the R&R Policy in 2002 and stating that the allotment of land will be made only "as far as possible". However the High Court held that such a modification did not absolve the Government of its duty to allot land for land to the oustees, with a minimum allotment of 5 acres of irrigated lands, and that the same would have to be complied with.

The High Court also held that the Government could not have been compelled to provide lands if the same had been impossible. However, it was the finding of the High Court that lands are available in the State of Madhya Pradesh since the Government has provided thousands of acres of lands to SEZs and private industries. However the State government had made no effort to obtain private lands for the oustees. The State Government and the NHDC are under a constitutional obligation to allot lands to the oustees, and suitable government lands and private lands must be obtained and allotted to the oustees.

The High Court further ordered that the Redressal Agency would file a Report in the High Court by the 14th of June, and the matter of permitting further impoundment or submergence of the 25 villages would be decided on the 17th of June by the High Court based on the progress of R&R including the allotment of land.

Narmada Bachao Andolan,2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk,Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh.
Telefax: 0733 - 2228418/2270014 E-mail:

Don’t Water it down

(Excerpts from an editorial in Business Standard Chennai, April 15, 08)

For years now organization such as the Centre for Science and Environment have been arguing that industry does not pay for water it uses, ruthlessly exploiting ground water resources for free, for next to nothing. Apart from being unfair in a country with genuine water scarcity, this ensures that industry uses precious groundwater resources in an inefficient manner. E.g. thermal power plants in India use 80 cu mt of water for every 1000 watts of power produced compared to less than 10 cu mt elsewhere!...According to CSE industry consumes over 35percent of the total water available in the country…(industry estimates it 6-8%)
….It would certainly be a good idea to charge farmers the correct value for their water…but in defence of agriculture it can be said that overwhelming majority of farmers are engaged in activity that is simply not viable and hence there can be a case made for subsidized inputs. No such argument can be made for industry.
Especially in the context of the falling per capita availability of fresh water- from 5177 cu me in 1951 to 1820 cu mt in 2001 and perhaps no more than 1340 cu mt by 2025, it is high time state governments did something to rectify matters. The UP governments move to introduce a law to regulate the use of groundwater by manufacturers of soft drinks and mineral waters deserves to be endorsed. ..there should be penal water rates for consumption that is over and above any norm that has been shown to work internationally- as with thermal power plants stations, textile units and paper mills. This reform package can work because it cannot possibly come up against a political headwind. Indeed, farmers will applaud if industries are asked to pay the full economic cost of water and simultaneously asked to be come more water efficient in the use of --water.-- Rima Kashyap.

Success sans grants!!!

The registered units of LG&DES group- Koya Wes, Madhuri Sewa Nyas and Gokul University, do not get any grant from any Funding Agency, all lands were donated by the people.

In Koya Wes, Chhattisgarh: It has about 100 Acres of Land in few different places of South Bastar Region. Average variable costs of these lands in market vary from Rs 50,000 to Rs 500,000 per acre. Thus, it has property of cost of about Rs 30 Million (0.75 Million US$) and about Rs 2 Million (0.05 Million US$) worth building constructions. Presently a Cottage Manufacturing unit of Hand-Made Clothes is being run which may be converted into Training Center for Cloth Manufacturing.

LG & DES run 4 centers for Organic and Natural Farming in different places of the region, have constructed about 10 mud dams as Water Harvesting Structures in various villages, and constructing a residential education center for Tribal Children working for Joint Forest Management and Tribal Economy.

We have been offered Oil Producing Machines (each worth of about Rs 200,000 or US$ 5,000) to make oil from forest product collections.

The group attracts more than 10,000 people from various villages of South Bastar for public meetings, and have more than 2000 people who are directly associated with them as our partners. “We can march with thousands of people without recourse to any advertisement, or grant. But we can not advertise our mass-strength because we do not want to lose any member/volunteer/ supporter/ well-wisher, as South Bastar is one of the bloodiest areas of India. We have already lost many of our friends in this region.

Gokul University, Bihar has about 80 Acres of Land in two different campuses. One campus has 10 Acres an other 70 Acres of land worth more than Rs 30 Million (0.75 Million US$) and about Rs 2 Million (0.05 Million US$) worth building constructions and instruments.The university is a practical-research unit for Village/ Cow/ Agro-Industrial based Economy.

Madhuri Sewa Nyas, Bihar can access 300 Acres of land for Professional, Community Hospital and Vocational Training Institutes in Khagaria District Head Quarter. This property is worth Rs 200 Million ( 5.0 Million US$) and about Rs 20 Million (about 0.5 Million US$) worth building constructions and instruments. A 60- bed hospital is being run. 60 seats capacity Nursing Training Institute, based on norms of Indian Council of Nursing, has been completed. We have been offered 1200 Acres of land more in Khagaria for our activities. However this offercould not be accepted due to lack of funds for a programme there.

Uttar Pradesh: In this state, some of our friends are working in Health, Value Education, Yog and Education. But we could not organize our activities here.

Delhi & NCR: We run an unorganized Non-Formal Discussion Forum for Social Accountability. Some of our friends are working on Local Environment Activities. We have started activities on Right to Information. All the above work, was started without any grants from funding agencies. No one can get this much land without the trust of the local society. We did not buy land--. we were given the land by the local society. We did not need to spend money to get support--Our work is people-oriented. We do not offer/ are not able to pay any salary or honorarium to our friends, volunteers, supporters.

Whatever we have in our organization- our mass strength-- is not based on money, salaries, honorarium or media publicity. Contact -: Vivek Umrao Glendenning [mailto:]

Vivek Umrao*Ms. Rukmini Sekhar ,The Viveka Foundation, New Delhi Email: Web: Tel: 011 26497586, 26492473

The red Ribbon Express

The Red Ribbon Express spreading HIV awareness, prevention, countering stigma and life after HIV around the countryside was flagged off from New Delhi Railway Station on December 1, 2007. The train after travelling across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, parts of Maharashtra and Chattisgarh, to Uttaranchal, Jharkhand, and Bihar reached Guwahati on March 8.

Mohan Singh Rana, 27, is CEO of the Red Ribbon Express and is on board through its journey, Nehru Yuva Kendra's volunteers play a critical role in outreach and mobilization.

In its one year, the train will go through 22 States, 70,000 km making 180 halts (in 180 districts), language changing 11 times over, before it returns to New Delhi on December 1, 2008..According to CEO Rana, an average of 3,000-4,000 people visit the train each day.

The first three coaches containing the exhibition give basic information about AIDS and use a communication style that is highly interactive packaged as infotainment with touch-screen games, and audiovisuals, music videos and PSAs (public service advertisements) featuring youth icons, actors and cricketers.

A coach designed as a 60-seater auditorium is meant for in-depth training. Male/female doctors and counsellors are also on board. The live training sessions are designed for a cohesive group — doctors, district officials, teachers...

The train is an interesting partnership between various ministries and departments such as National AIDS Control Organisation, the Railways, Youth Affairs. Various colleges, women's groups and departments have been mobilised to encourage people to attend the exhibition.

While the train is stationed on the platform, NYK volunteers cycle to neighbouring villages doing nukkad nataks and skits. More than 43,000 villages will be covered through the year. In addition, there are two buses with a mobile exhibition covering the district's periphery.

Environment Groups Oppose WB Funding to Coal Plants

Environmental groups called on the World Bank to delay a decision on funding for a $4.2 billion coal-fired power plant in India until more analyses of costs and environmental impact are done. In a letter to the United States representative at the World Bank, six environmental groups said the bank could not effectively fight climate change while also funding high carbon-emitting projects, such as the 4,000 megawatt Tata Mundra coal project in Gujarat state.

The International Finance Corp (IFC), the bank's private-sector lender, said its $450 million proposed funding for the project for the coal plant, being developed by Tata Power Co Ltd , India's largest private-sector power firm, would use new "super-critical" technology, which cut carbon emissions by 40 percent compared to other plants in the country.

The environmental groups argue that the Mundra region where the plant will be located has huge solar potential, while coal for the project would need to be imported from Indonesia and other countries at rapidly rising costs. The groups include the Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth US, National Wildlife Federation, Bretton Woods Project and the International Accountability Project.
(As reported in The Guardian)

TN constitutes welfare board for transgenders

To mitigate the problems faced by transgenders, the Tamil Nadu Government has constituted a separate welfare board for them, a first of its kind by any government in the country.

Chief Minister M Karunanidhi signed orders on April 10 appointing the social welfare minister as the president of the board, said a statement from the secretariat.

Apart from secretaries of law and finance, and other senior officials heading various agencies like Women's Commission, police, and State Human Rights and Social Justice Commission, a number of transgenders have been included as non-official members of the board, said the statement. Earlier, the government had introduced separate ration cards for transgenders, pioneering initiatives for helping the marginalized community.



Voices from the Waters 2008
3rd International Film Festival on Water Bangalore Film Society, Arghyam, Svaraj- Society for Voluntary Action Revitalization and Justice, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca College, USA (FLEFF) Mountainfilm in Telluride, USA, Alliance Francaise de Bangalore and Water Journeys - Campaign for Fundamental Right to Water are organizing the third International 'Voices from the Waters'- the biggest international film festival on water in August 2008 contributing short,documentary, animation and feature films (DVD format only) withEnglish subtitles on water and related issues. Also include aphotograph and CV of the film-maker, a minimum of three film stillsand a short synopsis of the film. You may also send us photographs for exhibition at the festival.

Deadline for entries is 30th April, 2008 . contact Georgekutty A.L.Secretary, Bangalore Film Society,
Tel: 91- 80- 25493705 Email: ,, http://www.voicesfromthewaters.

Bullets and Butterflies
by Sushmit Ghosh
(41 mins/ English)

The film traces the journey of a handicapped street child and a biking enthusiast on a motorcycle - popularly known as a *Bullet -* as they travel from the bustling cityscape of Delhi to the serene hills of Himachal Pradesh. It is the journey from a promise made during a fleeting conversation to its fulfillment in an unforeseen, bizarrely deep understanding between the odd pair; inadvertently providing an insight on differently- abled people and the hardships of a life lived on the streets. Email: space.kriti@,

Taza Khabar*(Hot off the Press!*)
Directed by Bishakha Datta;
31 mins; Documentary;
Hindi with Englishsubtitles)*

* Are free and fair elections being held in Nihi gram panchayat?
** How does the quarrying of a hill affect farmers in Bharatkup village?
** Why have eight people died of tuberculosis in Sukhrampur village?

In today's media-saturated world of celebrity hype and overdrive, *Khabar Lahariya *is almost an anachronism. This 8-page Bundeli newspaper, published every fortnight from a small town in U.P.'s Chitrakoot district, covers all the news that mainstream media forgot. In March 2004, the women behind *Khabar Lahariya* received the prestigious Chameli Devi Jain award for their unique experiment in 'journalism by the village, of the village, for the village.' *Taza Khabar: follows the all-woman team of journalists at *Khabar Lahariya *on a breathless journey through police stations, polling booths, power cuts, printer failures, and sleepless nights...all part of a determined effort to ensure that Issue 62: Election Special reaches its rural readers right on time. ContactAbhishikta +91 9819953938

*Morality TV Aur Loving Jehad: Ek Manohar Kahani
(*Morality TV And The Loving Jehad: A Thrilling Tale)
*30 mins, DV, Hindi with English subtitles*
Director & Writer: Paromita Vohra

In the winter of 2005 Indians switched on their TV sets to watch yet another "breaking news" story, but one which shocked them. In the town of Meerut, police officers, mostly women, swooped down on lovers in a park and began to beat them up. Along with them they took photographers and news cameramen with the promise of an exclusive sting operation. As images of the operation played again and again on every news channel, Meerut saw some of the couples run away out of fear and shame and serial protests for and against the event, which also made the news for some days. What is the story of this news story? The film looks outside the frames that weave the frenetic tapestry of Breaking News on India's news channels to uncover a town's complex dynamics. It examines the legacy of this kind of story telling, from the relishing accounts of true crime magazines like
Manohar Kahaniyan to the double morality of pulp detective fiction to the tabloid news on Indian TV, to unfold a thrilling but disturbing tale of its own.

Other Media Communications is an institution set up to cater to the communication needs of social movements and civil society groups in India. We work in print, audio-video and new media areas. We have produced more than half a dozen documentaries on social issues in India. And present a package include five highly acclaimed documentaries from the recent past, at subsidised prices.*

*The package comprises the following documentaries: *
*Hey Ram!! Genocide in the Land of Gandhi*
*Hey Ram!! was the first film to be completed on the Gujarat Genocide, February 2002 in the aftermath of Godhra and was released even as the violence was raging in Gujarat.*
*Resilient Rhythms
This film documents the various atrocities that are committed on people simply because of their caste and shows how Dalits are fighting back. Naga Story: The Other Side of Silence. The film provides an introduction to the history of the Naga struggle, and documents the human rights abuses suffered by the Naga people in more than 50 years of existence as part of Independent India.
Naka Naka Dupont, Naka (No to Dupont)
This film is the story of the Goan peoples' triumph over the multinational
company 'Dupont' and a sterling model for similar struggles.*
BHOPAL – The Survivor's Story
For more details visit,*,
Free- 'Burma: A Multi Media Presentation' (VCD) in the package). The
DVD pkg Rs.3500/- (Inst)and Rs.2000/- (ind)
VCD package Rs.2000/- and Rs.1000/- e-mail to *Other Media Communications Pvt. Ltd.Bangalore – 560 071, India **Tel: 080 41151587*


Y21 Foundation a NGO which supports youth power based at Bangalore is organising a south asian short film festival in related to social issues during July 08 in Bangalore. Those NGOs interested to participate can send their DVD by courier on or before May 30th to Mr. Ram SundherY21 FoundationBangalore - 560 043
Email: y21foundation@

The 4th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival 2008
- Insights and Aspirations) was held On 11 and 12 of April, at Sri Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain College Bangalore ; films to be showcased were made by women directors who celebrate the vision of women through film. It reflects how women filmmakers explore reflect, negotiate, resist and document the self, family, religion, political, social, cultural and the environment. The festival featured Morality TV & the Loving Jehad, Mira Nair's Migration ;Swati Thiyagrajan' s, Amma: A Shy Girl From Madurai - a journey into the life and times of the legendary M S Subalakshmi ;;, Bishakha Dutta's Taaza Khabar ; Nandita Das' Leap Frog ;Leena Manimekalai' s Goddesses ; contact: 9845019306, 22353216/17. Journey through Lines: India Reflects.

Through the eyes of cartoonists,

Direction : Vimay Rai

Production : PSBT and Prasar Bharati

Language : English Duration : 30 minutes

The film chronicles democracy in India from its nascent stages to recent times under the leadership of different Prime Ministers.Contact: Gaurang Bharti Raval Drishti Media,Arts & Human Rights Ahmedabad. India. 380054 Tel: 079-26851235

If you wish to enter your film/s in the Billion Eyes festival this year on the theme Caste, please visit our website http://www.abillion and submit your entry before 15 July. A downloadable form is provided on the site. For further details contact the address/ phone given below: From: "prakriti foundation" <abillioneyes@>.

In the issue June 2005 : Vol.1 - Issue 14, under the heading ‘Wonders of Kambalwadi there is a mistake in the name of the director. The name of the director is mentioned as Rajeev Bhat which is wrong, it should be Rajiv C. Shah. Mr. Rajiv C. Shah is the director of the film hence you are requested to correct this error.You can clarify this fact by contacting Mr. Rajiv C. Shah on 9821144299 or Mr. Kisan Mehta 9223448857.

PAD.MA <> is an online archive of video material, primarily footage and not finished films, which have been densely text-annotated. The entire collection is searchable and viewable online, and is free to download for non-commercial use. Descriptions, keywords and other annotations have been placed on timelines by both archive contributors and users. At the moment, PAD.MA<>has approximately 150 "events" on video, mostly from Mumbai and Bangalore. This adds up to about 100 hours of fully transcribed video footage, which we expect to grow to more than 400 hours by early 2009. The PAD.MA project is initiated by a group consisting of from Berlin, the Alternative LawForum<http://www.altlawfo>from Bangalore, and threeorganisations from Mumbai:Majlis, <http://www.majlisbo> Point ofView<http://www.pointofv>and chitrakarkhana. net /CAMP <http://camputer. org/>.Abhishikta +919819953938.

Karjey Heth (: Born In Debt)

The film explores the lives of agriculture labour in Punjab in the backdrop of green revolution. The film reveals that agriculture labour in Punjab is under swear mental, physical, economical and social pressure. The film starts with a confession of a person in his sixties that he inherited debt from his parents and ends with a teenage girl uncertain about her future. The film links mechanization, change in crop pattern and deteriorating health and overall living conditions of agriculture labour. It is an attempt to articulate the missing variable of the development' s narrative of Punjab. This film got commendation award at IDPA festival 2002

'On my own again'
Anupama Srinivasan's
(30 mins/ English/Hindi 2007)

"I was a boy who didn't run fast enough.
Would I have run if I could?
Did I want to run?
Why didn't I run?
This more than anything else troubles me about my childhood."
The film weaves together images, sounds and words in an attempt to trace the thoughts and feelings of people as they try to comprehend, cope with, fight against and overcome the consequences of child sexual abuse. It is not a film about the abuse; it is a film about the survivor. "anupama srinivasan" <>


Domestic Violence in India
: What one Should Know? ' (A Basic Book)
(Pages 523)
Price Rs. 390/ for Soft Cover
and Rs. 525/ for Hard Bound

It is about the issue of domestic violence in India and addresses it in multidimensional perspectives. It integrates social, psychological and legal aspects in a comprehensive manner. The book also discusses the recently enacted the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act 2005 in detail.

Soochana ka aadhikar: Khuuch Samajik ve kanooni Pehlu

Soft cover
Price Rs. 100/- pgs 160)

About the Right to Information in Hindi, it deals with the process that went behind making of law besides features of law in simple language. The book also deals with some experiences after the law became operational in India and briefly analyse several cases being adjudicated by the Central Information Commission constituted under the Right to Information Act 2005.

Our Fundamental Rights and Duties
Price Rs. 60/- Soft Cover p. 56)
This book is a simplified version of constitutional rights and duties. Written in question and answer from it simplifies the whole aspect and is recommended for training programmes.
Rights of A Consumer Price Rs. 90/- soft cover p. 89)
This book present all information a consumer requires in simplified manner and deals specifically with rights of consumers under the Consumer Protection Act

Available at::We The People Trust, New Delhi Tel: 011 65904815 / Mobile 9212387138 Email: wethepeople_


Children as active citizens, a policy and programme guide Child helplines are viewed as essential within the complaints mechanisms procedures available for children. An Inter-Agency Working Group on Children’s Participation, comprised of ECPAT, Knowing Children, Plan, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision, recognises that the work undertaken by child helplines is crucial for enabling children to express their views and seek support. To download the publication, please see: publications. Html.

The War against Growth Fundamentalism
Pampering Corporates, Pauperizing Masses:
Arvind Sivaramakrishnan
Daanish Books,
2007. 274 pp, Rs 275.00

A collection of short papers by 28 academic economists and political scientists, civil servants, and activists, describes India in plain English. Drawing extensively from the Government of India's economic and performance reports and several international reports, it confirms Paul Brass's observation: India is not headed for catastrophe but is a living catastrophe.

To start with, the rhetoric of inclusive growth, with politicians, the apparatus of state, and business and finance fixatedly chanting the mantra of aggregate growth – which the authors call growth fundamentalism - is a lie, a crude cover for growing inequalities inherent in a system of intensifying structural retrogression. The trumpeted policy changes have nothing to do with competition, as even international financial magazines note; instead they favour the large corporates, creating a plutocracy and oligopoly, which is also likely to devastate small-scale retailing. Trickle-down means the poorest trickle even further down; the proportion of rural landless households grew from 38.7% in 1993-4 to 40.9% in 1999-2000, the rate of wage-growth fell from 16% to 8% in the same period.

The large corporates have also moved out of manufacturing into relatively unproductive - but highly profitable - services, retail, and real estate, the last a hiding-place for monstrous volumes of highly-inflationary illegal cash and a vehicle for upper-caste and upper-class brutality to the poor through casual state-supported eviction.

The Indian emperors' new clothes are tailored by statisticalcasuistry amounting to mendacity.. The redefinition of poverty is, for its part, breathtakingly brutal; while 36 billionaires have come to hold wealth equal to a quarter of GDP, the poorest 10% of the population – 110 million people – spend less than nine rupees a day in per capita consumption at current prices. The poorest third of Indians – four hundred million people – are eating a third less per day than they were in 1975, and even then their food consumption was below the UN's recommended minimum. But according to the Republic of India, the poor are not poor; they have just been redefined.

Tax policy, for its part, is directed towards lying for the private sector. Inevitably, the most heartbreaking papers here are on agriculture., India has thousands of farmers committing suicide, as they are millions of rupees in debt, crippled by high input costs, by state corruption and contempt, by an environment deeply degraded by grossly misused chemicals, and by the indifference and rapacity of formal and informal lenders. So India opens its doors to corporates, who close in on hundreds of millions of Indian farmers to turn them into dispossessed contractors and sub-contractors whose every movement is controlled by the corporates and who have to produce flowers and expensive fruits for urban élites and for export. India, is paying more for imported grain than it does to buy from Indian farmers.

The book also contains a chapter on health care, which details a situation as bad as that of agriculture. the story is one of sheer rapacity in the private sector and contempt, indifference, and corruption in the great bulk of the public sector. Inevitably, the poor are sicker, get far less prevention or treatment, and die younger. And on every indicator, economic, educational, and everything else, women are treated far worse than men. Arvind Sivaramakrishnan is an Associate Professor at the Asian College of Journalism, Madras.

India: Democracy and Well-Being: An Inquiry into the Persistence of Poverty in a Dynamic Democracy.
Amarjeet Sinha
New Delhi: Rupa, 2005.
412 pp

The book, by a civil servant turned researcher and activist, considers why India's democracy remains largely formal and fails to deliver substantive goods and significantly to alter the often scarcely-believable divisions and stratifications of Indian society. Amarjeet Sinha recognizes the assertiveness of disadvantaged groups qua groups, and their electoral successes, but points out that, when elected, parties claiming to represent such groups have made little or no difference to society, to the functioning of public institutions, or to the widespread presence and even dominance of extreme poverty throughout very large proportions of India's population.

Sinha's argument, based on empirical accounts of India's systems of health, education,and social security and on details from all the states, is that theexisting patterns of representation and mediation between citizens and their representative assemblies and other public institutions are inadequate to ensure the delivery of substantive goods.

Sinha's stories of individual lives are,like so much in India, very painful, and he repeatedly shows how the Republic of India maintains a pervasive contempt for its own citizens in its secrecy, arrogance, and high-handedness and is engaged upon nothing less than a systematic policy of genocide, on a continental scale.

The Struggle To Be Human (a training manual)
Looking at sex work and prostitution through the lens of gender, sexuality and rights
Rs 500 (postage extra).

Built on a fully participatory methodology, The Struggle To Be Human is a three-day structured training programme that explores and unravels participants' own deep-rooted attitudes and beliefs about gender, sexuality, sex work and prostitution. It contains exercises, films, games and other interactive methodologies and other stimulating learning tools to catalyze participants to think about these complicated issues. The Struggle To Be Human can be used by a variety of organizations, groups and individuals - particularly those working on women's rights, HIV, public health, reproductive and sexual health, human rights, or sex workers' rights with grassroots activists, advocates, researchers, policy makers - and with groups of sex workers.

Are We Not Women? (a report)
Women in prostitution, feminist activists and sex workers' rights groups in dialogue Rs 100 (postage extra).

Are We Not Women? brings together critical moments from a series of dialogues that were organized in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Kolkata in collaboration with women's rights organization in each city. These dialogues aimed to create a channel of communication on prostitution and sex work between feminists, women's groups, and women in prostitution and sex workers' rights group. Are We Not Women? looks at a multitude of overlapping issues: Is sex work 'work'? Can exchanging sex for money be equated to or compared with providing other services? Are there moral issues underlying our understanding of prostitution and sex work? How can we locate the 'choices' of women in prostitution in the larger context of women's choices, while acknowledging their specificity? Does a 'woman's right to her body ' translate into a 'right' to using her body in the marketplace - for prostitution or for anything else? Is violence faced by women in prostitution a form of violence against women? How can women's rights organizations acknowledge and support the struggles of women in prostitution?

Both publications combines the ground-level experiences of women in prostitution at the VAMP collective, the organizational experience and insights of SANGRAM, and Point of View's passion and skills to communicate marginalized points of view.
For copies contact sangram.vamp@ or pointofview mumbai@

Towards Gender Justice and Peace: Ten Years of Women’s GRC
The Mohalla Committee Movement Trust
Ed. By Lakshmi Menon . Pages 20.
Available at Tel: 022-66608347

The first Women’s Grievances Redressal Cell (GRC) specifically for Women’s complaints was set up in the Mumbai Police Commissioners office in 1982 with social workers. Later 2 more cells were set up in Dadar and kandivili by TISS with the cooperation of the Mumbai Police. These cells proved to be very useful in solving complaints from women being ill-treated and it was only when the social workers running the cells were not able to bring the warring parties to an agreement that the police machinery was put in motion. The system was very successful. The Mohalla Committee Movement Trust started in 1994 to bring about communal harmony in localities affected by the communal riots of 1992-3 decided to open a few more Women’s GRCs under the banner of the MCMT and six Cells are now working. This report gives the history of the Women’s GRCs and documents its activities, challenges and achievements.

A Unique Crime: Understanding Rape in India.
Edited by Swati Bhattacharjee
Publisher: Gangchil (Kolkata)
Pages 331. Hardcover.Price Rs 450

Rape is a unique crime, for society inflicts more suffering on the victim than on the perpetrator. The fear of rape shapes women's lives. This book does not aim to theorise the problem of rape. The questions raised here are of practical and immediate concern: What can be counted as 'consent' in a sexual relationship? Why is medical evidence of rape so often inconclusive? How can a family cope with a sexually abused child?
By putting together articles from lawyers, doctors, activists, journalists and researchers, this book hopes to examine rape from different perspectives. It aims to develop a discourse on rape that will move on from pre-fabricated ideological frameworks to a multi-dimensional, many-layered dialogue.
Swati Bhattacharjee , Swati.Bhattacharjee
Tel. 033-22600344 (direct)

Emerging Areas for Promotion of Voluntary Sector in 21st Century
Knowledge Series Paper - 15
21st century NGO's are required to be knowledge based professional, business organizations. In the paper several important issues viz. Capacity Building, Networking, Funding, code of Conduct have been dealt with elaborately.
Document is at Contact: Sundar Vadaon rsundarvadan@

'Indradhanu- Samalaingikatech e Vividh Ranga'
a book which discusses various issues on homosexuality from the Indian perspective is ready.
Mr. Bindumadhav Khire, from Samapathik Trust, Pune
Marathi. 125/-Rs.

Topics covered:- Homosexuality in terms of Religion-Law, gay marriages, adoption; Psychiatrist and Activist perspectives;Social- Institution of Marriage in India; Media Perspective; Coming to terms with homosexuality; Coming out; Issues related to coming out; Relationships; Sexual Health; NGOs- Need of NGOs, Issues, Activism and Gay Rights
For more deails contact

Braille Libraries at Bahadurgarh (Haryana), : Under this scheme we circulate Braille books to blind readers throughout the country free of charge and currently have 26500 volumes of 1600 titles.
Computerized Braille Press for Blind at Bahadurgarh (Haryana) Under this project we are providing Braille Books in Hindi & English and regional languages to Students upto 12th Standard. Besides this monthly Braille Magazines are also being published in Hindi & English.

NFB Library & Braille Press,7/485, Delhi-Rohtak Road,Bahadurgarh - 124507
Distt. Jhajjar (Haryana) .Tel : 91-01276-230912, 91-01276-235849, 91-01276-329719Mobile : 09416054912 Telefax : 91-01276-233025 www.nfbcontribution .com Email :

More News

SHIS updates

Kolkata:It was a great day on 28th March, 2008 when SHIS (Southern Health Improvement Samity) started operating a full fledged maternity center at the Sreedharnagar Panchayat Building of Rakhalpur village in Pathar Pratima block of South 24 Parganas district in Sunderbans. The area being at the farthest end of Pathar Pratima, pregnant women had to travel for long hours through the rivers/canals/man made roads and for obvious reason delivery of child could not wait.

The Six room maternity center would run round the clock duly manned by the medical and para medical team MA Wohab, Director SHIS,said in his inauguration speech, in the presence of Sabitri Pal, President SHIS and Dr. Sachhidananda Sarkar, CMOH South 24 Parganas district.

World Women’s Day
World Women’s Day was observed on 8th March, 2008 at Bhangar and Chandaeswar through different awareness and cultural programmes.

World TB Day
Like every year, World Tuberculosis Day was observed on 24th March, 2008 with the medical team of SHIS spreading awareness to the villages in their respective area on how the disease Tuberculosis spread rapidly and how to prevent that. Contact SHIS" <>

Gandhi in NY

New York: The Satya Graha Forum, a collaboration of leading New York cultural, arts, environmental, educational and spiritual institutions, launched a multi-faceted initiative to create a city-wide dialogue on Gandhi’s Satyagrah movement. The month-long initiative kicked off on April 6, with a gathering in Manhattan’s Union Square Park, the site of New York’s Gandhi statue and various peace and faith-based organizations walked to Union Square for the symbolic launch to the ‘Satya Graha Initiative’. The Satya Graha Forum is inspired by Philip Glass’s acclaimed opera, Satyagraha, which opens at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center on April 11.

“Our goal is to unite and inspire a new generation to apply Gandhi’s message to their own lives,” said Helen Tworkov, founder of the Satya Graha Forum and of Tricycle, The Buddhist Review, “Gandhi’s philosophy has just a much relevance today as it did 70 years ago. Instead of relying on others to change the world for us, we can understand that change for the outside comes from change on the inside.” April marks the 78th anniversary of theSalt Satya Graha, and the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., one of Gandhi’s most prominent disciples.

The participating institutions for the month-long events include Asia Society, Japan Society, The Nation Institute, Columbia University Teachers’ College, The Garrison Institute, and Rubin Museum of Art. The events at various venues in the city will be the largest ever programme built around Gandhi in the US, and includes several talks and discourses by pastors in churches on Gandhi’s use of Satyagraha and how Gandhi matters in the present age of growing geopolitical conflict. There will also be interpretative dance performances focusing on peace and non-violence and a screening of Richard Attenborough’s film, Gandhi, starring Ben Kingsley.

A journalistic movement

Khabar Lahariya began as an experiment in 2002, aided by Nirantar, a resource centre for gender and education. It is based in Chitrakoot district, one of the 200 poorest districts in India, where there is practically no industry and the majority of people survive on rain-fed agriculture. Literacy rates are lower than the national average; female literacy is only 35 per cent. The sex ratio is also below the national average, only 872 women to a 1,000 men. Incidents of sexual violence are high and the justice delivery system barely functions as criminal gangs operate with impunity under the nose of a complacent and often complicit administration.

Against this background, a group of Dalit and adivasi women felt the need to start and run their own newspaper because the existing media in the area did not report on the issues that concerned them.Training workshops for the budding editors and journalists were held. In the initial years, they stuck to familiar areas - violence against women, developmental stories etc. But a survey of readers shocked them into realising that their paper was being seen as a publication only for women and about women when they wanted to make it a rural newspaper that would be read by everyone.

The shift took place in 2004 when the general elections were held. The women had reported on Panchayat elections. With the help of Nirantar, the Khabar Lahariya women plunged right in. And thus began the emergence of a truly rural newspaper that today covers politics, development and a range of issues and news. It is read by men and women, by officials and other journalists. It is taken seriously.

Each fortnight one woman carries the editorial matter by bus to Allahabad, over 75 km away, where the paper is printed. Altogether, 4,000 copies of the two editions are printed, an estimated 10 people read each copy and the paper reaches over 150 villages in Chitrakoot district and four blocks in Banda district.
After a great deal of discussion amongst themselves, the women decided only recently to accept advertisements with a strict code. The result of all this is evident in the confidence in these women, and why today even district officials, are now willing to speak to them on the phone.

BCAS Foundation
is conducting a free clinic by appointment on Right to Information (RTI) on Saturday, 19th April 2008 from 11 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. at 7, Jolly Bhavan No.2, New Marine Lines, Mumbai 400020. For appointment contact 66595601-05.

Bombay Chartered Accountants' Society
7, Jolly Bhavan No.2,New Marine Lines Mumbai 400 020
Tel: 6659 5601-05

PCGT conducts free RTI clinics every first Saturday of the month at Mahalaxmi Chambers, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai. Tel. for appointments.

Into the interiors of Thane, hardly 15 kms from Vasai-one of Mumbai’s suburbs education was the last priority of Padval Pada village. The Astarc group which has a factory in Vasai tied up with the panchayats and school authorities to provide need-based support and constant monitoring to maintain standards. With the introduction of English and the groups support now 25,000 students around the area benefit from the group’s Kishore Musale Charitable Trust. Contact

Because of its hilly terrain rural unemployment was high in the Almora region of Uttarakhand and that was the reason SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India began its Rural Industrialisation programme. To develop viable and self-sustaining tiny enterprises SIDBI works with the NGO, Centre for Bharatiya Marketing Development in Delhi which imparted training in developing entrepreneurial skills and help in getting loans. From ecotourism and adventure sports to photography, baking units, CBMD has been able to set up 200 new units which employ 400 people. The start-up costs are met by SIDBI to be returned on a reducing scale in three years.

G. Narayanan, ED, Indian Overseas Bank. Inaugurated the IOB-Sampoorna - Total Village Development Scheme in Nazarethpet Branch to service area villages Kuthambakkam and Padur on 27 Feb' 08. The Vision of this scheme is 'Creation of a Sustainable Model for Village Development which will be replicated in other parts of the country on the similar lines.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has tied up with Child Rights and You (CRY) to launch ‘Shiksha 2008’, a school education programme to help educate underprivileged children in India as part of the company’s global philanthropy programme P&G Live, Learn and Thrive that focuses on the development of children in need across the globe. The project has so far helped 67,000 children across 435 communities get education through a donation of over Rs 4 crore. The programme makes it easy for P&G consumers to help educate underprivileged children by simply buying any of the company’s large packs products in the months of April, May and June 2008.the company has committed a minimum of Rs 1 crore to its partner CRY, which will be allocated to projects focused on enabling the child’s right to part of the Shiksha projects CRY will also re-look at existing education policies, create awareness to build more schools with better infrastructure and basic amenities like water, electricity, health through participation of the state education departments.

MoneyLIFE Magazine and IL&FS Trust Company Limited held a Workshop on Making a Will and Reverse Mortgage. Mr.Shankar.S.Pai of Make a Will Foundation talked on Will-making. While IL&FS Trust Co. Ltd. made a presentation on Reverse Mortgage – a facility that allows home-owners to earn from their property while still living in it. The Union Budget has provided some tax concessions that make these feasible. Contact Sheetal at MoneyLIFE – 2444 1059 – 24441060 by phone or, email at :

Working on borders

J&K: With the child hood conviction of working at and for the people living near India's borders and greatly inspired by Bhagat Singh and his works, Adik Kadam and his cousin Bharati Mamani established, Borderless World Foundation (BWF) in 2002.

They started visiting the most disturbed and sensitive State of Jammu and Kashmir from 1997 after completing his class 12. He was the only Hindu civilian working in Kupwara. Even after being kidnapped many times, he never gave up and continued to work for the girl orphans in that area.There are around 24,000 orphans in Kupwara.The BWF established three orphanages in different parts of Kashmir -- Kupwara, Budgam and Anantnag. Starting with four orphan girls, Basera -e -Tabassum (BeT) which means adode of smiles was established in May 2002. Today it has 78 orphans. The girls are encouraged with their academics for nine months in Kashmir and then during their vacation for two to three months various activities are conducted for their overall development. Last year the girls were in Pune for an education tour for twenty-eight days. involved in various extra-curricular activities like sports, music, drama, and dance in some of the city schools. "The main reason to get them here is to bridge the gap between them and our people, to make them feel that there is the whole of India to take care of them and there is much more than Kashmir," says Kadam.

Over the years many industrialists from Pune, Delhi, Bombay and also many NRIs have lent a helping hand to BWF.

World Health Day Celebrations

Kerala: Nocer-India celebrated World Health Day on April 7 at Perla with a day long blood donation camp where 500 volunteers donated blood from 9am to 6pm inaugurated by Sri C.H.Kunjambu M.L.A. Manjeswaram. The panchayat president Ms. Puspha presided. The other objective of the programme is to check and find out the diabetics in the village. Follow up is planned.The objective was to make the rural people aware about the importance of volunteering Blood donation and the importance of periodically checking of blood sugar.Dr. Krisna Kumar and Dr.Kesavananda Naiks are the Doctors who are conducting classes. Contact nocermathew.

Mumbai: The HELP Library held a free health check up camp and a daylong symposia of wellness and health specialists on World Health Day, April 6 at their library premises. Free diabetes, BMI, diabetic retinopathy and blood sugar check ups. The programme included, amongst others talks on Abhinay Yoga by Lalit Parimoo, Stress by Dr Rajesh Parikh; Preventive cardiology by D. Ashish Contractor followed by Survivors stories. A book, “Healthwise Handbook” was also released.

Womens comp. ed.

Mumbai: eDropp is especially organizing a literacy program for Women empowermentto make women aware about internet which will make their life more easier and comfortable. This orientation to women will make them confident and independent in their day to day life.

If any Women's Organization can arrange a workshop or meeting of their members, it will be our great pleasure to present this concept to esteemed members of their organization which will be highly educative and "empowering women". Maximum time taken by us will be 1 hr

For more details, please call us on 4003 6900. kumud pandey
Day care for degenerative illnesses

A day care centre and hospice offering free palliative care for patients with degenerative illness will soon be set up by the Palliative Care Association of Tiruchi. Announcing this at the inauguration of the association T. Mohanasundaram, founder of the association and director of Sudharshna Palliative Care Hospital, said the hospice would offer in-patient services based on the severity of the diseases. The district administration had offered to identify a suitable site for the purpose. The centre would cover patients with chronic ailments including HIV/AIDS, cancer, renal failure, and neurotic and psychiatric disorders. Resources would be raised locally and free medicines distributed.

MSMs to the fore
Pune: According to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO)'s HIV
sentinel surveillance and HIV estimation- 2006 – urban areas like Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Kolkata have recorded a very high HIV prevalence among MSM

Dr R R Gangakhedkar from National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) pointed out that there was also a high percentage of gays among married men. The third phase of the NACP will now concentrate on access to Sexually Transmitted Infections services to be provided by the NGO itself. At a state level media consultation on HIV/AIDS organised by the Centre for Advocacy and Research various concerns and issues of MSMs and People Living with HIV/AIDS networks were discussed. Jasmir Thakur, coordinator of the Sambhavana Society that deals with 1,140 MSMs in Pune and 2,800 in Mumbai strongly urged that 'homosexuality should not be medicalised'.

Handpumps free women
The humble hand pump has become an emancipator for a handful of women in Bundelkhand. Savitri, Prema, Bhuri and 20 other illiterate, oppressed women from Karvi in Chitrakoot district are earning their livelihood by repairing hand-pumps. For years, these women had been facing domestic violence. Chitrakoot Jal Nigam (CJN) began supporting the women by giving them contracts to fix hand-pumps in the area. Today, the women receive private contracts as well, and earn upto Rs 300 a day.

Hisabh Do Campaign-

Obtaining information about how public funds are used is not the only objective of the Hisabh Do Campaign. The Hisabh Do Campaign aims at
1) Making the citizen aware that they have a right to know through voluntary disclosures how the public funds are being used, and 2) Creating a mechanism for interaction between the voter and his elected representative. The Hisabh Do Campaign questionnaire seeks information about whether the local residents were consulted and what was the process followed in deciding the priority of the projects undertaken.

Water harvesting through surangs

Achyutha Bhat's family had nearly 20 surangas dug in their property. Fourteen out of this are still serving them. Surangas provide them water not only for irrigation, but for drinking and domestic purposes too. What's more, they don't have to spend a single paisa for diesel or electricity to get this water. All the water is free flowing - due to gravitational pull. In the 15-acre barren hill slope the family got decades ago, five acres containing arecanut and coconut gardens stands today, courtesy these surangas. No other water body like open well is feasible here because of the slope and soil type. "If and when we foresee some water scarcity," explains son Govinda Bhat, 51, "we go for one more suranga"

The Politics of Seeing

Kolkata: In 'Capturing Calcutta? The Politics of Seeing', photographer Ariadne Van de Ven explores the western photographic eye on India and the damage it does. At a talk on 23 Feb 23 at the Conference Hall of Academy of Fine Arts, according to her, even when taken with the best political or humanist intentions, famous photographs taken by master photographers -- Henri Cartier-Bresson and Don McCullin are just two -- often reinforce the stereotypes that the west has of India. An exotic paradise full of graceful women in colourful saris, with elephants and gods,; and a desperate hell-hole in grainy black-and-white unacceptably full of victims of poverty, hunger and disease on the other hand. She considers that both extremes are true, of course, but three major layers are missing: The icons of exoticism and of destitution both show a timeless India: without history, without politics and without western economic responsibility.
Ariadne's argument is that photographs play a major role in this stereotypical view <>


Renowned Right to Information (RTI) activist Shailesh Gandhi inaugurated www.silver, a comprehensive and dedicated website to address the concerns of senior citizens."This is a historic event for senior citizens," said Mr John Thattil, Regional Director (West), Help Age India, who was the guest of honour at the function. This website will host sections on health and medical issues, finance and investments, law, leisure activities and hobbies, help line and counseling services and a directory of old age homes and other services needed by the elder population and their family members.Sailesh Mshra, founder said the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) is the first major programme of Delhi Greens, a youth-led NGO working on the issues of climate change, rural development and urban re-development wishes to reach out to other cities to network and bring together all small/big people/organisation s that are working for better environs. The IYCN is led by Kartikeya Singh and Govind Singh trained by Mr. Al Gore and Dr. R.K. Pachauri to spread the message of Climate Change … ( There are interim websites of the Indian Youth Climate Network and of Delhi Greens. and the What's with the Climate? blog. Websites: http://delhigreens. org> http://iycn. in>
> Blogs:> http://delhigreens. com, http://whatswiththe
A website, on adolescents. The URL: has been started. Contact K. Sam Prasanth Kumar Project Officer, Adolescent Health And Development Project, Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur,09884230081

A link to a short policy brief titled: "Strengthening access to sexual and reproductive health services for people with HIV and for people at risk of HIV". <http://www.path. org/publications /details. php?i=1555>
This policy brief was developed as part of the PATH Convergence Project and contains recommendations from one of the working groups at a workshop organized by the National Institute of Research on Reproductive Health(NIRRH) to develop an India-specific action plan for converging HIV and SRH services.Dr. Amitrajit Saha Associate Director SRH [India]
PATH New Delhi Ph: 11-26530080- 88 (> URL:

Global HR Network

The Global Human Rights Education Network is an information and advocacy network that promotes learning and training in the field of human rights. Membership is open to all organisations that support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are involved in education and training activities promoting the human rights framework. The online application form for the Global HRE. Network can be found at http://www.hrea. org/hre-network/

The informal network, constituted by over 10,000 individuals and organisations engaged in human rights education worldwide, will now network To promote information sharing among membership and To advocate for human rights education and training in all sectors... A public Directory of organisations that have joined the network will be made available on the Web. Felisa Tibbitts, Director,Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) - US office Ee-mail:

World Consumer Rights Day

On March 15 Consumer Rights Day, an awareness Programme on Consumer interests and Today's Telcommunications Issues was organized at Jaihind College, to increase the awareness of consumers about telecommunications services in India and to bear influence on the Telecom Service Providers, Law Makers, Regulatory Authority, Dispute redressal Authorities etc about the type of service, its quality and its cost effectiveness in terms of tariffs. The event was jointly organised by IMC and BTUA (Bombay Telephone Users' Association.) e-mail:

Stand Up and take action: Oct. 17 -19

Last year, more than 43 million people all over the world stood up and spoke out sending a clear and powerful message to governments: Keep your promises to end poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Whether by a signed petition, a text messagecampaign, phone calls to local government representatives, face to facemeetings with parliamentarians, local and national leaders - What's most important is to Stand Up and take Action to make our demands heard loud
and clear.

In India, Campaigners will be reminding government to implement time-bound MDG-based national development strategies, plans and budgetary allocations; to improve MDG implementation and delivery mechanisms with a strong focus on poor and excluded groups particularly women; to create and implement plans for increased transparency and fighting corruption, and greater accountability on MDG planning, implementation and reporting to elected officials (Parliaments, local Governments etc.), and citizens groups, Stand Up, Take Action 2008 will be held over a three day period from October 17th that at home, at work, at school, university or in a place of worship will have the
chance to take part. Aim to break the world record for the most number of people to Stand Up Against Poverty. UN Millennium Campaign <info@millenniumcamp>


SIESCOMS in association with CSIM (Centre for Social Initiative and Management) organized a Social Entrepreneurship Competition Prayaas on 29th March 2008 on March 29 at SIES College, Nerul, Navi Mumbai.

Social entrepreneurship is a growing field that combines social work principles with a business like approach to advance societies and address social problems in an innovative and effective manner, expressed Dr. A.K. Sengupta, Director of SIESCOMS in his inaugural address. Prayaas 2008 had invited entries from NGOs/ groups on social entrepreneurial theme touching poverty, health, education and environment.

Six entries emerged to the final : WINGS proposed to take up marketing of NGO products in India while NAVKIRAN took the initiative of finding an alternative avenue for farmers. FLAMES spoke about reducing the mental stress of studies on students while another project was prepared to curb
female feoticide in India with management techniques. Another upcoming entrepreneur planned out an innovative medical scheme for the middle class and lower middle class families while another volunteer through his expert opinion tried to give dignity to the beggars

The judges for the event : Dr. A. R. K. Pillai, President, Indian Development Foundation (IDF), Dr. Narayan B. Iyer, National Co-ordinator, Indian Development Foundation (IDF), Ms. Kavita Kowshik, Managing Director, Maitreya CSR Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Ganesh Srinivasan, Consultant, Mckinsey &
Company after evaluation chose the innovative presentation of medical policy scheme for the families to Mr.Denny John who conceived and presented the project of mediclaim policy who received a prize money of Rs.10,000/= and a trophy. The runner-up team NAVKIRAN came second.

<http://indiandevelo pmentfoundation. blogspot. com/2008/ 03/prayaas- for-social- entrepreneurs. html>

National Water Conference

March 28th 2008, Day 1, The day started off with a cultural programme by the Ghazipur and Ballia kala manch teams. A pond was inaugurated in the village by Dr. Sandeep pandey and five women from the community performed a pooja and instead of usual mantras, slogans against coca-cola were raised.

The session for the day was on People's Right to Water. The panelists were Chanchal Mukherjee, NAPM, UP co-ordinator;Govardhan Gand, Movement against the Maitrayee pariyojana, Khushinagar;Kalmi Devi, Movement against the Maitrayee pariyojana, Khushinagar; Dr. Sandeep Pandey Chinta Devi, Pradhan, Singhachaver village, Ballia.

Bhai Baliram, Local leader of anti-coke movement in Ballia;Rameshwar Kuri, Movement against Coca-Cola in Kaladhera, RajasthanDavid, Environmental Consultant, California Mithai Lal, Gaon Bacho Sangharsh, MehdiganjChitranjan Singh, PUCL(People's union for civil liberties) President.

Probe into Coke plant

Varanasi: The District Magistrate of Varanasi, Bina Kumari Mina, has initiated an investigation into the role of the Coke Bottling Plant in Mehdiganj on the drop in local water levels and high incidence of toxic chemicals around the plant site.

The DM of Varanasi has asked Assistant DM R.P Singh to lead this study following the reports by the State Pollution Control Board reporting changes in water level and high amounts of hazardous chemicals that has affected neighbouring communities.

This action follows the Water Conference that culminated in Varanasi last week as well as the march to the bottling plant organized to increase awareness and share the concerns of local communities with regards to the impact of the bottling plant. The DM had promised to quickly take action following these findings.

POSCO news

Patna, Orissa: A small village in Dhinkia panchayat of Ersama block in the East Coast of Orissa is now referred to as ‘POSCO Area’,- this is where the world’s third largest steel producing corporation, Pohang Steel Company, (POSCO), plans to build its $12 billion steel plant and captive port.

For the last three years, POSCO, backed by the state government as well as the Centre, has made consistent, systematic, yet unsuccessful attempts to ‘take over’ this highly fertile and ecologically fragile coastal area for its projects. For the last four months, 18 battalions of police have been deployed around these villages, occupying government school buildings. The administration had also barred the entry of essential supplies into these villages and restricted free movement of people in the region.

On April 1, celebrated as Orissa Foundation Day, or Utkala Diwas, the people of Dhinkia marched 4 kilometres from their village with a single agenda – to reclaim the entry point into the area at Balitutha, which had been under siege by the police and local administration. This was the day POSCO, which signed an MoU for the project with the Orissa government in June 2005, had planned to conduct its groundbreaking ceremony at the project site, only to call it off later.

POSCO Pratirodh Sangarsh Samiti (PPSS). Walked through the thriving local-rural economy - a rarity in the country, to reclaim their land..(Tehelka)


Chennai Corporation appointed eight Public Information Officers under the Right To Information Act at the Ripon Buildings. According to a press release from the Civic body the following officers are appointed as Public Information Officers and can be contacted for the respective information required from the civic departments.

General Administration and Pension - Lakshmi Assistant Commissioner- Ph: 2538 3732;Revenue and Elections - M.Namdeo Ph: 2538 3732;
Health and Family Welfare - Dr.Krishna Health Officer - Ph: 2538 3611
Land and Estates - Lilly - Revenue Divisional Officer - Ph: 25366370
Works, Mechanical Engineering, Electricity, Bus Route Roads -
Raghupathy Chief Engineer - Ph: 2538 3602
Buildings, Bridges, Storm Water Drain, Solid Waste Management, Parks,
and Auditoriums -Balasundaram, Chief Engineer - Ph:2538 3781
Council affairs - G Latha - Revnue Divisonal Officer - Ph: 25383695
Financial Management, Central Accounts Committee, Audit - Jayakanthan
- Financial Advisor - 2538 3733.

Garbage Concern - NGO

Mumbai: 'Garbage Concern' is 'concerned about everybody's garbage' beginning with home, school locality, workplace, markets, restaurants, marriages, parties and temples together with festivals, pilgrimage sites. and conduct awareness/sensitization programmes through a P/P presentation- that explains the-- meaning, nature, composition and management of garbage/waste followed by field trips to zero-garbage zones

-- Initiate and monitor the conversion of the 'wet, stinking *waste'* into 'dry, odourless wealth'-by Vermicomposting. They have conducted awareness sessions in 25 schools, 12 colleges and 10 housing societies re.composting of the wet wastes by Vermiculture, Water Conservation (recycling and rain water harvesting), Disaster Prevention and Management etc (together form part of the Holistic, Sustainable Environment Management ( in the new, project –oriented syllabus for EVS in schools with field trips to Zero Garbage sites like Esselworld (education cum picnic), Mahim Nature Park, Nirvana Park and Eco-tels like Orchid, Rodas, Lotus (
Contact Prof. Francin Pinto.Tel:.25600198,9892910023

International Women’s Day

In just three years time, 2011 will see the International Women's Day's Centenary - 100 years of women's united action for global equality and change. We still do not have 33% reservation in Parliament, do not have adequate child and maternity rights and benefits, do not have equal wages, do not have labour laws to prevent exploitation in the unorganized sector, do not have justice for dowry, rape and domestic violence cases. Here’s what various women’s organizations did:

Solidarity for Sharmila Irom
During the last 7 years, Sharmila Irom has been on a hunger fast with asingle demand: Withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA)in Manipur. The act legitimizes any army personnel to shoot, kill and destroy a person or a property on mere `suspicion'. According to Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission `the Act itself has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high-handedness' .The United Nations Committee on Racial Discrimination under the International Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination urged the Govt. of India to repeal the AFSPA within one year. The proposed time provided by the UNCRD is ends on February 26, 2008.The women's movement in India have supported the cause of Sharmila Irom in Trivandrum, Trichur, Calicut and Cochin solidarity protests, film screenings, letters to Prime Minister, Defense Minister and political leaders, signature campaigns, Interventions through press etc. (copies of a film on Sharmila available from Wilfred, INSAF, A124/6 Katwaria Sarai, New Delhi Ph: 011-26517814) visit: manipurfreedom.Org

In Mumbai:
Women's wing of Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts & Sangeetha Sabha in association with Manav Seva Dharma Samvardhani Trust, Chennai honoured ten women achievers in diverse fields :Ms. Meenakshi & Mr. Umesh (Puvidham Rural Development Trust); Ms. Shobha Murthy (Aarambh); Ms. Bhuvaneshwari & Mr. Muralidharan (Sevalaya); Ms. Shanthi Raghavan (EnAble India); Dr. Shabina Ahmed & Mr. Ahmed (Assam Autism Foundation);Dr. Maya Tulpule (Shweta Association); Sister Lissy (National Domestic Workers Movement); Ms. Soma Ghosh (Onkar Seva Sansthan)

In Bangalore:
This year women from marginalised sexualities, genders, labour and caste came together by dressing in vibrant diverse costumes to parade between Vittal Malya Road to Mahatma Gandhi circle concluding with a candle light vigil to assert rights of all women as human rights. *Organised by: Sangama, Samara, LesBiT, Karnataka Sexworker's Union.

National Alliance of women organized a Protest rally in front of Mahatma Gandhi Statue on M.G. Road and in a statement said, “Women’s interests can never be completely represented by a group of men. The very treatment of the reservation bill is proof of this. Everybody agrees on the principle of equal participation for women, but none will lift an honest finger to ensure equal representation. Preventing women from creating their own leadership and obstructing them from policy-making decisions is simply a continuation of the gender subjugation that has gone on for millennia.They demanded Immediate Passage of 1/3rd reservation for women in Legislative Assembly and in the Parliament. Dr. Ruth Manorama, National Alliance of Women. C/o. No.19, 6th cross, Rangadasappa Layout,Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560 030.

Karnataka Domestic workers Union
came together to assert: “We are human beings not machines”“We demand ‘decent work’ and working conditions withdignity” “We have nothing to lose; but a world to win”. Wearing black bands they met in various units in Koramangala, Lingarajpuram, Jayanagar, Srinagar, Bangarappanagar, Yeshwantpur and at Ramaih hospital during the day (Mamta--9845763191)

In Mumbai:A Candle light Vigil was held at the Gateway of India On Eve of Women's Day - 7th March with Dr. (Mrs.) Indu Shahani - Sheriff of Mumbai;Rahul Bose - Renowned Actor Anahita Uberoi - Renowned Theatre Personality:Gaurav Bhaskar Mobile: 09987000191/ 24449144 Email:

'Women For Good Governance' along with 'IMC,Ladies' Wing' conducted a full-day seminar on "Women & Property Rights" at IMC to impart information on:-General Scenario for Property Laws for Women, Denied Rights: How to deal informally / formally / legally. Need for women to know about the Family Financial Property. Importance of will and its technical aspects of interpretation.

Adv.Flavia Agnes, M.P.Vashi, Y.P.Singh, Rajesh Mudholkar,Arvind Jain, Shri.Mahendra Mehta and Sr.Journalist S.Tripathi addressed the participants. Contact- Nusrat : 9867178566.

'Lakshmi goes without money and Saraswati sans education' the Mahila Satta commented at the Lok Satta Movement's office here today on International Women’s Day. Mahila Satta appealed to women to stop whiling away their time watching TV serials and take active interest in politics for transforming society.Only by entering politics, women can play a key role in policy issues and provide equal opportunities to women in all fields. The Economic Times presented “Women Leadership Summit” on March 6, 7 chaired by Ms. Nilam Dhavan CEO Microsoft India ( Contact Ujwal: 09892094777 or email:

In Delhi: A Walk for Social Justice on March 8th 2008, from Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate up till Rashtrapati Bhawan to present a charter of demands to the President of India by a unified group of leaders, for every Indian woman. (from Mohini Giri:

WIT-ty celebrations

Mumbai: On Feb 19th, WIT celebrated its 40th anniversary. A typaical story is of Ansari "I remember I joined the organisation as a worker, stitching small items. Within four years, I was a salesgirl at their Tardeo store. Then, in 1990, I was promoted to be a designer. Now, I teach new girls in home-based enterprise. I think I must have been good to have come so far."

Like Ansari, WIT itself has come a long way. Envisioned in 1968 by barrister Kamila Tyabji, the organisation' s objective was to attempt to provide a livelihood for poor and unskilled women. "Back then, Tyabji would buy pieces of cloth and hand them out to these women to stitch saree petticoats," explains Shyamala Nath, chief executive officer of WIT.

Today, WIT generates business amounting to a few lakh rupees every year, all of which goes into empowering underprivileged women and their families. Today, about 450 to 500 women contribute to WIT's enterprise - manufacturing food products, upholstery and toys, besides participating in teaching programmes and official activities like accounting and book-keeping.

Sr. Cit get legal

Mumbai: F ward senior citizens Association organized a Full day Workshop on Legal awareness for senior citizens/ care givers/ volunteers/ professionals on 16th March 2008, for nearly 100 senior citizens for the workshop from F ward at Paraplegic Foundation to discuss. Right to Information, Investment Management, Succession Act, Domestic Violence, Common man and Police Station (IPC), Legal Counseling, Co-operative Societies Act, Will- Making etc Contact: Tel: 022- 24015150 (O), 9833406288(M) Eamail: or

Sex Ed Prog inputs wanted

“I am creating a comprehensive sexuality education programme that I want to take to schools and colleges, among other communities in the form of interactive workshops. I would like you to help me create the various modules that I'm working on. In order to make my sessions really interesting and engaging, I am looking at using a range of materials to help participants become aware of their own feelings, attitudes, values and biases as well as to nurture values such as open-mindedness, respect for self and others, and high self-esteem, and learn life skills such as an ability to take responsibility, decision-making, communication, assertiveness, ability to ask questions and seek help, critical thinking, and empathy.

If you know of any material - photographs, articles, poetry, TV commercials, print advertisements, movies, you tube videos, songs, TV shows, books, posters, etc. - that could help facilitate discussions Activities, games and food-for-thought questions on the above topics are very welcome as well. Contact: Chandni Parekh. Social Psychologist and Sexuality Educator chandni.parekh@

Community Support for the Disabled and the Elderly launched

New Delhi: A recent meeting of the representatives of Family of Disabled, Indian Association of the Muscular Dystrophy (DelhiChapter) and Develop India Trust, led to the emergence of *CSDE India*. The participants unanimously decided that the aim of the initiative shall be to provide social and community support to the persons with disabilities and elderly, within the jurisdiction of Delhi. To start with, need-based volunteer services would be provided to the people with disabilities and the
elderly. Recently Brotherhood has joined the group and assured all support.They plan to provide Services of Volunteers to persons with disabilities and the elderly based on their needs and requirements and train Care-Givers for the persons with disabilities Email: Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Mobile : +91-11-9811125521

Students against nukes

New Delhi Members of Students Against Nuclear Power (SANP) with support from leading journalists, social activists and other organizations began an indefinite hunger strike starts from March 10 at Jantar Mantar. SANP is a group of students of Masters of Social Work (MSW) from St. Joseph 's College, Devagiri, Kerala who demand that India should withdraw the signing of Indo-US nuclear deal. Eminent author Susan George (Transnational Institute, Amsterdam), senior Journalist Praful Bidwai, Ramon Magsaysay awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey and others joined the fast on the first day. The fast is to raise more awareness and invoke public consciousness that Indo-US nuclear deal will cause serious social, economic, political and environmental impacts and discuss more cost-effective and environmental friendly alternatives for contact: Tomy Jacob (Convenor), Delhi : 9990166975 Ranjith K, Calicut : 9946025015 Email: sanpindia@gmail. Com

1st ann. Of Nandigram

The first Shaheed Anniversary of Nandigram was held from March 14-16 with the Inauguration of Shaheed Stambh (Tower of Martyrdom) in two places in Nandigram • Maintaining
20.minSilenceto pay tribute to the revolutionary martyrs followed by a Dharna in Kolkata of people's movements, organizations and artist and intellectual forums*NAPM-west Bengal, Nandigram Manch NAPM National Convenor Contact : 09433624241* 09433972662

Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March

New Delhi: Veteran Gandhian Activist Shri Anna Hazare, Swami Nikhilananda, Head of Chinmaya Mission,Delhi, Veteran parliamentarians Dr Najma Heptulla, Smt. Nirmala Deshpande, Shri Kunwar Rewati Raman Singh
along with many other eminent persons led a March on 12 March organized by the National Women's Organization and others to “Save Ganga & Save Himalayas” March to celebrate the 78th Anniversary of Gandhji's Dandi march and to create mass awareness and put moral pressure on the government to take time-bound decisive steps to completely and permanently save the Ganga-- symbolizing all rivers and water bodies, and the Giriraj Himalaya, symbolizing all mountains forests and wildlife.The March commenced with prayers near Bapuji's Samadhi at 8:30 a.m and concluded with the formal presentation of Ten Demands to Save the Ganga and the Himalayas to the Pres and the PM. Contact: Smt Rama Rauta, Pune.Phone: 020-64730196
Email: or log on

New nikahnama on the anvil

Finally, a women-friendly nikahnama drafted over last three years, essentially by women scholars and activists! On March 16, the 12 paged Sharai Nikahnama"scripted in Hindi and Urdu and applicable to both Shia and Sunni communities (which have separate nikahnamas at present), went public, in a specially convened meeting of the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) here.

The brain child of AIMWPLB president, Shaista Ambar and a thirty-member executive body, the "jehadi"(used scoffingly by clerics) nikahnama has already generated much speculation in the community.. The final outcome likely to ruffle many a privileged feathers may, therefore, not go down well with hardliners.

However Ambar, who set up the splinter body, after rebelling against the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) -the highest body of ulema in the country, for its "distinct gender bias", remains unfazed."We have merely attempted to provide succour to wronged women and make marital home a secure place. But at the same time, care has been taken to ensure that each written word comes straight from Quran, she told TOI

Street Craft gets/needs help

Students from the Welingkar Institute of Management, Matunga, have initiated a project called – STREET CRAFT, to help street artisans get corporate orders and fulfil them. To make this model self sustaining, they need to involve an NGO which helps the underpriviledged .Contact Neha Mirashi 9970093793.

Scholarships for hearing impaired

Mumbai:Nilam Patel Bahushrut Foundation
, encourages integration, higher education and equal opportunity by awarding scholarships for college education to hearing impaired students. The scholarships, special awards and prizes are given at SSC, HSC, Graduate and Post Graduate levels every year. The students can apply for scholarship at each level as they proceed further in their pursuit of higher education. 331 students have benefited so far since its inception.

As part of our initiative in expanding the area and scope for our services, the foundation extended the scholarship scheme to Gujarat in the year 2007 besides Maharashtra.

Contact Nilam Patel Bahushrut Foundation, SF-205, Riverdale Apartment, Opp. Sun Moon Park, Akota, Vadodara 390 020*

Yamuna Satyagraha completes 200 days

New Delhi: Motorists on National Highway-24 connecting Delhi with Ghaziabad often marvel at the frenetic construction work underway at the Commonwealth Games Village facing the Akshardham Temple on the eastern bank of Yamuna.

But few have noticed one of the longest-running environmental campaigns in Delhi, at a corner next to a smelling storm-water drain right outside the Village. Known only to a few, the Yamuna Satyagraha, as the campaign is called, completed 200 weather-beaten days on Sunday.

The campaign was launched to “save the oldest and most vital water resource of Delhi”, which environmentalists feel face grave threat to its survival from the construction work on the river's bed. Led by Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh they are holding together the fight for something so intrinsic to Delhi's sustenance.

These “water warriors”, are keeping alive people’s right to a free river. “It does not matter how many people take note,” said 26-year-old Sunil Prabhakar, who has been at the site since August. “Often people fail to realise what the city loses if its river ceases to exist.
Rajendra Singh talking to satyagrahis / Photo credit: Mahipal S. Rawat / OWSA
Then there is Atravati Devi, representing those who have been farming on the Yamuna riverbed for decades. So far this woman from Mandavali village has composed over a hundred songs on the river that thank the river for providing water security to generations of Delhiites.

Why does a majority of Delhi ignore a protest for something so vital to the city?

“We have programmed ourselves in a way that until any natural calamity is on our heads, we refuse to cause ripples in our comfortable city lives,” said conservationist Manoj Misra about the city's supposed apathy in joining in the protest.

“This is symptomatic of a city that has gotten so comfortable receiving water through taps they do not care where the water comes from,” he said Now, to “awaken the elite and the educated” who have been giving the protest a royal snub, the group is now organising a panel discussion this month where eminent social scientists, environmentalists and bureaucrats will debate the ills of concretisation of a riverbed. Source: Hindustan Times.
Yamuna satyagrah / Photo credit: Mahipal S. Rawat / OWSA

Keraleeyam for HIV orphans

Chennai: A charity box scheme of Keraleeyam-Global Kerala initiative to mobilise financial assistance for orphaned HIV positive children was launched at Chennai airport by Rajiv Gandhi National Institute director G. Rajasekharan on Feb 22. The scheme is being executed with the consent of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Under the scheme, charity boxes are to be placed in airports across the country to rehabilitate HIV positive children.The proceeds of the scheme will be utilised to provide financial assistance to such children's medical and educational needs.

At present, about 200 children in south India benefited from the scheme, under which boxes have placed in schools and offices in Kerala. Keraleeyam secretary general N.R. Harikumar said this scheme was aimed at reaching out to needy children and their families.

Madhyam – Youth for Change launched

Mumbai:Population First launched its Discussion Forum under the Madhyam- Youth for Change program in collaboration with K.J Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce, Vidyavihar, Mumbai on February 1.

Earlier interactions with students during the ongoing Laadli campaign had revealed that many students regretted not having any avenue to engage in discussions among peers on social development issues. The discussion forum initiated as part of the youth initiative of Laadli provides a platform for young people to discuss, debate, question and examine their own biases and condition and in the processes be more gender sensitive and socially aware individuals.

Program officers and students of NSS units were brought on board, and encouraged to take initiative and arrange the launch (and thereafter the forum every month) in their respective colleges. The first discussion forum, held at K.J.Somaiya College dealt with the theme of 'Sexual harassment in public places . It was an inter-collegiate event attende by about 80 students of various colleges.Organisations wanting to participate can send a mail to michelle@nomadindia .net or call Michelle Chawla + 91-9860030000.

Valley of Love (VoL) is a non-profit social and voluntary organization that is committed to humanity. VoL was formed in the United Arab Emirates in 1998, with the mission “to offer assistance, solace and hope for anyone in need, irrespective of nationality, caste, creed or religion to better the quality of human life for poor expatriate workers in the UAE, VoL coordinates with government agencies, hospital authorities and consulates.

Free transport for all PLHIV

Assam: From March 2008 the Assam Government has announced that transportation will be free for all PLHIV on ART. (The government had started transportation support for PLHA only in Golaght dist two years before). The government has also announced free testing facility including City Scan and MRI. for BPL people and PLHAs.

The Health Child- an Australian Assamese Association has come forward to provide free nutritional and educational support to PLHIV children who are in need. As a first phase they are supporting 10 families with one or more child with a min. Rs. 1500/- pm package for three months. Contact Jahnabi Goswami e-mail: <>

Conf held

CEBI organized its first orientation program on "CSR Practices in Uttarakhand" on 4th March 2008 at Chinmaya Mission, Dehradun (India) (""CEBI" (Centre for Ethical Business Initiatives) is an offshoot of SEWAA" --its CSER (Corporate Social and Environment Responsibility) wing). CEBI is working to bridge the conceptual, ideological and conviction divide between the corporate and development sector, and to evolve ethical business practices in the region. to bring together leaders from the business, social, and government sectors to explore areas of mutual engagement in the field of Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (CSER) were Prominent speakers :"Padmashree" Dr R.K. Jain, Director of Combined Medical Institute (CMI),Swami Arun Chaitanyaji of Chinmaya Mission, Brig K.G. Behl (Retd. Dy. Survey General of India), Dr. S.K. Mukerjee (Ex Director Wildlife Institute of India), Mr. Anil Jaggi, ICT4D Consultant and Ms. Daisy Khan of LBSNAA, Mussoorie For further details contact: Ms. Tanya Jakimow, (CEBI) Email: cebi4d@gmail. com

Legal Aid Centre:
Jt Convenor Mr Sanghaii, The Legal Aid and Advice Centre, Yeshodham High School Trust Ofice, Goregaon East, Mumbai - 400 063. Tel.(022) 26861054, 820588829.

Symposium: Climate change, sustainability and equity--A civil society approach, was held in Hyderabad, March 7-8 March at the National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Yousafguda, Hyderabad.This is the second climate change symposium being held in recent times that emphasizes the role of civil society interventions in climate change issues. Twomore symposiums are proposed to be held in 2008. One in Bhubaneshwar with the theme,"Towards a fossil fuel reesociety", and another in Hyderabad (September) with the theme, "Climate change and labour". contact: Tel: 040.27791693, Mob: 93912 07618.

The South Asian Cochrane Network held the 2nd South Asian Regional Symposium on Evidence Informed Health Care, ‘Investing in Evidence for Better Health Care’ was held on April 9, at Christian Medical College, Vellore.: A host of international speakers from the Steering Group, Centre and Branch Directors, and the Coordinating Editors’ Executive of the International Cochrane Collaboration attended Key note address was given by Dr. Tikki Pang, Director, Research Policy and Cooperation,World Health Organization. The symposium was held to set priorities for research, explore ways of facilitating evidence- based health policy and practice in the region and publicize resources in The Cochrane Library that is currently available free at the point of access to half the world’s population.Programme and speakers: see or tel: +91 416 2284499 +91 416 2260085 +91 (0)9443743851.

Nomad India Network in collaboration with Maraa held a Technical and Content Training Workshop on Community Radio was held at its Demonstration studio in Dahanu, Maharashtra from April 25th -27th. The second in a series of workshops planned, the aim is to demystify technology and provide a hands on experience of both the technical and programming aspects of a CRS. With a significant component on content development and programming. Nomad India is a network of communication technology activists committed to developing affordable technologies for the access and benefit of communities.*C.P Mathew**Chief Coordinator 050 3090506*.

Seminar on "CSR in Contemporary World: Relevant Issues & Dimensions" was held on April 15, 2008, at Indiam Merchants Chamber. Organised by IMC and Karmyog, a leading social website, the speakers were Mr. M N Chaini (President elect IMC); Ms. Janet C. Geddes (KPMG) Mr. Vinay Somani (Trustee, Karmayog) who gave the Karmayog Corporate Social Responsibility Ratings of India's top 500 Companies and Presented Certificates of Appreciation to Companies; Mr. Anand Piramal (Piramal Group); A case Study by Somaiya Grameen Vikas Kendra Mr. Kanavi (Manager CSR -- Somaiya Group) Mr. Sudhir Rana National Expert, CSR, (UNIDO).

Women Sexworkers Annual Convention was held on March 28/29 at Bangalore organised by Suraksha with support from Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT). Suraksha works with sexual minorities, sexworkers and urban poor in Dharwad, Ramnagar, Bangalore Rural and Bangalore Urban Districts of Karnataka on health, development and human rights issues. ‘Stigma, Discrimination, Resistance and Hope’, a public hearing on women sexworkers took place on March 28 followed by a dialogue with social activists on issues affecting women sexworkers the next day at the Rotary Club, Contact: : Maggie Thomas – 9448410557, Mamatha Rao - 9900597618, e-mail: <suraksha_khpt@>

Right to Water National Conference and Protest Against Coca-Cola Mehdiganj, took place from March 28-30, at: Mehdiganj Junction (MorVaranasi). There was Inauguration of Public Pond Constructed by Villagers by Rajendra Singh and was followed the talks by Rajendra Singh, agsaysay Award Winner, rainwater harvesting expert, RajasthanRavi Kiran Jain, Senior Lawyer and President of People's Union for Civil Liberties UP; Prof. Banwari Lal Sharma, Coordinator, Azadi Bachao Andolan, UP Session Chair: Amarnath Bhai, past-president, Sarv Seva Sangh, UP Ganga Express Way and Impacts on the Ganges and Environment had speakers: Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Award Winner, co-coordinator NAPM, UP Chitranjan Singh, Vice President, People's Union for Civil Liberties UP Prof. Deepak Malik, Director, Gandhi Studies Institute Varanasi, UP Community Struggles Against Water Exploitation – Local to Global: Speakers were: Velloor Swaminathan, Coca-Cola Virudha Samara Samithy, Plachimada, Kerala R. Ajayan, Convenor, Plachimada Solidarity Committee, Kerala Rameshwar Kudi, Kala Dera Sangharsh Samiti, Rajasthan Chinta Dewi, Village Council Head, Sinhachawar, UP Baliram Ram, Coca-Cola Bhagao Krishi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, Sinhachawar, UP Raj Narain Patel, Gao Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, Mehdiganj, UP Nityanand Jayaraman, International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, Chennai Nandlal Master, Lok Samiti, Mehdiganj, UP Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center, US.

Impacts of Declining Water Tables and Pollution and Solutions

participants incl:Elected Officials and Political Parties; UP State Pollution Control Board; Uttar Pradesh Ground Water Board
Impacts of Water Privatization and Alternatives Speakers; Medha Patkar, Coordinator, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM); Gaurav Dwivedi, Researcher, Manthan, MP;Dr. Swati, National Vice President, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Varanasi Contacts: Nandlal Master 94153 00520, Suresh 98390 17963, Sandeep Pandey 0522 234 7365, Amit Srivastava 98103 46161
The Velas Turtle Festival & Dolphin Watch was held from March 15-16-17 as Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra, a small NGO from rural Maharashtra along with the villagers of Velas, who have been doing commendable work protecting our coastline and its creatures such as the Sea Turtles and other endangered birds such as the Sea Eagles, Vultures and Swiftlets. Cwlwbrate their success. Constact : Vth Residential Training on Process documentation and communication was held from April 22-26 at Bajaura, Kullu (HP). Stories remain undocumented due to the lack of necessary skills at the part of organization. Training program is also to impart skills among project executives of how to write case and success stories Contact: Mr. Chuni Lal, Grassroots Institute, Kullu (HP) Tel:Grassroots India Trust 011-26955452, 09868993710 E-mail: Website:

ICT for Communities Scale and Economic benefits This is the eighth in a series of conferences organized by Vidya Pratishthan' s Institute of Information Technology (VIIT) in aramati,Maharashtra, India. This year, the conference will focus on scale and the economic benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on communities, exploring avenues through which governments, NGOs, development agencies and corporations can work, to successfully scale ICT initiatives to benefit the Indian population. From: acgoje <>

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organized a National Advocacy Conference on, "Education for All by 2015: Will we make it?" On March, 16, 2008, at Constitution Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi e expect delegates from Colleges, Professional Institutes, and Grassroots Organizations, NGOs, and Multilateral organizations, Private Sector Organizations, Media, Academicians and State Governments from different part of country. The primary aim of this Advocacy Conference was to organize focused group discussions with different stakeholders. E-mail or tel.:011 46170001.

launched a new training programme. The programme 'Institution Development for Enterprise Promotion' was organized from March 17-19 at New Delhi.The programme was designed for personnel in development agencies and projects; and development professionals involved in developing instituional framework for livelihood promotion.

Global Fund Round 8 Application launched

Global Fund Round 8 application has been launched, and the deadline of proposal submission will be July 1, 12:00 Geneva Time. Please download the proposal guidelines and propose forms at http://www.thegloba <http://www.thegloba en/apply/ call8/> apply/call8/ in order to facilitate the applicants' understanding on Global Fund policies, the Global Fund Secretariat has prepared several Fact Sheets, which can be downloaded from the above link .If you find any documents can not be downloaded, please write to liangyanyan@ <mailto:liangyanyan%40gmail. com>

The Global Fund Secretariat also has opened forums at MyGlobalfund. org. Those who would like to discuss topics on the Global Fund can login and join the online discussion. http://myglobalfund <http://myglobalfund .org/forums/ 203.aspx.>.org/forums/ 203.aspx.

Linda Liang, China, The member for the Developing Countries NGO Delegation to the Global Fund Board e-mail: <liangyanyan@ <mailto:liangyanyan%40gmail. com>>

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