Climate Change News Updates: 14 November 2013
1. Gujarat junks climate change action plan. While more than 25 states submitted their action plan for the Prime Minister’s National Climate Change Action Plan, Gujarat failed to finalize its plan which was initiated in 2009. The climate change department stands defunct with staff shifted elsewhere. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Gujarat-junks-climate-change-action-plan/articleshow/25720157.cms
2. India scores a win in Warsaw on emission cuts affecting farmers: India has scored an early victory at the climate negotiations here, ensuring that the talks remain focused on adapting agricultural practices to climate change and not on costly emission reduction measures that would impact farmers directly. India found wide-ranging support from other countries, including the entire G77+China bloc and, surprisingly, the United States. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-prevents-antifarmer-emission-debate-at-warsaw-talks/article5347727.ece
3. Philippines: Another Filipino delivers emotional appeal during UN climate change conference – Lead negotiator Naderev Saño wasn’t the only Filipino to speak out against climate change at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC’s) 19th Conference of Parties in Warsaw, Poland. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/335136/scitech/science/another-filipino-delivers-emotional-appeal-during-un-climate-change-conference
4. Climate Change Affecting Oceans At Unprecedented Rate, Scientists Warn: The world’s oceans are getting more acidic at an unprecedented rate, faster than at any time in the past 300 million years, the report said. But it’s how this interacts with other global warming impacts to waters that scientists say is getting them even more worried. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/13/climate-change-oceans_n_4270233.html
5. What does U.S. hope to gain from negotiations with Iran? Former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte on U.S. negotiations with Iran and efforts to help the Philippines after the typhoon. http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2836553785001/what-does-us-hope-to-gain-from-negotiations-with-iran/?playlist_id=937116503001
6. Video: Protests in solidarity with Philippines at UN Climate Change Conference – Protesters demonstrated in solidarity with the Philippines’ delegate to the UN Climate Change Conference who pledged to fast for the remainder of the summit on November 11. Yeb Sano warned about the dangers his country faces because of climate change during a speech. This video shows the solidarity protests taking place in Warsaw on November 12. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/video-news/video-protests-in-solidarity-with-philippines-at-un-climate-change-conference-29751671.html
7. ‘Yolanda’ should put end to ‘silly’ debate on climate change – Some 10,000 or more are feared dead and hundreds of thousands left homeless after the super-typhoon Haiyan blasted through central Philippines on Friday. It was the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded to have made landfall, and has raised fresh questions over whether global warming is behind an increase in the intensity and frequency of such storms. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/world/11/13/13/yolanda-should-put-end-silly-debate-climate-change
8. Climate Change Is Killing Polar Bears In The Canadian Tundra – Steven Amstrup spent 30 years studying polar bears in Alaska. His research is what put polar bears on the threatened species list. Amstrup is now working with Polar Bears International in Manitoba, Canada to communicate the threat climate change poses to the polar bear population. http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Climate-Change-Is-Killing-Polar-Bears-In-The-4981413.php
9. Climate Change: Australia’s Boom in Energy Exports Bring World’s Doom – By 2030, Australia will reclaim its title of being the world’s largest exporter of coking coal, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) titled World Energy Outlook 2013. http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/521700/20131113/climate-change-australias-coking-coal-export-international.htm#.UoRnlnC-r_k
10. Report on Climate Change Predicts Dark Future – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggests that climate change is a bigger problem than previously speculated. http://www.atvn.org/news/2013/11/report-climate-change-predicts-dark-future
1 October 2013
Climate Change News Updates
1. India among world economies at risk of climate change impact
India is among the “extreme risk” countries of the world where economic impacts of climate change will be most keenly felt by 2025, according to new research released on Wedesday.
2. Climate Change Alters Timing Of Spring Growth In Forests
In a recently published study, researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) investigated 36 tree and shrub species. Their work delivered a surprising result, as lead author Julia Laube explains: “Contrary to previous assumptions, the increasing length of the day in spring plays no big role in the timing of budding. An ample ‘cold sleep’ is what plants need in order to wake up on time in the spring.”
3. US ends most financing of overseas coal projects
The United States has said it would end most financing of coal projects overseas, taking a potentially significant step to curbing carbon emissions blamed for climate change.
4. These Countries Face The Biggest Threats From Climate Change
The expected costs of climate change are painting a grimmer and grimmer picture of the future for people around the world.
In its sixth annual Climate Change Vulnerability Index, risk consultancy firm Maplecroft revealed the countries most likely to suffer from the effects of warming climates by 2025.
5. Climate Change Destroyed the Bible’s Ancient Kingdoms, Study Finds
Between 1250 and 1100 B.C.E., all the great civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean – pharaonic Egypt, Mycenaean Greece and Crete, Ugarit in Syria and the large Canaanite city-states – were destroyed, ushering in new peoples and kingdoms including the first Kingdom of Israel. Now scientists are suggesting a climatic explanation for this great upheaval: A long dry period caused droughts, hunger and mass migration. Such is the conclusion of a three-year study published this week in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University.
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US, Russian nuclear suppliers attempt to escape liability under Fukushima shadow
Scrap IAEA-WHO Agreement and Atomic Energy Act of 1962 in public interest
Under the influence of nuclear companies, Obama has compelled Dr Singh government to dilute key provisions of the India’s nuclear liability law to ensure that USA’s nuclear reactor suppliers are not held liable in the event of an accident caused by faulty or defective equipment.
CCS note must be seen together with yet another controversial opinion of Goolam Vahanvati, Attorney- General provided to the Department of Atomic Energy in response to a reference dated September 4, 2013 sent to him. In an exercise of his by now infamous sleight of hand Attorney- General has opined that it is for the operator of a nuclear plant in India to decide whether it wished to exercise the ‘right of recourse’ provided to it by section 17 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 in contempt of Section 17(b) of the Act meant to ensure that foreign suppliers are back traced to “equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub standard services”. This exercise is an stark case of contempt towards Parliament in furtherance of the interests of USA’s nuclear companies like Westinghouse and GE.
Attorney- General had given similar opinion in the context of Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and Russia stating, “Section 17(a) provides for recourse if such right is expressly provided for in a contract in writing. If the operator chooses not to incorporate such a provision in the contract, it would be open for him to do so” in October 2012. DAE had sought confirmation “regarding the presumption that the existing provisions of section 17 of the Act facilitate the operator either to exercise his ‘right of recourse’ by incorporating a clause in the contract or to waive his right or to limit the liability on the part of the supplier.”
Notably, Ministry of External Affairs has held that “a right was given to the operator to have recourse against the supplier but there was no mandatory obligation or requirement for the operator to do so and that the operator could choose not to exercise that right”. Attorney- General has reportedly endorsed this view.
TWA endorses the statement of condemnation issued by Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) on the note of the Cabinet Committee on Security seeking exemption from civil liability for nuclear damage for US nuclear company, Westinghouse and others in order to seal a nuclear agreement with the US corporations during Dr Singh’s current visit to Washington, undermining all democratic and sovereign institutions of India.
Section 17 of the Act grants the operator the right of recourse under one of three conditions: (a) if the right is expressly provided for in writing; (b) if the accident is caused by faulty material or equipment provided by the supplier; or (c) the accident results from an act of commission or omission of an individual done with intent to cause nuclear damage. Section 17(b) suggests Parliament intended to hold suppliers responsible even if there is no contractual liability.
TWA strongly disproves of Prime Minister’s reported assurance that the Government of India will ensure that the operator (NPCIL) does not use its ‘right of recourse’ against suppliers of nuclear reactors.
TWA holds that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) cannot be trusted with sharing truth about the nuclear catastrophe in general and about Japan in particular and such imminent disasters in India because of a 52 years old treaty between WHO and IAEA, which is heavily influenced by Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), established in 1975.
NSG comprises of 46 nuclear supplier states including China, Russia, and the US, that have voluntarily agreed to coordinate their export controls governing transfers of civilian nuclear material and nuclear-related equipment and technology to non-nuclear-weapon states. In 2008, the NSG agreed to exempt India from its requirement that recipient countries have in place comprehensive IAEA safeguards covering all nuclear activities. US got exemption from NSG for three years to undertake nuclear trade with India. India is pursuing its nuclear energy path under the overarching guidelines of this very IAEA.
It is quite distressing that world leaders like Manmohan Singh and Barack Obama continue to disregard the path shown by at least four key women political leaders namely- Ms Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of Switzerland, Dr Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany and Ms Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal who have abandoned the nuclear energy path. Singh and Obama have adopted an ostrich like approach in the face of inevitable and unpredictable disasters like Cheronbyl and Fukushima.
The 2011 Rules insulates foreign nuclear suppliers in particular using Clause 9 of the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004 which provides that the license for establishment or decommissioning of radiation installation will be valid for five years effectively denying Right of Recourse to Indian operators of nuclear reactors under clause 24 of the 2011 Rules.
If these Rules are seen along with clause 18 of the Nuclear Liability Act of 2010 which deals with the “Extinction of right to claim” wherein “right to claim compensation for nuclear damage extinguishes” if such claim is not made within a period of “ten years, in case of damage to property” and within “twenty years, in the case of personal injury to any person”, it is clear that Parliament and the citizens have been taken for a ride.
Clause 24 of the 2011 Rules provides that “right to recourse shall be for the duration of initial license” or “product liability period” whichever is longer. Product liability period is defined as “the period for which the supplier has undertaken liability for patent or latent defects or
sub-standard services under a contract”.
It is “inconsistent” as per clause 49 (1) read with Clause 17 (b) of the Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010. This act of subordinate legislation is an act of contempt towards Parliament in order to pander to the demands of nuclear suppliers in general and US suppliers in particular.
Both the Liability Act and the Liability Rules refer to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) even as Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests heard the Secretaries on The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill, 2011 on 16/11/2011. NSRA is meant to replace AERB. The question is what made the central government act ahead of the enactment of NSRA Act in such tearing hurry except of the tremendous influence of foreign suppliers.
Earlier, in a Press Release, the Parliamentary Committee said, “Atomic Energy Regulatory Board-the present regulatory body was constituted in 1983 by a notification issued under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962. However, to further strengthen radiation and nuclear safety in the country, it is felt expedient to establish a legal framework…to ensure that the use of atomic
energy in all its applications is safe for the health of radiation workers, members of the public and the environment.”
It observed that “the Fukushima incident in Japan has led to worldwide concerns and apprehensions on safety issues relating to nuclear power.” The Parliamentary had noted in its report on Civil Liability on Nuclear Damage Bill that secretaries of 8 relevant ministries were not consulted during the drafting the Bill. It had recommended that in future they should be
consulted. The question is: Were these Secretaries consulted ahead of the notification of the 2011 Rules?
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) and Occupational Health India (OHI) had submitted its comments/views/suggestions in the subject matter of the Bill in a letter dated 16/11/2011 along with the report of Ethics Commission for a Safe Energy Supply on behalf of Dr. Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor following which abandoned nuclear energy.
In the post-Fukushima disaster world, the adoption of Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Rules, 2011 is a declaration that nuclear energy is not safe. There is no other plausible reason for the enactment of these Rules by citing 2004 Rules framed under the Atomic Energy Act of 1962 to save foreign suppliers.
TWA and OHI demand that in pursuance of the clause 48 (3), 49 (1) and (2), the Rules must be placed before the upcoming winter session of Parliament that is scheduled to start from November 22 and conclude on December 21. As of now there will be 21 working days in the session but in order to deal with the Bill which requires that the Parliament should be in session for a total of 30 days, this session should be extended on a priority basis to ensure “modification or annulment” of these Rules which have a resonance of the bad judgment of Justice A M Ahmadi in the matter of Bhopal’s industrial disaster.
Wikileaks expose has already revealed that India’s nuclear program is not in the interest of Indian citizens even as the government has been compelled by the transnational nuclear companies to unleash propaganda about how no disaster will ever happen in India.
Indian government remains callous towards the recent recommendations of a fact finding team led by former Union Finance Secretary which says, “There are plenty of credible and scientific studies by pioneering institutions and experts who have developed convincing models of a comprehensive “carbon- free, nuclear- free” energy policy with a mix of energy conservation, efficiency, R & D on renewable sources, and larger social social-political changes ensuring greater community and public use of resources” referring to report of Union of Concerned Scientists.
TWA opposes nuclear energy and weaponisation plans and programmes in the light of what happened in Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In such a context, Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s “statement in Parliament on the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan” on March 14, 2011 reads: As Honourable Members are aware, the north eastern part of Japan was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami on the 11th of March.” He underplayed the nuclear catastrophe saying, “The disaster has affected some of the nuclear power plants in Japan. The Government of India is in constant touch with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum, and the World Association of Nuclear Operators. In India, we are currently operating 20 nuclear power reactors. 18 of these are the indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors. Two reactors at Tarapur, TAPS-1& TAPS-2 are Boiling Water Reactors of the type being operated in Japan. A safety audit of these reactors has been completed recently. Indian nuclear plants have in the past met their safety standards. Following the earthquake in Bhuj on 26 January 2002 the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station continued to operate safely without interruption. Following the 2004 tsunami, the Madras Atomic Power Station was safely shutdown without any radiological consequences. It was possible to restart the plant in a few days after regulatory review.”
TWA demands that such claims of Prime Minister must be verified and cross-checked by a high powered committee of Independent experts given the fact that Mamohan Singh who is in-charge of Department of Atomic Energy appears to be guilty of dereliction of duty because he chose to ignore what Union Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare testified while deposing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests. The Committee’s report mentioned that “while drafting the Bill the Dept. of Atomic Energy did not consult them. Since the response system to deal with any kind of emergency of such type, the hospitals are not well-equipped, it is natural that mortality and morbidity due to multiple burn, blasts, radiation injuries and psycho-social impact could be on very high scale and medical tackling of such a large emergency could have enough repercussions in the nearby areas of radioactive fallout.”
Union Health Secretary, Sujata Rao had mentioned that in the entire Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, there is not a single clause which speaks about taking health care during radiological emergencies. It reflects only about payment of compensation due to health impacts of such radiation. She suggested while setting up nuclear plants consideration may also be given to the fact that there should be hospital having trained doctors near such establishments and arrangements should also be made for free treatment of people who are affected by serious nuclear fallout.” Union Health Secretary confessed that her Ministry is nowhere to meet an eventuality that may arise out of nuclear and radiological emergencies.
Observations of G K Pillai, then Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs illustrate how Department of Atomic Energy has not been rigorous in the drafting of the Bill. While commenting on the conditions in which the operator of a nuclear power plant, who could be made liable for nuclear damage, Pillai stated that the Bill contains such terms as armed conflict, hostilities, civil war, insurrection or an act of terrorism that have wide meanings but have not been defined in the present Bill. Therefore there is a need for inserting meanings of these terms from other laws, in Section 2 of this Bill. Such vagueness in connotations can make the operators negligent in observing security procedures and can create situations of disputes between the operator and the central government.
Dr Singh must be deemed responsible for unpardonable negligence for having ignored the suggestions of Union Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment who pointed out that grave natural disaster should not include earthquakes or floods while referring to Clause 5 (1) (i) which provided for non-liability of operator for any nuclear damage arising out of a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character.
Dr Singh pretended ignorance about the preventive actions taken by French and German Governments and averred, “I would like to assure Honourable Members of the House that the Government attaches the highest importance to nuclear safety. The Department of Atomic Energy and its agencies including the Nuclear Power Corporation of India have been instructed to undertake an immediate technical review of all safety systems of our nuclear power plants particularly with a view to ensuring that they would be able to withstand the impact of large natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes. I would also like to inform the House that work is underway in the Department of Atomic Energy towards further strengthening India’s national nuclear safety regulatory authority.”
Prime Minister’s statement and assurance feigns ignorance about how testimony after testimony before the Parliamentary Committee had asked for deletion of the word terrorism from the Bill but the same is not reflected in the Committee’s report despite the fact that Union Defence Secretary, who also appeared before the Committee categorically stated, “under different layers of protection, nuclear assets including nuclear installations are being protected through Defence. However he admitted that absolute and fool proof protection cannot be guaranteed for any nuclear or other assets in the country during peace or war.” Exceptions for acts of terrorism and natural disasters can easily be used by the supplier and the operator to wash their hands off any nuclear disaster.
Its high time Indian government gave up its Ostrich policy and the nuclear energy path for energy security.
Notably, on 28th May 1959, the WHO ‘s assembly voted into force an obscure but important agreement with the IAEA founded just two years before in 1957. This agreement has given the IAEA an effective veto on any actions by the WHO that relate in any way to nuclear energy. This prevents the WHO from playing its proper role.
The WHO’s objective is to promote “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”. The IAEA’s mission is to “accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world”.
Efforts are on to persuade the WHO to abandon its WHO-IAEA Agreement. The protest has continued through the WHO’s 62nd World Health Assembly.
The scientific case against the agreement is building up, most recently when the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) called for its abandonment at its conference held in May 2009 in Lesvos, Greece.
The question which remains unanswered is: Isn’t India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) both the promoter and regulator of nuclear energy facilities on the lines of IAEA? Is it sane to ask the possible perpetrators of acts of omission and commission to regulate themselves? This is what both DAE and IAEA do.
TWA seeks abandonment of proposed nuclear plants at Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu, Jaitapur, Maharastra, Chutka in Madhya Pradesh, Fatehabad in Haryana, Mithivirdi in Gujarat, Kovvada and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh and Haripur in West Bengal. It alsoseeks cancellation of new uranium mining sites proposed in Domiasiat in Meghalaya and Nalgonda in Andhra Pradesh. NNEF seeks a white paper from an independent team on existing nuclear power plants and uranium mining sites like the one in Jadugoda in Jharkhand. Bihar Government should desist from pursuing the nuclear path which is planned by proposing a nuclear power plant of 1400 MW in Nawada district of Bihar.
On 7 September, 2013 at 2 pm A Peace March to the US Embassy, New Delhi was organised by several civil society groups, intellectuals, activists and student union members, demanding an immediate stop to the ongoing war-mongering against Syria and the proposed US Military intervention in Syria. Several citizens’ groups, students organisations, workers associations and other peace and democracy-loving sections of society came together for this initiative.
The peace marchers assembled at Odisha Bhawan in Kautilya Marg at 2pm and marched towards the US embassy. There was heavy presence of Delhi Police and Paramilitary forces at Odisha Bhavan. The police had already barricaded the entrance to the US Embassy way ahead in front of the British High Commission where the marchers were stopped. The group sat down on the road despite a hot sunny day. Several leaders and intellectuals spoke on critical issues of militarisation, the Capitalist agenda of the US state and the criticized the US for forcibly interfering in the Middle east and the developing countries. Several media persons also thronged the protest site, eagerly clicking pictures. Achin Vanaik and Kamla Bhasin also spoke during the occasion.
An appeal against war on Syria signed by more than 300 eminent citizens, academicians, artists and activists can be accessed here: http://www.indiaresists.com/indian-peoples-appeal-against-war-on-syria/
PEOPLE’S FORUM AGAINST WAR
NO TO WAR ON SYRIA!!
PEOPLE’S FORUM AGAINST WAR
NO TO WAR ON SYRIA!!
7 September, 2013 (Saturday), 2.00pm
Meeting point: Odisha Bhawan, Kautilya Marg
Syria is facing a bloody civil war with tragic consequences for its people. The task before the international community is to urgently address the humanitarian crisis through peaceful means.
Instead, the USA and its cohorts are embarking on yet another suicidal war-mongering project in Syria. This cynical adventurism would have larger consequences for the West Asian region.
We join peace loving people from across the world in opposing war and calling for a just and peaceful resolution to the tragedy in Syria.
We also demand that the government of India join with other southern countries in pressing for a political dialogue and immediate ceasefire in Syria.
OBAMA! HANDS OFF SYRIA!!
They say MORE WAR, We say NO MORE!!
· Act Now for Harmony and Democracy(ANHAD)
· All India Progressive Women’s Association
· Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha
· Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
· Centre for Policy Analysis
· Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace(CNDP)
· Delhi Solidarity Group
· Delhi Forum
· Intercultural Resources
· Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association(JTSA)
· Jamia Students Solidarity Association
· Kerala Indepeddent Fisherworkers Forum
· Khudai Khidmatgar
· National Alliance of People’s Movement
· National Fishworkers Forum
· National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW)
· New Trade Union Initiative(NTUI)
· New Socialist Initiative(NSI)
· Sangharsh Samvad
· Third World Network
For any details please contact Kumar Sundaram: 9810556134, Ramesh Sharma: 9818111562
12 July 2013
Civil society groups call upon the Indian Government
to reject US pressure on Economic Policies
In an open letter (attached) to the Prime Minister of India, against the backdrop of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) Leadership Summit held in Washington on July 11, 2013, the Forum Against Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in India, a coalition of over 75 organisations, farmers groups, trade unions and development activists, has called upon the Prime Minister, Shri Manmohan Singh, to review its forthcoming economic engagements with the USA, and, to reject pressure from the US government and business lobby groups on India’s economic policies.
Ahead of John Kerry, US Secretary of State’s visit to India and the US – India Strategic dialogue, in June 2013 the US law makers and business groups had urged the US government to apply trade tools and diplomatic pressure on the Indian Government for strict adherence to ‘market based path to development’. Letters from the US senators also issued veiled threats that India should toe the line, in order to continue to be the beneficiary of US programme of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which requires reauthorisation soon.
Some of India’s key policy decisions to fulfill its socio-economic developmental priorities are being opposed by US business groups; such as compulsory licensing for life saving drugs, preferential market access for domestically produced electronics goods and solar energy equipments, licenses for foreign banks. This pressure from US comes notwithstanding the fact that India is staring at economic increasing trade deficit and current account deficit, which requires such kind of policy response. One could fairly assume that, the US business wants to gain at the India’s moment of crisis.
Patents and Life Saving Medicines: US business’ attempts to force India to change its policies on intellectual property rights (IPR), namely compulsory licensing and to stop the abuse of patent system through ‘evergreening’, are direct threat to the availability of affordable high-quality medicines for poor patients in India and other developing and least developed countries.
Preferential Market Access (PMA) Initiative: India’s PMA policy initiative of local content requirements in procurement of electronics goods by the government and private entities aims to create domestic manufacturing base and create product design and development capability, to manage trade deficit, sustainable economic growth and also strengthen strategic national security. However, coming under the US pressure, the government has announced the review of its PMA policy.
India decided not to participate in the ongoing negotiations in the expansion of WTO plurilateral Information Technology Agreement (ITA), known as ITA – II, as it suffered huge imports of electronics and telecom products by being signatory to ITA – I. If India suspends its PMA initiative in the ICT sector, besides losing the opportunity to create domestic capability, India’s stand on ITA-II also rendered meaningless. Further, the revelations of snooping by the US government, made by Edward Snowden, former US National Investigating Agency (NIA) employee confirm India’s strategic and security concerns. Such corporate demands and mounting pressure of the US administration forcing India to join WTO plurilateral agreements ITA and International Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) go against India’s developmental priorities and its potential to generate employment and create sustainable livelihoods.
India’s National Solar Mission Plan: The US government’s demands to allow US business to compete for procurements under India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) projects will jeoparadise the policy support to India’s nascent solar industry and stated objective to boost transformation of India’s rural economy. By conceding to international pressure India will lose a significant opportunity to create manufacturing employment and build domestic capacity in producing green energy.
Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Biosafety: The USIBC has a Executive Committee on Food & Agriculture, with the US TNCs Cargill as its Chair and Monsanto as its Vice Chair which undertakes lobbying in both India and USA for legislation on seed and biotechnology, that favour the use and marketing of genetically modified organisms in agriculture. Given that a national Food Security Ordinance has also been promulgated, there should be every effort by the GoI to refrain from taking steps that might limit government from delivering safe, nutritious and healthy food to the over billion people it is aimed at. The people’s Forum on FTAs is also critical of USIBC’s key advocacy priorities to promote the opening of India’s multi-brand retail sector. It is important to note that as per their latest notifications to the WTO in 2010, the US provided about $4 billion of support to their agricultural producers i.e. considered under WTO classification as trade-distorting. And any appeal from the Indian side to USA to put an end to such agricultural subsidies has not been heeded.
The Forum Demands that:
1) The Government of India should withdraw the announcement to review PMA policy, resist undue pressure from US administration that compromises India’s policy space and give primacy to India’s developmental priorities;
2) The Government of India should not jeopardise its capacity to generate employment through domestic manufacturing, provide affordable medicines to millions and revive the rural economy.
3) The US policy makers and the government should not side with US business interests while ignoring interests of the Indian people, 847 million of whom live under US$ 2 per day.
For more details contact: G.Manicandan, Coordinator, Forum Against FTAs,
Email: email@example.com , Phone: 9868319261
The youth wing of Azad Vikas Sangathan, viz. the Azad Yuva Vikas Sangathan, took out a motorcycle rally on 4th July 2013. A total of 3,000 youths on 1,500 motorcycles went through the villages affected by the Mandal-Bechraji SIR, culminating in their submitting their memoranda opposing the SIR to Mamlatdar, Patdi block and Collector, Surendranagar district.
No to further dilution of India’s Nuclear Liability Act for US corporations!
No to Kerry’s pro-GM misadventures!
No to drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan! Hands off Syria! Hands off Iran!! FREE PALESTINE!!!
Protest against John Kerry’s visit to New Delhi on MONDAY 24 June 3 pm at Jantar Mantar
We protest against the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry for the 4th Annual Strategic Dialogue between India and the United States. The United States has been trying to subvert the Nuclear Liability Act, mandated by the Indian parliament, to ensure a liability-free playing field for the US nuclear corporates like Westinghouse and General Electric. Indian people have not forgotten the Bhopal experience where Union Carbide, now Dow Chemicals, got away with only meager compensation for the thousands of victims.
John Kerry has been supporting Genetically Modified (GM) foods and monstrous corporations like Monsanto. Very recently, he promoted GM at the World Food Prize Foundation which awarded three pro-GM scientists, even as the entire world has rose in opposition to GM-food.
Pushing India further into the mess created by the US in Afghanistan will be another important agenda during John Kerry’s visit, which must be opposed strongly.
This joint protest also raises its voice against the recently unearthed global surveillance by the US where even the allies are under close and constant watch of the NSA.
We also demand that the US should back off from Syria where a brutal civil war between two armed parties is on and a partisan intervention will only further erode stability and peace. We firmly believe that a people’s democratic mass movement in Syria can be the only genuine way to oppose the present regime.
We also oppose the larger designs of US imperialism which is responsible for unbearable violence on people from Palestine to Afghanistan and Iraq, and the American war-mongering against Iran. We strongly oppose the illegal and indiscriminate killings of innocent people by the US drones.
As if the recent string of high-profile scandals over Benghazi, AP phone records and the IRS weren’t enough to land the Obama administration in political hot water, the controversial news of the National Security Agency’s top secret PRISM program has now raised major privacy concerns for Americans.
While civil liberties continue to face erosion by heightened security and surveillance programs, there are many other areas where the American reality doesn’t match the hype. Here are seven metrics that show US citizens’ quality of life isn’t as high as many imagine:
In his first speech since the election, Iran‘s President-elect Hassan Rouhani said his country would be “happy to build trust and repair relations with the United States,” if only the United States would stop meddling in Iran’s domestic affairs, including its nuclear plans. The template Rouhani put forward Monday as a possible framework for future talks was a deal that he had discussed with then French President Jacques Chirac in 2005.