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Jharkhand's MGNREGA Workers Need a Lot More Than Political Slogans -Siraj Dutta

-TheWire.in Despite widespread violations of workers’ entitlements, the BJP government as well as the opposition have shown nothing but apathy. The BJP-led Jharkhand government has coined a new slogan, “Har haath ko kaam (Give every hand work)” to show its commitment on providing employment to people of the state. The slogan assumes special significance for Jharkhand, where the ratio of working age population migrating to other states was the highest in the country in 2015-16, as per the Economic Survey 2016-17. Issues of unemployment and out-migration are routinely raked up during elections by all three major political parties in the state – BJP, Indian National Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). According to the fifth annual employment-unemployment survey of 2015-16, the unemployment in the state – pegged at 7.7% – was higher than the all-India average of 5%. In the absence of adequate formal employment opportunities, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee...

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Job scheme funds frozen -ASRP Mukesh

-The Telegraph Ranchi: Over six lakh people engaged in jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Jharkhand have not got their daily wages since September 15, the backlog on Tuesday standing at an estimated Rs 155 crores, making it a dim Diwali for the state's poorest. The onus of this lies on Jharkhand as the Centre has withheld funds as the state government has not yet handed over its utilisation report for fiscal 2016-17. Unlike earlier, the MGNREGS payment system is now centralised, which means the Centre directly releases funds to the state's bank account, which goes to districts and blocks to finally reach a labourer's bank account. In this interlinked chain, a glitch at any point scuttles the whole process. Jharkhand MGNREGS commissioner's office couldn't send the Centre its funds utilisation reports as some districts didn't provide audits on time, a highly placed source told this paper. Asked why,...

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Water level rises to 70% in major reservoirs across India

-PTI The water level in 91 major reservoirs across the country has risen to 70% of their total storage capacity from 68% last week, says government New Delhi: The water level in 91 major reservoirs across the country has risen to 70% of their total storage capacity from 68% last week, the government said ton Friday. As of 12 October, the water storage in the reservoirs was 107.28 billion cubic metres (BCM). It has now increased to 110.012 BCM (for the week ending on 18 October). The latest water levels in the reservoirs are 93% of the storage reported during the corresponding period last year, the Union water resources ministry said in a statement. These are 94% of the decadal average for the corresponding period, the statement said. Please click here to read more. ...

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Aadhaar centres: Banks question UIDAI's authority to issue directions -Gopika Gopakumar

-Livemint.com Only RBI has the power to issue directives to banks, says Indian Banks’ Association Mumbai: The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has questioned the jurisdiction of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in issuing directions to banks under the Aadhaar Act, according to two people aware of the matter. IBA has written to the ministry of electronics and information technology, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the finance ministry’s department of financial services (DFS), arguing that only the central bank is empowered to issue directives to banks under the Banking Regulation Act, the two people said on condition of anonymity. On 14 July, UIDAI first asked banks to open Aadhaar enrolment and updating facilities in at least one-tenth of their branches by the end of August. Later, it extended the deadline by a month and said it will impose a Rs20,000 fine per uncovered branch after 30 September, the Press Trust of...

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India must detoxify its poisoned farmlands

-Hindustan Times Many of these chemicals have become extremely pervasive in our environment as a result of their widespread repeated use and, in some cases, their environmental persistence Last week, the Maharashtra government registered a police complaint against three pesticide companies and Krishi Seva Kendras (agro-input centres) for selling pesticides not recommended for the region after 32 farmers from Vidarbha died of poisoning. The agriculture department, which is responsible for educating farmers about pesticides, found highly toxic and expensive ones were being sold to unsuspecting farmers by the firms to earn profits. While the deaths indicate failure of the department itself, the genesis of the crisis dates back to the time of the Green Revolution in the 1960s when the need was felt to sharply increase crop productivity to ensure food security. This problem --- increase in the use of pesticides --- is not an India-specific problem: Since 1950, population has doubled,...

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