News Wrap


The per capita beef consumption in India is less than 2 kg a year, which is the lowest in the world, even though India’s cattle herd outnumbers that of USA, Europe and China put together. There are just 53 registered meat abattoirs and 39 meat processing plants across the country to export consignments, which makes meat exports in India, as one of the most tightly controlled trades. Meat exports have risen from Rs 14,000 crore (2011-12) to over Rs 27,000 crore (2013-14). The biggest buyers are in south-east Asian countries. India is the biggest beef exporter, overtaking Brazil in 2012. India is also having the world’s largest cattle herd, with 327 million heads, followed by Brazil (197 million heads) and China (104 million heads). Beef consumption in India is a meagre 2.1 million tons a year, compared with 11.5 million tons a year in USA, which has just a quarter of India’s population. India is at the bottom of the list of 177 countries on meat consumption, with Luxembourg at the top consuming 136.5 kg per person per year. The bulk of beef exports from India is buffalo meat, which contradicts allegations of cattle cow/calves/bull slaughter. The disincentives for exports of cow meat results in no significant contraband meat consignments. Under the Union Government of India’s meat export policy, the export of beef—meat of cow, ox and calf—is prohibited. Only buffalo, which are not fit for milch and breeding purposes are allowed to be slaughtered for exports.

Floods in J&K
Around 2.5 lac people have been reserved by the armed forces and the National Disaster Relief Force from different parts of Jammu and Kashmir, in September 2014, following rains and severe floods. A study by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the forest cover of J and K in 2013 reveals that the J and K state government diverted at least 10,700 hectares of forest land to non-forest use between 1991 and 2012. About 680 hectares of protected wildlife sanctuary in Shopian, was diverted for construction of Moghal Road. State forest officials diverted funds collected for afforestation towards sundry expenditure on payment of loan, advances, sports meet, payment to private hotels etc. There was expenditure on purchase of carpets, LEDs, ACs, IPods, Sofa Sets, Projectors, installation of office cabins and transformers, vehicles etc. The different expenditure was in complete violation of Supreme Court guidelines, issued while creating the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), to monitor mandatory afforestation, wherever forest land was diverted for non-forest use. Between 1991 and 2012, the J and K forest department diverted 10,683.86 hectares of land to user agencies for non-forest purposes. Its net present value for Compensatory Afforestation, estimated at Rs 796 crore was not realised from war agencies.

Inter Marriages in Western China
In an apparent effort to subdue growing ethnic violence in Western China, officials in Xinjiang are offering cash and other incentives to encourage marriage between minorities and Han, the country’s dominant ethnic group. Violence between ethnic Uighurs, a Turki-speaking mostly Muslim people, and Han has flared in recent years. Since end-August 2014, officials in Cherchen country (Southern Xinjiang), known as Qiemo in Chinese, have been offering payments of 10,000 renminbi a year, or $1600, for five years to newly married couples in which one member is Han, and the other is from one of China’s 55 ethnic minorities, $2300 a year, as health care benefits, will be given to such households. Children of these mixed marriages will receive free education from Kindergarten to high school. Vocational school children will receive almost $500 a year in tuition subsidies of $800. The Han population has surged in the last six decades in Xinjiang, and now the region is more than 40% Han. The policy on inter-ethnic marriages is similar to initiatives in Tibet. There are threats to the preservation of a distinctive Uighur culture, with the destruction of old Kashghar in the name of development, the elimination of Uighur language education, and continuing Han migration into the Uighur traditional homelands in Xinjiang. Only 1% of Uighurs are in an inter-ethnic family, compared with nearly 8% of Tibetans, China is also building a multi-ethnic city, Hotan, in the troubled province of Xinjiang, to boost understanding for residents of different ethnic groups, by living, working and studying together.

Drought in Northern Kenya
The last good rain in Kenya’s Nayanae angilkalio, central Turkana was between March and May 2012. Thirty months of drought has hit farmers, goatherds and pastoralists in northern Kenya hard. Aboto is facing the fourth poor rainy season in a row. Almost four million Kenyans are at the risk of starvation, facing a combination of drought, lack of grass and disease. Arid and semi-arid regions span about 80% of Kenya, and one in four children is acutely malnourished and requires medical attention. In many parts of Kenya, the malnutrition rate exceeds 20%, where 15% is classified as a critical emergency by the World Health Organization. In Turkana Central, the rate of moderate and severe acute malnutrition has risen to 29%, amongst pregnant women, nursing mothers and under five-years age children. The rapidly increasing population have increased pressure on resources. Proliferation of small arms and cattle raiding across national borders of Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda, and regional boundaries have made people less mobile.

Vol. 47, No. 20, Nov 23 - 29, 2014