People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 26, 2004

on file


THE Yogesh Chandra Committee set up by the urban development ministry will inquire into 205 land allotments made by the previous National Democratic Alliance government between 1999 and 2003. The report is to be submitted within two weeks.


The major thrust of the inquiry will be on the 92 such allotments. These comprised two to political parties, 16 to religious organisations, 48 to socio-cultural organisations and 26 to schools, sources in the ministry said on Friday (September 17).


The one-man panel of the retired IAS officer has been set up following reports that the ministry during the Vajpayee government had allotted land to various institutions and organisations, particularly those related to Sangh Parivar, overlooking rules and procedures.


--- National Herald, September 18


MOST people in India eat enough calories to stay alive but don’t eat the right kind of food. And protein energy malnutrition (PEM) has replaced chronic hunger as the leading food related threat in India. This was revealed by international experts at the three-day Regional Ministerial Consultation on Food and Nutrition in Women and Children in Asian Countries that ended on Friday (September 17).


PEM is caused by inadequate protein and micronutrients intake. “Children are the most visible victims of PEM, which has become a silent emergency. It kills over half of the 10.9 million under-five children who die of hunger around the world each year,” said Dr Sheila Sisulu, deputy executive director at World Food Programme (WFP), Rome.


According to WFP, which hosted the consultation with the department of women and child development, 70 per cent of children with PEM live in Asia, compared to 26 per cent in Africa and 4 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean.


--- Hindustan Times, September 18 


THE more things change, the more they remain the same. What else could explain how, even today, Indian parents flatly refuse treatment to daughters, treatment that they do not deny their sons? Instead, if it’s a daughter who is seriously ill, they start planning another child.


Shocked? Here are figures that will shock you more. Of the 60 children with acute liver failure examined over a period of about 5 years at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, only 3 were girls. Of the 142 babies and children assessed for a liver transplant, only 44 were girls, and families of 40 of the 44 refused the transplant. Of the 322 babies (aged less than one year) brought to the hospital with jaundice in the 5-year period, only 30 per cent were girls.


At Escorts Heart Institute, 66 per cent of the babies operated upon in 2003 were boys. At AIIMS, 80 per cent of the babies who had a kidney transplant were boys. In fact, says Dr Sandeep Guleria, department of surgical discipline, AIIMS, “In the last five-six years, I can remember only two female babies who were operated upon.”  


--- The Times of India, September 18


The UNFPA’s “State of the World Population Report 2004,” released on Wednesday (September 15), has highlighted the need for India to spend more on health and education. The country’s current health spending remains at a low 0.9 per cent of the GDP --- far behind that of developed countries like the US (6.2 per cent of the GDP) or even of other developing countries like Brazil (3.2 per cent).

India’s population (currently 1.08 billion) is expected to reach 1.53 billion in 2050, making it the most populous country in the world.


--- Hindustan Times, September 16  


ARMY jailers in Iraq, acting on the CIA’s request, kept dozens of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and other detention facilities off official rosters to hide them from Red Cross inspectors, two senior army generals said on Thursday (September 9).

The total is far more than previously reported.


An army inquiry completed last month found eight documented cases of so-called “ghost detainees,” but two of the investigating generals said in testimony before two congressional committees that depositions from military personnel who served at the prison indicated that the real total was much higher.  

--- The Indian Express, September 11


THE United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time on Wednesday (September 15) that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal.


Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN Security Council or in accordance with the UN’s founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: “Yes, if you wish.”


--- Hindustan Times, September 17