Dear Reader,

Amidst the gloom of human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the consequent challenges of climate change, comes an inspiring story from Rajasthan, where a single man’s effort transformed a 500-acre barren land, with just 30 trees, into a paradise brimming with 120 species of birds and 70 species of native trees. The first of a two-part series by Down To Earth captures the ‘Miracle of Dhun’.

As the Taliban is on the cusp of forming a government in Afghanistan, The India Forum argues that today’s Afghanistan is not what it was 25-years ago when the Taliban first rose to power. The human and infrastructure indicators have shot up – school enrolment for girls have dramatically increased, most Afghans have access to electricity, 70% have access to mobiles, one-third to the Internet; and per capita GDP has doubled. All these ingredients, along with the aspirations of today’s Afghans, will determine the character and nature of the Taliban regime.

It is not often that an impoverished citizen fights the system and manages to get her due. ThePrint brings this story from Andhra, on how a 62-year-old widow fought the bureaucrats for six long years to get compensation for her land which was taken over by the state. Persuaded by her plight, the High Court stepped in, fined and jailed the offending bureaucrats and called it a “classic example of the lethargy of the bureaucrats in attending to the problems of the common public”.

The government’s announcement of privatisation and the recent monetisation has created a buzz, with the latter alone estimated to bring in over six lakh crores into the coffers. However, Swarajya argues that the government’s record does not inspire confidence and the targets will be far from achieved if it continues at the glacial pace it has moved in the past.

And, in the recent High Court judgment in Dilip Pandey vs state of Chhattisgarh, the court decreed that a sexual act by a husband with his wife, even without her consent, does not constitute rape. However, Article 14 asserts that arguments against criminalising marital rape are flawed and there is an urgent need to preclude marital rape exception and criminalise it in the country.

For these stories and more from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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This man changed the fortunes of a barren land using traditional water wisdom. The story of Dhun-1

Down To Earth chronicles the effort by a hotelier in Rajasthan’s Phagi tehsil, 30 km from Jaipur, in transforming a dry and dusty piece of land spanning 500 acres into an oasis of life – birds, animals and trees, by leveraging the “vast pool of wisdom of the living experiences” of the local community.

Watch Here


Another Chapter in Afghanistan

The India Forum argues that Afghanistan today is not the “exhausted, impoverished, war-weary country” the Taliban took over in 1996. Human and development indices have shot up and so have the aspirations of the people in the last two decades and more, which is likely to shape the new regime's style of governance.

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How a 62-year-old farmer got 5 IAS officers sentenced for contempt of court

Savithramma from Andhra’s Nellore was paid compensation for her land that was taken over by the state after a doughty battle of over 6-years, even taking on the most powerful in the state, ThePrint reports.

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At This Glacial Pace, Government Is Going To Miss Bus Again On Privatisation, Asset Monetisation

Arguing that the government’s track record on divestment is anything to go by, Swarajya says the recent measures announced for monetisation is not likely to go anywhere and suggests measures to speed up and bolster the process.

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Why It Is Time To Recognise Marital Rape As A Crime

While the recent judgement of the Chhattisgarh High Court deemed that a sexual act committed by a husband on his wife, without her consent, does not constitute rape, Article 14 argues that there is an urgent need to criminalise marital rape in India.

Read Here

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