Evening Edition

Headlines from around the block:

What policies can inspire men to end violence against women? This was the topic of a conference held in New Delhi, recently. The discussion hoped to begin a dialogue on masculinities itself, writes Deepti Priya Mehrotra….

Finance minister P Chidambaram has deferred, at least for now, increasing the size of the Rs 60,000 crore farm waver announced in the Budget.

New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India has decided to set a network of trauma centres along the Golden Quadrilateral—North-South and East-West corridors of the National Highways to help accident victims.

The National Human Rights Commission has issued notice to the Chief Secretary, UP, on a news report which highlighted the plight of women inmates and their babies in UP Jails. Taking suo-motu cognizance of the report published in “The Hindu” on February 29, 2008, the Commission said that the news report raises serious issue of violation of human rights of women inmates and their babies.

It will help absorb undue increase in cost of materials used in government projects.

NEW DELHI: The former United States Vice-President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore on Friday called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The two leaders are reported to have discussed climate change and sustainable development. Mr. …

Government has finalised a scheme on e-governance in civic bodies of cities with a population of a lakh or above, Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

Justifying its action against Tibetan protesters here, government has said that anti-China political activities by the refugees will not be allowed in India.

Farmer Suicides Continue

As an update to a previous post, “Seeds of Discontent,” InfoChange India reports that despite the recent government loan waiver package for poor farmers with less than 2 hectares of land, farmer suicides continue:

 Even as the UPA government works out the nitty-gritty of the Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver for farmers, announced in its 2008 Union budget, farmers in Vidarbha and other parts of Maharashtra and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh continue to end their lives.

 Vidarbha remains a grim statistic, with 24 farmers from the region reported to have committed suicide since February 29.  Elsewhere in Maharashtra, eight farmers killed themselves.  In Andhra Pradesh, adjoining Vidarbha, 38 farmers have ended their lives since the loan waiver was announced, according to state revenue department figures. 

The government claims there is no connection between the loan waivers and recent suicides, but local community members in these regions differ –

 A young farmer Jayarami Reddy (35) of Marrikunta village in Kurnool district and his wife Saraswati committed suicide three days after the loan waiver announcement when they realised they did not qualify for it.

 Satyanarayan Reddy of Kodur village, Krishna district, had 4 acres of land and his loans from private moneylenders totalled Rs 2 lakh. The local moneylender succeeded in getting him arrested, resulting in two months’ rigorous imprisonment for the farmer. After his release, his creditors threatened to send his wife to jail. This proved too much for the 45-year-old farmer who committed suicide on March 9. 

The land size stipulation in the government waiver remains a point of contention for critics.  For more information, go here.