Widening Income inequality!

Income inequality in India

As of Nov 2016, India is the second-most unequal country in the world. The richest 1% of Indians own 58.4% of wealth. The richest 10 % of the Indians own 80.7 % of the wealth. This trend is going in the upward direction every year, which means the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Inequality worsened since the establishment of income tax in 1922, overtaking the British Raj’s record of the share of the top 1% in national income, which was 20.7% in 1939–40.

Income gaps

According to Thomas Piketty, there is a “huge” gap in data about income tax in India. Since the most of the population is out of income-tax database, most of the calculations (such as NSSO) is based on consumption-expenditure data instead of income data. According to the World Bank, the Gini coefficient in India was 0.339 in 2009.The Gini coefficient in India went up from 0.43 (1995–96) to 0.45 (2004–05).According to the 2015 World Wealth Report, India had 198,000 high net worth individuals (annual income over $1 million) with a combined wealth of $785 billion.In 2016, the International Monetary Fund in its regional economic outlook for Asia and Pacific said that India’s Gini coefficient rose to 0.51 in 2013 from 0.45 in 1990.

Class divide

Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook for 2014 reports bottom 10 per cent of the Indian society owned merely 0.2 per cent of national wealth while the richest 10 per cent have been getting steadily richer since 2000.


N. C. Saxena, a member of the National Advisory Council, suggested that the widening income disparity can be accounted for by India’s badly shaped agricultural and rural safety nets. “Unfortunately, agriculture is in a state of collapse. Per capita food production is going down. Rural infrastructure such as power, road transport facilities are in a poor state,” he said. “All the safety net programmes are not working at all, with rural job scheme and public distribution system performing far below their potential. This has added to the suffering of rural India while market forces are acting in favour of urban India, which is why it is progressing at a faster rate”.


The growing income inequality in India has negatively impacted poor citizens’ access to education and healthcare. People working in unorganized sectors are the worst sufferers of economic inequality. They are characterized by low wages; long working hours; lack of basic services such as first aid, drinking water and sanitation.

Government and Income inequality

The citizens’ collective Wada Na Todo Abhiyan argues that the present BJP government in India, through their pro-corporate and anti-poor policies is allowing the stark income inequality to increase more than ever. While the government reduces fund for Education, Health and other services, they say that it gives enormous tax exemptions for the corporate billionaires.

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Your Coveted House Made to get more rights!

New policy to define part-time workers, full-time workers, live-in workers and employers.

The government is planning to formulate a national policy for domestic workers with an aim to expand the scope of applicable legislation, policies and schemes such as minimum wages, social security and skill development programmes. The ministry has invited views of all stakeholders and general comments on the National Policy for Domestic Workers till November 16, according to a notice by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The new policy proposes to clearly define part-time workers, full-time workers, live in workers and employers and private placement agencies.

The new draft policy, however, does not prescribe a minimum wage for a domestic worker, although the earlier draft a couple of years ago had proposed a minimum salary of Rs 9,000 per month for the skilled full-time domestic help along with benefits including social security cover and mandatory leave.

As per the notice, the policy intends to set up an institutional mechanism for social security cover, fair terms of employment, grievance redressal and dispute resolution. It provides for recognising domestic workers as a worker with the right to register themselves with state labour department or any other suitable mechanism. It also aims to expand the scope of existing legislation, policies and schemes to grant domestic workers rights that are enshrined in laws for other category of workers including minimum wage, equal remuneration, etc.

The policy proposes to promote the rights of domestic workers to organise and form their own unions/associations and affiliate with other unions/associations. The policy will also provide for model contract of employment with well defined period of work and rest along with regulation of the recruitment and placement agencies by respective governments through formulation of a policy.

The labour ministry notice also states that the policy proposes to have tripartite implementation committees at Centre, state and district levels.

The category of domestic workers has largely remained outside the ambit of labour laws in India, often making them vulnerable to exploitation and violence. Earlier this year in July, a group of domestic workers had carried out stone pelting  in Noida’s Mahagun Moderne residential society over the alleged beating up of a 26-year-old domestic help by her employers, who in turn had accused her of theft.

Domestic workers are not included in the scope of the current labour laws because of the constraints in the definition of either the ‘workmen’, ‘employer’ or ‘establishment’. The nature of work, the specificity of the employee-employer relationship and the work in private households instead of public and private establishments, makes the coverage of domestic workers under the existing laws more challenging.

To include the domestic workers under the labour laws, the definitions will have to be amended. The labour laws treat only establishments, mines and factories, as workplaces. Private homes are treated as private spheres beyond the reach of these laws. The definition of the workmen or the employer also excludes the domestic workers from the scope of these laws and even the placement agencies get out from the ambit of the labour laws.


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Beware! Even Justice can cheat you! Fake Advocates abound!!!

CHENNAI: It may be game-up for about 1,000 fake lawyers `practising’ in Tamil Nadu courts, as the Madras high court has given a free hand to the state Bar Council to wield the axe.

While 42 got enrolled as `lawyers’ without furnishing any basic documents and without even providing addresses, several hundred people had enrolled as `lawyers’ without even clearing Class 6 or 7 and 10. There was a curious case of one person, who had enrolled twice -once in 1998 and then in 2004 -submitting different credentials.

Justice N Kirubakaran, poring over these details submitted by Vijay Narayan, advocate-general and ex officio chairman of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry , expressed his shock that bar council members had enrolled ineligible persons carrying open university and distance education degrees, without even understanding judicial pronouncements on the matter. Without understand ing or incapable of understanding the aforesaid position of law, it is surprising to note that elected Bar council members had allowed to enroll 713 persons with open university MA degree from the year 2009 to 2016. It is open to the advocategeneral, who is the ex-officio chairman, to issue notice to those 713 candidates regarding cancellation. It is also open to the bar council to take any action, including the filing of police complaints, against 42 persons who enrolled without documents,” said
Persons who have not even passed 6th or 7th and 10th standards are able to procure open university MA degrees and subsequently , the degrees have been utilised to get admissions into law colleges and obtain law degrees.Based on the same, they started enrolling those degrees which are obtained in violation of the UGC Regulations, 1985. The Supreme Court in 2009 made it clear that master degrees awarded in violation of Regulation 2 of UGC Regulations, 1985 by a university under open university system without requiring three years’ graduate degree is void. Apart from that Legal Education Rules, 2008 also prohibits the entry of open university degree holders,” Justice Kirubakaran said.

Referring to a recent incident of two warring factions of a private engineering college trust engaging advocates to take over the college or to retain the college, Justice Kirubakaran said only a negligible number of advocates were engaged for such kind of practice and the number was increasing day-by-day .
“The time has come to save advocates who are wedded to the profession,” he said.

The judge has already raised 25 queries and impleaded the Bar Council of India as well as the Centre regarding the quality of legal education, number of law institutes and the need to reduce them by around 85%.
by around 85%.

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Low Employability of Engineering Student’s requires capacity building of faculty

In a move aimed at improving their employability prospects, engineering students across the country will have to undergo at least three mandatory internships during their course from this academic year. It will be the responsibility of colleges to ensure internship for students.

In 2015-16, 56% students graduating from engineering colleges remained unemployed.
Not only this, their teachers too will have to undergo mandatory refresher course annually, failing which the approval to their institute can be denied. So far, the system of summer internships was only being followed by reputed engineering colleges.

“Every student in technical institute should undergo three internships each spanning four to eight weeks before completion of his/her under-graduation course. The responsibility will be on the institute to help students find a suitable industry for the internship, Lok sabha was informed.

He said as per the data collected by AICTE from 10,328 technical institutes, of the 15.87 lakh students only 6.96 lakh got jobs through campus placements in 2015-16 . However, the minister claimed that the number could have been higher had the students not opted for higher studies and start-ups.

The low-employability levels are attributed as much to the lack of requisite skills as the falling demand in the industry.
Meanwhile, the teachers of engineering institutes will have to take up online courses offered on government’s SWAYAM portal. “Every teacher in each of the technical discipline shall mandatorily undergo an annual refresher course through SWAYAM portal (Massive open online course), encapsulating all advances in their field of study.

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NGO raises USD 500K to provide education to children in India

The Government Senior Secondary School for Boys in Nangloi where a teacher was stabbed by students. Express photo by Oinam Anand. 29 November 2016

The people who attended the event were visibly moved by Nisha Sisodiya, a young woman from Rajasthan, who bravely told her story of how she overcame an abusive marriage to become a successful entrepreneur after discovering Pratham’s vocational programme.

Pratham USA, an Indian non-governmental organisation has raised more than USD 500,000 this year towards providing quality education to underprivileged children in India.

At its latest fund raiser in the Washington DC suburb of Virginia, Pratham raised USD 275,000 from about 360 guests.
Actor R Madhavan made an impassioned plea with his keynote address underscoring the importance of tangible results when giving back.

“Pratham is doing an extraordinary job in making a huge difference in the lives of people, especially children and women in India,” Madhavan said.

The people who attended the event were visibly moved by Nisha Sisodiya, a young woman from Rajasthan, who bravely told her story of how she overcame an abusive marriage to become a successful entrepreneur after discovering Pratham’s vocational programme.

Pratham provided her seed funding and mentorship to be able to launch her own beauty salon where she provides livelihood for other women in the community.

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#MeToo: Millions of women share their stories of sexual harrassment

Millions of women have come forward on social media to recount their experiences of sexual harassment or assault using the hashtag #MeToo in the aftermath of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace over allegations of rape and molestation.

The two simple words became a rallying cry after actress Ayssa Milano called on Twitter users on Monday to post “Me too” if they’d had a brush with sexual harassment, or worse. Needless to say, Twitter was flooded.
Celebrities and everyday people chimed in with personal accounts of being groped, verbally abused, molested and raped by bosses, teachers and family members. Many observed that they’d never come across a woman who’d not been a victim of some form of sexual abuse.

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27 percent increase in Child Trafficking!

Children in India face threats ranging from trafficking, sexual violence, forced labour and early marriage to a lack of access to quality education and healthcare, say activists.

More than 9,000 children were reported to have been trafficked in 2016, a 27 percent rise from the previous year, according to government data.

Most are from poor rural families who are lured to cities by traffickers who promise good jobs, but then sell them into slavery as domestic workers, to work in small manufacturing units, farming or pushed into sexual slavery in brothels.
Figures from the National Crime Records Bureau also show that almost 15,000 children were victims of sexual violence such as rape, molestation and exploitation for pornography in 2015 – up 67 percent from the previous year.

But the figures are underestimates in socially conservative India, say activists, where fear of being blamed and shamed means victims often keep quiet and do not report abuses.

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Professional Social Worker – Nafisa Hussain

43 years old Nafisa Hussain realised during her days at Tezpur University that she had to do something for the women of her area, since they were backward due to lack of resources and attitude of the society. Soon she understood the potential of an organised body, which could do much more than an individual. Therefore, Drishti Foundation was formed at Nagaon, Assam.

She is the founder member of DRISTI FOUNDATION. Also working as a resource person for SIRD&PR (State Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Govt of Assam) and also as a Trainer under NRLM(National Rural Livelihood Mission)
She is also a member of Resource Team under GPDP, Barhampur GP. 2. District Level Co-ordination Committee, Aryabhatta Science Center. Nagaon, Assam. 3. Block Level Co-ordintion Committee, Barhampur ICDS Project, Nagaon, Assam. 4. Block Level Committee, Rajyik Mahila Ayog, Barhampur Dev Block, Nagaon, Assam. 5. District Level Selection Committee for the Selection of “Chief minister’s Best Community Action Award for Development”, Nagaon, Assam. 6. District Level Selection Committee “New Social Security scheme- Financial Assistance to Widows”, Nagaon, Assam. 7. District Level Selection Committee for “Zila Mahila Samman” and “Rajya Mahila Samman” Award, Nagaon, Assam

Nafisa Hussain feels that the women in this part of the country are still quite backward literally and technologically also. It’s my little effort to make it possible for them to come forward to decision making platform.

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Angels of Change

School Dropouts Become Angels of Change.

A unique experiment in channelizing youth energy for developing the society. K,a Thomas director Institution for Culture And Rural Development Baghchung jorhat, Assam has undertaken this unique enterprise and has shaped the life of thousands of youngsters in the North East.

In 2002 Fr. Thomas started a training centre for school dropouts, called Karsang Takar. Every year, we get 20 young adults, both boys and girls, to train them for one full year in personal, social, cultural and spiritual development.

When these school dropouts come to us, the adolescent boys and girls are shy, timid, uncouth, with unkempt hair and dirty clothes. Possessing nothing, and not knowing much of body care, all of them appear unwelcome in society. They come to us after grade VIII. But they know nothing. They have been to school, only in name. You may call them “at-risk-youth”. They have idled away their time, playing cards and drinking rice beer. They are failures in everything. Frustration and hopelessness is written large on their faces. Every tribal community in Northeast India boasts of an insurgent organization. Our at-risk young people tend to land up in insurgency organizations, for want of other options.
Within three months of the training, these young people are totally changed, and they speak a different jargon. They begin to say: we will help transform our society. I call these dropouts angels of change. They become like angels. Burt we give them an experience of spirituality. We give them the most professional training, including three months of short courses in Assam Agricultural university, Rain Forest Research Institute and North East Institute for Science and Technology. We invite professionals to train them in life skills.

After one year, these 20 angels of change are sent as interns to 40 new villages, to sow the first seeds of development. I sent them to break grounds, to clear the jungles. Initially, they are opposed and persecuted by local people, suspecting them for their good behavior. But they hold on, and by the end of six months, they have won over the 40 villages. When they finally leave after six months, people stand in line on streets crying. With 305 school dropouts in the last 16 years, I have reached 500 new villages.

If that is not enough, the young leaders, after their ‘professional’ training in culture and arts have travelled to Delhi, Mumbai, Benares, Gujarat, Kolkata and parts of Northeast India to put up performances invited by Sangeet Natak Akademy and by the Ministry of Culture. Today our young people are called ‘cultural ambassadors’. Today, these dropouts are the chief players of “Jorhat’s Own Annual Tourism Festival”.

When this village experience is over, we give to the school dropouts a further training in a vocational skill of their choice, like welding, carpentry, motor mechanics, driving, sewing, embroidery, fashion or beauty care. Finally they are given the tools of the trade that they learned to establish a business enterprise in their village. If someone wants to or is capable of going ahead in their academic career, they are assisted too. One Puspalata Mili, who once was a dropout before grade 10, has today a Master’s degree in communication and Journalism. Another is a full fledged GNM nurse. There are others who have completed their bachelors degrees.

All of them can now stand on their feet. The entire process, that we call ‘journeying with the young’, is given free, so that they will become angels of change in their society. If it takes a village to educate a child, we believe iit takes one youngster to change a village. It is happening. The young, even though they are dropouts, have been transformed to make a difference.

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Unsung Heroes: K. A. Thomas

Fr. K. A. Thomas, sdb, is the founder director of Institution for Culture And Rural Development, Jorhat,
Assam. He is a fellow of Ashoka Innovators for the Public, Virginia, USA. He has travelled widely in Northeast India, knows its people and cultures, and specializes in the culture of the local people. He has travelled in the USA, Canada and Mexico, and has learned about the life and culture of second generation Philippino-Americans. He has worked for more than forty years in Assam. One of the specialized research papers that he has authored is “Neo-Vaishnavite Monasticism in Assam in the Light of Christian Monasticism”, about the Satra Institution of Assam. After about 15 years heading educational institutions, he ventured out for community transformation working with the under-privileged. He has founded Jeevan Entrepreneurship Training Institute, Jorhat, training educated unemployed youth in professional development.

He has bachelors in Arts, Bachelors in Assamese Language, Bachelors in Philosophy, Bachelors in Education, Bachelors in Theology (from Sacred Heart Th. College, Shillong, affiliated to UPS, Rome), and Masters in Multi Cultural Ministry from Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, USA. He is a member of Don Bosco international.

Institution for Culture And Rural Development (I-CARD) founded by Fr. Thomas “empowers tribal communities to discover their identities and achieve recognition, based on the Mising model it has tested”. In this model, Fr. Thomas has been working with the 1.4 million Mising tribe for the past 20 years. About 70% of all Mising tribal children drop out of school. The demands of the farm, of caring for siblings, lack of motivated parents and teachers, the absence of school buildings, and the fact that their educated elder brothers and sisters do not have jobs, cause Mising students to drop out.
It is in this scenario that Fr. Thomas has set in motion the ‘angels of change’ to transform their society.

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