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Nearly 30 percent of India’s land turning to desert and rate of degradation of agricultural areas increasing, says ISRO report

In states like Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa, more than 50 percent of the land is under desertification

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An increasing number of farmers in India are committing suicide due to debt pressure. To tackle the issue, the government has come up with farm loan waivers. (VOA)
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More than a quarter of India’s land is turning to desert and the rate of degradation of agricultural areas is increasing, according to the new analysis of satellite images. A report from the Indian Space Research Organization says land degradation — broadly defined as loss of productivity — is estimated at 96 million hectares or nearly 30 percent of Indian land.

“As a country, we should be more than alarmed by this data,” said S. Janakarajan, chairman of the South Asia Consortium for Inter-disciplinary Water Resources Studies. “There is no coherent plan to reverse this process or its impact.”

Analysis of satellite mapping shows new areas in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and eastern Indian states like Orissa and Jharkhand turning arid, with nine states together accounting for nearly 24 percent of desertification.

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In states like Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa, more than 50 percent of the land is under desertification.

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“Population pressure has resulted in over-exploitation of land for cultivation, grazing, water resources and deforestation leading to degradation of drylands,” Indian minister Jitendra Singh wrote in the report.

The ongoing study, initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, was led by the Indian Space Research Organization and involved 19 other institutes.

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It analyzed satellite images over an eight-year period to compile the atlas.

“This is the first time we are looking at a digital atlas of degradation and it is pointing at newer areas undergoing desertification,” A.S. Rajawat of the Space Applications Center
told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is a ready reckoner to understand where we stand and the impact of land degradation on agricultural productivity.” (VOA)

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Death Knell For The Rape Culture

The death penalty for the child rapist is going to see the light of the day

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Death knell for the rape culture
Death knell for the rape culture. Pixabay

By Salil Gewali

The death penalty for the child rapist is going to see the light of the day. Hearty thanks to the countless candle marchers. The credit also goes to those conscious media and columnists who all fueled the agitation and energized the activists. Here PM Modi’s dynamism can’t be overlooked either, because this ordinance, which was long overdue, has happened now.

Let’s all pray that the ‘fear of death’ will be an effective deterrent.  Hope, this will “frighten away” the real vices. In the meanwhile, it would also be very wise on the part of the government to look for other preventive measures since we have lot many “vices” in lot many avatars and assortments which only encourage the sex related crimes. There are also very dangerous “vices” which, when start to infect one’s thought-process, might give birth to the countless Trojan horses, Malwares, even virulent I-love-You. The virus infecting tragedy usually strikes ones very fast who are with weak inborn “antivirus”. This, in fact, turns “sane men into perverts” if one objectively analyses. But what is too bizarre is that some of such virus generating vices are let to flourish under the cover of silence while some are made to believe through media as “virtues” and while others as “talent” — with a whole lot of modish adornment and poetic adulation. Do you want to acknowledge that ones who cried hard against the despicable rape culture are the premier dealers of these vices? Some are producers too. I cut short here.  Because these days I fear the “thunder of hypocrisy” then the roars of the tiger in a jungle!

Candle March for death penalty of rapists.
Candle March. Pixabay

Yes, remaining complacent by mere hanging the perverts will be thus a downright immaturity. The identifying the causes of those vices that are hurting the society at large are equally important.  Of course, many try to overlook those vices as if they never make a bad impact upon the mindset an individual. Here I’ve an argument — has the heat of the hearth stopped boiling the water or burn your pack of currency notes to ash? As mentioned above, we can draw a perfect “analogy” between the virus infecting a computer leading to its inevitable “malfunction” with the people’s behavioral degeneration and wrong indulgences due to the continuous exposure and acceptance of vices.

Also Read: Rape Survivors in India Still Face Humiliation with Two-Finger tests and Barriers to Justice says Human Rights Watch

However, it would surely be good if the Government and awakened women organizations boldly pinpoint those forces as well which are culpable for presenting women as no less than commodities, and the dealers of the vices. In this, one is skeptical whether we can turn to the media with hope, or with doubt! Because, very absurdly, the definition of “good life” and its values have now been willfully distorted and redefined to suit the situation, plans and programs such that they would help further the agendas of that forces which rule the roost.

Stop the Terror of Rape.
Stop the Terror of Rape.

Anyway, whether one agrees or disagree, disinfecting/detoxing the “mindset” of the society is the only pathway to the sane society which we are now crying for. The healthy thought, healthy attitude, healthy acts can only toll the death knell for any kind of rapes or any kind of depravity.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali