MNREGA will continue to exploit starving labour by 40%

MNREGA will continue to exploit starving labour by 40%

Even if paid under minimum wage act, 1948 (agriculture), MNREGA will continue to exploit starving labour by 40% of its wages.

The perusal of the SC judgment in Sanjit Roy vs State of Rajasthan AIR 1983 SC328, make one very clear that no government can take rescue under any exemption from paying minimum wage to the worker as per minimum wage act, 1948. So far in Karnataka High court has ruled that workers employed under the MNREGA work must be paid minimum wage as prescribed under section 3 of minimum wage act, 1948 for agricultural labour to that area. But the works undertaken under MNREGA does not fall under the ambit of agriculture labour, but non agricultural labour/construction labour. The wage difference between both the categories is 40% in MP; 119 for agriculture labour, and minimum 175 for non agriculture labour. By taking advantage of rural poor’s starving condition, mostly Sc and ST, under the disguise of agricultural labour, government by exploiting these labours getting its work done on 40% less payment; thus saving on its rural development budget. In last 5 years government must have exploited rural labour to the tune of 25 thousand crores

 As per minimum wage act, 1948 the  definition of “ Agricultural labour ”- Employment in agriculture, that is to say, in any form of farming including cultivation and tillage of the soil dairy, farming the production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodity, the raising of live stock, bees or poultry and any practice performed by a framer or on a farm as incidental to or in conjunction with farm operations (including any forestry or timbering operations and the preparations for market and delivery to storage or to market or a carriage for transporting to market of farm produce.

This definition of agriculture labour further widens the scope of the debate on payment of minimum wage to MNREGA worker. The works carried under the MNREGA in no way fall under the category of agricultural labour. The nature of their work falls under the category of construction labour or any other unskilled/semiskilled labour employed in digging well; construction of village road etc. Accordingly, as per the minimum wage act, 1948 workers employed under MNREGA should must be in no way paid wages prescribed for agricultural labour, rather, they must be paid wages prescribed for construction worker or worker other than agricultural labour. Under the disguise of budget constraint government cannot make starving labour work as a construction labour and be paid as agricultural labour. Labour spent most of the wage amount paid to them on replenishing their spent energy to be able to work on next day. If government does not have  enough money to pay its millions of rural starving labour, than its bound to cut on the salary and luxury of its  legislative and executives.

In Sanji Roy vs State of Rajasthan AIR 1983 SC328, the SC has held that-

1.. When the State employs workers for doing work needed on its development projects, it must find funds for such projects. And the fund must be sufficient to ensure the prescribed minimum   wage to each worker and this is particularly so having regard to the concept of a “minimum wage”.Therefore, the argument that the wages are drawn from a fund too limited to provide for payment of a minimum wage to all is not justified. [286 B-C].

2. In my judgment, the workers employed in the construction of  the Madanganj Harmara Road as a measure of relief in  a famine  stricken area are entitled to a minimum wage of Rs. 7 per day,  and that wage cannot be reduced by reference to  the Rajasthan  Famine Relief  Works  Employees (Exception from Labour Laws) Act, 1964 because in so far as the provisions of s. 3 OF that Act countenance a lesser wage they operate  against Art  14 of  the Constitution  and are, therefore, void.

Anurag Modi
Samajwadi jan Parishad

Amir Khan: 14 years in jail, acquitted but still scared of police witch-hunt

Amir Khan: 14 years in jail, acquitted but still scared of police witch-hunt

Submitted by admin7 on 29 January 2012 – 12:06am
* Crime/Terrorism  * India News  * Indian Muslim
By Md. Ali, TwoCircles.net,

This is the second part of the three part series on the case of Md. Amir Khan who spent 14 years in jail in 20 fabricated cases of bomb blasts. New Delhi: This was not how Maimuna Bi had thought she would meet her son Amir after fourteen years of endless wait when Delhi police allegedly picked him illegally on February 20, 1998. When she finally met him on January 9, 2012, she was unable to speak because of the brain haemorrhage and paralysis she suffered. Only broken words were coming out after her continuous efforts to express her happiness.

Md. Amir Khan, a resident of Azad Market in Old Delhi, was charged in 20 cases of bomb blasts in and around Delhi. He had already been acquitted by the trial court in 17 out of 20 cases. He walked out of jail free only this month. Of the three remaining cases the Delhi High Court had overturned his conviction for life in one case. The remaining two are scheduled to come up for appeal. He had not seen stars since 1998 The first thing Amir did after his release on January 9, 2012, was to go to the roof top and see the stars in an open sky. “I hadn’t seen stars in the sky since last fourteen years because I was in the high security cell where prisoners were locked before the advent of nights. So I wanted to see stars and feel my freedom,” said Amir who was picked up by police when he was 18.

Amir showing court acquittal papers

After the third degree torture in jail and after spending 14 long years of his life in high security solitary prison cell, Amir is a changed man now, but it will take several months or maybe years to become normal. Recalling the tragic 14 years He is yet to reconcile with the fact that he is finally out of jail, free in most cases, of terror charges. Thanks to the number of cases which were put on him and on top of that, the slow judicial process, he had almost lost hope that he will ever be free. “The fact that police put one by one, more than 20 odd cases on me, a tragedy which was all the more heightened because of slow judicial process,” said Amir who forgets thing while talking about his past probably due to the trauma he sustained.

“What adds to my mental anxiety is the fact that in the last 14 years the world has changed upside down. I don’t have any idea how to use the mobile which I saw first time in my life when I was out,” adds Amir who did Bachelor Preparatory Program, a course for those who have not done higher secondary, and then he got enrolled in B.A. at IGNOU while he was in Tihar jail. Ironically the “terrorist” who was portrayed as the dreaded mastermind of 20 blasts won in 2011 the Best Essay Award on Mahatma Gandhi and Non-Violence Movement in “Karagaar Bandi Jeevan” a national prison magazine. Relatives, community deserted family of “terrorist”
Amir broke down while talking about how nearly all of his relatives abandoned and boycotted the family of a “terrorist.” What had hurt him most, was the attitude of Muslim leaders and groups. He claimed that during this period of hardship, no community leader approached his parents for the sake of extending their support, let alone financial or legal help.

“There was just no body on our side. Right from our neighbors to relatives, everyone thought that I am a terrorist. I was quite hurt when my parents informed me in jail that even my own community and my relatives had deserted us when we needed them most,” added Amir who didn’t have even sufficient money to give to the lawyers who took up his case on humanitarian grounds.

Without any support from the community, relatives or the larger civil society, the old and ailing parents of this terror accused had to fight the tough legal battle with the Indian state, completely on their own. But even that pillar of strength collapsed when his father died of heart attack in August 2001. After that it was his sister, mother and a distant cousin who showed faith in his innocence and continued to fight for him. He is happy that now after his release his relatives are coming back one by one.

He is alive but family destroyed Amir says that even though he is alive today but his life, family have been destroyed. After his continued fight against police for the wrongful arrest of his son, Hashim Khan died of heart attack. The family invested whatever it had to get the only son out and at present, just the ailing and paralytic mother is left in the family. With nobody left to earn, the erstwhile lower middle class family is literally on the road. At present he is quite scared of talking to people or media and it took lots of pursuance and convincing before he talked to TwoCircles.net.

Challenges before him – Safety and Rehabilitation The two big challenges for Amir now are his safety and rehabilitation. Amir is quite scared of the fact that Delhi police might harass him all the more now because he is out, defeating their attempts to prove him a terrorist, and is talking to media about what had happened to him.
Out of this fear only he hasn’t gone out of his house since he has been released early this month, “What am I going to do if they (police) again decide to harass me and put me behind bars?” asks Amir. The other problem is that of his rehabilitation. At present he is so much traumatised that he has no idea about what he wants to do and what are the potential areas he can work. Amir only hopes that Muslim civil society groups will help him in his fight for a normal life. At present his two appeals are pending in Delhi HC but he doesn’t have even the money to make two ends meet, let alone paying lawyers for their minimal charges. Even at the risk of making generalizations, one can say that Amir’s tragedy is not his alone. At various levels, it’s the tragedy of all those who dreamt of the idea of India, an equitable India where every marginalised and minority has equal place.

If You Want the Peace of the Dead, Prepare for Nuclear War

If You Want the Peace of the Dead, Prepare for Nuclear War

If You Want the Peace of the Dead, Prepare for Nuclear War
By Ramesh Thakur
UN Chronicle 48:4 (October–December 2011), pp. 26–29

The world faces two existential threats: climate change, and nuclear Armageddon. Action on both is required urgently. Tackling the first will impose significant economic costs and lifestyle adjustments, while tackling the second will bring economic benefits without any lifestyle implications. Those who reject the first are derided as aerialists; those dismissive of the second are praised as realists. Although action is needed now in order to keep the world on this side of the tipping point, a climate change-induced apocalypse will not occur until decades into the future. A nuclear catastrophe could destroy us at any time, although, if our luck holds out, it could be delayed for another six decades. The uncomfortable reality is that nuclear peace has been upheld, owing as much to good luck as to sound stewardship. Because we have learned to live with nuclear weapons for 66 years, we have become desensitized to the gravity and immediacy of the threat. The tyranny of complacency could yet exact a fearful price if we sleepwalk our way into a nuclear Armageddon. The time to lift the spectre of a mushroom cloud from the international body politic is long overdue.

Nuclear weapons are strategic equalizers for weaker sides in conflict relationships, but they do not buy defence on the cheap. They can lead to the creation of a national security state with a premium on governmental secretiveness, reduced public account- ability, and increased distance between citizens and Governments. There is the added risk of proliferation to extremist elements through leakage, theft, state collapse, and state capture. In terms of opportunity costs, heavy military expenditure amounts to stealing from the poor. Nuclear weapons do not help to combat today’s real threats of insurgency, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and corruption. As they said in the streets of Delhi in 1998: “No food, no clothing, no shelter? No worry, we have the bomb.”

Since the end of the Cold War, the risk of a Russia-United States nuclear war has diminished, but the prospect of nuclear weapons being used by other nuclear-armed states or non- state actors has become more plausible. As a result, we find ourselves at a familiar crossroads, confronting the same old choice between security in or from nuclear weapons.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has kept the nuclear nightmare at bay for over four decades. The number of countries with nuclear weapons is still in single figures. There has been substantial progress in reducing the number of nuclear warheads. However, the threat is still acute with a combined stockpile of more than 20,000 nuclear weapons; of these, 5,000 warheads are launch-ready and 2,000 are in a state of high operational alert.

The NPT enshrined multiple bargains. The non-nuclear countries agreed among themselves never to acquire nuclear weapons. They entered into a deal with the nuclear weapon states (NWS) whereby, in return for intrusive end-use control over nuclear and nuclear-related technology and material, they were granted favoured access to nuclear technology, components, and material. The non-nuclear countries struck a second deal with the NWS by which, in return for forever forswearing the bomb, the NWS would pursue good faith negotiations for complete nuclear disarmament. Article 6 of the NPT is the only explicit multilateral disarmament commitment undertaken by all NWS.

Those agreements are now under strain due to a five-fold challenge:

1. The five NPT-licit nuclear powers (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) have disregarded NPT obligations to disarm.

2. Three nuclear-armed states lie outside the NPT: India, Israel, and Pakistan.

3. As an intergovernmental agreement, the NPT does not cover non-state groups, including terrorists.

4. Some NPT members may be trying to elude their non-proliferation obligations, while the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has withdrawn from the NPT and tested nuclear weapons.

5. Many countries are interested in nuclear energy owing to rising environmental anxieties and fossil fuel price, raising issues of safety, security, and weaponization.

The disquieting trend of a widening circle of NPT-licit and extra-NPT nuclear weapons powers has a self-generating effect in drawing other countries into the game of nuclear brinkmanship. Adding to the five sets of concerns is the sorry state of global governance mechanisms for nuclear arms control. The Conference on Disarmament cannot even agree on an agenda. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has not yet entered into force and a fissile material cut-off treaty is no nearer conclusion.

After more than a decade in the doldrums, the nuclear agenda was re-energized by a coalition of four United States national security policy heavy weights—William Cohen, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, and William Perry—and given fresh momentum with President Barack Obama’s Prague Promise in April 2009 to aim for the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. The Washington Nuclear Summit looked closely at the safety and security requirements of nuclear programmes and materials. The 2010 NPT Review Conference was a modest success. Commissions such as the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and campaigns like Global Zero have helped to mobilize key constituencies. Russia and the United States have negotiated, signed, ratified, and brought into force a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (know as START II) to cut back nuclear arsenals by one third, limiting each to 1,550 deployable warheads.

Yet, there is a palpable and growing sense that START II could mark the end of nuclear disarmament progress, instead of being the first step on the road to abolition. There is little evidence of significant demand for disarmament by domestic political constituencies in the nuclear-armed states. Tellingly, not one country that had an atomic bomb in 1968 when the NPT was signed has given it up. Judging by their actions rather than the rhetoric, all are determined to remain nuclear-armed. They are either modernizing nuclear forces and refining nuclear doctrines, or preparing to do so. For example, even after implementing START II, the United States will retain a cache of reserve warheads as a strategic hedge available for rapid uploading, should the need arise, and also build three new factories for increased nuclear warhead production capacity. To would-be proliferators, the lesson is clear: nuclear weapons are indispensable in today’s world and for dealing with tomorrow’s threats.

Reflecting the technical state of 1968 when the NPT was signed, Iran insists on its right to pursue the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes—to the point where it would be a screwdriver away from developing the bomb. The world is at a loss on how to stop Iran from crossing the weapons threshold and how to persuade, coax, or coerce the DPRK from stepping back into the NPT as a denuclearized member in good standing.

Japan is the emotional touchstone in the discourse as the world’s only victim of the bomb. The United States has a special responsibility to lead the way to nuclear abolition as the only country to have used atomic bombs, and as the world’s biggest military power. The A-bomb was developed during the Second World War by a group of scientists brought together for the Manhattan Project under the directorship of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Witnessing the first successful atomic test on 16 July 1945, Oppenheimer recalled the sacred Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One.” Birth and death are symbiotically linked in the cycle of life. Oppenheimer also recalled the matching verse from the Gita: “Now I am become Death, the shattered of worlds.”

The same duality is omnipresent in every aspect of modern day Hiroshima. The citizens of Hiroshima, in rebuilding their city, have consecrated it as a testimonial to social resilience, human solidarity, and nuclear abolition. Once again a beautiful, scenic, and thriving city, Hiroshima lives by three codes: transformation from a military city to a city of peace; to forgive and atone, but never to forget; and, never again.

The case for abolition is simple, elegant, and eloquent. Without strengthening national security, nuclear weapons diminish our common humanity and impoverish our soul. Their very destructiveness robs them of military utility against other nuclear powers and of political utility against non-nuclear countries. As long as any country has any, others will want some. As long as they exist, they will be used one day again by design, accident, or miscalculation. Our goal, there- fore, should be to make the transition from a world in which the role of nuclear weapons is seen as central to maintaining security, to one where they become progressively marginal and eventually entirely unnecessary. Like chemical and bio- logical weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons cannot be disinvested, but like them, nuclear weapons can also be controlled, regulated, restricted and outlawed under an inter- national regime that ensures strict compliance through effective and credible inspection, verification, and enforcement.

 The common task is to delegitimize the possession, deployment, and use of nuclear weapons; to require no first use and sole purpose commitments; to reduce their numbers to 10 per cent of present stockpiles (500 warheads each for Russia and the United States, and 1,000 among the rest) by 2025; to reduce the high-risk reliance on them by introducing further degrees of separation between possession, deployment and use, by physically separating warheads from delivery systems and lengthening the decision-making fuse for the launch of nuclear weapons; to strengthen the authority and capacity of the International Atomic Energy Agency; to establish a multilateral fuel cycle; and to toughen up supply- side restrictions.

Because the NPT has been subverted from a prohibition into a purely non-proliferation regime, the time has come to look beyond it to a better alternative that gathers all the meritorious elements into one workable package in a nuclear weapons convention. This will not self-materialize merely because we wish it so. Nor will it ever eventuate if we always push it into the distant future. There are many technical, legal, and political challenges to overcome, but serious preparatory work needs to be started now, with conviction and
commitment.

Those who worship most devoutly at the altar of nuclear weapons issue the fiercest fat- was against others rushing to join them. The most powerful stimulus to nuclear proliferation by others is the continuing possession of the bomb by some. Nuclear weapons could not proliferate if they did not exist, but because they do, they will. The threat to use nuclear weapons, both to deter their use by others and to prevent proliferation, legitimizes their possession, deployment, and use. That which is legitimate cannot be stopped from proliferating.

Critics of the zero option want to keep their atomic bombs, but deny them to others. They lack the intellectual honesty and the courage to show how non- proliferation can be enforced without disarmament, to acknowledge that the price of keeping nuclear arsenals is uncontrolled proliferation, and to argue why a world of uncontrolled proliferation is better than abolition for national and international security.

The focus on non-proliferation to the neglect of disarmament ensures that we get neither. The best and only guarantee of non-proliferation is disarmament. If we want non- proliferation, therefore, we must prepare for disarmament. Within our lifetime, we will either achieve nuclear abolition or have to live with nuclear proliferation and die with the use of nuclear weapons. It is better to have the soft glow of satisfaction from the noble goal of achieving the banishment of nuclear weapons, than the harsh glare on the morning after these weapons have been used.

About the author
Ramesh Thakur is Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, and Professor of International Relations, at the Australian National University. He previously was the senior vice Rector of the United Nations University at the rank of Assistant Secretary-General. His next major project is The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy.

Professor Ramesh Thakur
Director, Centre for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament
ANU Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy
Hedley Bull Centre, Bldg 130
Canberra ACT 0200
Australia
Tel: +61-2-6125-0912

Impact of Press conference

Impact of Press conference

Friends,

After the press conference of Jharkhand Bachaoo Andolan on 28th January 2012 at Vikash Maitri, Ranchi, the Ranka police of Garwha handed over Budhlal kerketta to his brother Chandan kerketta on 29th January Sunday about 11AM. He was asked to put his signature in a paper where release of Budlal Kerketta was mentioned but date of release and arrest was not mentioned. Mahfuj Anshari was also present in Ranka Thana. His brother Abulash Anshari and his neighbor Nazim Anshari signed in the paper without date than the Police released Mahfuj Anshari at 12 noon of Sunday.

Both of them were arrested along with three others from Bargar Police picket by Picket in charge Sibu Kujur and JAP Major Dinbandhu Yadav. Bargar area comes under the jurisdiction of Bhandaria Police station which is 15 km from village Bargar but both of them were released from Ranka Police station which is 55 km from village Bargar. Father of Budhlal Kerketta Mr. Seru Kerketta thanks Jharkhand Bachao Andolan and the entire human rights
activist and media personnel are who helped to trace out my child. He is happy but worried to see the role of Police he said “god knows how many innocents will be arrested and have to face police torture in future in the name of Maoist”.

Budlal and Mahfuj said that both of them were arrested by the Bargar picket police on 21st January 2012 at 8 am from that day they were tortured by police. They were taken to different police station even Chando thana of Sarguja of Chattishgar. Ramdas Minj and Fida Hussain were sent to Jail on 25 th January 2012. Both Budhlal and Mahfuj were in Ranka Thana Police custody till 29th Januaruy 2012.

Jemsh Tirky, Sanatan Tigga, Seru kerketta and Sunita Kerketta said people are with them Mukhia Ramdas Minj and Fida Hussain is innocent we will fight for justice till end. We brought a memorandum to submit Governor of Jharkhand signed by thousands of villagers against the Police brutality.


NC-10
B-5, 11-A, Abhilasha Aptt.,
Purulia Road,
Near Kanta toli chowk,
Ranchi, Jharkhand
Pin- 834001
Ph-0651-2532035/6573746
Cell – +91 9204522381

India’s FOREIGN RELATIONS – ISRAEL More military visits

India’s FOREIGN RELATIONS – ISRAEL More military visits

While in power the BJP presided over the massacre in Gujerat in Feb 2002.
Arundati Roy wrote a full account in Outlook (May 2002). Here are extracts:

“Within hours of the Godhra outrage, the VIshwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal carried out a meticulous planned program against the Muslim community. Officially the number of dead is 800 but independent reports put the figure at well over 2000. More than 150,000, driven from their homes, now live in refugee camps. “Women were stripped, gang-raped, parents were bludgeoned to death before their children. 240 dargahs and 180 masjids were destroyed. In Ahmedabad, the tomb of Wali Gujarati, the founder of the modern Urdu poem, was demolished and paved overnight. The tomb of the musician Ustad Faiyaz Ali Khan was desecrated and wreathed in burning tyres. Arsonists burned and looted shops, hotels, textile mills, buses and private cars. Hundreds of thousands had become jobless…”

4. Congress back in power and Israeli military visits on the rise A Congress-led alliance took power in 2004 but while recognizing how toxic Israeli ties could be, continued them surreptitiously. The military and arms deals with Israel remained in place with India becoming a major importer of Israeli arms. What has been kept hidden is the Israeli role in Kashmir. Meanwhile Israeli military officials have been visiting India.

General Avi Mizrahi visited India in February 2007 and in June that year, Major General Moshe Kaplinsky brought a team of IDF officers to Jammu and Kashmir, where they met senior Indian officials at the 16 Corps headquarters at Nagrota in the Jammu region near the India-Pakistan border. Kaplinsky’s team discussed the problem of infiltration, how militants from the Pakistani side enter the India. The 720-kilometer barbed wire fence, an echo of Israel’s wall, has not prevented the transit of militants. Kaplinsky came to push other, high-tech means, such as night-vision devices, to help interdict militants. En route to Israel, Kaplinsky’s team visited the Mumbai-based Western Naval Command.

In January 2008, to continue these contacts, the IDF’s chief, Brigadier General Pinchas Buchris came to India and met the top civilians and the top brass. They discussed the procedures to share intelligence on terrorist activity. A week after Buchris returned to Israel, India’s Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta spent time in Jerusalem, meeting IDF heads Gabi Askhenazi and Buchris. Between 2007 and early 2008, all three Indian defense chiefs visited Israel. The framework for these meetings is the 2002 agreement to form an Indo-Israeli Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, a long-standing attempt to create an entente between the armies of India and Israel, and to consolidate the immense arms trade between the two countries (India is now Israel’s largest arms buyer).

On September 10, 2008, Israel’s top army official, General Avi Mizrahi landed in New Delhi. He met with India’s leading army, navy and air force officials before leaving for a short visit to Jammu and Kashmir. Mizrahi, a long-standing officer in the Israeli Defense Force, lectured senior Indian army officers at the Akhnur Military Base, near the Indo-Pakistan border, on the theme of counterterrorism. Later, in Srinagar, Mizrahi and his Indian counterpart, Army Chief Deepak Kapoor agreed to joint counterterrorism activities, notably for Israeli commandoes to train Indian soldiers in urban combat.

Eddie