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A Bill was passed in 1995, by the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra, amending the Animal Preservation Act (1976), to prohibit slaughter of bulls and bullocks, which was previously allowed on the basis of a ‘‘Fit for Slaughter’’ certificate. The President of India has made it a law in March 2015. Besides depriving the poor sections, especially Dalits, of a cheap source of protein, the law has severely affected the livelihood of butchers, majority of them Muslims. In addition to a deficient monsoon, farmers could not sell their ageing cows and bullocks, which they were under duress to feed. Old and infirm cattle ready for slaughter fetches about Rs 25,000 per head. The farmers are unable to afford fodder and water for useless cattle. The Mumbai Municipal Corporation and the neighbouring Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation banned sale of meat and chicken during Paryushan, observed by the Jains in August-September. Similar bans were introduced in the BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh. The BJP shares power with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. The J and K High Court has recently directed the J and K government, to enforce the 1932 law banning cow slaughter directly, which was earlier introduced by Maharaja Hari Singh, but observed more in the breach.

Maharashtra is one of the three main beef producing states in India. In the world, India is the second largest exporter of beef. Pigs and fish do not come under the purview of the ban on meat of certain animals. Banning slaughter of buffaloes and bullocks has led to steep rise in price of mutton. Further, the Supreme Court on 17 September 2015, has dismissed a plea against a Bombay High Court order, staying the decision to ban sale of meat in Mumbai, during the Jain festival.

Doing Business
In the global business study conducted by the World Bank, India is currently ranked 142nd among 182 nations, below Pakistan and Iran, for ‘Doing Business’. India continues to be a difficult place to do business, and concerted action and reforms are needed on several fronts. With reference to the 98-point action plan and business reforms of the first six months of 2015, only Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan have implemented over 50% of the 98-point action plan. On case of doing business in India, according to the World Bank Report, Gujarat is the best place in the country, to do business. Among major states, West Bengal occupies the 11th slot. The ranking is based on eight specified parameters which include setting up of business, allotment of land, labour reforms, procedure for environmental clearance, infrastructure, procedure for registration for tax purposes, and inspections for compliance of various norms.

Migrants in Israel
Israel has about 45,000 asylum seekers, 34,000 of them from Eritrea, and 9000 from Sudan. Most entered via Egypt’s Sinai desert up to 2013, when Israel completed a formidable steel fence at the frontier. The Africans have visas that allow them to stay, but that bar them from working. The visas must be updated at least every three months. Holot in southern Israel is a detention facility for African migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan. End August 2015, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that about 1200 migrants were being held at Holot too long. The migrants were granted their freedom, but with restrictions not to work in cities Tel Aviv and Eilat. Israel’s government calls the Africans ‘‘infiltrators’’, which dates from the years soon after Israel was founded in the 1950s. The Israeli government lacks a policy concerning non-Jewish immigration to Israel.

Frontier
Vol. 48, No. 23, Dec 13 - 19, 2015