Posts tagged ‘Tamil Nadu’

15/12/2016

India court bans liquor shops on highways – BBC News

India’s top court has ordered all liquor shops to shut down along state and national highways in an attempt to reduce drink driving and road accidents.

The court told the government to stop issuing new licenses and not renew the existing ones after 31 March.More than 146,000 people died last year in traffic accidents in the country.

About 5% – or 6,755 – deaths were due to cases where the driver was either drunk or had taken drugs.

Can India really halve its road deaths?

India crashes kill 146,133 in 2015

What Al Capone can teach India about prohibition”

(There should be) no liquor vends on national and state highways,” news agency AFP quoted Chief Justice TS Thakur, who headed the three-judge bench, as saying in his order on Thursday.The court also said that all liquor advertisements should be removed from the highways and shops selling alcohol must be located at least 500 metres (1,640 feet) away from them.

Campaigners say the large number of liquor shops located along the highways are “a great temptation and a distraction for road users”.

Alcohol is banned in four Indian states (Gujarat, Bihar, Manipur, Nagaland) and the union territory of Lakshadweep. There’s a partial ban on sale of alcohol in the south Indian state of Kerala.

Source: India court bans liquor shops on highways – BBC News

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11/10/2016

Diaspora Dollars Dwindle: Indian Remittance Growth Slips to 12-Year Low – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s global army of expatriates–which does everything from writing software in Silicon Valley to building skyscrapers in in Qatar–is the world’s most generous when it comes to number of dollars sent home, but this year they have become a bit stingy.

Recently released World Bank estimates predict the Desi diaspora will send home $65.45 billion this year. While that is just above remittances into China ($65.17 billion) and tens of billions beyond any other country, it is a 5% decline from last year.

The last time India saw a bigger slide in remittances was back in 2004 when remittances fell 11%.

Globally, remittances are expected to edge up about 1% this year, the World Bank predicted, so why is India underperforming?

The main problem is that many of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have been struggling with the decline in oil prices. That has meant they are hiring fewer Indians, providing fewer perks to their international employees and in some countries even restricting the number of foreigners that can be hired.

“This year the South Asia region would see a decline of 2.3% in remittances to the region due mainly to the impact of declining oil prices and labor market nationalization policies on remittances from GCC countries,” the report said. “Moving forward remittance growth in the region is expected to remain subdued.”

Some parts of the southern state of Kerala and other regions in India that depend on remittances are already starting to feel the pain from the decline in oil riches.

The World Bank expects remittance growth to return, expanding 2.2% in South Asia next year and 2.3% the year after that. Globally remittance growth will likely be stuck below 4% for years, the bank said.

“Remittances continue to be an important component of the global economy, surpassing international aid. However this ‘new normal’ of weak growth in remittances could present challenges for millions of families that rely heavily on these flows. This, in turn, can seriously impact the economies of many countries around the world bringing on a new set of challenges to economic growth,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group.

Source: Diaspora Dollars Dwindle: Indian Remittance Growth Slips to 12-Year Low – India Real Time – WSJ

15/09/2016

Why water war has broken out in India’s Silicon Valley – BBC News

On Monday afternoon, a school bus was stopped in the Banashankari area in southern Bangalore. Three drunk men got into the bus and asked aloud: “Which child belongs to Karnataka and and which child belongs to Tamil Nadu?”

The 15-odd students, aged between 10 and 14, were stunned. Their school had asked them to leave early because the situation was tense, with violence and arson breaking out in many parts of the city.

“Luckily the driver handled it tactfully. He told the intruders that everyone was a native of Bangalore and that their families supported Karnataka on [water sharing with] Cauvery,” said a parent, not wanting to be identified.

Battle for access

By dusk, dark smoke had filled the Bangalore skies. Some 35 buses had been set on fire by protesters, just because the buses belonged to a travel agency whose owner is Tamil.

Is India facing its worst-ever water crisis?

India to ‘divert rivers’ to tackle droughtEarlier this month India’s Supreme Court ruled that Karnataka must release 12,000 cubic feet of water per second to Tamil Nadu from the Cauvery river until 20 September. Both states say they urgently need the water for irrigation and a battle about access to it has raged for decades.

Karnataka says water levels in Cauvery have declined because of insufficient rainfall

India’s water war

The Cauvery originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu before joining the Bay of Bengal.

The dispute over its waters originated in the 19th Century during the British rule between the then Madras presidency (modern day Tamil Nadu) and the province of Mysore (now Karnataka).

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have both argued that they need the water for millions of farmers in the region.

The Cauvery river water tribunal was set up in 1990 after the failure of several rounds of talks between the two states.

Dozens of meetings have been held to find a settlement to the century-old dispute.

In 2007, the tribunal ruled Tamil Nadu state would get 419bn cubic feet of water a year. Karnataka would get only 270bn.

Karnataka says water levels in the Cauvery have declined because of insufficient rainfall – 42% of the 3,598 irrigation tanks in the state are dry – and that it cannot therefore share water with Tamil Nadu. So Tamil Nadu went to the top court demanding 50,000 cubic feet of water per second.

When the Supreme Court on 2 September asked Karnataka to “live and let live”, the state softened and offered to release 10,000 cubic feet of water per second to Tamil Nadu every day for five days.

On 5 September however, the top court ordered Karnataka to release 15,000 cubic feet of water per second for 10 days. This ruling was later modified to 12,000 cubic feet of water per second until 20 September.

This would mean that nearly a quarter of the water now available in the Cauvery basin will flow into Tamil Nadu.

A truck from neighbouring Tamil Nadu set on fire in Bangalore

Tamil Nadu says it badly needs the river water for irrigation. Drought-hit Karnataka argues that most of the river water is now needed for drinking water supplies in Bangalore and some other cities, leaving no water for irrigation at all.

But even farmers in Tamil Nadu are unhappy with their share.P Ayyakannu, president of the local South Indian Rivers Interlinking Farmers Association, called it “akin to giving pigeon feed to an elephant”.

Rising violenceFeeling let down by the top court’s order, Karnataka is boiling.

The main city of Bangalore is the worst affected: the violence in the technology hub forced the closure of many offices and much of the public transport system. Police have imposed an emergency law that prohibits public gatherings, and more than 15,000 officers have been deployed across the city.

One person was killed when police opened fire on protesters on Monday evening. Buses and trucks bearing Tamil Nadu number plates have been attacked and set on fire. Schools and colleges are closing early and many businesses are shut.

A group of activists belonging to a fringe pro-Karnataka group assaulted an engineering student because he had ridiculed Kannada film stars for supporting the strike on Friday, by posting memes on Facebook. The student was hunted down and forced to apologise.

Across the border, in Tamil Nadu, petrol bombs were hurled at a popular restaurant owned by a resident of Karnataka in Chennai while the driver of a vehicle with Karnataka number plates was slapped and ordered to say “Cauvery belongs to Tamil Nadu”.

Normal life has been disrupted in Bangalore

Protests have shut down Bangalore city

The latest violence brings back memories of the anti-Tamil riots in Bangalore in 1991 over the same issue.

Then, some 200,000 Tamils were reported to have left the city, after incidents of violence and arson targeting them.

There was a proposal in 2013 to set up a panel comprising representatives from the two warring states to resolve disputes over river water sharing.

But successive governments have dragged their feet on this, and the two leaders – Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and his counterpart in Tamil Nadu, Jayaram Jayalalitha – have not reached out to each other to resolve the crisis. And with Delhi reduced to being a reluctant referee, the onus has fallen on the Supreme Court to crack the whip.

Source: Why water war has broken out in India’s Silicon Valley – BBC News

27/05/2016

Southern comfort | The Economist

MAHATMA GANDHI would not have enjoyed Texfair 2016 in Coimbatore in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The man hated machines and factories, and promoted Indian independence by urging every household to spin its own cotton yarn. But on display at the textile fair were bobbins, rollers, waste balers, quality-control sensors and much, much more.

Indeed, India is vying with China to be the world’s biggest producer of yarn, with over 45m spindles twirling around the clock. But what is striking about the trade fair is how so much of the modern wizardry on show is made not in better-known industrial centres around the world but in Coimbatore itself, a city of just 1.6m some 500 kilometres (310 miles) south-west of Chennai, the Tamil Nadu capital. In this section Pull the other one Taliban reshuffled Southern comfort Reprints Related topics Bharatiya Janata Party Tamil Nadu Kerala India

The fast-growing city is an inelegant sprawl stretching into groves of coconut palms. It teems with technical institutes, bustling factories and civic spirit. Earnest and ambitious, Coimbatore evokes the American Midwest of a century ago. A regional manufacturers’ group that was founded in 1933 during Gandhi’s homespun campaign has now designed, built and marketed a hand-held, battery-operated cotton picker that it claims is six times more efficient than human fingers.

Gandhi would have been appalled. But the gadget says something about the quiet success of parts of India’s deep south. Mill owners worry that with day wages in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Kerala to the west now far higher than those in northern India, local cotton may grow uncompetitive. Tea planters in the hills west of Coimbatore are already squeezed. One landowner, in Kerala’s Wayanad region, where silver oaks shade trim ranks of tea bushes, says that his pickers get 300 rupees (about $4.50) a day, nearly three times the wage in Darjeeling in India’s north.

It may not sound like much, but it is also more than the average Indian earns. And as a whole, GDP per person in Tamil Nadu and Kerala is 68% and 41% higher respectively than the national average of $1,390 a year. With the south’s booming new industries, better education and higher wages contrasted with declining industries in the north and east, India is undergoing a shift a bit like the American one from the rustbelt to the sunbelt in the 1980s. Kerala shares in this new industrialisation less than Tamil Nadu, but that is balanced by another source of prosperity: remittances from abroad. As many as one in ten of Kerala’s 35m people work in the rich Arab countries of the Persian Gulf. Their remittances boost local incomes, property prices and demand for better schools. Kerala, under leftist governments for the past six decades, already has India’s best state education and its highest literacy rate. Its school district has again topped nationwide exams for 17-year-olds, followed by Chennai region, covering the rest of southern India.

Yet India’s deep south has not transmuted growing prosperity into greater political clout. It remains largely aloof from broader political trends, including a slugging match between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in office nationally under Narendra Modi, the prime minister, and Congress, the once-dominant centre-left party that worships Gandhi. In elections across four Indian states that wrapped up on May 19th, attention elsewhere focused largely on the fortunes of those two parties. The BJP’s capture from Congress of Assam in the north-east was seen as a big boost for Mr Modi. Congress’s failure to take any state was seen as a sign of decay.

Source: Southern comfort | The Economist

07/08/2015

Where You Can and Can’t Eat Beef in India – India Real Time – WSJ

The treatment of cows, animals considered sacred by India’s Hindu majority, has long stirred political controversy in the country –and now conservatives, emboldened by the first year of the Hindu nationalist government, are stepping up their campaign to protect them.

In many Indian states, the slaughter of cows is already illegal, making it difficult to buy, sell, and, as a result, eat, beef.

Some conservative Hindus want Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party government to enact a federal law banning cow slaughter. They are “encouraged to be aggressive under the Modi regime and this is to be expected,” said Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, an Indian specialist at the Cato Institute in Washington.

 

The party argues that protecting the animal is in line with India’s constitution, which includes language calling for the prohibition of the slaughter of cows.

In Maharashtra, where killing the animal is illegal, a new law in March banned the possession of beef and also the slaughter of bulls and bullocks. Running afoul of the new law can lead to a jail term of up to five years or a fine of up to 10,000 rupees ($156) or both.

The amendment was passed by the state government in 1995 and received the president’s nod in March.

In the same month, the state assembly of Haryana passed a bill containing stricter punishments for the animal’s slaughter. It is still waiting for the president’s approval, a senior official at the state’s animal husbandry department said.

States such as Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, which are at the heart of India’s buffalo meat industry, have also imposed complete bans on killing cows. The practice is outlawed in the capital city of Delhi. Other major states with bans include Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa.

In Gujarat, Mr. Modi’s home state, India’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s law that prohibits killing of cows, bulls and bullocks in 2005, overturning the decision of the Gujarat High Court that ruled against a blanket ban on bull and bullock slaughter. But in 2011, sentences for people caught killing cows were increased from six months to seven years.

West Bengal, which has a higher than average population of Muslims, is slightly more lenient and allows the killing of cows if they are “fit-for-slaughter.”  A senior official in the animal husbandry department in Assam said that such a certificate would also permit the slaughter of cows in that state but usually only during the Islamic religious festival of Eid.

Overall, 24 of India’s 29 states–including the newest state of Telangana–have imposed penalties  and restrictions of varying degrees on the slaughter of cows and other cattle.

Meanwhile, in the southern state of Kerala, where beef dishes are popular and which has a larger than average proportion of Christians, there is no statewide legislation restricting cow slaughter.

And the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and the territory of Lakshadweep also have no legislation banning or prohibiting slaughter of cows and other cattle.

Rajnath Singh, India’s home minister, failed to persuade Parliament to pass nationwide legislation banning the slaughter of cows in 2003 when he was agriculture minister. “The moment I rose to present the bill in the Parliament, there was an uproar and the bill couldn’t be passed,” he said in a speech in March.

This time, however, Mr. Singh said the government will do everything in its power to ban cow slaughter in the country. But BJP’s success in getting such a legislation cleared by the Parliament is not guaranteed as it is short of a majority in the upper house.

via Where You Can and Can’t Eat Beef in India – India Real Time – WSJ.

21/07/2015

Traveling on India’s Roads Is Getting More Dangerous – The Numbers – WSJ

Traveling on India’s roads is getting more dangerous. In 2014 there were 141,526 deaths due to road accidents in the country, up from 137,423 a year earlier.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is set to introduce the Road Transport and Safety Bill in the upcoming 18-day session of Parliament, which starts Tuesday.

It would be India’s first separate legislation to govern road safety. Counter-intuitively, the legislation would reduce penalties for offenses such as drunken driving or speeding, but road-safety campaigners say that would make the law more likely to be enforced.

Until then, some numbers from the National Crime Records Bureau that show how safe it is (or isn’t) to travel on India’s roads.

39.2%

The percentage of India’s accidental deaths in 2014 that were the result of traffic accidents.

May

The month in 2014 in which the most traffic accidents were reported in India. Accidents that month accounted for 9.2%, or 44,106 out of 481,805 of the total traffic accidents that year.

3 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The time the largest number of traffic accidents were reported in 2014, making up a total of 34.2% of traffic accidents that year.

2.9%

Amount fatalities from road accidents increased by in 2014, from a year earlier. Road accidents overall increased by 1.8% in 2014.

31.39%

Percentage of road accidents in India in 2014 where at least one person died.

Two wheelers

Type of vehicle most often involved in fatal road accidents. More than one in four (26.4%) of accidental deaths on roads involved motorbikes, scooters and other two wheelers, followed by trucks and lorries at 20.1%, cars at 12.1% and buses at 8.8%. The statistics do not say if this included bicycles.

National highways

Roads which saw the highest number of accidents, contributing to 27.5% of total road accidents. These roads makes up just 1.58% of India’s total road network. State highways had a share of 25.2% of total accidents. The national highways also saw the most fatal accidents – accounting for more than 32.5% of the total deaths on India’s roads in 2014.

Uttar Pradesh

The state with the most road traffic accident deaths in India in 2014 –16,284. Perhaps not surprising, since it is India’s most-populous region. The state was closely followed by Tamil Nadu at 15,190 deaths and Maharashtra at 13,529 deaths.

Speeding

The cause of most road accidents in India in 2014–accounting for 36.8% of total accidents, causing 48,654 deaths and injuring 181,582 people. Dangerous, careless driving or overtaking caused 137,808 road accidents, the data showed, resulting in 42,127 deaths and injuring 138,533 people. Poor weather caused 3.2% of road accidents, while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol contributed to 1.6% of total road accidents

via Traveling on India’s Roads Is Getting More Dangerous – The Numbers – WSJ.

18/12/2014

India Power Lines to Get $1.2 Billion German Revamp With KfW – Businessweek

German state-owned bank KfW Group will spend 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to refurbish India’s electricity network for carrying more renewable energy from sources such as solar and wind.

KfW agreed to loan Power Grid Corp of India Ltd. 500 million euros to build new power lines and signed deals with India’s government for two loans totaling 125 million euros for grid projects in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, it said today in an e-mailed statement. The deals are part of a support package of 1 billion euros, it said.

“Demand for power in India is rising unremittingly,” said Norbert Kloppenburg, a KfW board member. “The expansion of transmission is the task of the moment because of the great potential of renewable energies.”

via India Power Lines to Get $1.2 Billion German Revamp With KfW – Businessweek.

11/12/2014

The Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi Agreements in Full – India Real Time – WSJ

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that their countries had signed 20 bi-lateral agreements including memorandums of understanding and commercial contracts on Thursday.

View image on Twitter

During Mr. Putin’s visit to India’s capital, the Russian leader said in a news conference that the documents placed an emphasis on trade and economic issues.

Eight of the agreements signed relate to nuclear power and energy production including a roadmap for bilateral cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector over the next 20 years. Russia also agreed to supply “major equipment” to the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.

India agreed to identify a second site apart from Kudankulam for Russian-designed nuclear power plants.

Mr. Modi said that they had “outlined an ambitious vision for nuclear energy” and would have “the highest standards of safety in the world.”

A list of the agreements signed is below as provided by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

via The Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi Agreements in Full – India Real Time – WSJ.

19/10/2014

Jayaram Jayalalithaa Granted Bail – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s Supreme Court Friday granted bail to Jayaram Jayalalithaa, the influential leader of one of India’s biggest regional parties, as she appeals her conviction nearly three weeks after she was sentenced to four years in jail for corruption.

In September, a court in Bangalore found Ms. Jayalalithaa and three of her aides guilty of having accumulated wealth beyond their known sources of income.

On Friday, the Supreme Court granted her “conditional bail on grounds that she is unwell and needs to rest at home,” her party’s spokesman Aspire K. Swaminathan told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.

After a case that lasted close to two decades, Ms. Jayalalithaa had to step down immediately from her position as chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu after the September verdict. Her party – the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam– quickly named O. Paneerselvam as her successor as chief minister, she remains the leader of the party and has been in jail in Bangalore since Sept. 27.

Ms. Jayalalithaa denied wrongdoing and appealed for bail in the Karnataka High Court earlier this month on health grounds. But the court rejected her bail plea saying there was no reason to suspend her conviction.

Subramanian Swamy, a petitioner in the case against Ms. Jayalalithaa and a leader in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party said the top court has asked Ms. Jayalalithaa to submit her appeal within two months in the Karnataka High Court, “failing which her bail would be cancelled.”

via Jayaram Jayalalithaa Granted Bail – India Real Time – WSJ.

20/06/2014

Ensure English is Used on Social Media, Jayalalithaa Writes to PM Modi: Full Text of Letter – NDTV

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the urgent amendment of an instruction that asks government departments to use Hindi for tweets and other social media posts.

Ensure English is Used on Social Media, Jayalalithaa Writes to PM Modi: Full Text of Letter

Following is the full text of her letter:

It has come to my notice that the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued two Office Memoranda, the first by the Official Language Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs (O.M.No.12019/03/2014-OL, dated 10.3.2014) and the second by the Co-ordination Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (O.M.No.11020/01/2013-Hindi, dated 27.5.2014). These Office Memoranda direct that official accounts on social media like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Google and You Tube which at present use only English should compulsorily use Hindi, or both Hindi and English,  with Hindi being written above or first. This makes the use of Hindi mandatory and English optional.

As you are aware, as per the Official Languages Rules, 1976, communications from a Central Government office to a State or Union Territory in Region “C” or to any office (not being a Central Government office) or person in such State shall be in English. This provision has been introduced following the introduction of a mandatory proviso to Section 3(1) of the Official Languages Act, 1963, by an amendment in 1968 which states as follows:-

“Provided that the English language shall be used for purposes of communication between the Union and a State which has not adopted Hindi as its official language”.

In this context, while the Office Memoranda have been primarily made applicable to Government of India officers and offices located in “Region A”, social media by their very nature are not only accessible to all persons on the internet but meant to be a means of communication to persons living in all parts of India including those in “Region C”.  People located in “Region C” with whom the Government of India communication needs to be in English, will not have access to such public information if it is not in English. This move would therefore be against the letter and spirit of the Official Languages Act, 1963.  As you are aware, this is a highly sensitive issue and causes disquiet to the people of Tamil Nadu who are very proud of and passionate about their linguistic heritage.

Hence, I request you to kindly ensure that instructions are suitably modified to ensure that English is used on social media.

via Ensure English is Used on Social Media, Jayalalithaa Writes to PM Modi: Full Text of Letter – NDTV.

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