Monthly Archives: November 2014

Court stays execution of death sentence in rape, murder case

Court stays execution of death sentence in rape, murder case

The Supreme Court at a special sitting on Sunday stayed the execution of death sentence of convict Selvam, fixed for Monday by the First Additional Sessions Judge Salem, in a case of rape and murder of a minor girl.

A Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, in a sitting held at the former’s residence, heard counsel K.V. Vijayakumar and stayed the execution after it was brought to the court’s notice that the convict was to be hanged on Monday morning.

The Bench issued notice to the State seeking its response on the special leave petition filed by Selvam challenging the September 21 judgment of the Madras High Court upholding the death sentence awarded by the trial court. Counsel submitted that the date of execution had been fixed before the expiry of the 90-day period for the convict to move the Supreme Court.

The prosecution said the appellant raped and murdered a class IV student in February 2009. The trial court in March 2010 slapped the death sentence. The High Court was also of the view that the evidence was marshalled properly and the prosecution without an iota of doubt had established the guilt of the accused. It had been proved that it was he who had actually taken the girl, raped and murdered her and then put the body in a gunny bag and placed it in a canal.

The court said that all the charges levelled against him stood proved and it affirmed the finding of the trial court. Further, it was held that it was a fit case where the death sentence awarded by the trial court had to be upheld.

Assailing the High Court judgment, the appellant said that some of his antecedents considered by the High Court were inadmissible as evidence.

Further, the High Court had failed to consider the possibility of his reform and rehabilitation.

It ought to have commuted the death sentence into life imprisonment, he said and prayed for a stay on the operation of the judgment and stay on execution of the death sentence

வங்கக் கடலில் புதிய காற்றழுத்தத் தாழ்வு நிலை: தமிழகத்தில் இன்று முதல் மீண்டும் மழை

வங்கக் கடலில் புதிய காற்றழுத்தத் தாழ்வு நிலை: தமிழகத்தில் இன்று முதல் மீண்டும் மழை

வங்கக் கடலில் புதிதாக உருவாகியுள்ள காற்றழுத்தத் தாழ்வு நிலையின் காரணமாக, தமிழகத்தில் வியாழக்கிழமை (நவமபர் 20) முதல் மீண்டும் மழை பெய்யக்கூடும் என வானிலை ஆய்வு மையம் தெரிவித்துள்ளது.

சென்னை வானிலை ஆய்வு மைய இயக்குநர் எஸ்.ஆர்.ரமணன் கூறியதாவது:

நிலநடுக்கோடு அருகில் உள்ள இந்தியப் பெருங்கடல், அதையொட்டியுள்ள தென் வங்கக் கடல் பகுதிகளில் புதிதாக காற்றழுத்தத் தாழ்வு நிலை ஒன்று உருவாகியுள்ளது. இது மேற்கு நோக்கி நகரும் என எதிர்பார்க்கப்படுகிறது.

இதன் காரணமாக, வரும் நாள்களில் தெற்கு கடலோரம், டெல்டா மாவட்டங்களில் அதிக மழை பெறும் வாய்ப்புள்ளது. லட்சத்தீவு அருகே உருவான காற்றழுத்தத் தாழ்வு நிலை காரணமாக, தமிழகத்தில் பரவலாக மழை பெய்துள்ளது. புதன்கிழமை காலை 8.30 மணியுடன் முடிவடைந்த கடந்த 24 மணி நேரத்தில் ராமநாதபுரம் மாவட்டம் பாம்பனில் அதிகபட்சமாக 100 மி.மீட்டர் மழை பதிவாகியுள்ளது.

தஞ்சை மாவட்டம் மடுக்கூர், ராமேஸ்வரத்தில் தலா 70 மி.மீ, ராமநாதபுரம், கமுதியில் தலா 60 மி.மீ, சீர்காழி, திருத்துறைப்பூண்டி, ஆலங்குடி, சிதம்பரம், வேதாரண்யம், குடவாசல், பட்டுக்கோட்டை, ஒரத்தநாடு ஆகிய இடங்களில் தலா 50 மி.மீட்டர் மழை பதிவாகியுள்ளது என்றார் அவர்.

முன்னறிவிப்பு: அடுத்த 24 மணி நேரத்தில், தமிழகத்தின் கடலோர மாவட்டங்களான ராமநாதபுரம், திருநெல்வேலி, தூத்துக்குடி, கன்னியாகுமரி, சென்னை, காஞ்சிபுரம், திருவள்ளூர், கடலூர், விழுப்புரம், தஞ்சாவூர், திருவாரூர், நாகை, புதுக்கோட்டையில் அனேக இடங்களில் கன மழை பெய்யும்.

அதேபோல, உள் மாவட்டங்களில் மிதமான மழை பெய்யும் என வானிலை ஆய்வு மையம் தெரிவித்துள்ளது.

Sensitising people to Centre’s welfare schemes

Sensitising people to Centre’s welfare schemes


With a view to ensuring that information about the welfare scheme formulated by the Union government reaches all people, the Press Information Bureau, Southern Region, Chennai, is organising a three-day public information campaign here from Monday.

The initiatives of the Union government, being implemented under the supervision of the Prime Minister, will be showcased at the Tamil Thiruman Maaligai, Vazhuthavur Road, Chokkanathanpettain.

Chief Minister N. Rangasamy is scheduled to inaugurate the programme.

55 stalls

A total of 55 stalls representing various Central and State departments and institutions will be put up.

Addressing reporters here on Sunday, K.M. Ravindran, Additional Director-General of the Press Information Bureau, said the campaign aims to create awareness of schemes such as the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana and the Swachh Bharat campaign.

“Infotainment programmes” will also be conducted and visitors can interact with the resource persons.

The Press Information Bureau and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have been conducting such campaigns in various parts of Tamil Nadu since 2006.

As many as 52 campaigns have been conducted so far, the official said.

Tamil courses have more takers among Dalits

Tamil courses have more takers among Dalits

The University of Madras had some time back removed from its curriculum Thunbakeni , a short story by late Pudumaipithan, which portrays a Dalit woman who had left India to make a living as a plantation worker in Sri Lanka.

On the surface, it may seem an “unwise” decision. But the university could no longer afford to allow anything even remotely seen as denigrating Dalits after a major shift in the composition of students pursuing university-level Tamil courses.

“Today, a majority of the students pursuing a degree course in Tamil are Dalits. While I am against approaching a literary work with a coloured view, I must also take into consideration the vicious atmosphere that exists on the campus. A Dalit students will certainly squirm at the pathetic condition of a Dalit character though it is a fiction,” said the former VCK MLA, Ravikumar.

For example, in the Tamil department of the University of Madras, of the 11 students pursuing MA, six are Dalits. Six out of 11 M.Phil students are Dalits. Importantly, all five PhD scholars are Dalits. The fact remains that though the department could admit 20 students in MA, it could not fill the seats.

Ma. Rajendran, former Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University in Thanjavur, predicted that in 20 years from now, all Tamil teachers in schools and colleges and scholars at universities could be only from among the Dalits. He attributed this pattern to the socio-economic conditions in Tamil Nadu.

“Of course, most of the Tamil students are Dalits as students from poor families lack the wherewithal to pursue other courses,” said Dr. Rajendran.

பாடத் திட்டம் வாயிலாக பாலியல் வன்கொடுமைத் தடுப்பு விழிப்புணர்வு


பாடத் திட்டம் வாயிலாக பாலியல் வன்கொடுமைத் தடுப்பு விழிப்புணர்வு

பெண் குழந்தைகளுக்கு பாலியல் கொடுமைகள் குறித்து, பாடப் புத்தகம் வாயிலாக விழிப்புணர்வு ஏற்படுத்த பரிசீலனை செய்ய தமிழக அரசுக்கு உயர் நீதிமன்றம் உத்தரவிட்டுள்ளது.

சென்னை சூளையைச் சேர்ந்த வழக்குரைஞர் டி.சித்ராதேவி உயர் நீதிமன்றத்தில் தாக்கல் செய்த பொதுநல மனுவின் விவரம்:

இளம் மாணவர்கள், குறிப்பாக பெண் குழந்தைகள் தினந்தோறும், வீடுகள், பள்ளிகள், தெருக்கள் ஆகிய இடங்களில் பாலியல் கொடுமைகளுக்கு ஆளாகின்றனர்.

மத்திய அரசு கடந்த 2007-ஆம் ஆண்டு நாடு முழுவதும் நடத்திய குழந்தைகள் துன்புறுத்தல் தொடர்பான ஆய்வில், 53 சதவீத குழந்தைகள் வீடுகள், பள்ளிகள், இதர இடங்களில் பாலியல் தொந்தரவுக்கு ஆளாவதாகத் தெரிவித்து. இதில், அதிகமாக வீடுகள், பள்ளிகளில்தான் நடைபெறுவதாகக் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டது.

பாலியல் கொடுமையில் இருந்து பெண் குழந்தைகளை பாதுகாப்பதற்கு, அவர்களின் பாடப்புத்தகத்தில், சந்தேகத்துக்குறிய நடத்தை குறித்து படமாகவும், கேலிச் சித்திரம் வாயிலாகவும் அவர்களுக்கு விழிப்புணர்வு ஏற்படுத்தலாம் என குழந்தைகள் பாதுகாப்பு நிபுணர்கள் கருத்து தெரிவித்துள்ளனர்.

இது தொடர்பாக கடந்த ஆண்டு அக்டோபர் மாதம் 1-ஆம் தேதி தமிழக அரசுக்கு கோரிக்கை மனு அளித்தேன். அதில், இந்த மாதம் 19-ஆம் தேதி குழந்தைகளுக்கு எதிரான கொடுமைகள் எதிர்ப்பு தினம் கொண்டாடும் போது, பாலியல் கல்வி குறித்த விழிப்புணர்வுக்கு முக்கியத்துவம் அளிக்குமாறு தெரிவித்தேன். ஆனால், எனது மனு மீது எந்த நடவடிக்கையும் எடுக்கவில்லை. எனவே, பெண் குழந்தைகளை பாலியல் கொடுமைகளிலிருந்து தடுப்பதற்கு நடவடிக்கை எடுக்க தமிழக அரசுக்கு உத்தரவிட வேண்டும் என மனுவில் கோரப்பட்டது.

இந்த மனு நீதிபதிகள் எம்.சத்தியநாராயணன், ஆர்.மகாதேவன் ஆகியோர் அடங்கிய அமர்வு முன்பு வெள்ளிக்கிழமை விசாரணைக்கு வந்தது. மனுவை விசாரித்த நீதிபதிகள் மனுதாரர் அளித்த கோரிக்கை மனுவை 8 வாரங்களுக்குள் பரிசீலனை செய்ய தமிழக அரசுக்கு உத்தரவிட்டனர்.

SC sets 3-month deadline for Gulberg Society case

SC sets 3-month deadline for Gulberg Society case


It is one of the 9 cases connected to the 2002 post-Godhra riots

Observing that “people are languishing in jail for over 10 years,” the Supreme Court on Thursday asked a Sessions Court to complete the trial in the Gulberg Society case, one of the nine cases connected to the 2002 post-Godhra riots, in three months.

Twelve years after a mob attacked the Gulberg society at Chamanpura in Ahmedabad on February 22, 2002, killing 71 persons, including former parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri, a Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu said no time should be wasted to bring a closure to the case.

The Gulberg case trial had lumbered on through periodic retirements of trial judges who heard the case, procedural delays and a flurry of complaints filed by victims against the conduct of the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The case has a total 73 accused. Of this, five continue to remain in jail, denied bail. The case has 580 witnesses.

The case now has a new judge, following the retirement of the previous one. Principal Sessions Judge, Ahmedabad, P.V. Desai, has been assigned to preside over the case.

Chief Justice Dattu, however, said the judgment in the case should be prepared but not pronounced by the trial court until further notice from the apex court.

When SIT chief and former CBI director R.K. Raghavan submitted that the trial court was unlikely to complete the trial in three months, the court insisted that trial proceedings should be finished expeditiously and any delay communicated to the Bench.

The Gulberg case has had a chequered history since the Supreme Court started monitoring the nine riots-related cases after a petition from the National Human Rights Commission.

The cases pertain to the riots in Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.

பெண்கள் கூட்டம்

பெண்கள் கூட்டம்

DSCF1642பெண்களுக்கு எதிரான வன்முறை குறித்த விழிப்புணர்வு  கூட்டம்
குடும்ப வன்முறை எப்படி சட்டத்தின்படி சரிசெய்வது
திருமணத்தை பதிவு செய்வது குறித்து எடுத்துரைத்தல்.
11.11.2014 இன்று கஸ்தூரிபாய்  உள்ள  சவணாபேட் அங்கன்வாடி                                                        மையத்தில் விழிப்புணர்வு  கூட்டம் நடைேபற்றது.
குடும்ப வன்முறையால் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட பெண்களை கண்டறிதல்.
திருமண சான்றிதழின் அவசியம் பற்றி எடுத்துரைத்தல்.
பெண்கள் பிரச்சனைகளை கண்டறிந்து அதற்கான தீர்வுகளை அளித்தல்.
சுயதொழிலின் அவசியம் பற்றி பெண்களுக்கு எடுத்துரைத்தல்.
20 பெண்கள் கலந்து கொண்டனார்.

Monsoon gets vigorous in Tamil Nadu

Monsoon gets vigorous in Tamil Nadu


Braving heavy rain, people wait for U.S. visas on Anna Salai on Wednesday. Photo: R. Ragu
The HinduBraving heavy rain, people wait for U.S. visas on Anna Salai on Wednesday. Photo: R. Ragu

Life was affected in coastal districts, especially in Nagapattinam and Karaikal

Even as a low pressure area now lying over the southwest Bay of Bengal is expected to bring more rains to the State till Friday, life in the coastal districts, especially Nagapattinam and Karaikal, was affected on Wednesday as the monsoon became vigorous.

For the second consecutive day, heavy rains lashed the coastal areas. A holiday was declared for schools in Karaikal in the Union Territory of Puducherry, reports received here said.

However, the rains were expected to decrease by the weekend, said S.R. Ramanan, Director of the Area Cyclone Warning Centre in Chennai. Isolated heavy rains were likely to continue in some parts of the State, but the chances “are slim” for the low pressure to intensify, he said.

Nagapattinam district has been bearing the brunt of the latest spell, with Mayiladuthurai, Thalaignayiru, Kollidam, Sirkazhi and Tharangambadi recording good rain. Paddy crop, raised on 1.05 lakh hectares in the district, face the risk of being inundated.

The rains are expected to benefit the tail-end and middle reaches of the Cauvery delta districts where nurseries have been transplanted. But wherever the samba paddy crop is 50-60 days old, water logging would make them vulnerable to pest attacks, farmers say. Salem and Namakkal districts also received fairly good rains in the last couple of days, and the water level in the Bhavani Sagar dam increased marginally to 85.28 feet.

Focus on clean water

For the Directorate of Public Health, the focus is on ensuring clean drinking water to all, said Director of Public Health K. Kolandaisamy. “Apart from our mosquito control drive, we have a system in place to check for cases of fever,” he said.

One dead in another sterilisation camp

One dead in another sterilisation camp

12 women critical at Guarella in Chhattisgarh

A day after the death of 11 women who had undergone sterilisation in Bilaspur, the death of one more woman at another mass family planning camp in the same district of Chhattisgarh has come to light. Twelve more women were in a critical condition on Wednesday in Guarella, where a sterilisation camp was held on November 10. A total of 56 women underwent the procedure at the camp. “One woman has died and 12 are critical. They have been brought to the CIMS [Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences]. All of them are showing the same symptoms as the victims of the Pendhari camp,” Bilaspur Mayor Vani Rao told The Hindu. According to Ms. Rao, Chaitibai of Dhanoli village died when she was being brought to Bilaspur. “The deceased woman belonged to the protected Baiga tribe. They are not supposed to undergo sterilisation,” Ms. Rao added.

CIMS medical superintendent R. Murthi confirmed to The Hindu that nearly 50 women from Guarella were undergoing treatment in his hospital.

Chhattisgarh Health Minister Amar Agrawal denied any knowledge of the Guarella incident. “I have no information if any such thing has been reported from other parts of Bilaspur,” he said.

Utopia as skill set

Utopia as skill set

NEXT STEP: “The government has to use its goodwill with industry to expand the objective of ‘Make in India’ to ‘Skill India.’” Picture shows students at a handicrafts workshop in Chennai. Photo: M. Srinath
The HinduNEXT STEP: “The government has to use its goodwill with industry to expand the objective of ‘Make in India’ to ‘Skill India.’” Picture shows students at a handicrafts workshop in Chennai. Photo: M. Srinath

Is India ready to cash in on its demographic dividend?

A demographic dividend is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a nation and can either make or mar its citizens’ present and future. When the share of the working-age population is on a rising curve while the share of dependents (those under the age of 15 and over 60) is falling, it enables workers to save (hence savings share in GDP rises) and invest. Thus, ceteris paribus, the growth rate rises. But for this dynamic to be in place, the working-age population should earn more than what their parents were earning. For that they must be in jobs more productive than agriculture, and agriculture itself must become more productive. These jobs require more skills and higher levels of education, both of which are demonstrably lacking in our population. This is the most important reason for why India’s potential dividend risks becoming a nightmare.

Also Read: Can India garner the demographic dividen?

Providing vocational training

Just over half of our workforce of 470 million is either illiterate or has not completed primary education. National Sample Survey estimates that only 10 per cent of the workforce has any vocational training, formal or informal. But has public action and private initiative in these areas in the last decade reflected the extent of the problem and the urgency in tackling it? The demographic dividend will last only another 25 years or so.

In his address to the nation on Independence Day in 2007, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated, “The vast majority of our youth seek skilled employment after schooling. We will soon launch a Mission on Vocational Education and Skill Development through which we will open 1,600 new industrial training institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics, 10,000 new vocational schools and 50,000 new Skill Development Centres. We will ensure that annually over 100 lakh students get vocational training, which is a fourfold increase from today’s level.” The tragedy is that almost none of this has happened. The only good news is that the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which was created as a private-public partnership in 2010, has trained a million people, as it incubated hundreds of private vocational training providers.

The number of private ITIs did increase from 2,000 to about 10,000 in 2013, but in India when capacity expands at this pace, quality is the first casualty. The government has limited capacity to regulate private ITIs; hence industry continues to complain about the quality of its trainees. These were the only two major developments on the ground that happened during the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) (which recognised for the first time since Five Year Plans were introduced that a problem of skills existed), and since. In fact, the government grossly exaggerated that 500 million persons needed to be given vocational training by 2022; the total workforce itself is unlikely to exceed 550 million in that year. It then went about allocating that number to Ministries and the NSDC (100 million to the Labour Ministry, 50 million to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, 200 million to the rest of the Ministries and 150 million to the NSDC) to go and train. The 500 million target of the government implied that 50 million people would be trained every year, but even now the total capacity of all institutions, both private and public, to train does not exceed five million per annum. Even the more reasonable target of 200 million people to be given vocational training, that we have estimated, would be terribly ambitious, given that it means training 20 million each year till 2022. Achieving this requires a paradigm shift from a government-driven approach to a private sector-driven one and from relying mainly on discrete vocational training providers to a secondary school-based system. The most successful vocational education training systems in the world (Germany and China) rely on this approach.

In late 2009, there were 1,66,000 schools with classes 9 and 10 (secondary level) and 57,000 with classes 11 and 12 (senior secondary level). Barely 3 per cent of the latter had any vocational education. Thanks to a task force of the MHRD, the government accepted the proposal to introduce vocational education for the first time in class 9 too. For four decades, vocational education was available only in classes 11 and 12. No industry participation, little practical training, and poorly qualified instructors ensured that only 3 per cent of students from the senior secondary level were in vocational education. In any case, those who graduated never got a job in their trade, and could not gain admission into polytechnics either. So, vocational education was a dead-end. It is no wonder that it has always been seen as a secondary option by parents and children. But the majority who pursued a general academic education were not very employable either. It is hardly surprising that demand for secondary education was low; even today, secondary level education enrolment is only 63 per cent and at the senior secondary level, it is 36 per cent (as of 2010) — way below Chinese levels.

Besides, around one-third of the institutions with secondary sections are very small, having an enrolment of 80 or less in classes 9 and 10. In classes 11 and 12, 32.2 per cent of these institutions have an enrolment of 81-160. They are underutilised. The infrastructure of these institutions needs to be used for vocational education, with participation from local industry. But because of the struggles between the MHRD and the Labour Ministry between 2011 and 2013, the National Skills Qualification Framework, the basis of this reform, could barely be implemented. It is being rolled out slowly now. Recent government interventions have been too timid.

The case of China

The reason why in China half of all children completing nine years of compulsory schooling enter vocational education at the senior secondary level is that they emerge highly employable after three years, of which one year is spent in practical training in industry (unheard of in India). China is a manufacturing superpower because it has human resources to staff semi-skilled and skilled tasks at the lower and middle levels. ‘Make in India’ cannot succeed without the base of the vocational education training system in the country being widened well beyond the limited number of private providers and ITIs who populate this space. But for this to happen, our new government has to use its goodwill with industry, that has backed it to the hilt so far, to expand the objective of ‘Make in India’ to ‘Skill India.’ Employers complain bitterly about the quality of vocational education training graduates in India — whether from secondary schools, ITIs, polytechnics or engineering colleges.

But ironically only 16 per cent of Indian firms carry out any in-firm training themselves, as against 80 per cent of Chinese firms. Most of the 16 per cent are large firms (often foreign ones); the majority of firms are micro, small and medium size and do little training that is informal or no training. Our surveys have shown that these firms have even avoided participating in the government’s apprenticeship scheme since 1961.

Industry, whether in services, manufacturing or construction, will have to offer its staff as instructors. It will have to offer internships, participate in curriculum redesign to suit its needs and participate in assessments of competencies based on national occupation standards. Some of this work has begun (with FICCI/CII and some firms taking the lead), but ‘Make in India’ risks remaining a slogan if we are not able to rapidly upscale the number of people who should acquire technical and soft skills, from about 5 million to 20 million a year, to make them industry-ready. Demographic dividend cannot be harnessed without faster non-agricultural job creation for skilled youth.

(Santosh Mehrotra is professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the author/editor of India’s Skills Challenge.)