Dear Reader,

When the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court struck down the Electoral Bond Scheme (EB), it ruled that it violated the citizens’ right to information enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression -- a fundamental right. The Supreme Court Observer dwells deep into the judgement, the arguments, the nuances and the Court’s directives.

However, this seeming expansion of the citizen’s right to know could turn out to be a mirage. The Reporters’ Collective investigates and finds that the Income Tax Department is now mandated to ask donors to political parties to divulge details of their contributions. While the enforcement agencies will have access to this data, the citizens themselves will be kept in the dark.

This, in effect, means the government will now be the sole repository of granular data on the funding of political parties. While this is ostensibly being done to weed out unaccounted money routed as political funding, the impact on citizens’ privacy and right to know is palpable.

As the farmer’s protest threatens to reach Delhi’s borders, there is spirited commentary and analysis on the actual state of farmers. This discourse, says The India Forum, misses a central point. It applies the “average farmer” label even though the income levels of agricultural households differ widely and substantially among different states. This vast disparity in income distribution renders an assessment of farmers’ welfare based solely on ‘averages’ misleading for both analysts and policymakers.

And, in northern Chhattisgarh, in the Hasdeo Arand forests -- Parsa East & Kanta Basan (PEKB) coal block -- home to tribals and endangered animals and plants, mining operations have allegedly decimated almost a lakh trees. Article 14 reports that not only did the chopping of trees inflame the villagers, who consider them divine, but it also intensified the human-animal conflict.

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


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Electoral Bonds Constitution Bench | Judgement Summary

Last week, a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court struck down the Electoral Bond Scheme, which facilitated ‘anonymous’ donations to political parties. The Supreme Court Observer analyses the judgement in depth.

Read Here

Electoral Bonds era ends. But gov’t is now collecting details of every donation to each political party.

The Reporters’ Collective investigates and finds that the Income Tax Department has made it mandatory for all taxpayers to divulge details of contributions made to political parties.

Read Here

How Much do Agricultural Households Earn from Farming?

Taking an “average farmer” as the base for omnibus analysis and the policy is misleading, The India Forum argues.

Read Here

In Lush, Ancient Chhattisgarh Forest, Thousands Of Trees Cut To Mine Coal For Rajasthan, Threatening Adivasi Homes, Water, Livelihoods

Northern Chhattisgarh’s rich forest lands are being devastated by coal mining operations, reports Article 14.

Read Here

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Kerala is on the cusp of foreign universities setting up shop in the state. The Keraleeyam Masika analyses the impact.
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In Uttar Pradesh, the quality and safety of government school buildings has recently come into question. The Mooknayak goes to the Hardoi district to find out the reality on the ground.

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