Prisões são purgatório dos pobres na Índia

As terríveis condições das detentas da ala seis do complexo carcerário de Tihar, na Índia, o maior da Ásia meridional, gerou um alvoroço midiático no país, quando um popular canal de televisão denunciou a situação.O programa levou direto ao lar dos telespectadores o tratamento degradante que sofrem cerca de 600 mulheres, espremidas como sardinhas em lata em um espaço previsto para metade desse número, sem instalações básicas, e diante da escandalosa apatia estatal na maior democracia do mundo.

Ao denunciar a situação, o programa também destacou o funcionamento de um sistema judicial que mantém milhões de pessoas privadas da liberdade sem mesmo terem comparecido diante de um juiz, ou cujas visitas superficiais se estendem durante anos devido a uma justiça corrupta sobrecarregada de casos e com poucos juízes. A injustiça das detenções prolongadas também se agrava pelas péssimas condições de reclusão.

Por ocasião do Dia da Justiça para os Presos, celebrado em 10 de agosto, os defensores de direitos humanos aproveitam para pedir maior atenção do Estado com as prisões na Índia. A maioria delas não cumpre os padrões mínimos da Organização das Nações Unidas, como alimentação suficiente ou de boa qualidade, e boas condições de higiene. São comuns as torturas e os maus tratos, e as celas costumam estar mal conservadas, com má ventilação e sem luz natural.

Um informe de 2015 da Auditoria Geral e do Controlador da Índia sobre Tihar afirma que o complexo sofre com uma população carcerária superior ao dobro do previsto e que carece de 50% do pessoal necessário. O documento diz que as dez prisões estão extremamente lotadas com 14.290 presos, bem acima de sua capacidade de 6.250. Também há 51 presos que ainda esperam serem processados e que já permaneceram mais da metade do tempo previsto como pena para o crime pelo qual foram detidos.

As instalações médicas são virtualmente inexistentes e faltam profissionais, além de o hospital não ter capacidade para atender situações de emergência, apesar de contar com 150 camas. As más condições têm consequências sobre a saúde das presas, tanto física quanto psicologicamente, denunciou uma ex-detenta.“As presas preferem se cuidar entre si quando não estão bem, porque na maior parte do tempo só há médicos homens. Lembro que uma vez uma mulher teve aborto espontâneo e ficou sangrando horas até ser levada ao hospital”, contou.

A situação no pavilhão da morte é pior. Não só vivem em condições sub-humanas,como têm julgamentos injustos e sofrem torturas terríveis, revela o estudo do Projeto de Investigação sobre a Pena de Morte, da Universidade Nacional de Direito de Nova Délhi. O documento, com base em entrevistas com 373 das 385 pessoas que se estima estejam condenadas à pena máxima na Índia, apresenta um cenário horrendo das intoleráveis condições de vida das pessoas que esperam por um juiz para decidir seu destino.

Outro informe da Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, de 2015, diz que a falta de recursos, o procedimento por meio do qual são feitas as detenções e a impossibilidade de pagar fiança, além das lamentáveis condições das prisões, incidem na má qualidade de vida das pessoas detidas.A situação exige que o pessoal capacitado ofereça opções para que os centros de reclusão se convertam em reformatórios.

Especialistas atribuem o maior gargalo na situação a um sobrecarregado sistema de justiça penal, que acaba prejudicando os presos.Segundo o Escritório Regional de Registro de Crimes, em 2013 houve 411.992 presos, 278.503 dos quais sem julgamento. A situação vai piorar enquanto não se respeitar o devido processo, a infraestrutura for ruim e os presos carecerem de uma boa assessoria legal.

Atualmente há três milhões de casos pendentes nos diferentes tribunais da Índia. O ex-primeiro-ministro Manmohan Singh pontuou que a justiça indiana tem um atraso enorme. A Bloomberg Business Week estimou que, se todos os juízes do país trabalharem sem parar para comer e dormir e apreciarem cem casos por hora, demorarão 35 anos para colocar a situação em dia.

“A grave demora se deve em grande parte ao fato de muitos tribunais compartilharem juízes, o que deixa muito lento o processamento de casos. Não há um mecanismo legal de reparação pela falta de julgamentos”, disse Ajay Verma, do não governamental International Bridges to Justice, que defende os direitos humanos. “As patologias institucionais derivam em detenções prolongadas e injustas”, acrescentou.

O advogado de direitos humanos Maninder Singh observou que muitos presos passam mais tempo na prisão do que o tempo da pena prevista para o crime que teriam cometido. Algumas pessoas inclusive permanecem duas décadas detidas antes de serem condenadas ou liberadas.

As mulheres que esperam julgamento estão condenadas a sofrer mais porque são muito pobres para pagar um advogado, ressaltouo advogado.“Inclusive, algumas têm filhos, que devem ficar com elas nessas condições patéticas até os seis anos. Muitas permanecem vários meses até serem acusadas. Simplesmente não há nenhum recurso legal ao qual apelar”, explicou.

A Comissão Nacional de Direitos Humanos fez várias recomendações para uma reforma carcerária, como substituir a Lei de Prisões de 1894, emendar os códigos contemplando os direitos humanos, reduzir a lotação e trasladar os estrangeiros para centros de detenção após cumprirem suas penas, enquanto tramita a deportação para seus países.

Mas a situação não é irremediável, é preciso vontade política e um enfoque mais humanitário para um problema que é muito complexo. Algumas medidas tomadas para paliar a situação, como a reabilitação e capacitação de presos para que consigam um emprego ao serem soltos, receberam elogios.

Tihar se orgulha de suas atividades artesanais, como carpintaria, alfaiataria, pintura em tecidos, entre outras, cuja renda, obtida com a venda dos produtos fabricados pelos detentos, contribui para a manutenção da prisão. A possibilidade de obter uma renda e os incentivos que recebem ajudam a diminuir a agonia psicológica dos presos.

É necessário ampliar esse tipo de medida, mas, como disseram Singh e Verma, o Estado deve se concentrar em acelerar o tempo de processamento, agilizar a justiça e melhorar as condições dos centros de reclusão para melhorar a situação das pessoas privadas da liberdade.

FONTE: Envolverde

The Siddis: A Forgotten People

Published on Mar 11, 2016
Gujarat in western India is home to more than 20,000 Siddis, an ethnic group of African descent. But today, many live on the fringes of society in poverty. One young man is fighting to protect their unique heritage – as well as their close ties with the remaining Asiatic lions of the neighbouring Gir forest- by raising awareness of their culture through dance.
United Nations

US sale of F-16s to Pakistan: To solve 20th Century problems, India must adopt 21st Century mindset

Publicado originalmente em 15 de fevereiro de 2016.

Representational image. Getty Images

News of the Barack Obama administration’s decision to sell Pakistan eight Block 52 F-16 C/D fighter jets for around $700 million was met with dismay in Delhi. Technically, however, the announcement does not mean that the sale has been concluded. By law, the White House is required to inform the Legislature of its intent which then has 30 days to block or modify the decision. The last time a similar proposal was floated, barely five weeks ago, it was stalled in the US Congress when lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, questioned the White House’s policy to sell advanced weaponry to a state known to aid and abet terrorists.

The White House and the Pentagon have argued that the sale will enhance the Islamic Republic’s capability to fight terrorism by allowing its air force to operate in all-weather, non-daylight environments, sustain a greater operational tempo, and provide area suppression potential. Their story has few buyers: Several influential leaders from across the political spectrum have written to the president expressing concern that the nuclear-capable F-16 is an obvious weapons platform against India and of much less utility against terrorists.

Pakistan already fields 76 F-16s in its air force. In February 2014, it purchased 13 of the fighter jets from Jordan with Washington’s tacit blessings: US military exports policy prevents recipients of US equipment from selling arms to third parties without approved end user certificates. In essence, the United States possessed a veto over Jordan’s sale of F-16s, but did not use it. Islamabad has also been upgrading its older versions of the fighter jet with help from Turkey.

Eight new planes would buttress Pakistan’s aerial capabilities but not measurably alter its strategic balance vis-à-vis India. However, were this deal to be successfully concluded, it would have enormous symbolic value for Pakistan. At one stroke, it would negate much of the unfavourable publicity the country has received regarding its ties to international terrorism, illicit nuclear activities, and political volatility, replacing it with the image of a robust state with a modern military and the confidence of the world’s superpower.

India’s response to the whole affair has been predictable. Its public expression of disappointment is just that, a formality it has performed every time the United States has given Pakistan military aid; a private admonishment delivered to US Ambassador to India Richard Verma is unlikely to have much more potency either. Time and again, Delhi has exhibited an inability to sufficiently influence US policy towards South Asia enough to stem the flow of weapons to its regional rival. The timing of the sale, however, in the midst of an uptick in India-US relations, is certainly intriguing, especially so soon after rumours surfaced — though quickly quashed — that the United States was considering offering the South Asian irritant-in-chief a civil nuclear cooperation deal similar to the one it had offered India in 2005.

Nonetheless, Delhi’s role in furthering the United States’ myopic policies towards South Asia must also be acknowledged.

Whatever may have been the differences between the two countries during the Cold War, the years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and India’s economic liberalisation has undeniably seen a significant convergence of interests. Unfortunately, substantial segments of Indian society — bureaucrats, outdated politicians, ‘intelligentsia’ — still prefer to get their endorphin rush from moral grandstanding than a pragmatic pursuit of national interests. For all the talk of warmer India-US relations, the two countries are like awkward teenagers at a ‘formal’.

Historically, the United States has shown that its foreign policy is amenable to reason given the appropriate incentives.

In the late 1950s, the Dwight Eisenhower administration grew closer to Pakistan as the South Asian State joined a series of American-led defence pacts and began receiving military assistance from Washington. This was largely influenced by Pakistan’s vital role in US reconnaissance efforts over the Soviet Union, and China and its sideshow insurgency in Tibet. In the late 1960s, when Islamabad’s utility had diminished, Lyndon Johnson did not hesitate to impose sanctions on his ally during the Second India-Pakistan War in 1965. Yet within a few years, when Pakistan emerged as the preferred conduit for secret negotiations with Mao Zedong, the United States was willing to overlook one of the gravest genocides of the latter half of the 20th Century.

This pattern repeats itself twice in Afghanistan — once during the Soviet invasion when Washington looked the other way on Islamabad’s nuclear programme and again after terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 11 September, 2001.

In contrast, India maintained its “strategic autonomy” from the United States and did not make common purpose with Washington even on issues that most concerned Indian security. As a result, its usefulness to the United States remains only theoretical and therefore a second-class relationship albeit with plenty of pleasing revisionist rhetoric about shared values and a multipolar global order in the 21st Century.

Of the many disagreements between India and the United States. three issues involving regional security are Delhi’s role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan, the alphabet soup of military agreements that facilitate closer operation of the Indian and American armed forces, and a greater role for India in the regional security commons. On the first issue, India has preferred the sanctimonious high ground even as its advantages in the post-Taliban Afghanistan slip away; an ideological holdover from the Nehruvian era seems to be preventing bureaucrats and politicians from mutually augmenting military capabilities on the second item, and on the third point, India is pretending to go it alone for no discernible reason.

It might be argued that Delhi is trying to avoid over-dependence on the United States, but this cautious approach was nowhere in evidence when over 70 percent of the Indian armed forces were supplied by the Soviet Union. Notwithstanding, India should not work itself into a situation whereby it finds its options constrained by an American veto, but there is no danger of this at present engagement levels.

India’s commitment to regional security, be it in the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, or in Afghanistan, must also be a reflection of its capabilities. While it may be desirable for Delhi to take a more pro-active role in its region, the fact is that the country’s military capabilities simply do not presently support this broader view of security after decades of being assured that only a “Kleinindische Lösung” would be pursued.

Were Delhi to jettison its quaint residual anti-Americanism, there is a much greater chance that it would find in the United States a much better partner for a Pax Indica.

The country’s political structure, history, and economic interests are not seen as a threat in Southeast Asia and some states will no doubt welcome the development of Indian power in the region. With a greater role in regional security and a larger economy will come greater engagement and more influence with the United States; finally, Delhi may be able to have its concerns heard in Foggy Bottom. Until then, as long as India remains an undecided bystander in regional geopolitics (even at the cost of its own national interests), the United States will be forced to seek willing if imperfect partners that further its goals in the region and there will be further sales of F-16s and other equipment over India’s objections.

Fonte: FirstPost

India’s food bills on imports rise as govt struggles to revive rural belt

Publicado originalmente em 02 de fevereiro de 2016.

Low production? Reuters

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a late night meeting with food and farm officials last week to address falling agricultural output and rising prices, and traders warn the country will soon be a net buyer of some key commodities for the first time in years.

Back-to-back droughts, the lack of long-term investment in agriculture and increasing demands from a growing population are undermining the country’s bid to be self-sufficient in food.

That is creating opportunities for foreign suppliers in generally weak commodity markets, but is a headache for Modi, who needs the farm sector to pick up in order to spur economic growth and keep his political ambitions on track.

“The top brass is dead serious about the farm sector that is so crucial to our overall economic growth and well-being,” said a source who was present at the recent gathering of Modi, his agriculture and food ministers and other officials.

Modi sat through presentations and asked the ministers to ensure steady supplies and stable prices, urging them to find solutions, the source said. Modi did not suggest any immediate interventions of his own.

The long term impact on commodity markets could be significant.

Last month, India made its first purchases of corn in 16 years. It has also been increasing purchases of other products, such as lentils and oilmeals, as production falls short.

Wheat and sugar stocks, while sufficient in warehouses now, are depleting fast, leading some traders to predict the need for imports next year.

“There’s a complete collapse of Indian agriculture, and that’s because of the callous neglect by the government,” said Devinder Sharma, an independent food and trade policy analyst.

“Given the state of agriculture, I’m not surprised to see India emerging as an importer of a number of food items. Maize is just the beginning.”

Growing distress

Agriculture contributes nearly 13 percent to India’s $2 trillion economy and employs about two-thirds of its 1.25 billion people.

Government sources said that boosting irrigation, raising crop yields and encouraging farmers to avail of a new crop insurance scheme unveiled in January will help address growing distress in the countryside caused by poor harvests.

Modi has already loosened controls on some imports.

But one of his biggest dilemmas is that although imports can help cool prices – a key concern for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s core middle-class voter base – farmers see them as benefiting foreign producers at the cost of locals.

In a recent interview with television channel ET Now, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was aware of the impact two bad monsoons have had.

“That now tells me, please spend more on irrigation,” he said.

The farm sector needs to grow at about 3 percent to help Jaitley achieve his target of 7 to 7.5 percent economic growth in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

In the first half of this fiscal year, agricultural growth fell to 2 percent from 2.4 percent a year earlier.

Who are the winners?

India’s entry into the market as a net importer is good news for suppliers like Brazil, Argentina, the United States and Canada, which are suffering from a global commodity glut.

India’s move to import corn, for example, has supported global prices. Corn values rose 2.6 percent after India said on 13 January that it would launch a second tender for 200,000 tonnes, its second since announcing plans to buy half a million tonnes.

Traders say India may need to import another 1.5-2.0 million tonnes.

The next big import item on the list could be oilmeals, an animal feed, which India used to export in large quantities until last year.

“Very soon we’ll be left with no choice but to import oilmeals, largely because our oilseed production has failed to keep pace with our demand for both vegetable oils and oilmeals,” said BV Mehta, head of trade body Solvent Extractors’ Association.

Fonte: First Post

India’s waterman says U.S. won in Paris

cop21

Publicado Originalmente: 20/12/2015

Magsaysay Award winner and water conservationist Rajendra Singh says the landmark agreement on climate change reached in Paris earlier in December could harm India’s interests. “The Paris agreement is a defeat for India, and it is a sign that our country has let developed countries like America take the upper hand” Mr. Singh told The Hindu on Saturday.

Mr. Singh (56), who is known as the “Waterman of India,” has been awarded the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize for outstanding achievement in water conservation. “I was anguished to read the official statements of the government,” he said. “India’s knowledge system prioritises love and respect for nature. We are leaders in this field, but with the Paris agreement we have given a clear path for commercialisation of nature. This is completely against our tradition.”

The Paris agreement, Mr. Singh feels, absolves the United States of its liability for causing climate change in the first place, and goes against the spirit of the Rio de Janeiro, Copenhagen and Kyoto summits which imposed financial damages on it.

“This means America has won and it means that the world’s environment has been put in danger,” Mr Singh said. “Everyone was looking to the Paris summit to make the U.S. pay damages, but now it has succeeded in bringing itself on the same playing field as developing countries in terms of liability, even though everyone acknowledges that America is the major culprit.”

Mr. Singh was in Paris during the negotiations, and he alleges that much of the process was a discussion on business interests rather than environmental concerns. “COP 21 (Conference of Parties) became a playground for business and economic interests of developed countries, and they forced everyone to accept their terms. They are happy now,” he said. There were close to 40,000 attendees, but the real decision makers made up a “blue zone” of not more than 400. “They called the shots,” he said.

It was because of this, he said, he organised an alternative COP forum along with likeminded activists who decided to talk about “climate and not business,” Mr. Singh said, “We were campaigning for conservation of water and soil, and we demanded that the damages that countries like America have to pay should be invested in the conservation of both.”

He added: “If they were really discussing the environment, they would be discussing water and greenery. Instead they only ended up talking about the sale and purchase of technology and how different consultancies could be engaged to help one another.”

India, Mr. Singh says, was willing to accede to the terms of the agreement because it was looking only at its own narrow self-interest. “The government wants to promote the Make in India programme, and it thinks this is the way forward for our economy. So by signing this agreement India thinks it can tell America: “Look, we absolved you of the blame for the climate change you caused. In return, you should let us use coal to produce electricity.”

Globally, Mr. Singh explained, the production of electricity through coal is considered damaging, with countries pushing for greater clean energy use.

However, he said, India continues to pitch for its right to use coal, saying it needs more energy for its manufacturing sector. “In order to achieve this one thing, you have sold away your traditions and your beliefs.”

FONTE: The Hindu

Dani Rodrik: “Back to Fundamentals in Emerging Markets”

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CAMBRIDGE – Following 15 years of hype, a new conventional wisdom has taken hold: emerging markets are in deep trouble. Many analysts had extrapolated rapid growth in countries such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and India into the indefinite future, calling them the new engines of the world economy. Now growth is down in almost all of them, and investors are pulling their money out – prompted in part by the expectation that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September. Their currencies have tumbled, while corruption scandals and other political difficulties have overwhelmed the economic narrative in places like Brazil and Turkey.
With hindsight, it has become clear that there was in fact no coherent growth story for most emerging markets. Scratch the surface, and you found high growth rates driven not by productive transformation but by domestic demand, in turn fueled by temporary commodity booms and unsustainable levels of public or, more often, private borrowing.

Yes, there are plenty of world-class firms in emerging markets, and the expansion of the middle-class is unmistakable. But only a tiny share of these economies’ labor is employed in productive enterprises, while informal, unproductive firms absorb the rest.
Compare this with the experience of the few countries that did emerge successfully, “graduating” to advanced-country status, and you can see the missing ingredient. South Korea and Taiwan grew on the back of rapid industrialization. As South Korean and Taiwanese peasants became factory workers, the economies of both countries – and, with a lag, their politics – were transformed. South Korea and Taiwan eventually became rich democracies.
By contrast, most of today’s emerging markets are deindustrializing prematurely. Services are not tradable to the same extent as manufactured goods, and for the most part do not exhibit the same technological dynamism. As a result, services have proved to be a poor substitute to export-oriented industrialization so far.
But emerging markets do not deserve the doom-and-gloom treatment they are getting these days. The real lesson from the collapse of the emerging-market hype is the need to pay closer attention to growth fundamentals and to recognize the diversity of circumstances among a group of economies needlessly lumped together.
For developing economies, the three key growth fundamentals are acquisition of skills and education by the workforce; improvement of institutions and governance; and structural transformation from low-productivity to high-productivity activities (as typified by industrialization). East Asian-style rapid growth has typically required a heavy dose of structural transformation for a number of decades, with steady progress on education and institutions providing the longer-term underpinnings of convergence with advanced economies.
Unlike East Asian economies, today’s emerging markets cannot rely on export surpluses in manufactures as their engine of structural transformation and growth. So they are forced to rely more on the longer-term fundamentals of education and institutions. These do generate growth – and indeed are ultimately indispensable to it. But they generate 2-3% annual growth at best, not East Asia’s 7-8% rates.
Compare China and India. China grew by building factories and filling them with peasants who had little education, which generated an instant boost in productivity. India’s comparative advantage lies in relatively skill-intensive services – such as information technology – which can absorb no more than a tiny slice of the country’s largely unskilled labor force. It will take many decades for the average skill level in India to rise to the point that it can pull the economy’s overall productivity significantly higher.
So India’s medium-term growth potential lies well below that of China in recent decades. A significant boost in infrastructure spending and policy reforms can make a difference, but it cannot close the gap.
On the other hand, being the tortoise rather than the hare in the growth race can be an advantage. Countries that rely on steady, economy-wide accumulation of skills and improved governance may not grow as fast, but they may be more stable, less prone to crises, and more likely to converge with advanced countries eventually.
China’s economic achievements are undeniable. But it remains an authoritarian country where the Communist Party retains its political monopoly. So the challenges of political and institutional transformation are immeasurably greater than in India. The uncertainty that confronts a long-term investor in China is correspondingly higher.
Or compare Brazil with other emerging markets. Among these countries, Brazil has arguably taken the greatest hit recently. The corruption scandal surrounding the flagship state-owned oil company, Petrobras, has produced an economic crisis, with the currency tanking and growth grinding to a halt.
Yet Brazil’s political crisis demonstrates the country’s democratic maturity, and arguably is a sign of strength rather than weakness. The ability of prosecutors to investigate payment irregularities reaching into the highest ranks of Brazilian society and government without political interference – or the process turning into a witch hunt – would be exemplary in many advanced countries.
The contrast with Turkey could not be more striking. Corruption of a much greater magnitude there, implicating President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family, has gone untouched. A probe by Turkish prosecutors against Erdoğan in 2013 was clearly politically motivated (and driven by Erdoğan’s foes in the movement headed by Fethullah Gülen, a self-exiled Islamic preacher), which gave the government the cover needed to quash the investigation. Turkey’s economy has not suffered nearly as much as Brazil’s, but its rot will cause greater long-term damage.
Cheap external finance, plentiful capital inflows, and commodity booms helped hide many such shortcomings and fueled 15 years of emerging-market growth. As the world economy generates stronger headwinds in the years ahead, it will become easier to distinguish countries that have truly strengthened their economic and political fundamentals from those that have coasted on false narratives and the tenuous strength of fickle investor sentiment.

Dani Rodrik

Dani Rodrik is Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth and, most recently, The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy.

Fonte: Project Syndicate

Índia: novo Embaixador do Brasil fala sobre as relações bilateraisRE