AHMEDABAD: Cases of rape, including those in which the survivors were minors; dowry deaths; and abetment to suicide cases in Gujarat were not only higher in 2021 compared to 2020, but also crossed the pre-Covid figures of 2019. In all, 7,348 cases of crimes against women were registered in 2021, showing a decline of 16.5% over the 2019 figures (8,799) and a dip of 8.5% over the 2020 numbers (8,028). The data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) suggests that the major decline was in the number of cases of cruelty meted out to women by their husbands or in-laws. In this category, the number of cases declined from 3,619 in 2019 to 2,271 in 2021. In 2020, these cases were 3,345. The data shows that the cases of rape increased in 2021 to 589 from 528 in 2019. In 2020, the figure was 486. The data reveals that rape cases increased by 11.5% in 2021 as compared to 2020. In 2019 and 2020, no case of rape of a minor girl was recorded but in 2021 seven such cases were registered. Police officers said that in 2020, the lockdown confined people to their homes in relative safety. But with the lockdown easing in 2021, there was an increase in crimes. Cases of kidnapping and abduction, particularly those relating to forcing girls into marriage, have increased in 2021 compared to the figures of 2019 and 2020. Gujarat has not seen a dramatic spike in cases of dowry deaths as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan have done. But there has been an increase in such cases in Gujarat - to 11 in 2021 from six in 2020 and nine in 2019. However, the data of CID crime indicates that the state in 2021 had reported 66 such cases, which was five more than in 2020. As for the NCRB, its data suggests that abetment to suicide cases in 2021 increased by 30% (384) as compared to the 2020 figures (295). The increase in 2021 was 70.5% as compared to the 2019 figures (225). The NCRB data also reveals that seven cases of kidnapping for ransom were reported in Gujarat between 2019 and 2021. In 2021, the data says there was only one case of kidnapping for ransom.
OVER Rs 1.74 CRORE for food and catering, including Rs 35 lakh for bananas; Rs 49.5 lakh in daily allowances; Rs 11 crore spent during the Covid lockdown; non-payment of players’ dues; dodgy selection policies. And then, extortion and death threats.The Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) is in the middle of a storm of allegations, ranging from financial impropriety to intimidation of players.So much so that CAU secretary Mahim Verma, the team’s head coach Manish Jha and the association spokesperson Sanjay Gusain were questioned by the Uttarakhand Police after they were named in an FIR by the father of a former India Under-19 cricketer for alleged extortion and death threats.“For the past three days, we have called Mahim Verma, Manish Jha and Sanjay Gusain separately. We have interrogated them. We have taken their statements,” Janmejaya Khanduri, SSP Dehradun, told The Indian Express. “If needed, it will be done again.”The FIR, registered at Vasant Vihar police station in Dehradun, has been filed under IPC sections for criminal conspiracy (120B), voluntarily causing hurt (323), extortion (384), intentional insult (504) and criminal intimidation (506).The complainant Virendra Sethi, who is the father of former Under-19 player Arya Sethi, has alleged that his son was given death threats by Jha, team manager Navneet Mishra and video analyst Piyush Raghuvanshi during the Vijay Hazare tournament last year.According to records reviewed by The Indian Express and interviews with players, this is just the latest chapter in Uttarakhand cricket’s troubled innings.The players point to non-payment or under-payment of dues (Rs 100 paid as DA when the mandated amount is Rs 1,500) and not being provided food during tournaments and training camps — the association’s books list expenses totalling several lakhs of rupees on items such as bananas and water bottles, even during the pandemic.The CAU’s audit report of March 31, 2020, has listed Rs 1,74,07,346 for food and catering and Rs 49,58,750 for daily allowances. This includes Rs 35 lakh for bananas and Rs 22 lakh for water bottles.Robin Bisht, an outstation professional for the Uttarakhand team, corroborated Sethi’s allegations, and recalled an incident before the recent Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Mumbai.“We returned to the team hotel and, after our recovery session in the pool, went for lunch. The hotel staff said they were told not to serve us food. When we called the team manager, he replied: ‘Order something from Swiggy or Zomato or stay hungry. Ek din khana nahi khaoge toh mar nahi jaoge (If you don’t eat for a day, you won’t die)’,” said Bisht.Uttarakhand lost the match to Mumbai by 725 runs — a world record victory margin in cricket.“Next day, we had a flight to Delhi. After exiting the airport, we again called up our team manager to say that we needed to go to Dehradun. ‘Where is our bus?’ The reply came, ‘book a cab, bus or train. Our job was to get you guys to Delhi, not your homes’,” said Bisht.Allegations of corruption have also been levelled against CAU by Independent MLA Umesh Kumar in the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly.“During Covid, CAU distributed Rs 6.5 crore as professional fees. I want to know to whom they paid this money? Before March 2020, the professional fees were around Rs 2.75 crore. During Covid, who had lunch and dinner of Rs 1.27 crore? How did they hire cricketing coaches? I raised this in Uttarakhand Sadan too. I think the BCCI should intervene; there is very big corruption going on here,” Kumar told The Indian Express.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox“During lockdown when everything was shut, they invested Rs 11 crore, and under full operation, you are investing Rs 12 crore,” Kumar said.The players, meanwhile, complained of being paid much lower than what the BCCI regulations stipulate. “Our official DA is Rs 1,500, we were getting Rs 100 per day. We got Rs 2,700 for 27 days; an unskilled labourer earned more than us,” said Bisht.MLA Kumar said he has brought the matter to the state government’s notice. “Me and 12 other MLAs have written to the Chief Minister, and if need be, we will go to the Supreme Court. The Lodha Committee was appointed by the Supreme Court, and ‘Mr Verma and Company’ are not following the court’s regulations,” Kumar said.In his police complaint, Sethi alleged that Verma demanded Rs 10 lakh for including his son in the state team.These allegations come after former India opener Wasim Jaffer had to leave his post as head coach after allegations of “communalising” the dressing room — charges that Jaffer strongly denied.CAU secretary Mahim Verma and president Jot Singh Gansola also face a complaint from their own association’s vice-president Sanjay Rawat and joint secretary Avnish Verma before the state cricket body’s Ombudsman and Ethics Officer, alleging financial irregularities. “We have sent a letter to the BCCI as well. The Ethics officer has told Mahim Verma and Jot Singh Gansola to submit their response by Thursday,” said Rawat.Speaking to The Indian Express, a top BCCI official said: “Right now, it is a matter related to a state association. In case it is raised at the BCCI’s apex council meeting on July 21, we will look into it.”Mahim Verma and head coach Manish Jha did not respond to calls from The Indian Express seeking comment on the allegations against them.
Former MP and chairman of unorganised workers and employees Congress Dr Udit Raj addressed party workers in Ahmedabad Sunday where he emphasised on communicating with workers groups ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls. Ahmedabad News1Chugging in, clearing hurdles: Prime Minister to inaugurate Phase I of Ahmedabad Metro in August this year2Three dead, four injured as ‘speeding’ truck hits van near Ahmedabad3Take steps to ensure treated wastewater is not discharge into Thol lake: NGTMore from AhmedabadHe was speaking at the Kamdar Karmachari Congress (KKC) meet held at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in Paldi where over 400 representatives of Gujarat KKC, including its state president Ashok Punjabi, were present. “It is not enough for us to ensure that the workers are fed whenever we meet them… several workers died due to corona… Those who helped them during the lockdown were different… If we communicate with at least 15 workers, then one among them will become politically aware and would want to choose an alternative next time,” said Raj. Express InvestigationThe Uber Files | The Indian Express is part of a global consortium analysing thousands of emails and documnets from UberRead hereHe was speaking at the Kamdar Karmachari Congress (KKC) meet held at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in Paldi where over 400 representatives of Gujarat KKC, including its state president Ashok Punjabi, were present. “It is not enough for us to ensure that the workers are fed whenever we meet them… several workers died due to corona… Those who helped them during the lockdown were different… If we communicate with at least 15 workers, then one among them will become politically aware and would want to choose an alternative next time,” said Raj. Express InvestigationThe Uber Files | The Indian Express is part of a global consortium analysing thousands of emails and documnets from UberRead here
Despite an interim injunction order granted by an Ahmedabad court that restrained Ahmedabad-based eatery ‘Sazzy Sizzler’ from “misusing, acquiring, providing and/or offering for sale” the sizzlers by using similar trade dress, data and trade secrets as that of another Ahmedabad-based eatery Yanki Sizzlers, it was brought to the Gujarat High Court’s attention Thursday by that ‘Sazzy Sizzler’ continues to violate the order.In January, a commercial Ahmedabad rural court had granted the temporary injunction order against Sazzy Sizzlers in a trademark suit filed by Yanki Sizzlers. It further directed that the injunction “will remain in operation till the final disposal of the suit.”On Thursday, Yanki told a division bench of Gujarat HC that an advertisement placed by Sazzys contained “similar pictures of sizzlers” as used in Yanki advertisements. Yanki Sizzlers further submitted that when it comes to sizzlers, they have been the “pioneers in Gujarat market from 2012 to 2020 with this product,” and that “there is none except us in this food distribution”.The bench, however, remarked on this submission, “Won’t sizzlers look the same because sizzlers for years have looked the same.” Yanki responded that Sazzy Sizzlers continue to use similar trade dress, restaurant set-up, etc as well as that of Yanki’s.Yanki Sizzlers, established in 2012, had submitted before the Ahmedabad court that an agreement for leave and licence was executed between Yankis and the premise owners for four years (from July 2017 to June 2021) with a condition that the licence could be terminated only by serving 30 days’ prior notice by the respective party. But Yanki’s director upon a visit to the premises in June 2020 when lockdown was eased in phased manner by the Central Government in the aftermath of Covid-19, “was shocked to find” the signboard of Sazzy Sizzlers installed on the premises, Moreover, the director of Yanki’s was not allowed to even enter the premises.According to Yanki, it came to the knowledge of the plaintiff (Yanki) that the defendants (Sazzy Sizzlers, owner of the premises) in conspiracy with each other have taken advantage of the lockdown by removing all the documents, furniture, kitchen utensils, secret recipe details, cheque books, letterhead, computer data etc. from the premises and instead started the same business of sizzlers at the same spot.”The Ahmedabad court had observed that the items prepared by Sazzys through the staff and manager earlier employed with Yanki are similar to the items and edibles prepared by the Yankis.Sazzy Sizzlers moved Gujarat HC in February, challenging the temporary injunction order by the Ahmedabad court. Earlier this month, it was pointed out by Yanki that Sazzy continues to violate the injunction order.Following Yanki’s submissions and the advocate for Sazzy not being present before the court, the bench observed, “Let them (Sazzy) come (before the court). If they (Sazzy) continue with this, we may have to take some stricter actions…They cannot, after the court’s specific directions, continue to do something that is impermissible.”
Written by Mark LandlerWhen Boris Johnson won a landslide election victory for his Conservative Party in 2019, he loomed as a colossus over British politics, the man who had redrawn the country’s political map with a vow to “get Brexit done.”With an 80-seat majority in Parliament, the greatest amassed by a Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher in 1987, Johnson seemed assured of five years in power. Some analysts predicted a comfortable decade in No. 10 Downing St. for Johnson, the most reliable vote-getter in British politics.Now, just 2-1/2 years after that triumph, Johnson’s political invincibility has been shattered. Rebels in his party fell short of ousting him in a dramatic no-confidence vote on Monday. But with 148 of 359 Tory lawmakers voting against him, he has been damaged, perhaps irretrievably, as an effective, credible leader. Although he remains prime minister, he may be living on borrowed time.It is one of the most head-spinning reversals of fortune in modern British political history. What happened?To some extent, Johnson’s standing crumbled because of the same confounding mix of strengths and foibles that propelled his rise: rare political intuition offset by breathtaking personal recklessness; a sense of history not matched by a corresponding sense of how he should conduct himself as a leader; uncanny people skills vitiated by a transactional style that earned him few allies and left him isolated at dangerous moments.It is that last quality, analysts say, that made Johnson so vulnerable to the setbacks he has suffered. With no underlying ideology beyond Brexit and no network of political friends, the prime minister lost the support of lawmakers in his party when it became clear they could not count on him to win the next election.“Johnson’s such an accomplished escape artist, and his colleagues so craven and cowardly that you can’t rule out him living to fight another day,” said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London. “But for what precisely? ‘There’s no there there,’ as the saying goes.”Johnson, after all, is the politician who decided to back Brexit after writing two columns — one making the case for leaving the European Union; the other arguing against it — the night before announcing his position. He won in 2019 by promising to “Get Brexit done,” but having accomplished that goal within months of the election, he often seemed like a prime minister without a plan.Events, as another British prime minister, Harold Macmillan, once put it, have also played a role. Like other world leaders, Johnson was thrown off course by the coronavirus pandemic, his government upended by a rolling health crisis, in which he played a highly visible but not always reassuring role.Johnson reacted late to the looming threat of the virus, imposing a lockdown on the country a week after neighbouring European countries. That delay, critics argued, made the first wave of the pandemic worse in Britain than elsewhere. In April 2020, with the virus circulating in Downing Street, Johnson himself contracted Covid-19, ended up in an intensive care unit and nearly died.But Johnson also pushed for Britain to be a pioneer in developing a vaccine. When Oxford University and AstraZeneca produced one, he rolled it out faster than almost any other major country. He also made a fateful decision — one later copied by other leaders — to reopen society after a significant percentage of the population had been vaccinated. Britons, he said, must learn to live with Covid.It was during the darkest days of the pandemic that the seeds of Johnson’s current troubles were sown. While the rest of the country was enduring stifling lockdowns, the prime minister and his top aides were taking part in social gatherings at Downing Street that violated their own lockdown restrictions.The first reports of illicit parties emerged late last November, prompting Johnson to issue a blanket denial that any laws had been broken. A subsequent police investigation found that was not true: Johnson himself was fined for attending his own birthday party in violation of the rules.Allies of Johnson argue that “Partygate,” as the London tabloids nicknamed it, is a trivial distraction at a time when Europe is confronting its first major land war since World War II. The prime minister swiftly staked out a position as Ukraine’s staunchest defender, shipping powerful weapons to its army and placing regular phone calls to his new friend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.At first, the war eclipsed the scandal, giving Johnson the chance to wrap himself in a statesman’s mantle. But as the fighting ground on, disenchantment resurfaced at home. London’s Metropolitan Police levied fines, and an internal investigation by a senior civil servant painted a lurid portrait of partying in the heart of government.The taint of moral hypocrisy corroded the prime minister’s popularity with the public. On Friday, when he and his wife Carrie Johnson climbed the steps to St. Paul’s Cathedral for a thanksgiving service in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, he was roundly booed by the crowd. It was an omen.Beyond that, the economic winds began blowing against Johnson. The supply-chain disruptions from the pandemic — combined with price shocks on food and fuel after Russia’s invasion — drove inflation into double digits and raised the specter of “stagflation.”The last time Britain faced that, its Labour government went down to a crushing defeat against Thatcher’s Conservatives. The prospect of history repeating itself helps explain why lawmakers are turning against Johnson.The 2019 Conservative victory was fuelled by winning seats in longtime Labour districts in the country’s Midlands and industrial north, known colloquially as the “red wall.” But as Johnson himself acknowledged after the victory, the Tories had rented these seats, not won them in perpetuity.Instead of appealing to those new Tory voters with innovative policies, Johnson lurched from scandal to scandal. In addition to Partygate, the prime minister became embroiled in an uproar over the expensive refurbishment of his apartment in Downing Street, which was funded by a Conservative donor.He defended a Conservative lawmaker who was accused of lobbying improperly while in office and then had to back down, a humiliating setback that presaged some of the troubles to come within his own party. He got caught up in a vicious and damaging public feud with his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.By themselves, these issues might not have been enough to trip up a politician known for his Houdini-like escapes. But against an economic backdrop that the head of the Bank of England described as “apocalyptic,” they contributed to fears in the party that the Conservatives face a ferocious voter backlash.“All we can say with any level of certainty is that ordinary Brits are going to find it tough going economically for the rest of this year — and probably well into the next,” Bale said. “And that spells trouble for the Tories, Johnson or no Johnson.”
Mr Bhil is a tribal leader hailing from the Chhota Udepur district.Ahmedabad: A BJP office-bearer in Gujarat was suspended from the party for six years after a video went viral in which a man was purportedly asking him about the money he had paid for securing the job of a conductor in the State Transport Corporation.The suspended office-bearer is identified as Jashubhai Bhil, who is the vice president of Gujarat BJP's Scheduled Tribe Morcha. Mr Bhil on Sunday denied taking any money and said the video was recorded under conspiracy to defame him.Mr Bhil is a tribal leader hailing from the Chhota Udepur district. He is currently serving as the vice president of the BJP's ST Morcha. He had earlier headed the Chhota Udepur district unit of the BJP."As ordered by the state president CR Patil, disciplinary action is being taken against Jashu Bhil and he is being suspended from the party for six years with immediate effect," Gujarat BJP said in a statement.In the video, which has gone viral on social media, a man is seen questioning Mr Bhil about the status of the employment for which he had allegedly paid Mr Bhil money after borrowing it on interest.The man purportedly says that he is not given an appointment even two years after making the payment and wants to know when he will get his money back.The video seems to have been recorded during the coronavirus-induced lockdown period as Mr Bhil purportedly says that offices are closed due to the lockdown and the man should come when they reopen.The man says that other people have already secured a job and questions when he will get it. The video is apparently recorded on a mobile phone.The man, who identified himself as Samad Makrani, claimed that Mr Bhil had taken Rs 40,000 from him assuring him a job as a conductor in the state transport in 2018."I repeatedly requested him (Mr Bhil) over the phone to return my money but he was not giving me a straight answer. To prove this, I recorded this video," he told reporters.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMr Bhil denied having taken the money and said the conversation was about helping Mr Makrani get his money back from a middle man who had promised him a job. "The video was recorded as part of a conspiracy to defame me," he told reporters.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
More than 60 per cent of women workers in informal sector lost their livelihood and there was a 65 per cent reduction in their income during the Covid-19 pandemic, revealed a research study by Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Cooperative Federation along with SEWA Bharat. The study titled ‘Building Resilience and Strengthening our Solidarity’ focusses on the effect of the second wave of the pandemic on 15 women’s collective social enterprises in six states across five sectors — agriculture, handicrafts, services, manufacturing and finance. Among 15, seven co-operatives from all five sectors were covered from Gujarat. Other states were Bihar, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.“The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected informal women workers, uprooting lives and livelihoods. For women in the informal sector, it has been a triple crisis: of health, livelihood and care. Due to a long lockdown, coupled with restrictions, these workers have lost their work and income – many have gone hungry, many more have gone into severe debt,” the report highlights.Of these, services sector followed by agriculture were the most hit during the months of the second lockdown (April-June, 2021).“60 women working under the women collective were reduced to 30 after the first wave. During the second wave, we somehow restarted our services with 30 women but it became very difficult as people would insist on both dose vaccination and would not let them, inside their houses. Since women were scared and hesitant to get vaccinated in the beginning so they got vaccinated late and thus could not get their both doses,” said Kusumben Vaghela (50) from Ahmedabad’s Vadaj area who is associated with SEWA homecare services where women take care of small children and senior citizens.With a family of four, Kusumben who earned Rs 9,000 per month was out of work for four months while her husband into hosiery work too lost his job.Kusumben’s is not the only case. Hitashiben Gamit, 31, of Lakhali village in Tapi district has one bigha land where she grows seasonal vegetables. Not only has she lost majority of her earnings during the second wave, but her crops were also damaged due to the unseasonal rains.“The earning from one seasonal produce of ladyfinger from my farm dropped down from Rs 20,000-25,000 to Rs 5,000. We could not sell in markets as these were closed and were forced to sell to local traders,” says Hitashiben.In addition to income and employment loss, the report also highlights that lack of access to health resources – medicines, tests, hospital beds, doctors – was widely reported from Gujarat. For instance, public facilities could not cope with demand, and local people also did not trust them due to a fear that the facilities lacked resources.“They, therefore, had to go to private hospitals, spending Rs 500- 1,000 per day on tests and medicines with one member from Tapi district reported that hospital bills ranged from Rs 1-1.5 lakh for a week if a patient succeeded in getting a bed for treatment. Members of agricultural collective, for the most part, could not afford these prices and had to rely on home treatment,” it states.In the village of Chichbardi, board member of Megha Co-operative, a collective of women in agriculture, Sangitaben reported that 15 people tested positive Covid-19 and a larger number showed symptoms but with negative test results.
The Gujarat government has reduced the tax on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) by five per cent with effect from Monday midnight, according to an official release. The state government claimed that the decison has been taken in the interest of people.The reduction comes months after the Government of India asked all state governments to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on ATF and rationalise it in the range of one to four per cent.In Gujarat, the VAT on ATF is as high as 30 per cent and the reduction will lower it to 25 per cent. The state government, however, did not elaborate on how the decision will affect the state exchequer.An estimated 1.4 lakh kilo litres of ATF is sold to airlines every year in Gujarat. In 2019-20, the state government earned VAT worth Rs 240 crore from ATF alone. The revenues from ATF has fallen and halved post the Covid pandemic lockdown.
AHMEDABAD: Donation of two kidneys by family of a 66-year-old brain-dead patient at the KD Hospital gave a new lease of life to two patients struggling to survive with regular dialysis. Jeshankar Borisagar, 66, a native of Vavdi in Amreli district, had met with an accident last week. He was brought to the hospital in serious condition. While the doctors tried to revive him for two days, he succumbed to the injuries and was declared brain-dead on Sunday. âAfter consent of his family, the two kidneys were retrieved and transplanted in two patients. During the pandemic, Borisagar, running a grocery shop in his village, would provide food and grocery even during the lockdown. Due to his kind acts, he was very popular with locals. His kindness thus continued even after his death,â said a doctor associated with the procedure, adding that his corneas were donated to the city-based eye bank. It was a hat-trick of transplants in a day for the hospital as a kidney transplant from live donor was also performed on the same day. The doctors said that a woman had donated her kidney to her husband. âThe feat of three transplants in a day is achieved by only a few hospitals in Gujarat,â added officials.
AHMEDABAD: Since the lockdown, a lot of students shifted from private schools to government-run schools due to the financial stress caused by the pandemic. Little Arman in Jamnagar was not lucky enough to have a smooth transfer to a government school. His father had to wage a year-long legal battle with the school for his school leaving certificate so that he could get admission to the government school, and this happened only after the intervention of consumer courts. According to the case details, a resident of Jamnagar, Chand Alam Ansari decided to move his son Arman, a student of Class 3 at St Francis School, to a government school after the lockdown. In July 2020, he requested the school to provide the school leaving certificate. Ansari told the school that it had begun teaching online but he had only one Android phone. He could not afford the expenses and wanted to shift the child to a government school. The private school asked Ansari to pay fees for the period of March to July, but Ansari refused, saying that his son was not taught anything in this time due to the lockdown. The school refused him the certificate and the child could not be admitted to the government school. Ansari dragged the school management to the Jamnagar District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission alleging deficiency in service and seeking directions to the school to issue the certificate. He also demanded compensation from school for wasting his sonâs precious time by not issuing the certificate. The school management, on the other hand, insisted that Ansariâs son got admission for the academic year 2020-21. For the certificate, Ansari had first to pay Rs 5,400 as fees for the last quarter, which he had not done. After hearing the case, in August, the district commission concluded the by not issuing the school leaving certificate, the school had shown a deficiency in service. But it was also held that Ansari was liable to pay the fees. The commission found a way out, and ordered Ansari to pay Rs 5,400 to the school but also directed the school to pay Rs 1,400 to Ansari as compensation for not issuing the certificate and Rs 4,000 extra for legal expenditure he had to incur. The commission, in this way, settled the account. This was not acceptable to the private school and it filed an appeal in the Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission against order of the district commission, but did not succeed. The schoolâs appeal was rejected in the last week of October.
OF THE OVER 7.7 crore registrations so far on the e-Shram portal — the country’s first centralised database of unorganised workers seeded with Aadhaar —Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar lead in terms of closing in on their respective targets for registration.With nearly a fifth of the targeted 38.37 crore unorganised workers now registered on the database, Odisha leads with an 87 per cent coverage of its target, followed by West Bengal (65 per cent), Chhattisgarh (33 per cent), Jharkhand (31 per cent) and Bihar (25 per cent). This trend is being inferred as an indication of the distress seen among unorganised and migrant workers originating from these states in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown last year.In absolute terms, states such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh have a higher target for registrations than say Odisha, but the registrations in these states are still to pick up pace, with the target achievement rate in these states at 10 per cent or below, as per government data as of November 11 reviewed by The Indian Express.The Union Labour Ministry is holding regular meetings with states for the updates for registrations, with the latest meeting having been held on November 12.The e-Shram portal will provide insight for the first time into an Aadhaar-seeded database for unorganised sector workers including migrant workers, gig workers, agricultural workers, anganwadi workers, street vendors, domestic workers among others across the country. Till date, such a database is available mainly only for organised workers through the registered workers under the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation.After registering on the e-Shram portal, the unorganised workers will have a Universal Account Number on the e-Shram card that will be valid across the country. This could be used to link with various social security schemes. For instance, the government has already announced linking accidental insurance with registration on the e-Shram portal. If a registered worker meets with an accident, he/she will be eligible for Rs 2 lakh on death or permanent disability and Rs 1 lakh on partial disability. The labour ministry is also undertaking work on linking this database with the Unnati portal, which is proposed to be a labour matching platform for workers to find employment.“States are being asked to provide regular updates about the registrations. States such as Odisha and other eastern states are doing much better progress than even other bigger states. This in some way is indicative of how migrant and unorganised workers from these regions got affected during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially during the lockdown last year, and that’s why more response rate is being seen for registrations in these regions,” a senior labour ministry official told The Indian Express.The government’s target of registrations for unorganised workers is based on the overall estimated size of 38.37 crore population of the informal sector workers, which it aims to complete fully by March-end next year. As of November 15, a total of 7.73 crore registrations have been completed on the portal, with the daily average of registrations around 12 lakhs over the last week. Top News Right NowBJP vs SP over Purvanchal e-way: Idea, construction, competing claimsTMC MLA triggers row with remarks against BSFJhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air orders 72 Boeing 737 MAX jetsClick here for more The registrations on the e-Shram portal have come after a series of earlier attempts over the years to register or issue identification numbers for unorganised workers. A proposal to issue a Unorganized Workers’ Identification Number (UWIN) and allotment of an Aadhaar-seeded Identification number without issuing any smart card was approved by the Central government in 2017 with an estimated cost of Rs 402.7 crore for implementation during 2017-18 and 2018-19. In June 2018, the Ministry of Labour and Employment had issued tender inviting bids for creation of a ‘national platform of unorganized workers and allotment of an Aadhaar seeded identification number.The Labour and Employment Ministry had in December last year sought help from other ministries to build a new database for migrant workers and others in the unorganised sector, which it had hoped to operationalise by June this year. It had then tasked the National Informatics Centre with the design and building of the portal.On June 29, however, after the delay in completion of the portal, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Centre and said that “the apathy and lackadaisical attitude by the Ministry of Labour and Employment” was “unpardonable” and had set a July 31 deadline for the launch of a national portal for migrant/informal workers. The e-Shram portal was formally launched on August 26.State-wise registrations (irrespective of the targets) show the highest number of registrations have taken place in West Bengal (1.88 crore), Uttar Pradesh (1.42 crore), Odisha (1.15 crore), Bihar (89.17 lakh) and Jharkhand (36.34 lakh). Occupation-wise, agriculture (53.8 per cent) and construction (12.2 per cent) sectors have shown the highest registrations, followed by domestic and household workers (8.7 per cent) and apparel workers (6.2 per cent).
The bright pink desi roses, used for almost all festivities and pujas, are conspicuous by their absence in most flower markets in cities, while in some cities, the price of roses has touched Rs 800 per kilogram. Farmers from Charotar, where roses bloom in abundance, continue to rue the series of losses suffered first due to the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently due to the extended, erratic monsoon.Ghanshyam Chauhan from Rel village in Anand district says that rose farmers have suffered crop losses due to heavy rainfall that lashed the region in October. “Just as the farmers were coming out of the cycle of losses that began with the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, with events being cancelled due to the pandemic, the rain this year affected the yield. Fields that would yield 50 kilograms of roses during Diwali every year have barely one kilogram this season,” Chauhan says. Most farmers in Rel village, which has about 50 bighas of rose farms, have been unable to even meet the expenses.Farmers said that flower sale had been uninterrupted for two months of the holy month of Shravan as well as Navratras, selling at up to Rs 200 per kg. Thereafter, the prices went up to Rs 1,000 per kg in big cities. In Vadodara’s flower market, traders are saving the rose for the garlands, which are priced per piece up to Rs 100. Garlands of marigold with rose in between are being sold for up to Rs 50 per piece. While the price of marigold is Rs 50 per kg, roses are being sold up to Rs 500 per kg.A trader says, “Customers pick up a mix of loose flowers along with garlands that usually has marigold and roses but this time, we are not able to give loose roses as they are extremely expensive. In Vadodara, the cost is Rs 400 to Rs 500 per kg but in cities like Ahmedabad and in North Gujarat, the prices are as high as Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 per kilo.About 40 kilometres away from Rel village in Anand, Baroda village of Matar taluka of Kheda district has about 400 bighas of rose farms. But this year has been lacklustre for farmers — many of whom, have even skipped the rose season this monsoon. Kanu Rathod, a traditional rose farmer has, instead, sown castor seeds.Rathod says, “Some of the rose farmers of the village have decided to skip a year or two after suffering heavy losses due to the Covid-19 lockdown… the second wave that came this year and the prediction of a possible third wave to coincide with the festive season had left us anxious… Many of us did not plant rose during monsoon this year…”Farmers say that roses have to be plucked at night and transported to the market early morning. “Roses perish fast. If they are not plucked at night and taken to the market by 4 am, they lose their value… With the prices so high, common customers do not opt for roses and the traders are also purchasing minimum stock,” he adds.Traders, however, are hopeful that the prices would come down during the upcoming wedding season. “The rain has stopped and rose crop yields flowers for the entire year — up to six or seven years of its life. Hopefully, by December the prices should drop as the wedding season picks up up to February…,” a trader says.