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Showing posts from May, 2011

'Rural unemployment cause for concern'

Poor farm output and lack of job opportunities in rural areas have led to an increase in rural-urban migration, an industry body survey has said.

"This has led to increased pressure on infrastructure in cities," PHD Chamber survey said.On an average, the farm output grew by only 2.5 per cent and food grains 1.6 per cent during the 2001-11 period, it said.

Despite several employment generation schemes implemented by the government, the rural unemployment remains higher at 10.1 per cent than 7.3 per cent in urban areas, according to the survey.

Further, it says, increased rural-urban migration has led to an increase in number of slum dwellers in the country.

Of the total 48,994 slums estimated in India, Maharashtra has the maximum at 17,019, followed by Andhra Pradesh 5,249 and West Bengal at 5,049, it said.

However, the study said, Madhya Pradesh has least number of slums in the country.The slum population grew by 23.6 per cent per annum, surpassing the overall population growth o…

'31 pc of newly-elected MLAs have criminal cases'

About 48 per cent of newly- elected MLAs of Kerala and 35 per cent of West Bengal have criminal cases pending against them, according to a study.

The analysis by ADR and National Election Watch has found out that 257 MLAs out of 820 (31 per cent) whose poll affidavits were analysed in the new assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have criminal cases against them.

A total of 133 MLAs out of the 257 have declared serious IPC charges like murder, attempt to murder, robbery and extortion in their affidavits. An Assam legislator even has charges of waging war against the government against him.

The West Bengal assembly has the highest number of MLAs with pending criminal cases (102) whereas Puducherry has lowest number of MLAs with pending criminal cases (9).

Percentage-wise, Kerala has 48 per cent MLAs with criminal cases, followed by West Bengal (35 per cent), Puducherry (30 per cent), Tamil Nadu (29 per cent) and Assam (10 per cent).

A total of 268 MLAs (33 per …

59 pc of PDS grains do not reach households: report

Despite India spending over two per cent of GDP in social protection schemes, their returns in terms of poverty reduction are yet to reach full potential, a World Bank report has said, pointing to "high leakages" in PDS and "uneven implementation" of MNREGA across states.

The report, the first comprehensive review of India's social welfare and anti-poverty initiatives, said about 60 per cent of grains released by government under public distribution system did not reach households in 2004-05.

"India spends over two per cent of GDP in social protection programmes, more than many other developing nations and there are pockets OF good performance but the overall returns in terms of poverty reduction and improvement in livelihood have not reached their full potential," World Bank lead economist John Blomquist said while presenting the new report in New Delhi.

The study, commissioned in 2004 after request from the Planning Commission, said while poorer states…

Only 9 pc women among MLAs in five new assemblies: Study

Despite promises by political parties to increase representation of the fair sex, the total number of women MLAs in the five new state assemblies has gone down from 80 in 2006 to 72 in 2011, according to a study.

Women make only nine per cent of all MLAs in the assemblies to which elections were held recently, which is even below the total percentage of women MPs in the Lok Sabha (11 per cent), says the analysis by ADR and National Election Watch.

The study points out that among the 824 newly-elected MLAs in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, only 72 are women.

West Bengal has the highest number of women MLAs -- 34 (12 per cent of the strength of assembly), followed by Assam with 14 (11 per cent), Tamil Nadu 17 (seven per cent) and Kerala 7 (five per cent).

Puducherry Assembly does not have any woman as MLA.

Party-wise, the highest number of women MLAs are from Trinamool Congress -- 24 (13 per cent), followed by Congress -- 17 (10 per cent) and AIADMK -- 12 (8 per cent)…

48 women raped every hour in Congo, study finds

The African nation of Congo has been called the worst place on earth to be a woman.

A new study released shows that it's even worse than previously thought: 1,152 women are raped every day, a rate equal to 48 per hour.

That rate is 26 times more than the previous estimate of 16,000 rapes reported in one year by the United Nations.

Michelle Hindin, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health who specialises in gender-based violence, said the rate could be even higher.

The source of the data, she noted, is a survey that was conducted through face-to-face interviews, and people are not always forthcoming about the violence they have suffered when talking to strangers.

"The numbers are astounding," she said.

Congo, a nation of 70 million people that is equal in size to Western Europe, has been plagued by decades of war. Its vast forests are rife with militias that have systematically used rape to destroy communities.

The analysis, which will be pu…

Over a billion tons of food wasted every year: UN

Around a third of the food produced in the world every year -- around 1.3 billion tonnes -- gets lost or wasted, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said.

"Given the limited availability of natural resources it is more effective to reduce food losses than increase food production in order to feed a growing world population," the FAO said in a report.

FAO said the amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world's annual cereals crop.
Some 925 million people around the world suffer from hunger.

The report said that the problem in the developing world was mainly food losses -- through, for example, crop failures and poor infrastructure.

In industrialised countries, the issue is more about "retailers and consumers throwing perfectly edible foodstuffs into the trash."

The report found that in Europe and North America consumers wasted between 95 and 115 kilogrammes of food every year.

The report found that in the retail indus…

Millions in Asia face poverty if prices surge: UN

Soaring food and oil prices could keep an additional 42 million people in poverty in the Asia Pacific region and threaten economic growth, the United Nations said.

As regional economies continue to pick up pace in the wake of the global downturn, they face renewed fears about the impacts of higher oil costs, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) said.

In its Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, the UN agency said higher crude prices could wipe up to one per cent off growth in the energy-hungry region.

"As soon as you recover from the financial crisis you have the oil and food crisis again," said Nagesh Kumar, director of the UNESCAP macroeconomic policy and development division.

UNESCAP said if crude prices rose to an average of USD 130 dollars a barrel and food prices doubled this year -- a worst case scenario -- then an extra 42 million people would either fall into, or fail to climb out of, poverty.

New York's main oil cont…

High food,oil prices to push 18 mn Asians into poverty:UNESCAP

As many as 17.8 million people in Asia could be pushed below the poverty line if the food price inflation doubles in 2011 and oil prices surge to USD 130 per barrel, according to a report by UN-ESCAP.

It said if staple food prices were to rise at twice the 2010 rate and average oil prices touch USD 130 a barrel, 17.8 million people would be pushed below the poverty line, said the report titled 'Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2011'.

"Food prices have increased in various countries by up to 35 per cent. Rising food prices are having dire effects on the poor and reversing development gains," the report said.

It also said that if food prices rise at the same rate as in 2010, and the average oil price be USD 115 a barrel then another 5.1 million people could come into poverty.

"The impact would be more severe in rural areas where the majority of poor live. India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Lao people's Democratic Republic are the most vulnerable to…