Privileging Investors’ Rights over People’s Rights: That is what it all adds up to

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

We have seen several developments as well as utterances by ruling party members in Goa in just the last couple of months, in flagrant disregard of their wide ranging adverse implications for the people in Goa and their livelihoods. The justification of the proposed coal hub, of the declaration of six of our river stretches as ‘national waterways’, the hasty passage in the last Assembly session of the Goa Compensation to the Project Affected Persons and Vesting of Land in the Government Bill, and of an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act  against the backdrop of the ‘transferable development rights’ policy as a bait for succumbing to what those in Government call development, the Central Government’s approval of the Revenue Generating Scheme for the Golf Course Resort Project of Leading Hotels Pvt. Ltd. at Tiracol…these are but some of the ominous signs of suppressing the rights and voices of people in order to privilege investor rights over people’s rights, and to completely overlook the lack of credentials of the proposed investors.

 

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Albertina Almeida’s statement to the negotiators of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, at the 19th Round of Negotiations at Hyderabad

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At the outset, I would like to remind you, that we cannot talk of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership without it being inclusive. In the spirit of substantive equality which India’s Constitution makers have envisioned with such foresight, and which the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) also emphasises, to be inclusive, both the process and the result must promote equality, promote equal democratic rights, must result in more equitable access to resources, more sustainable income generating opportunities and advance Development Justice for those who are most marginalised in each of these participating countries, and this includes women with their intersecting identities of caste, class, minority, and other axis of marginalisation. India is currently the second most unequal country in the world in terms of the distribution of wealth and gender inequality has been deepening in our country being one of the only countries where the division of labour and income gap is widening. This Agreement will accelerate further these inequalities.

We want to work in solidarity with our neighbours but any agreement with them must have objectives that ensure basic human rights to food, clothing, shelter, public universal access to basic amenities of water, electricity, and clean air, health facilities, education, sustainable and decent work and income earning opportunities to the peoples in each of these participating countries, and systems of accountability that mean existing human rights and environmental obligations will always have primacy over foreign investor interests.

 

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What is Rootless Cosmopolitanism?

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

There was a charge made recently by BJP’s Swapan Dasgupta that the protest by people determinedly raising their voices under the banner of ‘Not in My Name’, against targeted lynching of Muslims was an extravagant display of rootless cosmopolitanism. The responses have been “we are not rootless cosmopolitans”. We are often quick to jump into defensive mode in this fashion, and then try to prove how we are more rooted than Baba Ramdev or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or Yogi Adityanath.  In other words, we try to show how we are superior to these in being rooted. But we might need to ask whether rootless cosmopolitanism is necessarily the bad thing it is suggested to be. Does its problem depend on what lens one is looking at things from?

 

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Beefing up the Law for No Beef

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

You have to throw a stone to figure out the ripple effect. That is what Subramanian Swamy did when he said on a national television show that Goa’s beef eating tradition had to be changed. The BJP has, for some time now, made Goa a Hindutva laboratory, with its front organizations or politically connected organisations, either hosting conventions on aiming for Hindu Rashtra from 2023, or stating that India is already a Hindu Rashtra for centuries or stating that it should be culturally a Hindu Rashtra. These include RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini. They were clearly looking to see exactly how the reactions would be and perhaps also exactly how they could be polarized.

 

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Public Hearings: How the Coal is sought to be tempered

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Public hearings under the Environment Protection Act, were lobbied for by people, as a space to articulate their concerns about any proposed project and also to seek clarifications. But from the State’s point of view they seem to have been envisaged to contain and co-opt people’s views within the frameworks of the project proponent by saying they considered people’s concerns and finalised the environment impact assessment report.

 

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Fathoming a different Mothers’ Day

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

We live in times when commercial Mother’s Day ads stereotype the role of mothers, even as they do not give value to their work. We live in times when jingoism runs high and we are pushed into a situation where our concern as mothers – literally and figuratively – of the menfolk on the country’s borders has to be translated into applauding them for giving up their lives or losing their lives for the ‘nation’. We live in times when we are not expected to interrogate the circumstances and political diktats under which the armed force men became vulnerable to these killings.

 

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Of Accidents, Masculinities and (absence of) Rule of Law

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

The spate of accidents in the last few days has triggered a discussion on both the causes and the solutions. Coming in the aftermath of the ban on bars and the vending of liquor within 220 or 500 metres from the national and state highways (as the case may be), it is perhaps a poignant reminder that we need to dig deeper into this malaise of accidents, rather than come up with knee jerk responses or solutions that provide the justification for surveillance while not addressing the core problems.

 

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What made ‘Goemkarponn’ so Manoeuvrable?

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

From the get go, there was no sign of Goem, Goemkar, Goemkarponn at all. Not even when the 2017 Goa Legislative Assembly election results were beginning to trickle in. One would have thought that small is beautiful and manageable and that the smallness of Goem affords a unique opportunity to better and more expeditiously manage.  But despite EVM machines as in other states, which should have seen the results pouring in rather than trickling in, Goa’s results took a longer time than those of UP with ten times the number of seats.  Indeed Goa’s counting in relation to that of the rest of India’s states that went to the polls was ajeeb (strange).

 

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