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  • Bookshelf: Shrinking the Technosphere by Dmitry Orlov – Ecologise
    they are all perfectly on strategy as far as the technosphere is concerned If we look closely we will discover that all of these manifestations of the technosphere although on a superficial level they appear to be problems are in fact helpful to the technosphere in many interrelated ways They help the technosphere to grow to become more complex and to more fully dominate the biosphere There are far too many of them to trace out all of them so let s just examine a few of the more important ones the ones I alluded to above With regard to cancer it would seem that minimizing rates of cancer by keeping carcinogenic chemicals and radioactive contamination out of the environment and eliminating microwave and ionizing radiation would be a very good idea However this turns out to be suboptimal from the technosphere s point of view First this would violate one of its prime directives by prioritizing the interests of the biosphere above its own technical concerns Second this would limit the need for technical intervention Cancer treatment is a tour de force for the technosphere allowing it to use its favorite techniques chemistry in the form of chemotheraphy and physics in the form of radiation therapy to kill living things cancer cells that is Third it would forgo the opportunity to exercise control over people and to force them to serve and to obey lest they find themselves deprived of very expensive supposedly life saving cancer therapies What is optimal for the technosphere then is a situation where everybody gets treatable forms of cancer and where nobody can hope to survive without chemo and radiation therapy The technosphere likes us to be patient with it and medical patients are patient by definition When it comes to fostering extreme levels of corruption in government and banking this again seems at first counterproductive wouldn t a lawful efficient financial sector and a transparent moral government be expected to produce better results Yes but results for whom Moral governance and proper banking regulation would serve the purposes of humans That s right it would be bits of the biosphere reaping the benefits again And so it is far more efficient from the technosphere s perspective for the major banks to corrupt government officials by funneling money to them through a variety of schemes and to have these officials then refuse to regulate them or to prosecute them for their crimes Once all of this corruption is in place the allegiance of public officials is no longer to the tricky willful living entities known as voters but to abstract tokens of wealth which are much easier for the technosphere to manipulate to its fullest advantage Finally wouldn t world peace and a benevolent and unified world government be of much more use to the technosphere than having humanity continually split up into warring sides Perhaps but what would that do for enhancing the technosphere s ability to murder people When the great nations

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/18/bookshelf-shrinking-the-technosphere-by-dmitry-orlov/ (2016-05-02)
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  • NEWS UPDATE #87 – Ecologise
    the entire environment clearance process actively threatens ecological sustainability in this country Delhi s air pollution is a classic case of environmental injustice James K Boyce and Aseem Shrivastava The Guardian Beneath the headlines Delhi s air pollution is not only a public health disaster it is a classic case of environmental injustice The city s affluent classes reap the lion s share of the benefits from the activities that poison the air while less privileged residents bear most of the human health costs This fateful disjuncture and the inequalities of wealth and power that lie behind it has posed the single biggest impediment to addressing the problem 1 4 Million Farmers in K taka Are Selling Their Produce Online without Worrying about Middlemen Neeti Vijaykumar The Better India The farmers in Karnataka have taken their business online all thanks to the Unified Marketing Platform UMP an initiative by the state government For farmers middlemen have always been a hindrance They eat up almost 75 of the final price leaving very little for the farmers But the UMP has managed to eliminate middlemen from the equation all together Traders can quote product prices online which the farmers then have a right to reject if it isn t satisfactory Rs 1 Cr sales in four months how a software engineer is giving Mandya s debt ridden farmers a new lease of life Shweta Vitta YourStory It s just been around six months since Organic Mandya has been fully operational and its well on its way to success The cooperative has already over 500 registered farmers who collectively own close to 200 acres of land and are producing over 70 varieties for sale rice dals and pulses edible oils personal healthcare products beverages masalas and spices In terms of revenue the company reached Rs one crore in just four months Unilever mercury poisoning case Can corporations really be human Nityanand Jayaraman Scroll in From Chesebrough Pond s Inc which shut shop and moved its mercury thermometer plant from Watertown New York to Kodaikanal in the mid 1980s to HUL which was operating it when it was shut down in 2001 the story of the factory is one of corporate irresponsibility toxic trade and environmental racism It is also a story of how workers and citizens victimised by corporate crime are left to fend for themselves Victories like this are a rarity and are won not with the government s intervention but despite it RSS Stand on Bt Cotton Forced Government s Hand on Monsanto Bhavdeep Kang The Wire Monsanto the controversial munitions manufacturer turned multinational seed giant had threatened to quit India if the agriculture ministry capped royalty on its Bt cotton seeds currently the only GM seeds available commercially in India In response RSS affiliates Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh said farewell and godspeed They cheered as the ministry cut royalty on Bt cotton seeds by over 70 on March 9 and capped the price of the seeds which earlier retailed at 1 000 rupees or more at 800 rupees per 450 grams A miffed Monsanto Mahyco Biotech India MMBL which licensed its Bt seeds to 28 Indian companies has moved court Union Budget 2016 17 Coal cess doubled to fund ministries green drives The Indian Express This was the third time the cess was doubled since being introduced as Rs 50 per tonne in the 2010 budget When it was doubled from Rs 100 per tonne to Rs 200 per tonne last year it was estimated that it would contribute about Rs 13 000 crore to National Clean Energy Fund NCEF every year With the value of this fund going up further with the latest hike the entire budget allocation for Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for this year Rs 5 000 crore is proposed to come from NCEF Half the plan outlay for Environment Ministry about Rs 1 000 crore is also proposed to be met through this fund Environment ministry had the power to stop AOL event Why didn t it Nihar Gokhale Catch News By now it s established that Art of Living s AOL mega event on the Yamuna floodplains in Delhi has made permanent changes to the river s ecology It is the opinion of expert panels and even the National Green Tribunal NGT has accepted this in its latest order So the big question is where has the environment ministry been while all this has been unfolding Also read What on earth is ecofeminist Vandana Shiva doing at Sri Sri s event February breaks global temperature records by shocking amount The Guardian February smashed a century of global temperature records by stunning margin according to data released by Nasa The unprecedented leap led scientists usually wary of highlighting a single month s temperature to label the new record a shocker and warn of a climate emergency The Nasa data shows the average global surface temperature in February was 1 35C warmer than the average temperature for the month between 1951 1980 a far bigger margin than ever seen before The previous record set just one month earlier in January was 1 15C above the long term average for that month Also read Record breaking temperatures have robbed the Arctic of its winter The climate emergency time to switch to panic mode Ugo Bardi James Schlesinger once uttered one of those profound truths that explain a lot of what we see around us it was people have only two modes of operation complacency and panic So far we have been in the complacency mode of operation in regard to climate change But we may be seeing something that portends a major switch in the climate system an unexpected acceleration of the rate of change There are reasons to be worried very worried the CO2 emissions seem to have peaked but that didn t generate a slowdown of the rate of increase of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere If nothing else it

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/17/news-update-87/ (2016-05-02)
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  • A new wave of climate insurgents defines itself as law-enforcers – Ecologise
    other countries around the world Their aim is to require governments to act on their public trust duty to protect the climate as well as the fundamental constitutional rights of present and future generations The Federal government has been making decisions in the best interest of multinational corporations and their profits but not in the best interest of my generation and those to come said Earth Guardians youth director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez one of the lead youth plaintiffs in the landmark federal climate lawsuit now pending in the U S District Court for the District of Oregon Instead of changing their business model to meet the scientific reality of climate change these companies are demanding we adapt to an uninhabitable world that supports their profits When you compare the two I think it s clear that our right to clean air and a healthy atmosphere is more important than their need to make money off destroying our future Xiuhtezcatl Martinez in Paris for the 2015 UN climate talks Facebook Earth Guardians In an astonishing turn of events last November the American Fuel Petrochemical Manufacturers the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers representing nearly the entire fossil fuel industry filed a motion to intervene and join forces with the government against the youth in the Federal Constitutional and Public Trust lawsuit of Our Children s Trust They argued that If plaintiffs succeed in this court ordering the elimination or massive reduction of U S conventional fuel consumption and manufacturing processes that emit greenhouse gases beyond existing federal and other regulations the members of each of the proposed intervener defendants will be harmed According to Our Children s Trust executive director and lead attorney for the youth Julia Olson The fossil fuel industry would not want to be in court unless it understood the significance of our case This litigation is a momentous threat to fossil fuel companies They are determined to join the federal government to defeat the constitutional claims asserted by these youth plaintiffs The fossil fuel industry and the federal government lining up against 21 young citizens that shows you what is at stake here On January 15 Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the Federal District Court in Oregon accepted the fossil fuel and manufacturing industries move to intervene to oppose the lawsuit Claims that government actions are illegal and unconstitutional have played an important role in empowering social movements throughout history They strengthen participants by lending a sense of clarity that they are not promoting personal opinions by criminal means but rather performing a public duty And they strengthen a movement s appeal to the broader society by presenting action not as wanton law breaking but as an effort to rectify actions of governments and institutions that are themselves in violation of the law For the civil rights movement the U S Constitution s guarantee of equal rights meant that those engaged in sit ins and freedom rides were not criminals but rather upholders of constitutional law even if Southern sheriffs threw them in jail For the activists of Solidarity the nonviolent revolution that overthrew Communism in Poland was not criminal sedition but an effort to implement the international human and labor rights laws ratified by their own government Constitutional and public trust arguments make it possible for the climate protection movement to turn the tables on the governments that purport to represent the world s people and to have the authority to rule the world They stand for the proposition that governments do not have the right to destroy the climate and that the people have the right to stop them when they do so Governments have no more right to authorize the emission of greenhouse gases that destroy the climate than the trust officers of a bank have to loot the monetary assets placed under their care The people of the world have a right to our common natural resources And we have a right if necessary to protect our common assets against those who would destroy them The constitutional duty of governments to protect the public trust and the right of the people to life liberty and property can play much the same role in the climate movement that the U S Constitution s right to equality played for the civil rights movement and the Polish government s legal commitment to human and labor rights played for Solidarity Those who perpetrate climate change and those who allow them to do so should not be able to claim that the law is on their side Those who blockade coal fired power plants or sit down at the White House to protest fossil fuel pipelines can and should insist that they are simply exercising their fundamental constitutional rights to life liberty and property as well as their responsibility to protect the atmospheric commons they own along with all of present and future humankind Climate protesters can proudly proclaim that they are actually protecting constitutional public trust rights for all upholding the law not violating it It has begun When protesters block fuel trains or occupy government buildings normally the police are called in and the protesters are arrested and tried as law breakers But a trickle of recent climate cases has begun to erode the expectation that the law supports the right of property owners to use their property to destroy the climate On Earth Day 2013 Alec Johnson a k a Climate Hawk locked himself to a construction excavator in Tushka Oklahoma as part of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline Johnson explicitly based his defense on the public trust doctrine When it comes to our commons to our public property we the people have rights in a public trust The public trust doctrine he continued assures us that we have rights when it comes to how our public commons are administered by any trustees placed in charge of it We the people are armed by such

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/16/a-new-wave-of-climate-insurgents-defines-itself-as-law-enforcers/ (2016-05-02)
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  • India’s rising Corporate-Military Complex: A critical appraisal – Ecologise
    to Israel the Defence Acquisition Committee DAC cleared purchases worth over 525 million from Israel in October last year E Emerging Corporate Military Complex in India Against the background of the failure to stem the tide of imports and to develop indigenous technology the Government experts and think tanks are increasingly turning to their final solution for all problems the private corporate sector A legion of foreign or domestic think tanks business associations and corporate consultants have come up with reports on the armament industry Thus since 2012 ASSOCHAM Boston Consulting Group CII Deloitte Ernst Young Frost Sullivan ICRIER KPMG McKinsey Observer Research Foundation PricewaterhouseCoopers Vivekananda International Foundation etc have all produced at least one report each on the armament industry McKinsey 37 begins a report on Indian military industry with a caption that the stars are aligning for India s defence sector and exhorts the interested parties to seize the moment Though currently the presence of the private sector in Indian military industry is minuscule there is huge anticipation and plans and capacities are being created by the big business houses and even foreign players Defence could be the sunrise industry of the next decade for Indian companies according to a report released by Edelweiss Securities in July 2014 Though the public sector predominates India s military industrial complex also includes 140 private armament companies and 5000 small and medium enterprises SMEs involved in production of around 450 items 38 Some of the key big business houses of the country such as the Tatas L T Reliance and Mahindra are investing in the sector and have made big plans to get a substantial chunk of the military pie Recently the government cleared 19 proposals from several large Indian corporate houses including the Tatas Mahindra Reliance Punj Loyd and Bharat Forge for military manufacturing 39 However as yet total military related orders including exports for the Indian private sector were below 2 billion last year less than 6 per cent of India s total defence spending 40 What we see at present are preparations by the corporate houses for rapid scaling up Some skeletal details of the activities of the Indian big business houses in this sector have been provided in Appendix III What emerges from the details in Appendix III as well as other reports is that the Indian firms operate as junior partners of the foreign firms It is doubtful that they bring significant know how of their own to the collaborations From the above discussion we can say that i The military establishment s demand for sophisticated weaponry is large and growing ii The country s huge largely public sector military production and research establishment has not been able to keep pace with the ambitions of the Indian armed forces and the country s rulers One reason may be that those ambitions are bloated beyond the actual strength of the Indian economy and industrial capability Another factor may be the indirect intervention by various vested and foreign interests to prevent indigenisation iii As a result import dependence for military procurements has remained high despite Government adopting policies supposedly intended to promote domestic production iv So far the participation of the Indian private sector in scale and scope has been minuscule However as policies like offset and make in India are brought in the Indian private sector is making hectic preparations to scale up its presence in defence production v Most of the domestic participation so far and the plans by the Indian private sector indicate that it will ride piggyback on the knowhow and capabilities of the foreign mostly Western corporate giants III Corporate Military Complex Where are we headed A Increasing Sway of Special Interests Special interests predominate in the whole defence decision making and policy making process Even the then Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Praful Patel no foe of the corporate sector see for instance his role as the minister for civil aviation in compromising the interests of the public carrier 41 was forced to raise questions on the move to bar PSUs from participating in the tender for supply of 56 transport aircraft as discussed in II C above Patel wrote to the PM and defence minister in 2013 There are many PSUs who meet all the prescribed criterion for participating in this tender but are being denied the opportunity to participate only because they are PSUs 42 At that time the process was stalled because of the protests of Patel but in the tender issued by the NDA government in May 2014 the defence ministry has bypassed PSUs like HAL and decided that the aircraft will be produced by the Indian private sector firms in collaboration with foreign vendors Amid these special interests it is very hard to discern the real efficacy of any of the procurement decisions even within the framework of the present system 43 Given the strong vested interests involved it is difficult for one to assess the validity of such claims what needs to be noted is that these vast sums are spent without serious public scrutiny or debate With so much at stake the allegations of corruption are omnipresent in the military deals involving the highest and the mightiest The Bofors deal under Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s is well known but a Wikileaks report suggests that he was involved in promoting a Swedish fighter during the Emergency in the mid 1970s itself when his mother was at the helm 44 Recently the Italian Agusta Westland helicopter deal worth Rs 3600 crore had to be cancelled on suspicion of a Rs 300 crore bribe Similarly the defence ministry has also put on hold purchase of all terrain army transport vehicle Tatra truck following allegations that top officials of BEML siphoned off at least Rs 750 crore in bribes and commissions over the past 14 years in the purchase of components for the trucks The HDW Submarine scandal 1981 the Scorpene submarine scandal 2005 the Barak missile scandal 2000 the ordnance factory scandal following which certain firms from Israel Germany Russia Singapore and India were blacklisted in 2012 are prominent instances The widely publicised journalistic sting Operation West End in 2001 claimed to have identified 15 deals involving kickbacks So endemic are the ties between senior officers and arms agents that the erstwhile chief of naval staff the late Admiral S M Nanda who had been at the helm at the time of the HDW scandal became an executive of Crown Corporation on his retirement from the Navy Crown is a notorious arms trading firm headed by his son Suresh Nanda who was raided in connection with the Barak missile scandal Similar instances of corruption can easily be multiplied for all three services 45 In the 1980s when private agents were banned from military deals for all practical purposes defence PSUs filled in the role of the front for the agents or doubled up as agents themselves for the foreign suppliers 46 Being State owned the DPSUs were immune from any ban and so over the 1990s became importers and manufacturers of military equipment worth billions As the Soviet equipped Indian military began looking westwards in the early 1990s to replace and replenish military equipment the role of the DPSUs in brokering this switchover steadily increased Since the early 1990s PSUs such as BEL Bharat Dynamics BEML Electronic Instrumentation India Hindustan Machine Tools HAL Mazagon Docks and the Garden Reach Shipbuilders profited considerably in procuring military equipment often accompanied by a transfer of technology for local manufacture usually to other DPSUs Bharat Heavy Electricals BHEL for example brokered deals worth over 1 billion for Armoured Recovery Vehicles from Czechoslovakia 76 mm guns from Italy for the navy naval simulators armour plating for T 72 tanks and Arjun India s indigenously developed Main Battle Tank By acquiring defence equipment through DPSUs the MoD has been legitimising agents through the back door said a MoD official In a majority of contracts the DPSUs do little other than deal primarily with local agents representing foreign manufacturers of military equipment And having negotiated purchases almost exclusively through these agents the DPSUs then enter into a contract with the MoD to supply the equipment In short the DPSUs end up playing the role of sub brokers for the foreign vendors sharing the commission in one form or the other with the local representative all in the name of indigenisation and plugging corruption The latest development is that the new government has decided to review all cases of blacklisted armament firms on merit and has partially lifted a ban on Tatra trucks It is preparing a new policy that will allow foreign armament firms to legally hire agents defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on the last day of 2014 On lifting the ban on Tatra which was proscribed after the scandal during UPA Parrikar said We have lifted the restricted ban for technical and purchases of spares from the original company provided they should not have relations with questionable individuals once again corruption is being attributed to some sundry dispensable official while business as usual can continue He added that this is being done as Tatra trucks have become critical for certain applications The interesting part is that Tatra was banned in March 2012 after the then Army Chief General retd V K Singh now a minister in the NDA cabinet had alleged that he was offered bribe to clear sub standard trucks supplied by the company to the Indian Army 47 B Further Entrenchment of Foreign Interests Not only do special interests seem to be influencing the armament procurement process the real levers of control appear to be increasingly in the hands of the foreign vendors For instance reports suggest that the French firm Dassault Avions originally offered the Rafale combat aircraft with comprehensive transfer of technology ToT for 10 billion But after winning the tender it increased the cost to over 30 billion and the MoD did not even blink 48 Navlakha 49 cites several examples of such remote control and the helplessness of the Indian military establishment He quotes former Naval Chief Arun Prakash s statement that every imported piece of military hardware spare part or component means that we are at the mercy of the seller nation for 30 40 years thereafter Times of India March 14 2013 Sixteen of the 66 Hawks aircraft of the IAF were grounded according to the then Minister of Defence A K Antony because BAE Systems failed to deliver spares and components Even after imposing a fine in 2010 gaps remain he said Indian Express December 18 2012 Or take the upgradation cost of 51 Mirage 2000 aircraft It was officially said to cost Rs 167 crore for each jet fighter But Antony told Parliament in March 2013 that an escalation of 3 5 per cent per annum to the contracted cost of the year 2000 works out to be Rs 195 crore at 2011 levels Thus the upgrade has been undertaken at 85 per cent of the aircraft s escalated cost However Rs 167 crore per aircraft works out to Rs 8 517 crore for 51 aircraft and does not include the Rs 2 430 crore being spent for other items which takes the total cost to Rs 10 947 crore This does not take into account the two separate contracts signed by India with Dassault Aviation and Thales for Mirage 2000 weapon systems integration at a cost of Rs 6 600 crore Thus the total cost of upgradation becomes Rs 17 547 crore or Rs 344 crore for each aircraft more than double of what was cited by the defence minister Navlakha points out The 14th report of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Defence 2011 12 noted that there had been a fourfold increase in the initial estimated cost of the aircraft carrier Project 15 destroyer Project P 15A war ship and Project P 17 warship It observed Russian equipment initially estimated to cost about Rs 93 crore per ship finally cost Rs 707 crore per ship Take especially the import of the trainer aircraft put on hold by the MoD in November last year India was to buy 106 PC 7 Mark II basic trainer aircraft from Pilatus to supplement the fleet of 75 trainers already contracted for at a price of Swiss Francs 577 million Rs 3 727 crore The defence ministry was not convinced by the IAF s reasons for abandoning a 2009 decision to buy 75 trainers from the international market in the Buy Global category while HAL built 106 in the Make Indian category With 53 aircraft already delivered and more on the way a Business Standard report claimed that Pilatus was shrugging off direct responsibility for their maintenance repair and overhaul MRO 50 This after Pilatus charged 80 25 million Swiss Francs Rs 515 crore for maintenance knowhow to HAL in the contract signed in May 2012 This so called Maintenance Transfer of Technology MToT was to be formalised in a separate contract within three years With just six months left for that deadline there was no contract in sight towards the end of 2014 only uncertainty about how the PC 7 Mark II trainers would operate over decades Pilatus has told HAL which will eventually maintain the PC 7 Mark II fleet through its service life after receiving maintenance technology to negotiate directly with sub vendors for licenses to use and maintain its equipment Reports suggest that Pilatus only assembles and integrates the trainer using sub systems bought from global vendors That means HAL will have to seek licenses from sub vendors that include Pratt Whitney Honeywell Aerospace Rockwell Collins Claverham and Ontic Pilatus has flatly refused to be even a signatory to those licensing agreements According to Pilatus the PC 7 Mark II has 159 sub assemblies which are called line replaceable units or LRUs e g the engine supplied by Pratt Whitney The MToT contract drafted by Pilatus covers just 65 LRUs Pilatus says 72 LRUs are non repairable which should just be thrown away when they go bad Seven more LRUs are the responsibility of IAF while the remaining 15 items are on various countries export control lists and would have to be stocked in advance Thus Pilatus wants HAL to negotiate individually with 29 global vendors that provide the 65 replaceable items There is no telling what price they will demand When Pilatus charged Swiss Francs 80 25 million for MToT it did nothing to bind the sub vendors to conform to this price With foreign vendors confident that IAF has nowhere else to go they are negotiating for fees much higher than had been budgeted the Business Standard report adds Contacted for comments Pilatus cited a confidentiality agreement with MoD but stated that suffice it to say that we are working on this diligently to achieve an acceptable outcome for the GOI and IAF As Pilatus does not hold authority over the individual companies regarding licensing of other vendor IP rights it is using its best endeavours to mediate between each company and HAL to reach an acceptable position The report further suggests mutual blaming by the three parties Pilatus IAF and HAL for the mess while very soon the country may face a situation that the equipment may not be available for use in spite of the huge price paid Newspaper reports 51 in February this year suggest that a key defence ministry official has termed the deal as fundamentally flawed the cost of the deal over its 30 year span will now be almost exhausted over just the first seven years of the use of the Pilatus due to maintenance costs In a further twist to this tale HAL claims that it can build the HTT 40 basic trainer aircraft a cheaper and better trainer than the PC 7 Mark II They further claim that it is built to Indian specifications can be upgraded over its 30 year service life as technology advances and maintained and overhauled at less cost than a foreign trainer HAL also says it can fit sensors and weapons on the HTT 40 to make it a light attack aircraft prohibited by the end use conditions on foreign trainers like the Pilatus 52 In September 2009 the ministry decided to procure the IAF s requirement of 181 basic trainers from two sources 75 bought off the shelf from the global market so that IAF training could continue while HAL would develop and build 106 HTT 40s under the Make procedure All the while it was evident that IAF was not keen on the HAL aircraft and wanted to buy the remaining supply too from Pilatus For Pilatus that would have amounted to a windfall of some 700 800 million Swiss Francs Rs 4 500 5 000 crore while it would mean curtains for the HTT 40 project When rebuffed by the MoD for further purchases of Pilatus IAF even considered making it on their own facilities in collaboration with Pilatus or even finding a collaborator in the private sector but did not consider relying on home grown trainer aircraft for whatever reasons C FDI The solution In spite of such experiences with foreign vendors there is constant clamour for increasing liberalisation of the FDI regime in the military production sector Reports and opinions by various experts think tanks and corporate bodies argue that FDI is at least better than imports and since the indigenous production research regime has miserably failed there is no alternative Hence the spectacle of successive governments since 2001 opening the sector for FDI with the NDA government now allowing FDI to the extent of 49 per cent Indeed there is a persistent demand for increasing it to 74 per cent and even 100 per cent 53 and it should not be a surprise if the NDA proceeds step by step in that direction in the name of make in India All the same it is worth noting that since liberalisation of FDI in the armament sector in 2001 and further opening up to larger percentage of FDI under the UPA dispensation only 4 8 billion Rs 28 800 crore worth of foreign investment has come in to the armament sector compared to a total of 322 billion FDI in all sectors taken together 54 Since 2006 the government has permitted even 100 per cent FDI in military production on a case by case basis for hi tech projects yet not one original equipment manufacturer OEM has responded with a proposal nor is anyone likely to argues Ajai Shukla 55 The primary constraint is that there are tight controls on export of proprietary technology by the parent governments and such conditions are legislated by every major armament exporting nation through laws like the International Traffic in Arms Regulations ITAR for the US as well as international treaties like Missile Technology Control Regime MTCR Thus it is inexplicable how the 100 per cent FDI route will give access to know how and know why and lead to positive externalities merely by foreign firms setting up production shops within the boundaries of the country How much success has such a policy had in the much touted automobile sector which is relatively lower tech and involves fewer proprietary technologies than say the aerospace sector Even today we continue to be held to ransom by foreign investors like Suzuki who use mechanisms such as royalties 56 to extract super profits while maintaining a tight control on technology A stark case is that of the telecom sector where in spite of 100 per cent FDI being permitted our hardware import bill is competing with the oil sector In a nearly Rs 50 000 crore telecom market in 2012 13 the local industry with intellectual property rights within the country had less than 3 per cent share while close to 90 per cent was imported 57 The point is that if the real transfer of know how and know why has not happened in relatively low tech sectors like auto white goods or telecom how will it happen in armaments production where there is tight State control on technology transfer for most of the parent corporates As we mentioned earlier it is not a coincidence that it is in precisely the areas where due to historical reasons the ready help of the foreign sector has not been forthcoming that we see some success in development of the indigenous capabilities D Serious Violations of National Security Control by special particularly foreign interests not only means drain of resources but also serious violations of the security and strategic interests of the nation According to a 2013 news report Verint Systems an Israeli cyber intelligence solutions provider closely linked to the Israeli intelligence services was to get a contract from the Indian government to aid and abet the Department of Telecommunications in intercepting encrypted electronic communications in India 58 The Israeli daily Haaretz in February last year stated India is now the No 1 export target of Israel s military industries Both India and Israel avoid revealing details about the scale and nature of their security trade India s share of that is probably between 1 billion and 1 5 billion And the potential for growth exists 59 According to another report last year MongoDB formerly called 10gen a technology company from the US that is co funded by the Central Intelligence Agency CIA entered into a contract with Unique Identification Authority of India UIDAI the apex agency for the Aadhar card Similarly former CIA chief George Tenet was on the board of L 1 Identity Solutions a major supplier of biometric identification software which was a US company when UIDAI signed a contract agreement with it This company has now been bought over by Safran group a French armament company The subsidiary of this French company in which French government has 30 5 per cent shares Sagem Morpho has also signed a contract agreement with UIDAI 60 So not only are we sharing our citizens private information with foreign firms but also indirectly with Israeli American as well as French intelligence agencies If telecom and IT companies with apparent civilian applications have such intimate ties with intelligence agencies and military establishment of their parent countries we can imagine the strategic ties enjoyed by the likes of Lockheed Martin BAE Systems Dassault Aviation or Israel Aviation and the implications of their hold here for our national sovereignty Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat former chief of the Indian Navy asserts 61 One of the primary means of SUBVERSION of the new nation states is through the arms trade I would say corporations in the advanced capitalist nations have not only installed their men in leading positions in the state apparatus they have also taken an increasing share of the orders for new military acquisitions logistics contracts and R D budgets and now use the local companies who have deep linkages with them to monopolise the new JVs and FDI route and to dominate It is they who have a major say in a number of key appointments in the MoD and the Services headquarters through the big arms firms emphasis in original E Sell out of Public Assets Provision of Subsidies What is likely to follow with the current noise of make in India is the selling out of the public assets One can now hear regular chatter recommending privatisation of ordnance factories and defence PSUs For instance Bharat Karnad senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research recently proposed 62 Keeping in mind the need to amortise sunk costs in building up impressive laboratories and physical facilities for R D and weapons testing under DRDO whose chalta hai attitude was decried by the PM and production facilities in innumerable DPSUs and ordnance factories I proposed that all these installations some 50 odd be divided into two nearly equally capable defence R D and manufacturing combines and be led as commercial enterprises by two of the most ethical and industrially versatile business houses Larsen Toubro and Tata emphasis added One need not further dignify the idea of ethical business houses in a system in which corporate houses and their managers are accountable primarily for immediate profits and stock prices Had the scandals of the past decade regarding 2G spectrum coal mine allocations KG D6 gas iron ore mining and innumerable other cases not sufficiently laid bare the sordid practices of all the major business houses fresh evidence has been provided by the latest revelations regarding systematic corporate espionage in various ministries Of course when ethical corporate houses are caught in wrongdoings those wrongdoings are attributed to questionable individuals by the likes of our defence minister as in the Tatra case above In anticipation of private investments in the military sector there is the usual talk of further incentivising them A recent such suggestion to the defence ministry is for championing the establishment of military production ecosystems within National Investment and Manufacturing Zones a whole new regime of sops for the domestic manufacturing sector on the lines of SEZs SEZs themselves have hardly been able to take off in spite of almost a decade of massive subsidies in the name of incentives There is talk of additional incentives for foreign investments in the armament sector by further liberalising the offset policy 63 Nevertheless news reports simply ignore this truth and keep touting the potential of the Indian private sector which has nothing to show for itself but riding piggyback on the global giants As Premvir Das who has been a member of the Task Force on Higher Defence Management constituted by the government in 2000 and has also served on the National Security Advisory Board says 64 about make in India for the military Desirability aside there are few private sector entities in India including the bigger and better known names which have the ability to produce much more than sub assemblies or the less sophisticated equipment To hope that any one of them will be able to manufacture major platforms in the foreseeable future is to live in a dreamland In the face of this all the woes of the military production apparatus are now being put squarely at the door of the public sector and an array of consulting groups and reports are arguing that if only things are left to the private sector they will magically turn around IV Conclusion In conclusion while the people of this country are incessantly told that there is no money for their basic necessities such as food shelter and health care that is why we are told that India needs to get foreign capital a colossal amount of money has been spent on creating and sustaining a huge military production research complex However this complex has little to show in terms of accomplishments While the people are getting ever more immiserised the nation s strength is being increasingly equated with its military might justifying the State s spending ever more resources on it The military establishment is the focus of attention whether as part of the make in India campaign the Vibrant Gujarat summit or recent visit of President Obama Some may argue that the real way to secure a society is healthy and educated citizens who are provided the basic amenities and rights Others may even contend that given that the Indian military may be used against the Indian people themselves the more potent its armaments the greater their danger We have not examined these propositions here Our question here is what perpetuates such a wasteful system and whose interests does it serve Perhaps in light of the discussion here we can make four tentative propositions Whatever has been built up in terms of indigenous capabilities whether in space nuclear or missile establishments due to specific geopolitical or historical reasons or even other aspects of military production and research has been at an enormous cost to the exchequer in an impoverished country like India Much of this is now ready to be palmed off to the Indian private corporate sector which has little to show in terms of building its own competence More significantly much of this will come under the influence and control of the international corporate military establishment as most of the Indian big business has only plans to ride piggyback over the former s capabilities and strengths What the corporate sector most desperately need is assured and continuous demand in current times of ever deepening global economic crisis In fact this is one of the key attractions of the military sector besides of course padded profits due to complete lack of accountability in the name of security of the nation and oligopolistic nature of the industry And thus as a nation s military establishment is increasingly corporatised military tensions and even war may suit vested interests domestic and foreign Despite the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s the US military industry has perpetually found new outlets for its wares and the US seems to be in never ending wars across the globe And finally the logic of war does not stop at the border but is extended within the country as well This is a bonus for the ruling dispensation in one more way as the security concerns take a centre stage the dissenting voices can be silenced with so much more impunity Witness the recent case of a Greenpeace activist being stopped from going to the UK to depose to the British MPs on Essar s human rights violations in India in the name of national interests note that Essar Energy is a UK registered corporation Thus while foreign corporates are welcome to supply and invest in Indian military and other key sectors the citizens of the country are not welcome to dissent when these corporations violate their rights either within or outside the country Thus military procurement has become an ever more closed loop system created in the name of security and nationhood that has little to do with the larger population of the country and their needs For instance the bauxite or iron mines are opened up in Jharkhand Orissa or Chhattisgarh by grabbing people s lands and homes against their will in spite of their great resistance and UAVs and increasingly sophisticated weapons are used to quell their resistance The corporate sector is the beneficiary both of mining the ore and of the demand for weapons demand which is independent of the vagaries of the market system Eisenhower the only general to be elected US president in the 20th century had warned in his 1961 farewell speech of the military industrial complex 65 We have sketched above the outlines of India s new corporate military complex Of the consequences of such phenomena French litterateur Anatole France 66 wrote a hundred years ago A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern It demands no social reform It does not haggle over expenditures for armaments and military equipment It pays without discussion it ruins itself and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain The question the ruling elite may have to confront is is such a closed loop system where the overwhelming majority is out of its very logic sustainable Kanpur March 2015 Appendix I Some Military Related Abbreviations Used BEL Bharat Electronics Ltd BEML Bharat Earth Movers Ltd CQB Close Quarter Battle DAC Defence Acquisition Council DPP Defence Procurement Procedure DPSU Defence Public Sector Undertaking DRDO Defence Research and Development Organisation FOC Final Operational Clearance HAL Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd IAF Indian Air Force IAI Israel Aerospace Industries INSAS Indian Small Arms System LCA Light Combat Aircraft MoD Ministry of Defence MMRCA Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft MRO Maintenance Repair Overhaul NSA National Security Advisor OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer OFB Ordnance Factories Board RFP Request for Proposal SIPRI Stockholm Peace Research Institute TAS Tata Advanced Systems ToT Transfer of Technology UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Appendix II Framework of Public Sector Military Production Research The oldest of the three is the network of 41 ordnance factories spread far and wide across the country Ordnance Factories Board OFB consisting of the Indian ordnance factories functions under the Department of Defence production of Ministry of Defence MoD It is supposed to be engaged in research development production testing marketing and logistics of a comprehensive product range in the areas of land air and sea systems OFB is the world s largest Government operated production organisation and the oldest industrial organisation run by the Government of India with its beginnings in later part of the 18th century It has a total workforce of about 164 000 and is amongst the top 50 armament manufacturers in the world Its total sales were 2 7 billion Rs 16 246 crore in 2011 12 It manufactures all kinds of regular needs of the three military wings small arms ammunition artillery clothes vehicles armoured vehicles engines missile launchers aircraft and naval armaments etc 67 The next are the eight PSUs under the Ministry of Defence with a combined turnover of Rs 33 000 crore and direct employment of 72 000 persons 68 The largest is Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd HAL with a turnover of more than Rs 15 000 crore and close to 33 000 employees HAL is the only domestic producer of any significance in the aerospace industry in the country and manufactures a range of aircrafts helicopters and related avionics and spare parts for the needs of the air force and the other military and security needs Started under private sector during the Second World War it was quickly taken over by the British government More than 40 per cent of HAL s revenues come from international deals to manufacture aircraft engines spare parts and other aircraft materials HAL has a long history of collaboration with several international aerospace agencies such as Airbus Boeing Lockheed Martin Sukhoi Aviation Corporation Israel Aircraft Industries RSK MiG BAE Systems Rolls Royce Dassault Aviation Ilyushin Design Bureau Dornier Flugzeugwerke etc The second most important player in this group in terms of size is Bharat Electronics Ltd BEL with a turnover of Rs 6 500 crore and employment of 12 000 persons It primarily manufactures advanced electronic products for the Indian Armed Forces Bharat Earthmovers Ltd BEML commenced operations in 1965 and is Asia s second largest manufacturer of earth moving equipment to mining military and railways and controls 70 per cent of India s market in that sector Its turnover is Rs 3 300 crore and it employs more than 10 000 persons Then there are three units catering to the needs of Indian Navy with a combined turnover of more than Rs 5 500 crore and more than 13 000 employees Mazagon Dock Limited MDL is India s prime shipyard It manufactures warships and submarines for the Indian Navy and offshore platforms and associated support vessels for offshore oil drilling It also builds tankers cargo bulk carriers passenger ships and ferries Garden Reach Shipbuilders Engineers Ltd GRSE is the premier warship building company in India since 1960 it has built 91 warships for various roles starting from frigates corvettes to fast patrol boats In addition to warships GRSE has also built and supplied close to 600 vessels to carry men and materials for surveillance of the coast line by the police forces Goa Shipyard is the third PSU primarily catering to the needs of navy but has relatively smaller operations Bharat Dynamics Limited BDL manufactures ammunitions and missile systems with a turnover of Rs 1 800 crore and employs close to 3300 persons Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited Midhani is a specialised metals and metal alloys manufacturing facility making a wide range of super alloys titanium special purpose steels and other special

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  • The Revolution is Love: A missive from Charles Eisenstein – Ecologise
    made you into an environmentalist Think back over your life to an event that inspired you with care for some special part of our planet For me it came at about the age of seven or eight when I was outside with my father watching a large flock of starlings fly past That s a big flock of birds I said My father told me then about the passenger pigeon whose flocks once filled the skies so vast that they stretched from horizon to horizon for days on end They are extinct now he told me People would just point their guns to the sky and shoot randomly and the pigeons would fall Now there aren t any left Of course I d known about the dinosaurs before then but that was the first time I really understood what the word extinct means I cried in my bed that night and many nights thereafter That was when I still knew how to cry a capacity that once extinguished through the brutality of teenage boyhood in the 1980s was nearly as hard to resuscitate as it would be to bring the passenger pigeon back to Earth Species extinction did not end with the 19th century The fate of the passenger pigeon foreshadowed the calamity that is now overtaking all life on this planet a calamity that has left none of us untouched I recently made the acquaintance of a farmer here in North Carolina I ll call him Mike a man of the earth whose family has been here for three hundred years His thick accent increasingly rare in this age of mass media induced linguistic homogenization suggested conservative Southern values Indeed he was full of bitterness though not against the usual racial or liberal suspects instead he launched into a tirade about the guvmint chemtrails the banks the sheeple the 9 11 conspiracy and so on We the people have got to rise up and smash them he said but it was leaden despair not revolutionary fervor that colored his voice Tentatively I broached the idea that the perpetrators of these crimes are themselves imprisoned in a world story in which everything they do is necessary right and justified and that we join them there when we adopt the paradigm of conquering evil through superior force That is precisely what motivates the technologies of control whether social medical material or political wielded by those we would overthrow Besides I said if it comes down to a war to overthrow the tyrants if it comes down to a contest of force then we are doomed They are the masters of war They have the weapons the guns the bombs the money the surveillance state the media and the political machinery If there is hope there must be another way Perhaps this is why so many seasoned activists succumb to despair after decades of struggle Dear reader do you think we can beat the military industrial financial agricultural pharmaceutical NGO educational political

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  • CRISPR is coming, with big implications for food, farmers, consumers and nature – Ecologise
    the product as non genetically modified since only a few snippets of the plant s existing genes have been changed and no gene has been inserted from a different kind of organism nor even from another plant At the Roslin Institute in Scotland a unique CRISPR experiment is underway in pigs In sub Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe a hemorrhagic virus that causes African swine fever sweeps through pig populations devastating small farms Some warthogs however seem mostly unaffected by the illness and a research team led by biotechnologist Bruce Whitelaw believes that a gene called RELA which varies slightly between wild and domesticated pigs might account for the immunity difference Using CRISPR the researchers have recently tweaked domesticated pig genes to achieve the exact warthog RELA sequence Trials began last summer exposing modified piglets to the virus to test if they are indeed immune Reports suggest that an entire barnyard of edited animals destined for industrial agriculture is rapidly filling the R D pipeline Recombinetics a start up firm made headlines with hornless dairy cattle carrying a smidgen of genes from naturally smooth headed beef cows The company is now working on Brazilian beef cattle with larger muscles for more meat which may be more tender while other firms are developing chickens that only produce female offspring for egg laying and beef cattle that only produce males for more efficient feed to meat conversion With respect to gene drives while agriculture remains at the periphery thus far researchers at Harvard s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have outlined heady prospects Gene drives could pave the way toward sustainable agriculture they suggest by reversing pesticide resistance in insects and herbicide resistance in weeds Drive systems could also destroy or modify pesky plant pests and squelch populations of invasive species such as rats and kudzu Improvement With Concerns Both journalists and the scientists they interview have largely framed agricultural uses of CRISPR as an improvement over conventional breeding and conventional genetic engineering alike because it offers subtlety speed and a high degree of control over the outcome It s like a find replace function in the genome of these animals Scott Fahrenkrug CEO of Recombinetics told The New York Times You can change even a single base pair or you can delete a gene very precisely Pamela Ronald a geneticist at the University of California Davis explained in Nature The resulting animals and plants could potentially yield more food with less pressure on inputs such as water and land A CRISPR tweaked farm system could have a smaller environmental footprint and even humanitarian benefits if it means farmers don t have to dehorn cattle or cull their male bulls But others have questioned the precision part of precision breeding Charles Benbrook of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University points to the unexpected effects when new genes are added or existing ones are silenced CRISPR is also known for making unintended edits though the frequency of such off target effects is falling And even with the increased precision there s no guarantee of the desirable outcome Traits such as drought tolerance not only are associated with many genes but also are subject to complex environmental interactions How much the gene functions will depend on precipitation heat the nature and depth of soils and so forth Moreover the genetic background of each individual species or crop will also influence the behavior of genes So in many cases says Doug Gurian Sherman a plant pathologist and director of sustainable agriculture at the Center for Food Safety the particular genes used will only work well in certain genetic backgrounds and environments If we want to design agriculture for local ecosystems suited to the specific soils climates and cultivation practices of local people editing is at best a partial solution A separate concern already visible with the pigs snuffling around the Roslin Institute is lack of an overarching sustainability or justice directive for genomic agricultural science As Nature aptly noted while Whitelaw s pig project will largely benefit poor farmers this is a rarity for editing research A much more common goal in livestock editing has been to generate higher profit cattle pigs and sheep the familiar trappings of industrial food with its concomitant implications for small sustainable farmers Whose benefits are being considered when we dream of what CRISPR can do Not those of complex ecological systems it appears As mentioned above among the agricultural applications of CRISPR in the research pipeline are those that would alter the biology of insects and weeds in some cases editing genes to overcome resistance to pesticides and herbicides CRISPR assisted gene drive technology could propel such mutations through populations in the wild creating the potential to modify entire plant or animal communities over just a few years It s a curious vision of sustainable agriculture though that sees overcoming resistance to agrochemicals as progress Should we really be enabling farmers to spray more glyphosate into their fields when the World Health Organization has found the chemical to be a probable carcinogen and when it s been associated with collapsing populations of monarch butterflies And using gene drives to snuff out wild organisms because they carry diseases or nibble on crops could have serious unintended consequences such as destabilizing food webs and facilitating invasions by other species When it comes to animal engineering we can appreciate the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of better feed to meat conversion ratios But is this just making something less bad rather than good And is scaled up livestock production what society should now be chasing at all given the environmental and public health upshots of intensive animal farming not to mention mounting medical evidence that people should eat less meat Consider the Mutation Consider the Application With Big Food rapidly moving to take advantage of this new tool the persistent questions that surround genetically modified organisms are cropping up in new contexts and with new complexities

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  • Gail Tverberg: We are at Peak Oil now; we need very low-cost energy to fix it – Ecologise
    War II in the 1950 65 period There was almost as much growth in the 1965 75 period Since 1975 economic growth has generally been slowing Slide 6 Between the years 1900 and 1998 the use of electricity rose black line as the cost of electricity fell purple red and green lines Electricity consumption could rise because it was becoming more affordable Rising electricity consumption allowed the economy to make more goods and services Workers with the use of electricity were becoming more efficient so wages could rise With higher wages workers could afford more products that used electricity such as electric lights for their homes and radios If electricity prices had risen instead of fallen it seems doubtful that this pattern of rising consumption could have taken place Slide 7 The comments in Figure 7 represent my own view It is based on both theoretical considerations and historical relationships Many who have studied the economy believe that energy is important for economic growth In my view the real need is for cheap to produce energy not just any energy If cheap energy is not really available then adding more debt can somewhat make up for the high cost of energy production Debt is important because it makes goods affordable that would not otherwise be affordable For example having a loan for a house or a car makes a huge difference regarding whether such an item is affordable Even when energy products are cheap debt seems to be needed to get oil or coal out of the ground or to make a new device such as a wind turbine Part of the problem is the cost of the capital equipment needed to extract the oil or coal or the cost of the wind turbines themselves Another part of the problem is paying for factories to make devices that use the energy product A third problem is making it possible for users to afford the end products such as houses and cars It is much easier to borrow the money for a new tractor and pay the loan off as the tractor is put to use than it is to save money in advance using only the funds earned when farming with simple hand held tools Slide 8 I mentioned the need for 20 per barrel oil on Slide 7 This is a very inexpensive price Slide 8 shows that the only time when oil prices were that low was prior to the mid 1970s Note that the amounts in Slide 8 have already been adjusted for inflation so my 20 per barrel target is an inflation adjusted amount The cost of oil production is now far above 20 per barrel The sales price now is about 37 per barrel This is below the price producers need but still above my target price level Slide 9 Slide 9 explains where I got my 20 per barrel price target Back prior to 1975 in other words back when oil prices were generally low 20 per barrel or less the increase in debt more or less corresponded to the growth in GDP Once prices rose above 20 per barrel the amount of debt needed to produce a given amount of GDP growth rose dramatically Slide 10 Slide 10 shows interest rates for US debt with 10 year maturity These interest rates often underlie mortgage rates As interest rates fall homeowners can afford increasingly expensive homes If shorter term interest rates fall as well auto loans become cheaper too Slide 11 The value to society of a barrel of oil is determined by how many miles it can make a diesel truck go or how far it can make an airplane fly This value to society is more or less fixed The only change is the small increment each year from efficiency changes making a barrel of oil go farther In the 2000 14 period the cost of new oil production was increasing very rapidly by more than 10 per year by some estimates The rising cost of oil production occurred much more quickly than efficiency changes The result was a falling difference between the value to society and the cost of production When oil prices are high oil importing nations tend to suffer recession When oil prices are low oil exporting nations find it hard to collect enough taxes to support their many programs Slide 12 The fact that we need energy for economic growth means that we somehow must obtain this energy even if doing so costs more The big run up in oil prices is a major reason for the historical run up in debt levels China s big build out of homes roads and factories was also financed by debt The higher cost of oil affects many things that we don t think are related including the cost of building new homes the cost of building cars and the cost of building roads As consumers are forced to buy increasingly expensive homes and cars and as governments find that the building of roads is increasingly expensive more debt is used The terms of loans are often longer as well to hold down monthly costs If we still had cheap oil this oil by itself could provide a lift to the economy An increasing amount of debt can sort of compensate for the absence of cheap oil The problem we encounter is that neither cheap energy nor the continued run up of debt is sustainable Cheap energy tends to change to expensive energy because we use the cheapest sources first The continued debt run up becomes more and more difficult to handle unless interest rates fall lower and lower At some point interest rates can t fall enough and the whole pile of debt tends to collapse like a Ponzi scheme Slide 13 I gave this talk on December 15 the first increase in interest rates took place on December 16 With rising interest rates we suddenly have the prop that

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  • Special: P. Sainath’s award-winning series on rural India’s ‘Thirst Economy’ – Ecologise
    share on Google Opens in new window 12th May 2016 12th May 2016 Rainwater Harvesting Workshop at Hyderabad Understand and combat Hyderabad s water problems through rain water harvesting Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 15th May 2016 15th May 2016 Thought for Food at Palampur Himachal Pradesh Workshop on eating responsibly sharing strategies and tools for doing so Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 18th May 2016 22nd May 2016 Two short courses on Development at Azim Premji University Bangalore Designed for professionals working in various domains of development Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 24th May 2016 3rd June 2016 View All Events Special Features The Hindu Special P Sainath s award winning series on rural India s Thirst Economy Written by Contributor Mar 11 2016 1 Comment This series on rural India s water crisis won P Sainath a World Media Summit award under the category of Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries It zeroes in on the stark contrasts in the consumption and access to water between the rich and poor to illustrate the alarming trend of inequalities in India and abroad Part 1 The Deep Water Crisis The water crisis in Maharashtra which only gets highlighted in summer saw many thousands of borewells drilled in just the Marathwada region in the first three months of this year The truck mounted borewell rig was omnipresent in the fields And the borewell itself was a major source of debt if not of water in the rural districts Most of the rigs we saw rumbling along the roads turned out to be from Tamil Nadu Some were from Andhra Pradesh They seem mostly to be from a single town a senior geologist of the government of Maharashtra had then told The Hindu That town it turned out was Tiruchengode in Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu Part 2 Drilling holes in the Thirst Economy Borewells cost money This could be the biggest growth industry in the water crisis districts says one administrator For the rig makers rig owners and drillers this is boom time The farmer pays up whether the wells yield water or not The borewell industry is a key sector of the Thirst Economy and is worth billions The unchecked guzzling of groundwater in Maharashtra has even seen a few but worrying instances of striking what are called paleo historic storages as the wells go deeper That is water which is many millennia old Part 3 Tankers and the economy of thirst Thirst is Marathwada s greatest crop this season Forget sugarcane Thirst human and industrial eclipses anything

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