Stop Exporting Indian-Made Vaccines to Rich Nations

In India, a coalition of groups are calling on Johnson & Johnson to stop exporting Indian-made vaccines to wealthy nations like the United States at a time when hundreds of millions of people remain unvaccinated in India, as well as in Africa. The groups are also urging President Biden to force Johnson & Johnson to license its vaccine to drug manufacturers in India and other nations to help produce more vaccines.

A group of us from civil society, over a dozen organizations in India, drafted a letter very recently to Johnson & Johnson and the Biden administration with a very simple demand, which is that the 600 million doses that Johnson & Johnson is manufacturing currently at a company called Biological E in India should go where the vaccines are most needed, which is the Indian subcontinent, the African continent and the COVAX Facility, rather than where Johnson & Johnson most wants to send them to, which, on the basis of recent history and the company’s experience in South Africa, is Europe and the United States, where it has large, unfulfilled orders, which are quite lucrative, which it seems, in an unseemly manner, eager to supply.

there is a curious difference in the way that Johnson & Johnson is licensing its vaccine around the world. What they’re doing is to provide what’s called

— source | Sep 20, 2021

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Farmers’ Leader Rakesh Tikait Says Asaduddin Owaisi Is BJP’s ‘Chacha Jaan’

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait has said that All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s “chacha jaan”, adding that the two parties were in fact on the same team.

“Owaisi and BJP are a team. He is BJP’s ‘chacha jaan‘. He has the blessings of the BJP. He will abuse them, but they will not file a case against him. BJP will take his help. Farmers will have to understand their moves. Owaisi is double-faced. He will ruin the farmers. They will hatch conspiracies during elections. But as suggested by Zila Panchayat elections, people in Baghpat are revolutionary,” Tikait said, according to NDTV.

Last week, Owaisi kickstarted the AIMIM’s election campaign in Uttar Pradesh. The party has declared that it will contest 100 seats in the upcoming assembly polls in 2022. Though it had all alliance with the BSP in Bihar, Mayawati has said there will be no similar alliance in UP.

— source | 15/Sep/2021

[just after this comment, hindutva forces attacked Owaisi’s house to show they are not unite!]

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Over half of farm households still under debt

More than half of India’s agricultural households were in debt, with an average outstanding of Rs 74,121, according to the latest ‘Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land Holdings of Households in Rural India, 2019’ released September 10, 2021. The percentage of households in debt, however, reduced slightly from 51.9 per cent as seen in the previou survey in 2013; but the average debt jumped 57 per cent from Rs 47,000 in 2013. The National Statistical Office (NSO) reported the data based on its 77th round of survey of more than 45,000 such households conducted January 1-December 31, 2019. The data represents the situation before the onset of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in early 2020.

— source | 11 Sep 2021

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The courier and his anti-British barrage

He sits calm and unruffled by the blazing heat on a small bridge atop this compact dam in Kolhapur that he brought into being over half a century ago. Patiently continuing to answer questions we had sprung on him earlier at lunch. He also walks, sprightly and energetic, all over the bridge with us – explaining how this barrage came to life in 1959.

Six decades later, Ganpati Ishwara Patil still has a grasp of irrigation, and understands farmers and farming. He knows the history of India’s struggle for Independence – and was part of it. He is 101 years old and among India’s last living freedom fighters.

— source | P. Sainath | Jul 26, 2021

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Every hour, 21 people evicted from their homes in India amid pandemic

As many as 257,700 people across India were evicted from their homes by the central government between March 2020 and July 2021, according to a new report. This means over 500 people every day and 21 people every hour were forced to move out of their homes during this period when the country saw two deadly waves of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, an analysis by Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), an independent organisation that works on research, education, and advocacy related to housing and land rights, showed. State authorities across Indian states demolished at least 24,445 homes, affecting over 169,176 people between January 1, 2021 and July 31, 2021. Of them, 13,750 people were evicted during the peak of the second wave and resultant lockdowns in April and May 2021. In India, over four million are homeless and at least 75 million live in informal urban settlements without access to essential services such as water and sanitation.

— source | 10 Sep 2021

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Corporate Sector Makes Landslide Profits from Modi’s Flagship Agri-Insurance Scheme

Many of the private insurance firms have made profits of 50 to 70%, as a difference between gross premium collected and insurance claims paid, in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana after it was launched in 2016. The profits have been raked in from government revenues that were transferred directly to the firms apart from premiums that have been collected from farmers.

At present, the scheme is being implemented in the country by 13 private sector firms along with all five state-owned insurance companies including the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited. However, while private firms have raked in huge profits, those in the public sector have doled out almost all the premium collected by them towards insurance claims. The Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited, which controls the major share of the crop insurance market, has been able to make a profit of approximately 17%.

As per provisional figures (insurance claims for the year 2019-20 had not been finalised at the time that the Committee collected the data), in the period 2016-20, the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited had paid out claims of Rs 26,874.60 crores from the gross premium of Rs 32,429 crores that it had received. The profit of state-

— source | Ayaskant Das | 22 Aug 2021

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Farmers Denied Rs 1,900 Crore Due to Sales Below MSP in Last Two Months

If the government’s minium support price (MSP) programme helped in properly creating a minimum floor price, farmers across 11 major agricultural states would have, on average, earned almost Rs 1,900 crore more by selling their produce. According to The Wire’s analysis of data from Agmarknet – the government’s price information system, which sources price and quantity arrival data from around 3,000 wholesale mandis across the country – farmers on average were denied at least Rs 1,881 crore by having to sell their produce below the MSP in October and November.

The most sizeable ‘losses’ were in the sale of maize. Prices were hovering between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,550 a quintal – as against the MSP of Rs 1,850, and the total income denied to farmers in October and November was a staggering Rs 485 crore. For groundnut, due to sales below the MSP, farmers suffered notional losses to the tune of Rs 333 crore.

Even for paddy, sales below the MSP meant that in some major producing states – other than Punjab and Haryana – the total loss of income was Rs 220 crore. In all other major paddy producing states – Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana – the average prices were 15% below the MSP.

— source | Kabir Agarwal, Dheeraj Mishra | 08/Dec/2020

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Protesting Farmers Celebrate a Win as Adani Facility Shuts Down in Ludhiana

Even as the protests against the farm laws continue nationwide, Punjabi protestors in Kila Raipur are in a celebratory mood for now. Sitting on dharna outside the Adani Logistics Park – or khusk bandargahs (dry ports) as they are locally called – the protestors have been able to challenge a big corporation with only their basic right to protest. Earlier this month, the Adani group filed a petition in the Punjab high court saying it will be shutting down operations at the Kila Raipur multi-modal logistics park after having incurred huge losses due to the dharna. The protestors feel this is a victory. Now Adani group suspending its operations there. They had a staff of around 40 permanent employees who they asked to not come in this month.

— source | 18/Aug/2021

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Aadhaar-PDS Link in Jharkhand Led to Exclusions

A new study has backed the claim by activists and media reports that Jharkhand’s decision to link welfare schemes, particularly the public distribution system, with Aadhaar led to genuine beneficiaries being excluded. A sample survey by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab – which counts Nobel laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo among its founders – has found that close to 88% of deleted ration cards belonged to genuine households.

Between 2016 and 2018, the state government had been cancelling ration cards of what it calls “ghost beneficiaries” in an attempt to stop “leakages” from the PDS system. According to the J-PAL study by economists Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus and Sandip Sukhtankar, the entire process did reduce some amount of leakage “but also led to non-trivial increase in exclusion error and transaction costs for beneficiaries”.

Requiring Aadhaar to obtain PDS benefits in Jharkhand led to considerable reduction in leakage, but also

— source | Jahnavi Sen | 23/02/2020

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