Calcutta Notebook

by B J

Frontier| Vol. 50, No.19, Nov 12 – 18, 2017

President Donald Trump is tightening the issuance of H1B Visas that have been used by large numbers of Indian engineers to work in the United States. A H1B Visa is issued by the US Government at the request of an American Company which says it cannot find the required skilled personnel within the United States, hence needs to employ foreign workers. Many American companies are doing business of H1B Visas. They apply for H1B Visas, bring in Indian engineers into the US, and then lend the services of these engineers to other companies. Trump wants to put an end to this practice. He has proposed that the Principal Employer requesting a H1B Visa will have to disclose the name of the ultimate user of the services of the person brought into the US. This will restrict the ability of these companies to lend the services to any company that gives a high price for the services of the engineer.Read More »


Dominance of the Top 10 Percent

by Bharat Dogra

Frontier | November 10, 2017

One of the measures of inequalities that has been often used in the extent to which the top ten percent of the citizens of any country dominate its economy. In India the top 10 percent of the population amount in overall numbers to about 80 million (8 crore) adult individuals in term of 2014 data. To what extent do the top ten percent of the citizens (in terms of their income) have a dominant role in the economy in India?

In this context some data given in the widely discussed paper titled ‘Indian Income Inequality – From British Raj to Billionaire Raj’ is very relevant. This paper has been written by Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel of the Paris School of Economics.Read More »

India: In Himachal Pradesh’s Kasauli, It’s a Fight between Technology and Tradition


The Wire | November 02, 2017

Kasauli: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are fighting two very different battles in the Kasauli assembly constituency.

In 2012, in the last assembly elections, the saffron party’s Rajiv Sahjal barely edged out the Congress’s Vinod Sultanpuri by a slender margin of 24 votes. Sultanpuri and Sajhal will face off against each other yet again this time, with both parties leaving nothing to chance.Read More »

India: Dedicating a Dam doesn’t mean Problems of People Disappear, Government has a Responsibility

Time to Critically Debate the Disease of Development and Big Infrastructure and the Social and Environmental Costs Across the Country

SardarSarovar is not to Serve Gujarat’s Interest but to Serve Interests of Corporations

Frontier | September 22, 2017

The current model of development has a far wide acceptance by the political parties and executive, but has it been accepted by the Indian people, the vast majority which has silently suffered at its altar, questioned Hannan Mollah, former MP (CPIM) and Secretary, All India KisanSabha. He was speaking at a public meeting organized by Delhi Solidarity Group and National Alliance of People’s Movements titled ‘the Fallacy of Sardar Sarovar Dam and Development Debate Today‘ at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. The meeting was addressed by Usha Ramanathan, legal researcher, Sanjay Parikh, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court, Prof. K.B Saxena, former Secretary, GoI and Medha Patkar, SaraswatiBai and GokhruBhai of Narmada Bachao Andolan.

HannanMollah further emphasized that time has come to re-visit the cost-benefit analysis of a number of development project since independence, since all around we see things in decay after 70 years of independence. This is reflected in the current unrest in the rural hinterland and the grave situation of Indian agriculture forcing farmers to commit suicide and leaving farm labourers to die in penury. Read More »

India: Horrific letter of Prof. Saibaba written from jail on 17th October

Frontier | October 29, 2017

Dear Vasantha
I am frightened to think of coming winter. Already I am shivering with continuous fever. I do not have a blanket. I do not have a sweater/jacket. As temperature goes down excruciating pain continuously in my legs and left hand increases. It is impossible for me to survive here during the winter that starts from November. I am living here like an animal taking its last breaths. Somehow 8 months I managed to survive. But I am not going to survive in the coming winter. I am sure. It is of no use to write about my health any longer.Read More »

India: When Cities Were Nature’s Haven: A Tale From Bangalore


The Wire | October 29, 2017

File 20171023 1746 1irrbdp.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Bangalore has a long-lasting love history with nature. Credit: Eirik Refsdal/Wikimedia, CC BY-ND

We tend to think that nature and cities are polar opposites. Yet this is not true. As my research on Bangalore or Bengaluru – India’s IT hub – shows, for centuries, the population of this region grew because of nature, not despite it.

In my book Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present and Future, I take a deep dive into the ecological history of an Indian city, going way back in the past to the 6th century CE.

Inscriptions on stone and copper plates show that the starting point for a new village was often the creation of a tank, or lake, to collect rain water – essential and life-giving in this unfavourable low-rainfall environment.Read More »

India: After The POSCO Withdrawal Govt of Odisha Handing Over Land To JSW Steel

 by | October 21, 2017


As you know that the continuous peaceful resistance of our people forced the POSCO to exit finally. However, we came to learn from the media that the government of Odisha is planning to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to hand over our land to another company named JSW Steel Limited. JSW Steel Limited is a part of the Sajjan Jindal controlled JSW Group.Read More »

India: Metamorphosis of the Media

by Barun Das Gupta

Frontier | Vol. 50, No.10, Sep 10 – 16, 2017

The Indian media—or at least the most dominant and influential part of it—is undergoing a rapid metamorphosis. From being the vehicle of informing the public with news and objective analysis and being the vehicle of articulating the people’s voice and gauging the public mood, it has become a willing adjunct of a coterie that seeks to transform a democratic State into a fascist one.

These media-persons, especially those in the electronic media, are waging a valiant war against domestic ‘anti-nationals’ and foreign enemies from their five-star comfort of air-conditioned studios. ‘Peace’ has become the most hated word today and ‘peaceniks’ the most hated species—the target of insults, insinuations and innuendos—whose patriotism can be questioned by any Tom, Dick and Harry. And the questioners are usually those who have no record of patriotism, no record of participating in India’s freedom movement.Read More »

India: Growing Intolerance Leading To Shrinking Economy, Warns Raghuram Rajan?

by Raman Swamy

Frontier | September 16, 2017

For a full year after he stepped down as RBI Governor in September 2016, Raghuram Rajan refrained from speaking out.  Now he has come out with a book entitled “I Do What I Do” and has been talking about what he thinks about India’s current economic, political and social scenario.

In various interviews and talks during the past week, Rajan’s focus has been as much on why the growth rate has slowed down as on what needs to be done to ensure that the country gets back on track to achieve its potential as an economic super-power.

As a world-renowned monetary economist with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the system in India as well as the advantage of studying developments from afar for the past 12 months,  his observations are deserving of close attention. Read More »

India: At Farmers’ Protest in Rajasthan, Anger at Modi Government Policies and State Indifference


The Wire | September 11, 2017

Farmers protesting at the Krishi Upaj Mandi, Sikar. Credit: Shruti Jain

Sikar, Rajasthan: Close to 15,ooo farmers have been protesting at the Krishi Upaj Mandi in Rajasthan’s Sikar district since September 1, under the leadership of the All India Kisan Mahasabha. Their demands include a complete farm loan waiver, implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, the withdrawal of the 2017 ban on cattle trade, a solution to the menace of stray cattle and a pension for farmers. The protesters have called for a blockade at the district collectorate today (September 11) to assert their demands.Read More »