Saturday, June 25, 2005

Voices ...

First things first: At Indian Writing, Uma talks about a happy piece of news (she has included this in a post that has some happy news in her personal life as well; bon courage, Uma!):

... a quick link to this happy news: a great piece of legislation to protect women at home. The headline says "wives, sisters and mothers", but fortunately the bill itself covers "women in marriages, in live-in relationships and those living in a shared household related by “consanguinity (blood ties) or adoption": which means that women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women or living with the abuser, and any other category are all entitled to legal protection under the proposed legislation.

Semi-happy news about a temporary reprieve: Governor Krishna sends the ordinance to ban dance bars back to the Maharashtra government. Kalpana Sharma has commented on it in the Hindu.

Some bad news: If Brinda Karat says bad things about a welfare scheme aimed at the poor, you know it must be really, really, bad. This one is about the food for work programs:

... the shame of it is that the producti-vity levels expected on a food-for-work site are virtually impossible to achieve. To be paid a minimum wage a worker is expected to dig 100 cubic feet that works out to about 4,000 kilograms of mud, often hard rocky soil which requires much more effort and energy.

What is the result?

Invisibilise the second worker, the shadow who lifts the earth carrying 30 to 35 kilos of mud on her head, 150 times a day, sometimes climbing mounds of mud 30 feet high, to dump the load. To reach the productivity standards for a single wage set in different states, actually two workers are required. In many cases a couple works together and it is the woman who does the earth-lifting. Without her work less than half the amount specified would be dug. Yet in all the sites visited, with the exception of Manidhara village, Sadar block, West Midnapore in West Bengal, the woman worker was not paid at all.

Poornima Advani, a former chairperson of National Commission for Women has written to the Vice Chancellor of Bombay University, dispelling some misconceptions, and telling him that these misconceptions only help in shifting the blame from the criminals to the victims.

Some more bad news embedded in this Indian Express headline: Bombay Univ says mini skirt ban helps stop rape. Harini, Charu and Rashmi have blogged on this one. Rashmi gives further details about what is allowed, and what is not, and she has used a great title for her post: Da VC Code!