President & Group Managing Director: Dr.Shelly Ahmed | Editor in Chief & Group CEO: M H Ahssan
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Goa. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Goa. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, November 11, 2013

Insight: Goa Could Be A Classic Example Of 'Paradise Lost'

By Joy Fernandez / Panaji

The corruption in the state runs deep where, since the past few decades, there has been a systematic attack on the accountability of institutions and the rule of law resulting in a profound sense of cynicism within the state.

India seemed to have been taken aback when the murder of a Nigerian national in the Goan village of Parra, early on 31st October, led to a rabid outburst of racism in the state.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Manohar Parrikar And Arvind Kejriwal: 'Political Twins'?

By Navneet Achaungar | Panaji

They aren’t exactly like those twins in a typical Manmohan Desai blockbuster film who are separated at birth. But the more you look at Goa’s maverick Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Delhi’s new political messiah Arvind Kejriwal and appreciate their methods, the more similar they appear.

The duo, who mercilessly slayed the political beast called the Congress in their respective states in a manner that few ever have, are both alumni of Indian Institutes of Technology. Parrikar, the metallurgist passed out of IIT-Bombay in 1978, while the younger Kejriwal cleared his graduation in mechanical engineering from the other prestigious IIT-Kharagpur in 1989. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mining In India Throws Up Numerous Problems

Mining is an ancient activity. It is so old that the Egyptian, Roman and Greek civilizations have practised it in their time. India is one of the leading countries in iron ore and coal mining. There are companies like Vedanta, Bharat Aluminium Company and Hindalco which are involved in mining activities. The industry contributes around 2.2% to 2.5% of the national GDP and provides jobs for around 700,000 individuals.

However, with the good, has also come the bad. Mining in India has seen a lot of scams and scandals such as illegal mining and improper coal allocation and is commonly referred to in India as ‘Coal-gate’. These issues are not just damaging the reputation of India as a business destination. It is also over exploiting the natural resources and hurting the fragile eco-system.

Mining Scams and Scandals Galore
The ‘Coal-gate’ scam is the latest in a long line of controversies in the mining industry. One of the other scams in the mining industry has been the illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka. In Bellary, Karnataka, iron ore is said to have been illegally mined after allegedly paying a small amount of royalty to the government. Justice Santosh Hegde, former Lokayukta of Karnataka, who was an anti-corruption ombudsman, brought this scam into the public eye. According to him, there has been illegal mining of about 35 lakh metric tonne in Karnataka alone, which amounts to around Rs. 1600 crore.

In Orissa, the problem is even greater. There is illegal mining in bauxite, iron ore, chromite and coal. It is one of the nation’s richest states in natural resources. This has caused excessive mining and thrown up problems with land rights for the locals. The opposition parties in Orissa claim that the scam is of the scale of about Rs. 250,000 crores.  The state government has however asked companies such as Tata Steel and Essel Mining among others, to pay Rs. 50,000 crore only for alleged illegal and excessive mining.

Apart from this there is illegal mining in Aravalli (Rajasthan), Goa and Madhya Pradesh. Revenue losses in Goa have been estimated to be around Rs. 3000 crores. Around 100,000 people have lost their source of livelihood in four talukas — Bicholim in north Goa, and Sattari, Sanguem and Quepem talukas in south Goa. Their farms have been destroyed by mining silt and water sources have been contaminated.

Former Union Minister of Communication and Information Technology, A Raja who was in jail due to the 2G spectrum scam and is currently out on bail, issued 169 environmental clearances for mines in Goa during his term as the Union Minister of State for Environment. Out of these, 15 clearances were for mines inside the Netravalli wildlife sanctuary in south Goa.

Environmental Damage by Mining
Mining results in erosion, creation of sinkholes, contamination of surface water, groundwater, soil, loss of biodiversity and this is just legal mining. Greenpeace says that bad mining practices can ignite coal fires, which can burn for decades, release fly ash and smoke laden with greenhouse gasses and toxic chemicals. It goes on to state that mining releases coal mine methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Coal dust inhalation causes black lung disease among miners and those who live nearby, and mine accidents kill thousands every year. Coal mining displaces whole communities, forced off their land by expanding mines, coal fires, subsidence and contaminated water supplies.

In Goa, illegal mining has caused irreparable damage to forests, agriculture, fisheries and water aquifers. People in the affected areas are also suffering from the adverse effects of air, noise and water pollution. In Caurem village in Quepem taluka in south Goa, for example, there are 2,000 families whose farms have been destroyed by illegal mines. The silt from mining has entered the fields. Local residents complain that they have no means of earning their living.

According to the Lok-Ayukta Report, there have been severe ecological changes due to illegal mining in Karnataka. Certain species of animals like the sloth bear have disappeared in the Bellary region. Medicinal plants from the area do not grow anymore. The rainfall pattern has changed in the Bellary district. It is reported that the entire area surrounding the mining area has little greenery and has no agricultural activity.

A Greenpeace report dated 1st August 2012 called “How Coal Mining is Trashing Tigerland”, states that coal mining is endangering the survival of the Royal Bengal Tiger in Central India. It says that approximately 30% of India's tigers are found in the Central Indian landscape forests. Coal mining and related infrastructure here will result in the destruction and fragmentation of forests, threatening both wildlife and forest dependent communities.

The way ahead
A scam which implicates the big-wigs is often pushed under the table, but whistleblowers such as Justice Hegde and Rajendra Dixit, who complained to the Madhya Pradesh Lok-Ayukta office, have made sure that it does not go unnoticed. As the demand for iron ore increased with the need for it in construction for Beijing Olympics in 2008, illegal mining started, to take advantage of the prices which were about $130 in the international market as compared to $17, the original price. Various commissions such as the Shah Commission in Goa, Union Government’s commission in Jharkhand and others have been announced to investigate the issue. But when the organizations meant to protect the ecosystem and the citizens, are working against them, can there be any solution?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

'Goa Tourism Targeting Beach Shacks': Father Fernandes

The social wing of the influential Roman Catholic Church in Goa has accused the state government of corporatising tourism spaces like beach shacks and taxi services while pushing resident entrepreneurs out of business.

Beach shacks, the temporary thatched eateries, are licenced annually by the tourism ministry. They are synonymous with Goa's beaches and enormously popular with the hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting the state every year.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Will Modi’s Rise, Advani’s Sulking, Force A Split In BJP?

By Kajol Singh / Delhi

Will Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi‘s rapid ascent up the BJP ranks, which could be formalised at the national executive meeting of the party in Goa, lead to a split in the party?

Senior BJP leader LK Advani’s no-show on Friday's Goa meeting, which was attributed to a stomach infection, has set off speculation that the Bhishma Pitamah of the party is less than pleased with the party’s excessive eagerness to anoint Modi as the party candidate for the 2014 election.  Some argue that Goa could witness a deepening of the crisis within the party, and perhaps even lead to a formal split.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

'ARUNACHAL' TOPS IN HANDLING 'CHILD NUTRITION'

By M H Ahssan / New Delhi

The problem is likely to be less severe than UN statistics indicate, given faulty yardsticks. If asked to name the state with the lowest incidence of child malnutrition in India, readers will overwhelmingly pick one of Kerala, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab or West Bengal. But they will all be wrong by a wide margin: none of these states appears among even the top five performers. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

WILL THE BJP FIND SOLUTION FOR ITS 'TROUBLES'?

By Sanjay Singh & Arvind Rai / Goa

‘Go Goa 365 days on a holiday’ — the punch line for India’s hottest tourist destination says. The BJP leadership, however, will move to the scenic sea front of this coastal state on 8-9 June to do some serious business — brainstorm a winning formula for the next parliamentary elections.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Great New Year Bash in Hyderabad

By M H Ahssan

Hyderabad City Is Emerging As Top Destination Ahead Of Hotspots Like Goa, Mumbai and Bangalore

Move over Goa, Mumbai and Bangalore, Hyderabad is the place to be for this New Year's eve. With terror strikes and security fears casting a shadow of dread over the regular party hotspots, Hyderabad has become the destination this December 31 for popular international and national artists like DJ Ravin from Buddha Bar, Paris, DJ Gino from Paris, Dale Anderson who is based in London, the Danish-Indian Bombay Rockers and DJ Suketu from Mumbai.

"Mumbai is on a high alert and with rumours floating around that Goa is likely to be the next target, people are scared to venture to these regular party destinations. Places like Hyderabad, which were never in the limelight until now, suddenly seem like a good option as they are perceived to be relatively safer," says DJ Lloyd, resident DJ at Poison Mumbai, who chose to play in Hyderabad on New Year's eve, over Mumbai and Goa.

In fact, Hyderabad is much better than even Bangalore and Chennai, agrees DJ Murthy. "I had 10 gigs in Goa and three in Mumbai lined up for December, all of which are cancelled. Chennai has also cancelled a number of its dos," he states adding that despite security apprehensions, this city still seems a safer place to be.

Organisers of these events say that unlike the previous years when people from here would head towards Goa and Mumbai to celebrate the new year, this time they are quite content to stay in the city. The organisers of Race 2009, an event which will see Bollywood's DJ Suketu usher in the new year, expect a number people from other places to visit the city. "Suketu is playing in India on December 31 for the first time in five years. It is going to be a big event and we are expecting some people from Mumbai too, who would like to attend this event," says DJ Ankit Sharma, event manager, Race 2009.

Hyderabadis, who are staying back this year, feel that the city will offer them a good time without the tension of terror threats marring their evening, believes Lloyd. Hyderabad on its part is going all out to make the night memorable for revellers with famous DJs, fancy audio-visual systems transported from Mumbai and even an artificial beach with a cruise liner and the others.

"There are different kinds of parties to suit different kinds of crowds. One can choose the music and atmosphere one wants. There is something for everyone this year," says Murthy.

"Two DJs from Paris are visiting India for the first time, and that too in Hyderabad, so it is going to be a huge party," says Rebecca Lee from Extreme Sports Bar, one of the sponsors of Nirvana 2009 to be held at HICC.

Apart from the entertainment, event organisers are doing their best to ensure their guests topmost security. "As per police instructions we are providing Z-grade security with 150 guards, police personnel, sniffer dogs and metal detectors at the venue. For one week prior to the event, our security team will be keeping an eye over the place to see that nothing untoward happens," says Sharma.

"We will provide a secure environment. There will be extra security at the gates, handbag checks and car passes will be allotted with tickets so there will be nothing to worry about," assures Lee.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Child Molestation, Incest And The Conspiracy Of Silence

Social attitudes that put family 'honour' above the damage caused to children keep incest from being properly addressed. A recent surge in reports of incest is shedding more light on the difficulties in overcoming this.

The recent, Mira Road expose of a father's sexual abuse of his daughter for nine years has opened a Pandora's box of similar cases of incest across the country. Increasingly, this is also shedding light on the legal system's shortcomings in dealing with incest, as well as on social attitudes that hinder effective solutions.

The Indian legal statutes do not contain any specific provisions against incest. Many developed countries such as Britain, the US and Germany have strong laws against incest. UK, which made incest punishable in 1908, sets a prison term of 12 years for the offence. Punishment in the US varies from one state to another; extending to 20 years in the state of Massachusetts, while in Hawaii it is five years. Some countries have, however, abolished or diluted their laws against incest - this is invariably because many of them viewed sexual partnerships between closely related persons - even adults - as incestuous, and in recent years there has been some liberalisation of their views on this. Incest involving minors, on the other hand, is uniformly frowned upon in the developed world (and is also the specific focus of this article).

As everywhere else in the world, in India too incestuous conduct is almost never consensual. Instead, it is rooted in physical force as well as familiar and other power which the abuser uses to pressure his victim. Nor is child abuse by parents and other elders confined to a single political ideology or to one economic system. It transcends barriers of age, class, language, caste, community, sex and even family. The only commonality is power, which triggers and feeds incest in families. This power is multiplied several times over when the relationship between the abuser and the abused is of father and daughter. Disbelief, denial and cover-up to 'preserve the family reputation' are often then placed above the interests of the child and its abuse.

Some years ago, in a popular late-night legal-awareness television serial Bhramar, one episode explored the true case of a father impregnating his 14-year-old daughter after abusing her sexually for months together while the mother was forced to remain silent. For fear of a public scandal, the parents decided to poison the girl. The paternal grandfather, the sole witness to the murder, complained to the police. But the perpetrator went scot-free on the argument that he had other children to care for, and if he were to go to prison, they would be orphaned! When the criminal was set free, the older man left the home and was never seen again.

A report from RAHI, (Recovering and Healing from Incest), a Delhi-based NGO working with child sexual abuse titled Voices from the Silent Zone suggests that nearly three-quarters of upper and middle class Indian girls are abused by a family member - often by an uncle, a cousin or an elder brother. Anuja Gupta, founder-executive director of RAHI says, "Not legislating a strict punishment amounts to the law reiterating that it is not a serious issue. If stringent punishment were made legal, then it has to be accepted that incest exists. But we don't even want to admit that. It is treated more like an aberration so there is no harsh punishment. This is true across the world and it is a terrible truth to own up to."

A 1985 study by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences revealed that one out of three girls and one out of 10 boys had been sexually abused as a child. Fifty per cent of child sexual abuse happens at home. In 1996, Samvada, a Bangalore-based NGO, conducted a study among 348 girls. 15 per cent were used for masturbation mostly by male relatives when they were less than 10 years old. Seventy- five per cent of the abusers were adult family members.

Vidya Reddy, who runs Tulir-CPHCSA (Centre for Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse) in Chennai, says, "Most people imagine abusers to be shadowy and frightening strangers with a psychiatric disorder. In fact, often an abuser is a 'regular' person who leads a 'routine' life and is known to the victim, but has no inhibition or qualms over having sex with children." This was proved to be true in the Mira Road case. Neighbours and local residents who know Chauhan well were shocked because he appeared to be a decent and well-behaved person.

Women's rights activist and lawyer Flavia Agnes opines, "In most cases of sexual abuse, it is the father who is responsible for the heinous crime. He is the custodian of the child. So a case of custodial rape should also look at the father as a suspect. Somewhere, we do not want to interfere with our family values and choose to keep quiet about such cases." The tight-knit family structure, the domineering role of the fathers and uncles, the submissiveness of women who are mute witnesses to gross injustice and the ingrained tendency not to allow "family shame" to be exposed whatever the cost, are factors that help the abusers get away with it all.

But there are those who disagree with this view. One expert with a contrary view is Mohammad Abdul Kalam, professor of Anthropology at the University of Madras who says that cases of incest should be seen as individual perversions and believes that stricter laws would not bring down incest in Indian society.

Legal lacuna
What Ramalingam does not say is that the same father cannot be held under the law for anything called 'incest.' Indian laws do not even recognize incest as a crime, though rape and sexual abuse, especially of minors, are serious crimes relating to incest. The Delhi High Court is considering framing guidelines for conducting investigation and prosecution in crimes relating to incest, in the wake of several incest cases surfacing at present. But Ramalingam believes that the existing laws would suffice to punish the perpetrators of crimes like incest and CSA (criminal sexual assault).

Child rights activists have long been demanding a more clearly defined law to prosecute perpetrators of incest. In 1983, the law against rape was amended to include policemen, hospital and prison staff who abused women in their custody which amounted to custodial rape. But it did not include sexually abusive fathers, whose sexual abuse of a daughter is the worst form of custodial rape.

Legal Loopholes
  • There is no central law on child abuse.
  • Laws dealing with sexual offences do not specifically address child sexual abuse.
  • The India Penal Code 1860 does not recognise child abuse. Only rape and sodomy can lead to criminal conviction.
  • Anything less than rape, as defined by the law, amounts to 'outraging the modesty.' These laws are already problematic when applied to adult women. They are even more difficult when applied to children.
  • While sec. 376 IPC seeks to provide redress against rape to women, it rarely covers the broad range of sexual abuse (particularly of children), that actually takes place.
  • Most of these forms of abuse are sought to be covered under sec. 354 of the Indian Penal Code as a violation of a woman's modesty. Though offences under Sec. 354 of the IPC are cognizable, they are also bailable, allowing the perpetrator to abscond before the case comes up in court.
  • The Juvenile Justice Act, amended and rewritten in 2000, makes no attempt to identify sexual abuse on children. Sec. 23 of the Act deals with assault, exposes, willful neglect, mental and physical suffering, for which imprisonment prescribed, is only for 6 months.
  • Section 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1956 prescribes punishment of not less than 7 years for inducing a child into prostitution, but does not directly address child abuse.
  • The word 'rape' within law, is too specific because it does not include abuse on boys.
  • 'Intercourse' is often interpreted to mean with an 'adult' and almost always implies 'consensual' sex.
Supporting the victim
Sudha Ramalingam, lawyer and activist with the People's Union for Civil Liberties points out that if a father perpetrates abuse on his daughter, he could be arrested for custodial offences. "But in a society like India, the family wants to protect both the perpetrator and the victim. That is why most of such crimes go unnoticed. They are anxious to protect the child's future and safeguard the reputation of the family. The psychological and physical impact it would have on a child is rarely taken into consideration."

Says Delhi-based senior consulting psychiatrist Dr. Sanjay Chugh, "child sexual abuse often comes to light when childhood histories are explored and in most cases the perpetrator is a known person who is close to the family or inside the family." He is concerned about the effect of incest on the victim. "The psychological harm on the victim is massive as it evokes doubts, raises questions for which answers are not easy to get. The victim may suppress emotions or be filled with feelings of rage, guilt and shame. It is difficult for such victims to trust others later on in life. The victim needs to stand up for himself/herself and not to allow the trauma to make them psychologically and socially weak. Active social support from family, friends, guidance centres and counsellors can bring the victim's faith in the goodness of human beings back," he explains.

"People need to realize and accept incest as a part of our society that happens in every socio-economic group. Closing our eyes and getting into the denial mode will not make the problem go away. We need to spread the word at a mass level where people are made aware not only about its existence but also about the help available. Workshops in schools and colleges that highlight such problems should be conducted for children and teachers to become more sensitized. Parents need to be educated about how they can protect their children or help those who have suffered. We need to take the responsibility of educating each other, reaching out to each other and take active steps to stop this physical, psychological and social pain that gets inflicted upon innocent lives," Dr. Chugh sums up.

Incest, he says, will persist as long as the collective conspiracy of silence within the family, the state and the society allows it to go on.

Too little for the little ones 
The provisions in the laws for tackling paedophilia as well as the incestuous abuse of children are far from adequate.

In a span of 15 days, Goa has seen four cases of heinous child abuse, and once again a problem long known to exist is in the spotlight. The state is now witnessing an alarming rise in sexual abuse against children in the 7-16 age group. The recent arrests and investigation by social groups reveal that more than 10,000 paedophiles visit the coastal state every year and molest children, especially brought for the trade from Karnataka. Recent cases prove that many foreigners implicated in this exploitation lure children with expensive gifts and money. They also buy gifts for the families of the children, to convince them to let the young ones stay with them. But the exploitation is also Indian, and not limited to crimes committed by tourists.

The first of the recent cases is especially shocking. A 9-year-old girl was alleged raped by an Italian, aged 56 years, a frequent traveler to Goa. Navhind Times reported earlier this month that it is now believed that he has been abusing many children for over 10 years. A popular host to many parties, he used a perviously abused girl to procure a child as a domestic servant in his house. It is alleged that he raped her for three days continuously after tying her hands and legs, and that he performed forced anal sex on the little one.

A shameful history
Foreign paedophiles are not new to Goa; it is well known that many visit tourist destinations around the world for a few months every year, usually in the months corresponding with winter in their country of residence. In Goa, tourist agents involved in the racket provide information on beaches to visit, and how to find and approach potential targets. The 'channawalla' or the 'ice cream seller' on the beaches acts as a pimp. In some cases, a child lives with the paedophile in his room, with the knowledge of the proprietors of the hotel or guesthouse. A number of impoverished families from the nomadic Lamani tribe as well as from villages in northern Karnataka are engaged in vending wares on the beach. Their children inevitably interact with foreign tourists lounging on the beach, providing an easy and regular avenue for exploitation.

The history of this crime in the state is long, and as a result Goa is destined to become the child sexual abuse capital of the world, having already attained that status within India. The first 10-year long racket of paedophilia came to light in 1991. Freddy Peats, the aged mastermind, is presently serving life imprisonment in Goa along with his accomplice, New Zealander Eoghan Colm McBride, also into his sixties. Interestingly he enjoyed the respect of the people of Margao for his supposed dedication to the welfare of poor children. Five of his partners from Australia, Sweden, Bangkok, Germany and France are still absconding.

The state's response to these crimes has been appallingly indifferent; Peats' conviction was a rare prosecutorial success in an ocean of neglect and failures. More typically, cases are rarely brought, and almost never concluded properly. A good example of this is the case of John Colin Middleton, a 71 year-old Briton, who was arrested on 19 March 2001 from a guest house where he was found with three children he brought with him from Nepal. He was alleged to have served a sentence for a previous conviction for sodomy with a child in New Zealand. Middleton was released on bail on 23 March 2001. His passport was later returned to him and the case against him was declared 'closed'. Such arbitrary waivers of prosecution and punishment are common.

The legal picture
Paedophilia, or Child Sexual abuse [CSA], is the physical or mental violation of a child with sexual intent, usually by an older person who is in some position of trust and/or power, vis-à-vis the child. The term paedophile refers to any adult who habitually seeks the company of a child/children for the gratification of his/her sexual needs. A child is defined variously by different Indian laws. In this article, a child is defined by age - as anyone below the age of 18 years - as per the definition contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Child sexual abuse occurs in three ways typically: incestuous abuse (i.e. by family members of victims), sexual abuse by strangers, and child prostitution. In conservative societies, as ours is, incest is less likely to be reported to the police, because of fear of social disgrace. Families often chooses to 'resolve' the issue privately because they view it as not a criminal matter. From the victim's point of view, however, incest may be more traumatic than rape by strangers, because such behaviour may be continued over a period of time and the victim remains helpless to protect herself from such abuses. In addition, it may have long-term psychological effects. The victim develops an inner sense of guilt and depression, which may have long-lasting effects on her personality development.

The laws dealing with sexual offences do not specifically address child sexual abuse. It is disconcerting but true, the India Penal Code 1860 does not recognise Child abuse. Only rape and sodomy can lead to criminal conviction. Anything less than rape, as defined by the law, amounts to 'outraging the modesty'. These laws are problematic when applied to adult women, but they are even more difficult when applied to children. While sec. 376 IPC seeks to provide women redress against rape, it is rarely interpreted to cover the broad range of sexual abuses [particularly of children] that actually takes place. The word 'rape' is too specific, this does not include abuse on 'boys'; moreover, 'intercourse' is often interpreted to mean with an 'adult'.

Most of these forms of abuse are sought to be covered under sec. 354 of the Indian Penal Code as a violation of a woman's modesty. Offences under Sec. 354 of the IPC is a cognisable offence but is also bailable, which allows foreigners to simply leave the country before prosecutions begin. While Andhra Pradesh, by a state amendment, has made the offence cognisable, non-bailable and to be tried by a court of session [where the minimum punishment is imprisonment for 7 years, and a fine], other states have not followed. What is also lacking is a central law on the subject. The Juvenile Justice Act was amended and rewritten in 2000, but it makes no attempt to identify sexual abuse on children. Sec. 23 of the Act deals with assault, exposes, willful neglect, mental and physical suffering, for which imprisonment for a term of just 6 months is prescribed. Sec. 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1956 prescribes punishment of not less than 7 years for inducing a child into prostitution, but does not directly address child abuse.

India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. India ratified this Convention in 1992. This international Convention obligates members States to protect and promote the physical and psychological health of children. State parties must take affirmative action in protecting children from all forms of sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation, torture, or any form of cruelty.

The Goa Children's Act
With sexual abuse of children becoming increasingly associated with the tourism trade, Goa formed a model law and proposed the establishment of a Children's Court. The idea of a Children's Court was first mooted in the Government of India Children Act 1960, which is today a forgotten piece of law. The Goa Children Act 2003 is legislation against child sexual abuse, especially those related to tourism. The legislation has specifically made any such cases of abuse non-bailable offences under section 2 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. The fines and jail terms are also severe -- Rs 100,000 with imprisonment between one to three years for sexual assault and incest, and Rs 200,000 with seven to 10 years jail term in case of a grave sexual assault. The setting up of a Children's Court to try all offences against children is a bold step prescribed by this law. A child-friendly court will help to minimize the double trauma that abused children are subject to in courts, which even adults find awesome and terrifying.

The Goa Children's Act is unusual because it does not merely recommend punitive measures against offenders. Instead, in dealing with child sexual abuse it attempts to place responsibility on different sections of society to play a role in protecting all children and preventing the abuse of any child. The hotel owners, the photo studios, cyber cafe operators, the police, the tourism department and all those involved in the travel and tourism trade are expected to keep their eyes open and fulfil their duties, sensitive to the situation of any child they may come across in the performance of their duties. Moreover, it also seeks to establish child-friendly court procedures, which will help to ensure that children are able to give evidence without being in the presence of the perpetrators of the crime.

Already there have been at least three cases booked under the Goa Children's Act. However, the rules of operation under the new law are yet to be formulated. The Goa Children's Act has also come in for severe criticism for its poor drafting, and the lack of legal insight into some of its provisions. The Act was passed in a great hurry to meet the growing problem of child abuse in the state, but ground realities have led it to rough weather. Activists in the legal community believe that the legislation may need drastic amendments to meet its objective.

It is absolutely necessary to alert government, civil society and concerned citizens to play a more active role in promotion, respect and appreciation of the rights of the child, and thereby to prevent the abuse of children, especially in sexual ways. Merely acknowledging this on the International Day for the Rights of the Child - 19th November - is insufficient. What is needed is continuous development of law and civil society responses to a perennial problem. In the legal arena, the problems in addressing child abuse are not so much related to the absence of law, but more due to the lack of a system of awareness, the lack of information, and poverty - which makes this problem that much challenging.

There is much that the legal system must do to improve its response to this crime. The baby steps a few states have taken must mature into adulthood themselves.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spotlight: How Feni Drink Can Be A Make In India Mascot?

Feni a cocktail drink originally concepted in Goa and got the global recognition. It is the only indigenous drink in the country to get the coveted Geographical Indicator status.

Feni is not a drink you would serve in polite company, but having spent three days drinking it neat, savouring cocktails conjured up with it and pairing it with fine food, I am convinced it’s time for Goa’s "national drink" to claim its rightful place in the sun. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Opinion: Why Indian 'System' May Completely Change?

By Rajinder Puri | Delhi

Not too long ago BJP leader  Narendra Modi addressing a public rally in Jammu said that Article 370 imposed in the state needed to be debated. The reactions this evoked were amusing. The BJP went on a panic drive to assert that there was no change in the party’s policy towards Kashmir and it continued to oppose Article 370. J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah retorted that Article 370 was permanent because Kashmir acceded to India by reference to the state’s Instrument of Accession which mentioned Article 370.  Modi responded by stating that a debate on all issues related to J&K was desirable. Upon that this writer urged a debate on the entire Indian political system.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Special: Was It The Spice Route? Or, The Spice Web?

It was a network, yes. And, the story of the movement of more than spices. Here’s looking at the yesterday and today of a few ports that made this magical migration of taste possible.

It is a hot Sunday afternoon. Parangipettai, the white town, less than an hour's drive from Cuddalore, is deserted. The Dutch stayed here till the 18th century. The Portuguese called it Porto Novo, the new port; it was the first colonial outpost on the Coromandel coast. Barely a blip on the map now, its only brush with history was the battle that Haider Ali fought with the British.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Analysis: Story Of Kiran 'Crane' Bedi More Myth Than Fact

How much of what we hear about Kiran Bedi is based on facts; how much is fiction and what portion of it is just fantasy, including her own? As facts—not new but old—re-emerge, it is becoming easier to separate Bedi from her myth and the image from the person.

We have known Bedi as a no-nonsense cop who had the guts to ‘tow away’ Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s car; a gutsy officer who didn’t flinch for a second before taking on politicians and a brave woman who was not scared to face the consequences of taking on the establishment.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Selling India To The World, The Great Indian Travel Crisis

By M H AhssanKajol Singh

Home is not where the travel heartland is this summer. Footloose but pennywise, Indian travellers are packing their bags for overseas destinations, shunning domestic attractions. Flying abroad has always held more spell over travelling within India, but over the last decade, Indian tourism had been attracting visitors with well marketed heritage hotels, beaches and experience destinations like Kumarakom in Kerala and the more exotic North-East route. But an unhealthy combination of exploitative airfares and steep hotel tariffs is dissuading Indian tourists from travelling within the country. It is also stopping foreign tourists from flocking in. It’s less expensive for the Indian middle class traveller to fly to Dubai or even London than to fly to Kochi or the Andamans. England, Singapore, Dubai, Germany, Croatia, Spain, France and Thailand are the new hotspots where it is easier to bump into someone from India than in Leh.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Why Bangalore Is Losing Its Shine For IT Companies?

By M H AHSSAN | INNLIVE

India’s homegrown Silicon Valley is facing stiff competition from unexpected quarters as the country’s hottest IT destination.

Undoubtedly, Bangalore is still the number one IT/ITeS outsourcing location in the world, as noted by an Economic Times article quoting a 2014 survey of the top 100 IT locations. It’s not difficult to see why — the city not only boasts the highest number of startups, but also has an ecosystem that supports the startup culture. It has a large pool of tech talent, mentors, and venture capitalists, as well as accelerators and incubators.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Will This Election See Higher Turnout After 'Poll Tamasha'?

By M H Ahssan | INNLIVE

ANALYSIS While an increased turnout in Assembly elections is not an indicator of the same in Lok Sabha elections, aggressive campaigning points toward a higher turnout in this poll.

If the pattern of turnout in the Assembly elections held over the last couple of years are of any indication, the turnout in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections should significantly increase. Almost all the Assembly elections held in different States between 2012-13 witnessed a higher turnout compared to those held in previous years. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

'Make Yourself Comfortable With New Year Resolutions'

By Khushwant Bhalla | INN Live

The first day of a New Year. There’s an undeniable pressure to celebrate it the ‘right’ way. After all, the 1st has always been rich in ritual. Unlike every other holiday, however, this one has no prescribed customs. You could be spending the day nursing a hangover, thanks to last night’s joyful excesses. Or by doing 45 energetic suryanamaskars on the beach. Here are INN Live suggestions on how to make today memorable, and pave a path for a fulfilling year ahead

Get stronger 
Don’t fall for the old fat trap. That ponderous old set of resolutions you make ever year: I will lose weight. I will work out. I will eat less dessert. We both know you’ll be tucking into a double chocolate chip cookie before the day is over. So how about approaching the issue from a different angle this year? Resolve to get stronger, fitter and healthier.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

FIRST REPORT: IS SALMAN KHAN GETTING MARRIED?

INN News Desk

Buzz is that Bollywood's most eligible bachelor could be tying the knot soon with alleged ladylove Lulia Vantur. Looks like it could well be the time for Salman Khan to finally settle down. While Salman Khan is in Goa to shoot his upcoming home production, apparently he is spending a lot of us-time with alleged ladylove Lulia Vantur. Sources close to the star say that Sallu is even considering marrying the Romanian TV anchor.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Meltdown, terror cast shadow over tourism

By Subia Khan

The Mumbai terror strike has served a another blow to the meltdown-struck tourism industry this year. Until last year many Hyderabadis planned their Christmas and New Year celebrations in Goa, travelling to the city of sea beaches via Mumbai, but this year the numbers have plummeted, hitting hard the sector that was hoping to cash in on at least the holiday season rush.

Local tour operators, who have been battling the recession for the past three months, rue that people are wary of travelling to Mumbai in particular and of stepping out of their homes in general this festive season. They are now even witnessing cancellations of packages booked by NRIs and foreign tourists as many visit the country at this time of the year to enjoy the longish Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year break.

“Failure of this peak season is going to be a huge loss,” laments P Ramesh, chief executive, Model Travels. He points out that the flights from Hyderabad to Mumbai, that once were booked heavily, are now almost vacant. “The number of flyers to Mumbai has dropped,” he says. In fact, the day after the terrorists struck, there were 20 per cent cancellations in the bookings to Mumbai, he says.

Some operators are now counting losses and not the number of deals they have struck. Satya Narayan S, manager of Check In Tours and Travels, calculates his firm’s daily loss at Rs 30,000. “Last year, we saw at least 15-20 daily bookings to Mumbai at the start of December. Not one booking has been made this year,” he says. Operators such as Raj Travels explain that 25 per cent of all their travellers tour Mumbai at this time of the year as Mumbai and Goa remain the hotspots for Christmas and New Year celebrations. “Since most make Mumbai their point to enter Goa, they are all the more wary of travelling to Mumbai as they still think it’s unsafe,” says M A Saleem, manager, Raj Travels. The deadly combination of terror and meltdown has cost his firm a depressing 60 per cent loss.

Tour operators say that owing to Christmas vacations, India sees an inflow of tourists from the US who then buy domestic packages within India. “Number of such tourists has come down by over 40 per cent in this week alone and shows no signs of getting any better. With no fresh bookings for January and February now, we are expecting even worse times,” says Ramesh.

Meanwhile, for other metros too people aren’t exactly keen on risking a vacation. Kerala is still the safest option which has seen some bookings this season, say operators.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

'Bharat Bandh' On September 2, Over Labour Reforms May Hit Banking, Transport, Factories And Trade In India

By M H AHSSAN | INNLIVE

In India, nearly 150 million workers from 10 central trade unions will go on strike on Wenesday, September 2 against the government’s proposed labour reforms with the protest likely to shut down banks, factories as well as auto, taxi and flight services in many parts of the country.  

The nationwide one-day strike, according to the trade unions, is supposed to be the biggest strike ever in the country. The protestors are striking against the anti-worker economic policies of the government.