Dear Reader,

It’s been ten years down to the month, since India passed the ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’. The Act promulgated a ban on manual scavenging and provided for stringent punishment, including jail terms, for anyone who induces such a practice.

Focusing on this legislation, The India Forum points out that even conservative figures of the government admit to 49 deaths in 2021 and 48 in 2022, attributable directly to manual scavenging. The loopholes in the law, which can broadly be classified as “permission-based permissibility”, have meant that the practice of cleaning waste by entering sewers and septic tanks without basic protection, often with bare hands, continues to be rampant, taking lives.

The other instance of putting life at risk is the recent spate of suicides by aspirants preparing for competitive exams like the JEE, in Rajasthan’s Kota. The media brought it to national attention which led to the decrying of the immense and toxic pressures that the students are put through, leading to 24 cases of extinguishing of one’s own life this year alone.

The Citizen reports from Delhi’s Rajinder Nagar, which, akin to Kota, is a hub for aspirants preparing for the vaunted Indian civil services. While the profile of candidates in Kota and Old Rajinder Nagar may differ, the stresses are the same – the pressure to perform, the extreme competitiveness and the fear of failure, causing immense distress leading to mental health issues, and in tragic and significant cases, giving up on life.

Tribal students In Kerala’s Wayanad face a different challenge – months after the new academic session has been underway, a staggering number of them have not logged in. By the government’s own admission, a shocking "95 per cent" of tribal children who get admitted into school, drop out before the secondary level. While the government has dismissed the issue terming it the “dropout syndrome”, TrueCopy Think investigates and finds that there are multiple issues that force Wayanad’s children to drop out of school. Merely depending on jargon to explain away the situation, with no solution to offer, threatens the future of the most vulnerable children in the State.

And, in a four-part investigative series, The Reporters’ Collective delves deep into the Union government's consistent and systematic attempts at unlocking forests for commercial exploitation. From 2015, when a scheme was devised to incentivise private players to invest in “degraded” forest land, to the 2023 amendment to the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, these actions have increasingly led to the dilution and “violation of the statutory right of forest dwellers to protect, conserve and manage community forest resources”.

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


Sunil Rajshekhar

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The Workers Left out of the Law to End Manual Scavenging

While India banned manual scavenging a decade ago, as The India Forum reports, loopholes and infirmities in the law ensure that the inhuman practice continues to flourish.

Read Here

Distress and Depression, UPSC Aspirants Feel The Pressure

The immense pressures faced by aspirants for India’s competitive exams, in training hubs like Kota in Rajasthan and Old Rajinder Nagar in Delhi have, unfortunately, taken a toll on lives. The Citizen reports.

Read Here

It's not DROPOUT SYNDROME | Tribal Education

TrueCopy Think travels to the tribal hamlets in Wayanad to find out why thousands of students have dropped out even as the government lays the blame on the door of the “dropout syndrome”.

Watch Here

Forests for profit

In a four-part investigative series, The Reporters’ Collective argues that the Union government has, as a matter of deliberate policy eroded forest rights and facilitated the entry of private players, at the cost of the forest dwellers and the environment.

Read Here

More from the grantees
കുടുംബഭാരം; ജോലി ഉപേക്ഷിക്കുന്ന കേരളത്തിലെ സ്ത്രീകൾ
Keraleeyam Masika, citing a survey report by the Kerala Knowledge Economy Mission, in July this year, examines why many women in Kerala are forced to truncate their careers due to the lack of support for working women, both from the families and the system.
Here’s How Web Publishers Can Opt Out Of Google Crawlers Scraping Website Data To Train AI Models
Even as Generative AI threatens to disrupt web publishing by scraping content, resulting in copyright infringement and loss of revenue for the publishers, MediaNama looks at how new tools can enable publishers to opt out of web crawlers.
Mohalla Clinics: What’s Really Happening at Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics?
The Probe reports on how the Mohalla Clinics, introduced to provide quality healthcare, including free medicines, diagnostic tests, and consultation to Delhi’s residents, are facing serious and multiple challenges.
बिहार में लाइब्रेरी की कमी, किताबों से दूर हो रहे स्कूल के बच्चे
The libraries in Bihar are in a dismal state, despite regulations stipulating the facility in every secondary and higher secondary school. Democratic Charkha reports how this inadequacy – due to constraints of space, lack of resources and unavailability of trained librarians – is proving costly for the children of Bihar.

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