Contrary to the big claims of social equality, there is a big inequality in terms of wealth in West Bengal, the red bastion, of course. If we analyse the growth of the state on the basis of the per capita income in 2000-01 (at current prices) and the relative ranking of districts then, as well as twenty years earlier, it becomes crystal clear that the per capita income in the capital city, Kolkata, is substantially above that in rest of the other districts of the state. This disparity has increased over the time, despite the pattern of growth, which has emphasised agricultural output expansion by small cultivators and rural industrialisation. These facts have been revealed by the recently published West Bengal Human Development Report, 2004.
The wide disparity in terms of the incidence of poverty is the fourth important feature. Poverty is the lowest in the Kolkata metropolitan area and its surroundings, to the extent that urban poverty appears to be negligible in Howrah and even rural poverty is very low in this district. Not only this, there are very sharp urban-rural differences in average consumption across most districts, with urban per capita consumption being much higher, and typically more than one-and-a-half times the rural average consumption. Purulia, South-24 Parganas and Dinajpur show the highest rates of rural-urban inequality in consumption.
Best-selling travel guide
Now-a-days, a travel guide on India, published by a British publisher, is on top of the list of best-selling books in England. Recently, a travel publisher, Footprint Handbooks, in Bath has released a new edition of the travel guide on India. One can imagine the popularity of this 1,422-page travel guide from the fact that it is now running in its 13th edition.
It contains the names of the top two must-see spots in India, which varies from the exotic Goa beaches to the scenic tea gardens of Darjeeling. It confirms that India'sattraction is still on the rise in Europe.
Railways running – Ram bharose
With Laloo Yadav taking the charge of Railways, there has been a sharp increase in incidents of crime like murder, dacoity and other petty crimes in trains, particularly in Bihar. The result of this is that no IPS officer is willing to take the charge of the Railway Protection Force (RPF). But why?
It is because instead of taking any effective and timely measures, Laloo has left the security of rail passengers to ?Ram bharose?. (Railway Minister has reportedly said that it is Bhagwan Vishvakarma who is responsible for the security of trains as well as train passengers, and not him). In the past, there used to be a beeline to seize this creamy post. The post of Director General, RPF, will fall vacant by July end following the superannuation of Bihar cadre IPS officer, A.K. Pande.
Who will be new RAW chief?
After the appointment of IB chief, the appointment of new RAW chief is on the move. Grapevine is that a three-member panel?P.K. Harmese Tharakan, E.S. Laxminarsimhan and N.C. Padhi?is to be reached to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for consideration. There is another proposal to shift RAW'spresent chief C.D. Sahay to Home Ministry as Special Secretary.
Women turns ?red? in red bastion
The tall claim of providing protective environment to the women residing in West Bengal is completely an eyewash as 82 per cent of women living in West Bengal'scapital are completely red. But they are not red due to Left ideology but by anger. The women residing in Kolkata are angry about being harassed, anytime, anyplace. Almost half (46 per cent) feel unsafe when they leave their homes in the state?Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya's?oasis of peace?.
These facts are revealed in an opinion poll (on how safe women feel?and are?in Kolkata) published in a local English daily.
Contrary to the tall claims of gender equality by the communist government, women in the state capital feel most vulnerable in public spaces (52 per cent) like streets, cinemas, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and markets, followed by public transport (48 per cent). Thirty-nine per cent of respondents admitted physical molestation, which is one of the main kinds of harassment faced by them. Owing to social stigma, the majority of victims (73 per cent) keep their mouth shut about harassment. The poll figures support this notion. If 68 per cent of all the women harassed have protested, only 5 per cent have taken it up with the police or any other authority. In other words, her security, her privacy, her space and her right to walk down a street without fear are constantly under siege in the red bastion.
With change in course becoming a hot topic, the B.A. pass course students of Delhi University would have a new syllabus for Hindi subject. This year, the university'sHindi department has overhauled the syllabus and, apart from literature, has introduced writing on latest socio-cultural trends in different walks of life. The writers include freedom fighters like Ganeshshankar Vidyarthi, revolutionary Ramprasad Bismil, socialist thinkers and leaders Ram Manohar Lohia, Aacharya Narendra Dev and Kishan Patnaik, eminent sociologist Shyamacharan Dubey, Gandhian thinker Anupam Mishra and Hindi writers like Himanshu Joshi, Prabhakar Shotriya, Mrinal Pande and Sharad Joshi.