This is a guest post by SHIVNARAYAN RAJPUROHIT : A school teacher in Rayapuram village of Mehabubnagar district (Andhra Pradesh) summed up the sentiment of the village: “Without a sarpanch [an elected village-chief], this village is like a rudderless ship. The implementation of government schemes has gone from bad to worse. The government has appointed special officers, who hardly have any bonding with villagers in each panchayat.” Recently, the state government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) decided to conduct the panchayati elections in April-May 2013, which have been overdue since July-August 2011. What were the reasons for this postponement? Continue reading Making Mockery of Panchayati Elections : Shivnarayan Rajpurohit
Or, when suicide threat becomes political strategy
Guest post by ANANT MARINGANTI
I am witnessing a bizarre phenomenon in Andhra Pradesh which I can at the moment only call Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome. That this is pathological, and that this has to do with the media I am certain. But it is difficult to pin down what the pathogen is.
First, in the days and weeks following the then chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy’s (YSR) death on September 2nd, 2009; over 450 people were reported to have died either of heart attacks or suicides. Newspapers kept a daily tally and the numbers kept mounting. Being in Singapore at the time, several thousands of miles away from Hyderabad during those weeks, I had no first hand experience of the mood in Hyderabad. I dismissed the reportage as a silly political gimmick. It was easy to surmise that vested interests had simply been collecting daily death reports from various government hospitals in different towns and attributing them to grief over YSR’s death. The largest number of these deaths – 227 occurred on the day of the funeral and the following day. Continue reading Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome: Anant Maringanti
Guest post by ANANT MARINGANTI
Speaking of successful litigation, one day after what some may call the makings of India’s rainbow coalition celebrated the Delhi High Court’s final verdict in the Naz Foundation case, agricultural workers in Andhra Pradesh celebrated a favorable interim order in the APVVU (AP Agricultural Workers Union) case. Judge N.Ramamohana Rao of AP High Court ignored the Additional Solicitor General’s objections and ordered that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme wage rates be revised up from Rs 80 per day to the prevailing minimum wage of Rs 119 (111 and 112 in some areas) per day set by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. This will remain in force for 8 weeks. Of course, a favorable interim order does not imply that the final verdict will be favorable. But it bolsters the confidence of the contestants. It is a precious gift of time for solidarity building. And in this particular case, it will put an additional amount of a whopping Rs 31-40 per each of the 100 work days in a year in the hands of those availing work under the NREGA. It did not bring tears to the eyes, but in a general clime of judicial unresponsiveness to the claims of the poor it made many heave a sigh of relief. Continue reading Speaking of litigation: Anant Maringanti