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Rural employment guarantee scheme |  Right To Education  |  Direct Benefit Transfer |  National Food Security Act |  Land Acquisition Act |  Rights and sops |  Controversies
With Narendra Modi set to take oath today as India's Prime Minister, Down To Earth readers have a list of suggestions for him and his government on putting India on the right development track
Much before the elections were held, there was a national consensus that the elections would be fought on the "Gujarat model". To counter this, a series of "alternative" models emerged: Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and the ruling UPA's late articulation of its rights-based model.
Use this interactive map to track the issues area-wise
Check out in which pockets across India people are boycotting polls and why
Just as every vote counts, every opinion matters. So click on the link and post your opinion
Author(s): Sunita Narain
The 2014 general election, it would seem, is becoming a referendum on the so-called Gujarat model and the something-UPA model. In the heat, dust and filth of elections, rhetoric is high, imagery is weak and facts are missing.
Author(s): Sunita Narain
Whenever a general election to India’s Lok Sabha approaches, two questions tend to emerge: When will India get a green party? Are environmental issues important in our elections?
Track UPA’s flagship programmes
Rural job scheme (MGNREGS)» 
The government is overhauling the rural job scheme that helped it return to power in 2009, in an effort to reverse the anti-incumbency wave. Will the efforts pay dividends?
Right To Education
Four years after the government brought into force Right To Education, which provides for free and compulsory education to children of age-group 6-14 years, the quality of education in government schools is reported to have slid further
Direct Benefit Transfer
Without proper groundwork the UPA government’s scheme to directly transfer cash subsidy to bank accounts is creating trouble for beneficiaries. The Congress-led UPA government had also mandated that consumers have to get their Aadhaar number linked with their LPG consumer number to avail LPG subsidy. Will this system work for consumers?
National Food Security Act
The National Food Security Act (NFSA), launched in September, 2013, is the world’s biggest subsidized foodgrain programme, covering 67 per cent of India’s population. Will the 'compromised' WTO deal at Bali affect our food programme? More importantly, will the Act lead the much needed reform of our public distribution system?
Land Acquisition Act
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 came into force in the beginning of 2014. It has replaced the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. Will it help to end the spreading unrest over land?
Development as agenda
Rights and sops
A look at the impact of the landmark legislation meant to secure the rights of tribal people and forest dwellers and whether welfare schemes can help garner votes
Controversies that haunted UPA government
From the editor
Sunita Narain’s opinion pieces on the environmental challenges ahead
2013 was marked by absolute polarisation over management of our country’s natural resources, be it coal, iron ore or harnessing energy from rivers. Can 2014 be different?
Whether it was the Delhi gang rape protests or the protests against Kudankulam nuclear power plant, the government failed to address the concerns of the very people who elected it to power
The mines in Bellary have reopened. Efforts are on the find ways to reopen the iron ore mines of Goa as well. But how will government contain mining activity so that its cumulative impact is not unsustainable?
Government’s assumption that with pushy announcements foreign and Indian investments will start pouring in ignores one crucial detail: currently, public-private partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure are on the cusp of disaster
The common refrain in political circles is that green clearances are holding up growth. But it is the reverse that is true: green clearances are certainly failing to safeguard the environment
We have forgotten that development cannot be development if it takes lives of the very people for whom it is meant
The argument of the UPA government that environmentalists are squarely to blame for economic slowdown is not entirely true
Why the Indian government is losing the battle of global ideas and perceptions
Over four months after gram sabhas of tribal villages in Odisha’s Niyamgiri hills rejected multinational company Vedanta’s proposal to undertake bauxite mining in the area, the Union environment ministry said a final “no” to the project
Western Ghats
Kerala panel seeks dilution of Kasturirangan report, stirs controversy
MoEF accepts Kasturirangan report; will declare one-third of the range ecologically sensitive
The Western Ghats chain is recognised as a global biodiversity hot spot. But many development projects are pushed through in the region without proper scrutiny
Decision to clear India’s biggest FDI project precedes South Korean president’s visit to India, but the project still has a major hurdle to clear
Bench observes that Forest (Conservation) Act does not have any provision on two-stage forest clearance
Move violates stay order of National Green Tribunal, say protesting activists
A photo feature that captures the mood of the people whose land is being taken away for POSCO steel project
The Odisha government is trying to acquire land on a shoddily drawn compensation package
Latest news
Five factors that would influence 2014 election outcome
Development in states
Have regional parties delivered?
Cash schemes
A deal for votes
Civil society and politics
Youth and economic growth
    • Dumka parliamentary seat that is also known as Nandigram of Jharkhand is witnessing a sharp contest among two former chief ministers-Shibu Soren of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha. They are facing stiff contest with Sunil Soren of Bhartiya Janta Party. Latest Election Commission figures say that Shibu Soren and Sunil Soren are in neck and neck fight

    • Dumka that witnessed police firing at Kathikund over establishment of 1,000MW thermal power plant constructed by Kolkata based RPG group in 2009 is still incensed by forceful land acquisition and displacement

    • In 2011, Trinamool Congress led a massive protest march in Dumka to chase away RPG group from forcefully acquiring the tribal land

    • However, former chief minister, Babulal Marandi who has a clean image has failed to win the heart of voters. Marandi till 1.00 pm got 30,166 votes. Shibu Soren got 67,743 votes and Sunil Soren got 67137 votes

    • AAP candidate from Patna Sahib, Praveen Amanullah, who took on dreaded don Anant Singh, a JD(U) MLA, for encroaching a public park in Patliputra Colony is faring badly. She registered only 4,124 votes till 1.30pm

    • Mixed results for clean and effective governance from Jharkhand

    • In Singhbum constituency, sitting BJP MP Laxman Gilua is leading with 83,255 votes. The constituency is infamous for multi-crore rupees mining scam by former chief minister Madhu Koda who has fielded his wife Geeta Koda on Jai Bharat Samata Party. Both candidates are in direct tussle

    • Around seven panchayats in the Saranda forests of this constituency cast their vote after 15 years. Heavy naxal activity and illegal mining are two prime issues during the election

    • At Khunti constituency, AAP candidate, Dayamani Barla has failed to impress the voters. Barla who had been fighting for land rights and tribal rights is at sixth position

    • BJP candidate Karia Munda is leading and he has direct figt with Anosh Ekka of Jharkhand Party. Munda is leading by around 70,000 votes

    • Till 12:45 PM, a total 1,889,000 None-Of-The-Above (NOTA) votes were recorded across India, which is about 1.1 per cent of the total vote share. Scarred by deforestation and mining issues among others, Meghalaya has the highest share of NOTA votes cast in a state at 2.8 per cent. Interestingly, the highest number of NOTA votes have been cast in Gujarat--335,673 votes.

    • Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the sitting MP, wins in Bathinda, Punjab, the cancer hot bed of the state. Her win does not come as a respite for cancer patients as she has not taken up their issues in her last tenure when cancer cases were on a rise in the district. She has been accused by Manpreet Singh Badal for living in Delhi, instead of Bathinda and ignoring the patients

    • It seems that the Telangana Rashtriya Samithy (TRS)is all set to form the first government in Telangana, the 29th state which will come into existence on June 2. Out of the 119 Assembly seats, TRS is leading in 63 seats and the Congress is leading in 20. Congress had an upper hand in the local body elections. However, the trend is reversed in the elections to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha.

    • In Seemandhra, out of the 175 Assembly seats, the Telugu Desam Party is leading in 104 and the YSR Congress Party is leading in 65

    • Biju Janata Dal is sweeping Odisha, including coastal areas. The party's win is being attributed to disaster management and evacuation during cyclone Phailin last year and rehabilitation thereafter

    • Mining scam-tainted leaders win Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka.

    • B S Yeddyurappa, who had to vacate the chief minister's chair in 2011 following the Lokayukta report on iron ore mining in Bellary, has won the Shimoga constituency.

    • B Sriramulu, who was a minister in Yeddyurappa's Cabinet and close associate of mining baron G Janardhan Reddy, won Bellary constituency. He had to quit his office after the scam

    • Both Yeddyurappa and Sriramulu had resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party and formed their own political parties, However, in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections, BJP re-inducted both of them into the party. Sriramulu even faces criminal charges, including attempted murder in a case dating back to 2007. He had declared an asset of Rs 15 crore when he registered as a candidate

    • Narendra Bhati of Samajwadi Party, who is known to be a mining baron in Gautam Buddha Nagar (Greater Noida), is trailing BJP candidate Mahesh Sharma by 17,002 votes. Durga Shakti Nagpal, former SDM in the area, was allegedly suspended after her tiff with Bhati. Her strict action against sand mining mafia had brought her into direct conflict with Bhati, allegedly on whose behest, her dismissal orders were issued

    • Singer Babul Supriyo from BJP leads in Bengal's industrial and coal belt of Asansol. Two times MP from left trailing

    • With independent candidates leading the show, Bodo Peoples' Front trails in third position in violence-hit Kokrajhar seat in Assam. Close contest between former Rajya Sabha MP, Urkhao Gwra Brahma and former ULFA commander, Naba Kumar Sarania in Kokrajhar

    • Himmat Singh Shergill, AAP candidate for Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, is trailing behind Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress. Shergill had been fighting the case of Sikh farmers in Kutch, Gujarat, who were being evicted from their land because of huge limestone reserve under it. He had made this issue a major poll plank in Punjab. In Kutch, however, Chavda Vinod Lakhamashi of BJP is leading

    • In Kerala, out of the 20 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress-led United Democratic Front is leading in 12; the CPI(M)-led Democratic Front in 8. Initially BHP has established a lead in Thiruvananthapuram.
      However, it is trailing now.

    • In Idukki, where Kasturirangan report and the conservation of the Western Ghats were the poll issues, LDF candidate Joyce George has established a good lead of more than 14,000 votes. The LDF had taken a stand against Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports for conserving Western Ghats. Joyce George has the support of the Catholic Church in Idukki.

    • In Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) seems all set to sweep the Lok Sabha elections. The AIADMK which contested all the 39 Lok Sabha seats alone is leading in 37 seats out of the available trends for all 39 seats in the state. The party cadre is elated and celebrations have already started in the AIADMK camp with party workers gathering in front of chief minister Jayalaithaa's residence and bursting crackers

    • In the 2004 elections, AIADMK had suffered a massive defeat, losing all the 39 seats in the state. It was in alliance with BJP. In the 2009 elections, AIADMK won 9 seats in alliance with PMK, MDMK and two left parties

    • Kanubhai Kalsariya' AAP candidate from Bhavnagar, who had been leading the agitation against Gujarat government's decision to give 4,500 hectares (ha) to the Nirma group for setting up a cement plant and for mining limestone, is trailing behind BJP's Bharatiben Dhirubai Shiyal and Congress' Rathod Pravibhai Jinabhai

    • Counting for 42 Lok Sabha and 294 Assembly seats in undivided Andhra Pradesh is progressing. States of Telangana and Seemandhra are set to form their first governments after bifurcation.

    • Polling for 17 Lok Sabha and 119 Assembly seats in Telangana region was held in April 30 and for 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats across 13 districts in Seemandhra on May 7. These were the last elections in the undivided Andhra Pradesh. Telangana, the 29th state, will come into existence on June 2.

    • In Telangana, Telangana Rashtriya Samithi is ahead of other parties while in Seemandhra Telugu Desam Party-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance is leading. Out of the 15 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, TRS is leading in 12. In Seemandhra, out of 25 Lok Sabha seats TDP-BJP is leading in 15 constituencies.

    • Grand arrangements of Kumbh Mela could not win votes for Samajwadi Party in Allahabad that had been grappling with severe civic problems. Shyama Charan Gupta, Managing Director of Shyam Biri Works, and BJP candidate from Allahabad constituency is leading over popular Samajwadi Party leader Rewati Raman Singh by 4,784 votes

    • In Bengal's tea belt where starvation deaths are regular and malnutrition rampant, left parties are nowhere to be seen. BJP leads in Darjeeling seat and TMC set to wrest Jalpaiguri seat from CPM

    • Rachna Dhingra, AAP candidate from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, is trailing behind Alok Sanjar of BJP and P C Sharma of Congress. Dhingra had been raising the issue of safe disposal of 350 tonnes of toxic waste from Bhopal gas disaster site (Union Carbide Plant) in Bhopal that had been contaminating the ground water of the region

    • Former chief minister and Congress leader Vijay Bahuguna's son, Saket Bahuguna,is trailing by 19,450 votes behind Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah (BJP)in Tehri Garhwal constituency. B C Khanduri of BJP is leading in Garhwal by 53,696 votes over rival Harak Singh Rawat, former agriculture minister of the state

    • Both Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Indore (Anil Trivedi) and Khandwa (Alok Agarwal) are trailing. They were opposing the increase of water level in the Narmada dam reservoir. Does water level in Narmada Dam not matter to people?

    • In Uttarakhand, where the June 2013 flood disaster claimed more than 5000 lives and rehabilitation has been a major poll plank, Congress may suffer a crushing defeat. In all the five constituencies in the state, BJP is leading

    • Trends in ST seats: In Manipur, Naga People's Front is leading Outer Manipur and Congress in Mizoram. In Odisha, Congress is leading in Koraput.
      BJP is leading in Rajasthan's Banswara seat. In West Bengal, TMC is leading in Alipurdas. In Chhattisgarh, BJP is leading in Sarguja, Kanker and Bastar. BJP is leading in Dadra and Nagar Haveli. In Lakshadweep, NCP is leading

    • Aditya Nath from BJP leading in Gorakhpur. He has been raising the issue of Japanese Encephalitis. Now that his party BJP is winning at the Centre, will it make any real change on the ground?

    • Across the tribal constituencies, Congress is losing. Does this mean the instrument of the Forest Rights Act has not worked for the Congress? The party talked about the legislation in its campaigns in the tribal areas, particularly the party vice president Rahul Gandhi cited the law as 'significant' empowerment for the tribal and forest dwellers

    • In Kalahandi constituency where the Niyamgiri is located and centre of a fierce anti-mining campaign supported by Rahul Gandhi, the Congress is trailing

    • Trends on ST seats: In Assam,Congress is leading in autonomous district; Congress and independent candidate Urkhao Gawari Brahma is leading in Kokrajhar. BJP is leading in Gujarat's Dohad seat and Chhota Udaipur. In Madhya Pradesh, BJP is leading in Sidhi, Shahdol and Mandla seats. In Maharashtra, Congress is leading in Nandurbar, and BJP in Dindori

    • Celebrities help TMC lead in backward and rural West Bengal- singer Saumitra Khan in Bishnupur, actress Satabdi Roy in Birbhum, actress Sandhya Roy in Medinipur, actor Dev in Ghatal.

    • In the iron ore-rich Bellary constituency in Karnataka, mine-scam-tainted B Sriramulu, the Bharatiya Janatha Party candidate leads ahead of his rival, N Y Hanumanthappa, former Odisha chief justice and the Indian National Congress candidate

    • In Idukki constituency of Kerala where Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats was the poll issue, the Left Democratic Front candidate, Joyce George, is leading. He was ahead of his rival Dean Kuriakose by 1,500 votes when counting for 16 per cent votes was over. LDF had campaigned strongly against both the Kasturirangan and Madhav Gadgil Committee reports for conservation of Western Ghats

    • India is heading for a majority government after 1984; BJP is seemingly riding a wave

    • In Vidharbha region of Maharashtra, infamous for farmers suicides, the BJP is gaining. Outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had declared a special package for the region. Experts say bad implementation led to anti-incumbency

    • Counting of votes has started; 551 million voters had cast their votes this election

    • As compared to 2000 elections, about 100 million more voters have voted this time

    • About 47.6 per cent voters are women; 21 out of 35 states/UTs have a proportion of female voters that is higher than that of the national proportion

    • Social media, in combination with the significant youth and middle class voters, may emerge as another swing factor in results

    • More than 100 environment activists are contesting elections; the highest ever number

    • These candidates, according to Indianenvironmentportal.org, have mostly taken up local environment and development issues

    • Eight states/UTs have a higher percentage of female voters than male

    • The national capital territory of Delhi has the lowest proportion of female voters

    • Women voters are perceived to be a major decider in current elections; in rural areas of states like Jharkhand, UP and Tamil Nadu they may have a huge impact on the result of polls

    • About 22 million voters are in age group of 18-19; the first generation born after India adopted free market economy in 1992

    • Will Bihar voters opt for 'Bihar model' or the 'Gujarat model'? This elections has witnessed many development models being debated

    • How have the tribals voted? It will be interesting to track how the Forest Rights Act has influenced the election outcome in ST constituencies

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