The Indian Express | 2 days ago | 24-11-2022 | 05:50 pm
An Assistant Professor of Rheumatology at AIIMS Delhi, Dr. Hiralal Alawa (38) is also a young tribal leader and national conveyor of Jay Yuva Adivasi Shakti (JAYS), a social organisation of tribals in Madhya Pradesh. Alawa had started JAYS in 2011 to develop young tribal leadership in Madhya Pradesh. JAYS, which took off as a social media platform, now boasts of five lakh members across MP.Alawa, who is also a first-time Congress MLA, speaks on the debate over calling tribals Adivasi vs Vanvasi, claims of conversion of tribals, introduction of the PESA Act 1996 in MP, the need to develop tribal leadership and float a party ahead of the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections to fight for jal, jangal aur zameen. Excerpts:* Rahul Gandhi has questioned the BJP terming tribals as Vanvasi, saying they were actually Adivasi. How do you see it?Over the past decade, our organisation JAYS has been fighting for us to be identified as ‘Adivasi’. Our understanding is that ‘Adi’ in ‘Adivasi’ means ancient, while ‘Vasi’ mean the habitants of India. ‘Vanvasi’ is a word used by the RSS, which has always tried to hide the origin of Adivasis to suit their agenda. Vanvasi means those living in jungles, which include everything and anything from wild animals like tigers, bears to even goats. Jaipal Singh Munda, a tall leader of the Adivasi community, had back then argued before the Constituent Assembly that we should be referred to as ‘Adivasi’ in the Constitution, and that by calling us tribals, our basic identity had been endangered. And this is exactly what has happened. Because we were identified as ‘Scheduled Tribes’, we did not get a permanent identity. I have also opposed the use of the term ‘Vanvasi’ any time any leader in Madhya Pradesh has used it, including in the Assembly.* Rahul Gandhi has also mentioned laws like Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act, 1996, as well as the UPA giving tribal communities forest rights and land rights. Do you feel these acts have been effective?ALAWA: As far as the Forest Rights Act or PESA are concerned, they have given Adivasis some rights, but a lot more needs to be done. Schedule 5 of the Constitution advocates for the rights of Adivasis. It is applicable in 10 states of the country, but these states have not formulated its rules and regulations, so it is not implemented on the ground. Whether it is the Congress or the BJP, neither of them have taken any serious efforts to implement Schedule 5 and Schedule 6.Also, when the PESA Act was passed in Parliament in 1996, it was envisioned that it should be implemented on the lines of provision of the Sixth Schedule. But none of the governments have made any effort to implement the PESA Act like the provision of the Sixth Schedule. (Fifth Schedule has provision for creating tribal advisory councils. Sixth Schedule talks of district and regional councils that have certain legislative and judicial powers that are more powerful than those under Fifth Schedule. The 10 states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana come under Fifth Schedule, while Sixth Schedule has Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram)The central idea of the PESA Act is to give villages rights, develop them and facilitate self-governance among Adivasis. But as PESA rules were not formulated on the lines of the provisions of Schedule 6, it is very weak and does not give the rights the Adivasis should enjoy.* The MP government has recently formulated rules under PESA that were announced in the presence of President Droupadi Murmu. How effective will these be in giving tribals their rights?ALAWA: The PESA Act was passed in Parliament in 1996. It took Madhya Pradesh 26 years to formulate the regulations. Even when implemented, the PESA Act has failed to give gram sabhas the control over resources coming under their boundaries. The PESA Act enforced in Odisha gave the gram panchayat the power to make the final decision, which is why the Vedanta project could not be implemented, as the tribal gram panchayat did not give the permission to dig Niyamgiri hills. But the PESA enforced in MP says if the gram panchayat is not able to reach a conclusion in 2-3 meetings, it will be the chairperson who will single-handedly take the final decision. How can power be vested in a single person?Also, the MP government mentioned giving financial powers to these gram sabhas on the lines of Schedule 6, but it was not executed. Neither was the financial structure for the gram sabhas defined, specifying salaries of the chairman, secretary and other members of the gram sabha. We have asked the MP government to explain, how these gram sabhas can function without their finances being defined? There are several scheduled areas in which there is a sizable population of non-Adivasis. How much will their role be, in these gram sabha? There are various tribal villages that already have gram panchayats. What will the role of gram sabhas be in such villages? We have made a presentation before the government, saying neither will this PESA be able to develop villages by giving them self-governance, nor will they stop migration. Looking at the forthcoming Assembly elections, and the Lok Sabha elections the year after, the state government, in a rush, has enforced these rules, but these need to be withdrawn and reformulated to truly empower and develop the Adivasi communities. Adivasis have been fighting for these rights not only since Independence, but even with the Britishers before Independence.Another important element is that governments have formulated several acts like the Land Acquisition Act that go against the basics of PESA, but the PESA rules in MP do not specify how these acts will work in scheduled areas with PESA being enforced.* The Supreme Court has said forced conversions can affect national security, while CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also expressed concerns over conversion and the urgent need to stop them. Religious conversion of tribals, especially in tribal-dominated districts of Alirajpur and Jhabua, has always been a fraught topic.ALAWA: Religious conversion is a concern for Adivasis across the country. The Constitution, while defining the Adivasis as Scheduled Tribes, gave them an identity originating from their customs, beliefs, culture and the fact that they were nature worshippers, not tied to any religion. Tribal in different states have followed their own customs to worship their own gods. Now they are talking about conversions. Even we want the Adivasis to be able to preserve their identity. But in the past 70 years, what have the governments, of Gujarat or Maharashtra done to help Adivasis preserve their culture? When you talk about distorting Adivasi roots or foundations, it is the government whose role comes under the spotlight. It is political leaders who attribute Adivasis to one religion or another, but has the Constitution defined the religion of Adivasis? The issue of religion is only a political issue. In MP, it is the BJP itself which is interfering with the customs and beliefs of the Adivasis. In fact, the government has played a major role in pushing the Adivasis away from their own customs. They have never made any efforts to preserve Adivasi culture.* You have also spoken about floating a political party to increase Adivasi presence in the state Assembly…ALAWA: It is the need of the hour. Adivasis have their own demands and issues. In the past 70 years, neither the BJP nor the Congress have been serious about them. In such a situation, we need Adivasi leaders. We have said, “We want leaders.” Now, whether these leaders go on to form a party, get elected to become MLAs or MPs, is a different issue. But we need leaders who will fight for Adivasi demands of jal, jangal aur zameen, the for core issues of Adivasis. Leaders like Birsa Munda, Tantya Bhil who can fight. Whether they fight through means of a political party or independently, is not an issue.* You are a sitting Congress MLA, but when you talk of developing Adivasi leadership, does it also mean that in future you would break away from the Congress?ALAWA: Whether I fight another election or not is a decision that our organisation will take. The organisation is not just Hiralal Alawa alone. We have 15-20 lakh members across India and nearly five lakh in Madhya Pradesh. The entire body will take a decision on whether we will fight the election with our own political party or with any political party. As of now, we are preparing to raise our own leadership.
The BJP will never implement a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in Gujarat, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said on Saturday, dubbing the saffron party’s poll promise as “fake”.The reaction of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party came after the ruling BJP released its manifesto for the Gujarat polls, promising the implementation of a UCC in the state if it retains power.“The BJP has ruled Gujarat for 27 years. After remaining at the helm for more than two decades, it is still making promises,” the AAP’s co-incharge for Gujarat, Raghav Chadha, told reporters.“If it was indeed their intent, they would have implemented it much ago,” Chadha said, asking, “Why didn’t they implement it?” “It is a fake promise. The BJP will never implement it (UCC),” he added. On October 29, the Gujarat government announced that it would form a committee for the implementation of a UCC. Other BJP-ruled states, such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, have also promised to implement a UCC. Chadha said neither the BJP nor the Congress is talking about the real issues in the run-up to the Gujarat polls. The AAP is the only party that has come up with a “model for the economic uplift” of the people of Gujarat, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s model of governance is sustainable, as it has defied the principle of diminishing returns, there is no anti-incumbency, and the graph is rising always upwards, Union Minister of State Dr Jitendra Singh said on Saturday.Since 2014, Modi has given a “new, different kind of model of governance, which is based on a new, different approach, and a different work culture”, the MoS for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, and PMO said.Addressing the inaugural session of 25th e-governance conference here, Singh said, “What is this governance model that I am trying to be boisterous about? Some authors have described it as Modi’s model of governance… It is not simply for name-dropping, as some cynics might feel. It is a model that has sustained itself for nearly 20 years, or more than 20 years, with Modi as the longest-serving head of government in any democracy.“Therefore, I have the courage and conviction to say this is a sustainable model of governance.”He said, “This is a model which has defied the principle of diminishing returns. On the contrary, with each passing year, the dividends have increased. There is no anti-incumbency…. The graph is always upwards, never down.”This is a model that has “grown stronger with each challenge”, because it was always prepared beforehand to face a challenge, Singh said. “As chief minister (of Gujarat), Mr Modi faced the earthquake in Gujarat. As Prime Minister, the pandemic (Covid-19). We were already prepared for it; we could do better.”Singh said it was due to this governance model that the Covid-19 pandemic could be managed. Recently, he said, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands appreciated the way India combatted Covid-19. “He said we (Amsterdam) could not manage with such a small population, how could you? I said because we were already prepared. So, this is the governance model (he is referring to).”Singh said the basic mantra of the Modi government is “maximum governance, minimum government”.“This sounds very fanciful…like a philosophy, an ornamental phrase…. But the simple meaning is a government that acts as a facilitator but does not act as an intimidator. That is how I have sought to interpret it…sarkaar ka abhav bhi nahin aur sarkaar ka prabhav bhi nahi (neither the absence of government nor the influence of government),” he said.Singh said the “whole of government, whole of nation and whole of society” approach has become the new norm to achieve the desired results in the shortest span of time”.The two-day National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG) is organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), in association with the Jammu & Kashmir administration. The theme of this year’s conference is “Bringing Citizens, Industry and Government closer”.Addressing the gathering, DARPG Secretary V Srinivas said the maxim ‘Maximum Governance, Minimum Government’ is represented by a digitally empowered nation, a digitally empowered citizenry, and a digitally transformed institution. Between 2014 and 2022, he said, the government has brought about digital transformation that has been accepted by the rural population through Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, BHIM UPI, CoWIN, Arogya Setu App.J&K Chief Secretary Arun Mehta said it is a proud moment for the UT to be hosting the 25th National Conference on e-Governance at Katra, which shows signs of changes taking place in the UT.Information Technology Secretary Alkesh Kumar called it an occasion to recognise and showcase exemplary digital transformations brought about by the Centre, the states and the start-up community.On the occasion, Singh presented the National Awards for e-Governance (NAeG) under five categories of the NAeG Scheme-2022 to 18 e-Governance initiatives at Central, state and district levels, academic and research institutions and Public Sector Undertakings.(The reporter was in Katra on an invitation from the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensions)
Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday slammed the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying industrial projects coming to Maharashtra are being diverted to neighboring Gujarat as Assembly elections are being held there. He also called the BJP a “party of imports” and “chor bazaar (flea market)”.While addressing a farmers’ rally at Chikhli in Buldhana, Uddhav also slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for his “silence” over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, the alleged insult of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the government’s inaction on farmers’ plight in the state.After stepping down as chief minister in June this year, this was Thackeray’s first rally outside Mumbai. Last month, Uddhav had addressed party workers at its annual Dussehra Rally at Shivaji Park.“The BJP has lost its ideology and is only importing people from other parties. It has become a party of imports. If you enlist, you will find how many people they have taken into their party from other parties. Nothing is left with them so they are stealing people from other parties. Is it a political party or ‘chor bazaar’,” Uddhav said.Hitting out at Modi, Uddhav said the PM would not hesitate to break Maharashtra and hand over villages to Karnataka with polls in Karnataka next year. “The projects coming to Maharashtra were diverted to Gujarat owing to the elections there. Now Karnataka chief minister is staking claims over Akkalkot and Solapur of Maharashtra. Karnataka is going to polls next year, I am afraid that as the PM sent the projects to Gujarat, he won’t hesitate before breaking Maharashtra into pieces,” Thackeray said.Taking a dig at Shinde, Uddhav said, “This CM might even say that what is the harm in handing over 40 villages to Karnataka …. PM has promised to get Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and give us 100 villages…..”Further attacking Shinde who along with his MPs and MLAs went to Guwahati, Uddhav said, “Today all these 40 people have gone to Guwahati to take blessings. A weekago he (Shinde) had gone to visit an astrologer to know his future. He doesn’t know his own future. And he is going to decide our future? In fact, his future is being decided by people sitting in Delhi. He has to follow their orders,” Thackeray said.Claiming that nearly 1,000 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra since the formation of the current dispensation in the state in July this year, Uddhav said if he would have been the CM, he would not have allowed such suicides to take place.In response to Uddhav’s attack, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which held the reins of Maharashtra between November 2019 and June 2022, should explain where was its concern for farmers and the agriculture sector. Why did it fail to address the agrarian crisis?”
Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday said that he is giving money to the people and “not taking it to Swiss bank”, replying to BJP’s accusations of him “squandering money”.“Ye mujhko BJP wale khoob galiyan dete hain…..Kejriwal sara paisa luta dega. Kejriwal janta ko hi toh paisa de raha hai (These BJP people curse me a lot…..Kejriwal will squander all the money. Kejriwal is only giving money to the public). Kejriwal is not taking the money to the Swiss bank, or building mansions or buying properties,” the AAP chief said in Bhavnagar.Kejriwal also repeated guarantees of free electricity, allowance for women, employment, unemployment allowance and raised the issue of paper leaks. The Delhi chief minister also claimed to reinstate the Old Pension Scheme by January 31 (2023), if they are voted to power. Asking just five years from his voters in the roadshow, the supremo said, “If I don’t work, then oust me.”AAP candidates from Bhavnagar West, Bhavnagar East, Bhavnagar Rural, Palitana, Gadhada, Botad and Talaja of Bhavnagar and Botad districts were present in the roadshow as well. All of these constituencies are the stronghold of the BJP, except for Talaja which is Congress dominated seat.Kejriwal also said that God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party’s election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat.Raju Solanki, who is the AAP candidate from Bhavnagar West, of the two term MLA and Gujarat Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, who has been re-fielded from the same seat.When the “pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom”, the AAP national convener claimed.“In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom,” Kejriwal said.(With PTI)
Arvind Kejriwal asked the people assembled to give him a chance. (File)Bhavnagar: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party's election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat, where the two-phase Assembly polls are scheduled for December 1 and 5.When the "pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom", the Aam Aadmi Party national convener claimed while addressing a roadshow in Bhavnagar in the poll-bound state."In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom," Mr Kejriwal said.He said people getting zero electricity bills for the usage of 24-hour electricity, as part of AAP's poll promise of not charging for 300 units of power, would be the "magic" people will experience once his party forms government in Gujarat."This is magic. This 24-hour, zero-electricity bill is magic. And only Kejriwal knows how to perform that magic. No other party can perform this magic. I have been specially blessed by the Almighty and this can only be done by Mr Kejriwal and no other leader," he said.He said the Bharatiya Janata Party had done nothing for the state in its 27-year rule and voting for the opposition Congress was futile as its legislators would defect to the ruling party post-elections.Mr Kejriwal asked the people assembled at the roadshow to give him a chance to see what can be done in five years, adding they could "throw us out" if promises are not fulfilled."Today, people are suffering due to inflation. They are unable to survive. I will give you relief from inflation. After the formation of our government, I will pay your electricity bill from March 1," he said.Mr Kejriwal said women above the age of 18 will get Rs 1,000 per month as an honorarium, while youth will get Rs 3,000 as an unemployment allowance till they land a job."If you want to keep your children unemployed, you want to be abused, then you vote for them (BJP). This has been going on for 27 years. But if you want employment for your children, then vote for AAP," he asserted.Slamming the ruling BJP, he said frequent exam paper leaks in major competitive exams meant there was the involvement of big leaders."All paper leaks since 2015 will be probed and these big leaders will go to jail. We will completely eliminate the atmosphere of fear in the business world. We will create an environment to do business with courage and peace. We will give every businessman the respect they deserve," he said.Mr Kejriwal said an AAP government in the state would be free from corruption, and Value Added Tax and other pending refunds will be paid within six months (of coming to power).PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Goods and Services Tax will be simplified, he added.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayRow Over Karnataka Chief Minister's Border Remark Intensifies