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Ananthapriya Subramanian
Saturday , September 01, 2012

A meaningless act

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Every time I walk past the shop selling household items in a posh South Delhi market, I feel a twinge of guilt. This guilt tinged with a trace of shame is impotent. Two boys, who cannot be older than 12 or 13, work in this shop. Often, when I see them, I think of dialling either the police or the child help line. And then what, I ask myself. I might feel selfishly better that I took action on witnessing child labour but am I doing the children a favour by playing a role in rescuing them? Perhaps not. Having worked with a child rights organisation, I have often despaired at the ineptitude and remoteness of our child welfare system. Once 'rescued' from labour, the child, in theory, ought to be rehabilitated. This means adequate compensation, getting the child back to the family or community and, if the....

Friday , February 17, 2012

Will India hold on to its status as 'Pharmacy of the developing world'?

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On a day when television channels stayed focused on the fallout of the ongoing tussle between the Army Chief and the Government, hundreds of people gathered at the hallowed ground for protests in Delhi to raise an alarm about an issue of far more importance than the putative age of the General. India and the European Union (EU) are inching toward a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that could potentially undermine India's current status as the 'pharmacy of the developing world'. The current ongoing talks are supposed to be in an 'advanced stage' and could have far reaching consequences as the EU is India's biggest trading partner, accounting for 14 per cent of India's foreign trade. The talks have been on since 2007 but mired in differences over a number of issues, the latest being India's defiance in maintaining trade ties with the West's latest bête noire, Iran. ....

Tuesday , November 01, 2011

Education, a huge casualty in Naxal conflict

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"We want a school. Our children just sit around all day with nothing to do." Adamai implored the small group of visitors to the small settlement at Balimela in Chintur mandal, Andhra Pradesh. What Adamai, which is not his real name, did not mention then was that the adults here too did not have much to do. The 30-odd families living here in a small clearing near the forest adjoining the State of Chhattisgarh have a special status though. They are internally displaced people (IDPs). They may as well not exist as even this status is not readily acknowledged them. Similar clusters of families are scattered in Andhra Pradesh along the border adjoining Chhattisgarh having fled what is India's worst-kept secret: a conflict in the heart of India. The Indian Government does not readily acknowledge there is a conflict and prefers to call it an internal disturbance. Across the....

Thursday , October 20, 2011

India's malnutrition crisis

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One scene never changes in Rafi Nagar, a sprawling slum settlement situated in Govandi, in the north-eastern area of Mumbai. Monsoon or summer the plastic cans and barrels are at the ready, waiting for the waterman to arrive. In a city where space is at a premium, this settlement sits on top of its refuse. Every day, hundreds of tonnes of Mumbai's leftovers are dumped here. The garbage pile is regularly flattened to make space for the constant demand for shelter. Rafi Nagar is part of Shivaji Nagar, a resettlement colony that has seen a constant stream of migrants flowing into the city. The floors of the makeshift shacks are covered with cardboard sheets or plastic as if to keep the garbage down. As I enter a narrow alley here to talk to Jayeda Khatun, a mother of six, I am surrounded by some children and a swarm....


More about Ananthapriya Subramanian

Ananthapriya Subramanian is an independent writer with keen interest in humanitarian issues. After working for over 10 years as an award-winning journalist and following a shorter stint leading communications in the development sector, she is, for the moment, content observing trends in the development sector landscape. She can be contacted at priya.ann@gmail.com.


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