People's Democracy

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


No. 11

March 18, 2007

on file


LEGAL provisions notwithstanding, as many as 19 dowry deaths occur everyday on an average with one woman dying every 77 minutes in the country in 2005 while Uttar Pradesh tops the list with maximum of such crime being perpetrated against the fair sex.


Significantly, more than half case of dowry deaths resulted in acquittals and people in less than one third cases were convicted.


As many as 6,787 women were killed in the country in 2005 for bringing insufficient dowry in 2005 while 7,026 women had lost their lives on this account in 2004 and 6,208 in 2003, according to the officials sources.


---National Herald, March 12


MARCH 6 Since 1996-97, the Centre has spent a total of Rs 20,598.48 crore under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), with the States releasing an additional Rs 15,000 crore or so. 


But despite this huge public funds infusion, the country's net farm area that is officially irrigated has remained virtually static at 53-55 million hectares (mh). 


Between 1995-96 (before the AIBP was launched) and 2003-04 (the last year for which official data is available), the gross irrigated area has risen from 46.5 mh to 49.3 mh for all cereals, from three mh to 3.3 mh for pulses and from 3.9 mh to four mh for sugarcane. Moreover, even this marginal increase has been offset by declines in respect of oilseeds (from 7.3 mh to 6.5 mh) and cotton (from 3.2 mh to 2.6 mh). 


Simply put, the results of pumping in over Rs 35,000 crore of public money on AIBP have barely trickled down to its ostensible beneficiary - the humble Indian farmer. For him, the AIBP has apparently conferred neither acceleration nor benefit.


--- Business Line, March 7


THE United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government has failed to keep its pledge to raise public spending in education to at least six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in a phased manner. According to the Economic Survey 2006-07 tabled in Parliament on Tuesday expenditure on education as a percentage of the GDP is lower than what it was during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule. 


Despite the pledge taken by the UPA in its National Common Minimum Programme, the expenditure on education in its first year (2004-05) was lower than the previous fiscal from 2.79 per cent of the GDP in 2003-04 it was 2.74 per cent in 2004-05..


The data given in the survey runs contrary to the claims made by the Ministry in Parliament on Monday. Replying to a question on whether the Government was spending six per cent of the GDP on education, the Ministry said: ``The percentage of GDP spent on education during 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 was 3.5 per cent, 3.68 per cent and 3.72 per cent respectively.'' 


Spending six per cent of the GDP on education was first mooted in the National Policy on Education in 1986 but it has remained an elusive goal with spending in this sector hovering around the halfway mark of three per cent.


---- The Hindu, February 28


AMERICANS are more approving of attacks against civilian population than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria, a survey report has said.


In a stunning revelation, the poll conducted in December, 2006 by the University of Maryland's Programme on International Public Attitudes showed that only 46 per cent of Americans think that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "never justified," while 24 per cent believe these attacks are "often or sometimes justified." In contrast, the poll result from the world's four most populous Muslim countries - Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria - showed 74 per cent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that attacks on civilians are "never justified"; while the figure was 86 per cent in Pakistan and 81 per cent Bangladesh.


--- The Asian Age, February 26