25th DECEMBER 2013



27th NOVEMBER 2013

Vrindavan widows turn


The initiative is aimed at boosting their morale. DH Photo

Don’t get amused if you see a frail old woman clicking photographs in the temple town of Vrindavan, about 400 km from here, the next time.

She could well be one of the hundreds of widows living in this land of Lord Krishna, who were being imparted training to use the cameras by Sulabh International, a voluntary organisation, which has been taking care of the widows and has provided them all the facilities they need for a decent life.

Visitors, mostly devotees from across the country and abroad, who throng the temple town, were surprised when they saw these frail women taking pictures with cameras. “As many as 25 widows, aged mostly 70 plus, have learned the art of photography in the first phase”, says Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak. He said that it was a ‘unique initiative’ aimed at boosting the morale of the widows and filling their otherwise dull and drab lives with colour.

These widows also brought out four wall newspapers in Bangla language (a majority of the widows are from West Bengal) at the end of a week long workshop organised by the organisation with the help of some Delhi based photographers and media personnel.

 The widows also gave names to their newspapers. ‘Vrindavan Khaber, Chaitanya Jagran, Lilakunj and Radha Vani’ were the names given to the wall newspapers.

“We intend to organise more such programmes in the near future…which give a sense of belonging to the widows…and  bring cheer to their lives”, Pathak went on to say.

Hundreds of widows have made Vrindavan and Varanasi their abode after they were abandoned by their families.

15th NOVEMBER 2013

Malnutrition, Not Illiteracy, Afflicts India

The famous saying, “Children are the pillars of success,” seem valueless in a country like India where 79 percent of its children are anaemic. According to the Child Rights and You (CRY) report, several children in this country do not get adequate food and the child sex ratio is the lowest in the country with 914 girls for every 1000 boys, reports Shreya Bhandary of TOI.

Despite the enactment of the right to education, the country’s dropout rate at the elementary level is still 40 percent, the report revealed.

Puja Marwaha, CRY CEO exclaimed, “Children are invisible citizens of this country. We have the largest population of kids in the world and yet there has been no national data to check the nutrition level of children since 2005. We are talking about various laws and policies that are being introduced as rights for children but are they availing the same?” reports TOI.


Active Citizens Network, an NGO on BBMP panels

The statutory powers vested with the 12 standing committees in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) should be restored for ward-level works, Active Citizens Network, an NGO, has demanded.

In a press release, the NGO stated that the powers vested with bureaucrats in the BBMP should be distributed among the 12 standing committees for effective monitoring and better utilization of funds for ward-level works undertaken by the Palike as per a government notification dated July 30, 2010.

“However, BBMP Additional Commissioner, K V Trilok­chandra, by issuing a circular on October 5, 2013, has withdrawn some powers vested with the standing committees for ward-level works,” said B H Veeresh, a trustee of the NGO.

“Powers, duties and responsibilities vested with a statutory standing committee should not be taken back by any administrative order. It is (a) violation of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act (1976).” According to him, there have been irregularities in payments and execution of work.

“The Draft Audit report submitted by the Chief Auditor of BBMP on inspection of various unit offices shows that payment is being made for selective work illegally without approval from the standing committee. Many a time, approval was sought from standing committees which were not assigned with the responsibility.

This has resulted in payment without execution of work. The top-level changes are the result of nothing but a corrupt administrative work,” Veeresh added.

29th OCTOBER 2013

NGOs working for women’s rights in France and in India

Women in India are perhaps no more unsafe than those in France and there are nearly 200 rapes a day in France, a visiting French minister said here.

This rather surprising admission was made by French minister for women’s rights as well as the spokesperson of the French government, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, during an interaction with the press at the French embassy late Monday night.

Belkacem was speaking to the press at the end of her four-day visit to India, which began Oct 25 and which was focused on improving cooperation between the two nations and fostering greater collaboration and contacts between the NGOs working for women’s rights in France and in India.

“There are more similarities between France and India than we may believe,” Belkacem said, referring to the situation of women. “We had seen a lot of press coverage of the mass rape of the young student last December in New Delhi,” she said and added that unfortunately women in France too suffer a great deal of violence.

France and India have the same struggles and challenges as far as women were concerned, she told the press. “These include training the professionals who work with the victims, work with the judicial system and the police, run public campaigns against the violence and to work with convicts to prevent repeat crimes,” she said.”Of course, the familial structure and society are different in France and in India. For example, in India people don’t have the same apprehensions regarding the arrival of a baby. In India, the family, the grand parents and other relations help in taking care of the child, if the mother is working, while in France, we have to rely on the system of creches etc,” she said.

One more area where she would like to see more exchange between France and India is the empowerment of women and women entrepreneurship. 

“Unfortunately in France only 30 percent of women engage in entrepreneurial projects and 10 percent of them are into innovative initiatives.  Indian and French entrepreneurs should exchange good practices and motivate each other to boost projects by women. One concrete outcome of this visit will be the creation of an Indo-French Women Entrepreneur Platform”.

17th OCTOBER 2013

Modern slavery widespread in India

A new study has put the number of people in modern slavery worldwide at an estimated 29.8 million. India tops the list for nation-wise figures, with almost 14 million people trapped in different forms of slavery.

These shocking figures, released in a new Global Slavery Index report, measure debt bondage, forced marriage, sale or exploitation of children, human trafficking and forced labour across the world.

The index, released by the Walk Free foundation, an NGO, ranks India fourth in terms of prevelance of slavery (as a proportion of population). Mauritania, Haiti and Pakistan are ranked above India, in that order. The largest proportion of the problem is the exploitation of people within India itself — from severe forms of inter-generational bonded labour to the worst forms of child labour to commercial sexual exploitation, and forced marriage.

“We now know that just ten countries are home to over three quarters of those trapped in modern slavery. These nations must be the focus of global efforts,”  Nick Grono, CEO of the Walk Free Foundation, said in a statement.

Some of the reasons for high numbers caught in slavery in India are the difficulty in accessing protections and government entitlements, such as the food rations card, corruption or non-performance of safety nets (such as the National Employment Guarantee, primary health care and pensions) and practices of land grabbing and asset domination by high caste groups. Some of those affected by slavery in India do not officially exist – they have no birth registration or ID so it can be hard for them to access protective entitlements.


Maharashtra Girls to Address the Issue of

‘Child Rights’ at UN Convention

Who said it is only India’s famous personalities who get a chance to voice out their opinions? Maharashtra’s 16 year old girls from the countryside are all set to present their thoughts on the world stage, reports The Times of India. They will address the issue of child rights in India based on a report prepared by children.

The two NGO networks of India- Campaign Against Child Labour and Campaign Against Child Trafficking have encouraged child volunteers across the country to research for this report, programme coordinator of NGO Terre des Hommes Kishore Jha said.

India sanctioned the convention in 1992 which gives the details based on political, economic, social and cultural rights of children to shield them from abuse and neglect.

3rd OCTOBER 2013

Cases of married men committing suicide

on the rise: NGO Report

Every nine minutes a married man commits suicide in India due to alleged misuse of section 498A of IPC against them, taking the toll to around a whopping 64,000 every year, says a report.

“National Crime Records Bureau statistics reveal more incidences of suicide by married men than by married women. In 2012 approximately 64,000 married men committed suicide vis-a-vis 32,000 married women,” says D S Rao, president of Hridaya-Nest of Family Harmony, an NGO, quoting a survey by it.

As per Section 498A the husband of a woman or his relative who subjects her to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Rao said the misuse of 498A also leads to suffering of old parents as well as the family members and relatives of the men against whom the complaints have been lodged.

“The law is not serving its purpose and is instead being used by a section of the people to vent their anger and extort married men and their families,” claimed Amit Gupta, an official of the NGO.

In West Bengal the number of cases under the section has grown exponentially at the rate of 11 per cent in the last two years but the conviction rate has dropped to just 4.4 per cent from 6.3 per cent earlier, as per the survey.West Bengal accounts for 1.06 lakh case, which is more than 20 per cent of the total cases filed under the section and 80,000 people were arrested for such cases against him last year, Indranil Gupta, an official of the NGO said.

The NGO works for upholding the rights of married men and providing them mental support when falsely implicated under the section.”Till now we have not been able to prove that these cases are false because they are cases of mental torture. How would you prove that mental torture has not taken place?” Joint CP(Crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh told PTI.



Rural girl from Dharwad to speak at UN conference

Manjula Munavalli of sleepy Ramapur village in Dharwad taluk will visit Geneva to participate in the 66th conference of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC) on October 10.

Thanks to KIDS, an NGO, Manjula will have a chance to present her views on children’s rights at the conference. A PUC I-year student at RLS PU College, Dharwad, Manjula is the only representative from Karnataka to participate in the meet. Afsana of Gujarat is another representative from India to participate in the conference. Mary of Mumbai will be travelling with these two girls to Geneva as translator.

Manjula has been associated with KIDS, which has been promoting child welfare
activities in rural parts of Dharwad district for several years. She is also the vice-president of Gubbacchi Goodu Makkala Mahasangha, a confederation of children’s
welfare associations.

It’s a privilege to represent India…. I will speak on issues like child marriage, human trafficking, child labour and sexual assaults on children in India. I am confident of drawing the attention of the powers that be with my presentation.


Note: This page contains the information related to various  activities of NGO’s of India.


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