Citizens' Issues
7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Nepal, tremors felt in Northern India, Kolkata to Mumbai

The epicentre of the earthquake was in Nepal and tremors were felt across the Northern India and from Kolkata to Mumbai

Most parts of northern India as well as central India and areas from Kolkata to Mumbai felt tremors for over a minute when an earthquake measuring 7.7 magnitude on Richter scale striked 80km east of Pokhara in Nepal.

At 11.44am, tremors were felt for a minute in Delhi, National Capital Region (NCR), Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh, Kolkata as well as Mumbai.


A strong earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale rocked Nepal at 11.41 a.m. India time, with tremors felt from Delhi to Guwahati and Srinagar to Jaipur. Even half an hour later, the aftershocks continued.
According to the India Meteorological Department, the depth of earthquake was 10 km and measured 6 on the Richter scale in India. The US Geological Survey said the epicentre was at Lamjung in Nepal - a district some 75 km northwest of capital Kathmandu.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "News has come in about an Earthquake in Nepal. Several parts of India also experienced tremors."
He said that they were in the process of finding more information and "are working to reach out to those affected, both at home & in Nepal".
Reports from across north India said people scurried out of their homes and offices even as buildings shook due to the quake and the strong aftershocks.
The tremors were so strong that people feared for their lives. Some of them began to pray and tried to get as far away as possible from the buildings. Most ran to open grounds. Many of the high-rises saw people evacuate in large numbers.
"I suddenly found my chair shaking. I live on the fourth floor in an apartment. I just rushed out of my building...shouting and requesting people not to use the lift," said Ravindra Kumar, a resident at Sirsi road in Jaipur.
There was panic in Nepal which bore the brunt of the massive temblor. Besides capital Kathmandu and Besisahar in Lamjung, the cities which were affected include Bharatpur, Pokhara and Kirtipur.




Farmer suicides: Is moving from farms to factories the answer?

Arguably, the answer to farmers' suicides lies in boosting the agriculture sector through more irrigation facilities, provision of cheap credit and crop insurance, better marketing facilities after eliminating middle men and encouraging big retailers to step in, and making the availability of seeds and fertilizer much easier


The stir against land acquisition took a tragic and macabre turn when a farmer hanged himself during an Aam Admi Party (AAP) rally in the heart of the national capital. The mortifying episode only showed how the political exploitation of a complex problem was diverting attention from what really needed to be done.
Arguably, the answer to farmers' suicides lies in boosting the agriculture sector through more irrigation facilities, provision of cheap credit and crop insurance, better marketing facilities after eliminating middle men and encouraging big retailers to step in, and making the availability of seeds and fertilizer much easier.
Equally important are initiatives like weaning away the subsistence farmers from their lands which have ceased to be productive either through overuse or sub-divisions among successive generations of cultivators.
It is only through industrialisation that the pressure on such lands can be eased as the peasants move from farms to factories. A transition of this nature is the essence of development.
But Indian politicians are wary of following this line lest it shows them to be anti-farmer and pro-industrialist.
Such an image, they believe, will be detrimental to their political prospects because of the belief that the simple-minded toilers in the fields are the epitome of all virtues while the suited-and-booted businessmen are rapacious exploiters. Indeed, this romantic view of the countryside has been the stuff of Indian fiction and films for generations.
Hence Rahul Gandhi's tirade against the capitalists and against the Narendra Modi government for being in cahoots with them - "suit-boot ki sarkar", as he called the government.
Evidently, his sabbatical in a Buddhist monastery in Myanmar - if rumours are to be believed - has made even more of a Communist than the Communists themselves, for even the latter are not totally against private sector investments, including those from abroad. As the comrades have said, foreign investments are all right if they provide employment and bring in new technology.
However, for the 44-year-old prince of the Congress dynasty, a strident assumption of the role of a champion of the underprivileged is the only way for the party to emerge from the hole in which it now finds itself.
As a self-confessed admirer of his grandmother, Indira Gandhi, it is possible that Rahul Gandhi is harking back to her "garibi hatao" (remove poverty) pledge to breathe new life into the Congress.
But what worked for Indira four-and-a-half decades ago may not work at a time when socialism has collapsed worldwide - except in North Korea - and the Indian comrades themselves are now one of the weakest forces on the political scene.
To expect the "poor vs rich" gambit to succeed, therefore, is a shot in the dark, especially by someone who was born with the silver spoon in his mouth.
There are other reasons why the ploy is unlikely to work. As even a loyalist of the dynasty, Digvijay Singh, has acknowledged, the economic reforms lifted millions out of lowly poverty levels to join the ranks of the lower middle class, or the "neo middle class", as Modi calls them.
Moreover, these groups have acquired the mindset of the "aspirational" middle class, according to Digvijay Singh. As a result, they no longer care for subsidies but are eager to avail of the employment opportunities promised by Modi's emphasis on development.
Since an essential feature of the anticipated development is the prime minister's ace "Make in India" plans, the government's eagerness to push through the amended land acquisition law is understandable.
Unfortunately, the spate of farmers' suicides, and especially the one during the AAP rally, is likely to force the government to go slow.
Yet, the essential correctness of the industrialization process cannot be denied. Rahul Gandhi, therefore, can be said to be trying to turn the clock back by his anti-business stance.
In doing so, however, he is positioning himself against the Congress' own history considering that Jawaharlal Nehru favoured industrialization as his "dams are the temples of modern India" observation showed, and Rajiv Gandhi wanted to take the country into the 21st century.
Rahul Gandhi's present emphasis on "socialism", therefore, is tantamount to swimming against the tide.
He is also courting the danger of alienating the middle class - the "neos" and others - who evidently voted overwhelmingly a year ago for Modi's development agenda based on encouraging the private sector.
While Rahul Gandhi is playing the "socialist" card even if the Congress may find it difficult to sustain his anti-industry stance, Modi is dogged by ill-luck as the havoc caused by unseasonal rains and the continuing suicides show.
Notwithstanding his current troubles, however, he remains one of the few who has some idea of where he wants to take the country, whereas his opponents, of whom Rahul Gandhi and his mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, are the leading lights, are seemingly motivated by stalling industrialization even if it scuppers the prospect of the Indian growth rate overtaking China's in the near future, as has been forecast.



B. Yerram Raju

2 years ago

The content of the article is more focused on politics than economics. When Garibi Hatao slogan was aired by the grandmother of Rahul poverty was at 42% of the population. Today, by any count it is 25% of the population. The face of poverty has also changed with belly hunger shifting to information hunger. Most poor today hold mobile in their hands!The State Budgets still reveal still expenditures on social schemes taking more than 40% because the schemes for poor provide a window of opportunity to milk the not-so-hungry cow.

Agriculture is constitutionally a State subject, but, in practice, all policy decisions in its activity chain like Agriculture Credit, Procurement, MSP, fertilizer allocation and subsidy, and relief measures, etc., are in the domain of the Central Government. Indian farmer and the entire value chain in the farming sector, as a consequence, is a strangulated by regulations of over twelve ministries of GOI and at least six ministries of the State Government.
Farmers get their extension support and weather forecast on the mobile phones most of them own, but fail to secure the prices for their produce and agricultural market yards failed them. The result is about 3lakh suicides of farmers in key agri-intensive states across the country during the last one and half decades. The efforts to contain them have not even touched the fringe of the problem.
The recent RBI guidelines included the corporate farming as priority sector qualifying for softer interest rates. This would mean that the corporates gets the subsidy in the name of farming.

The small and marginal farmers get 7% of ANBC. Lending for agriculture has never reached the assigned 18% of ANBC in the history of priority sector dispensation and the RBI had no means of insisting on achieving this. The NSS data reveals large private debt and farmers in the south and particularly AP groaning in 82% debt. How can you prevent suicides of farmers with such lackadaisical approach from the government and institutional agencies?

RS passes private member's bill on transgenders: A first in 45 years

The transgender community, meanwhile, said it was happy to receive a "positive response" from all political parties


For the first time in 45 years, the Rajya Sabha on Friday unanimously passed a private member's bill to accord equal rights on transgenders.
"It is a unanimous decision of the house... This is a rare thing," Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien announced after the bill was passed by voice vote.
The central government, however, said it will bring an improved bill as DMK member Tiruchi Shiva's bill has some practical difficulties.
The government sources told IANS that they will bring a bill soon.
The transgender community, meanwhile, said it was happy to receive a "positive response" from all political parties. 
The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, moved by Shiva, calls for equal rights and reservation to transgenders and envisages creation of a national commission and state level commissions for transgender communities.
"We all have human rights, whatever our gender identity. The bill I have presented is for an act which will create an equal society as it recognises and protects transgender persons, in all spheres of life," Shiva said while moving the bill.
Talking to IANS later, the DMK member said: "Transgenders are as efficient as any one else. One transgender person asked me I pay my taxes, why don't I have the rights?"
"Imagine they have gender written as female in their I-cards, but they cannot enter women's compartment in trains," he said.
The bill will now have to be taken up in the Lok Sabha, where a member from the lower house will have to pilot the bill.
If the bill is passed, it will be sent for presidential assent and become an act thereafter.
"The procedure for a private member's bill is same as any other bill. It will now go to the Lok Sabha, and if it is passed there, it will go to the president. If president signs it, it will become an act," constitutional expert and former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash C. Kashyap told IANS.
A senior minister told IANS: "Wide consultation is needed with different departments and ministries. There are many issues, for example if reservation is provided, how will it effect other reservations..." 
In the Rajya Sabha, as Shiva pushed for putting the bill to vote, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said the government was in consultation with several departments to formulate a law for the transgenders and urged him to withdraw the bill.
"Emotionally, I agree with Shiva's bill, but there are some technical problems... There is some impracticality in the bill," he said. Shiva, however, remained adamant to put the bill to vote. 
After an intervention by Leader of the House Arun Jaitley, who advocated for unanimously passing the bill, it was adopted through voice vote.
The transgender community welcomed it.
"The bill received support from all political parties and this shows how they have become sensitive towards our issues and difficulties. I am sure it will smoothly pass in the Lok Sabha as well," Reshma, a transgender from Patna, told IANS by phone.
Mumbai-based Gauri Sawant, a transgender, felt if the bill is passed in parliament smoothly, it will reinforce their identity in the country and also help them to get rid of the stigma.
Members of parliament other than ministers are called private members and bills presented by them are known as private members' bills. 
Figures show since independence only 14 private members' bills have been converted into legislative acts. 
The last private member's bill passed by parliament was the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968, which became an act on August 9, 1970.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)