News Wrap


The Indian census office has listed 11.61 crore Muslims, as non-workers. They make up 67.42% of the 17.22 crore Muslim community. The percentage of the non-working population is highest among Muslims in India. Total 72.89 crore Indians have been listed as non-workers, which is 60.20% of the total population of 121.08 crore. ‘‘Non workers’’ are those who do not participate in any economic activity, paid or unpaid, household duties, or cultivation. Following Muslims, there are 0.29 crore non-working Jains, who make up 64.47% of the total Jain population. Muslim non-workers suffer from lack of adequate employment opportunities, and a skeweed work participation ratio between men and women. The participation of women in India’s main workforce is 24.64%, whereas women make up only 15.58% of the Muslim community’s main total working population.

Agricultural Households
On average, agricultural households in India earned Rs 6426 monthly, during agricultural year July 2012 to June 2013. Income from cultivation and allied agricultural activities accounted for 60% of their total income. A third of income accrued from regular salaried or casual wage employment. The average monthly consumption expenditure of agricultural households is Rs 6223. These households spent Rs 1087 a month on income enhancing assets for both farm and non-farm businesses. Of this, a third was on agricultural machinery, 18% on livestock and poultry and 42% on other assets in farm business. Expenditure on productive assets for use in the non-farm sector accounted for only 7% of the total monthly expenditure. Income was Rs 5542 a month, for those engaged in cultivation. About 52% of households had loan dues, of which 60% were from formal sources of finance. Roughly a fourth of loans were from agricultural or professional money lenders.

Marrying under 18 years
India’s Census Report (2011) reveals that almost one in every three married women in India, wed while still under the age of 18 years. 78.5 lac girls (i.e. 2.3% of all women or girls who were ever married or were married in 2011) were married while they were less than 10 years of age. 91% of all married women, were married by the age of 25 years. The legal age for marriage is 18 for women, and 21 for men. 30.2% of all married women, or 10.3 crore girls, were married before they turned 18. A decline is noticeable, since as per census (2001), 43.5% of all married women had been married, while they were under the age of 18 years. Underage marriage is prevalent among all religious communities. Percentage of girls who married below the age of 18, was roughly the same among Hindus and Muslims. While 38.1% of illiterate married women were married below the age of 18, about 23.3% of literate married women got married below the legal age. 34.9% of girls, who were literate, but below the primary education stage, married underage. Early marriage makes girls more vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation.

Antarctic Wildlife
Polar regions now bear the burnt of global warming. Marine conservationists have been pressing to set up a no-fishing zone for several years, to create a 1.25 sq km ‘‘No take’’ in the Ross Sea in Antarctica. Between Victoria Land and Marine Bird Land, the Ross Sea is a deep bay of the Southern Ocean. The Ross Sea is home to 95 species of fish and large numbers of Adelie Penguins, Antarctic Petrels and Emperor Penguins, as well as killer Whales. It is the earth’s last intact marine eco system. Proposals to create the sanctuary have been voted by Russia, and frequently China, at international meetings, over the past four years. Russia has also blocked proposals to create a network of smaller protected areas in the seas around East Antarctica, which would add 1.9 sq km of protected waters. Both Russia and China have large fishing fleets in the Southern Ocean. Research indicates that average temperatures may have risen by as much as 3° in some parts of the Antarctic, over the past few decades. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, made up of 25 member states, already controls fishing in the Southern Ocean, but scientists are now pressing for complete bans in certain years. The Antarctic tooth-fish is a target for Russian trawlers, which sell the fish to markets in the US and Asia. Krill is used as food for China’s growing aqua-culture farms, and currently small amounts are fished by China from the Southern Ocean.

Community Radio
President Horacio Cartes of Paraguay came to power in 2013, as the head of the Colorado Party. Community radios is Paraguay give marginalised rural citizens a voice, and they inform them about their rights and their struggle for agrarian reform. The Paraguayan government is driving a process aimed at eradicating alternative voices of protest community radio stations and organizations that fight for the rural poor and being targeted, and shackled. In November 2015, police raided Radio Mandu’ara’s Studio. Juan Aveiro broadcast Radio Mandu’ara to communities in a remote corner of eastern Paraguay. He and his team of volunteer journalists, worked from a makeshift studio, painted with a mural depicting Paraguayan farmers with their fists in the air, beneath a banner proclaiming ‘‘peace and justice’’. 80% of Paraguay is controlled by 1.6% of the population. A third of the rural population live in extreme poverty.

Vol. 49, No.8, Aug 28 - Sep 3, 2016