Archive for the ‘press’ Category

How to deal with sexual harassment in DU? Here’s how

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Everybody knows that sexual harassment is rampant in Delhi University. Girls endure lewd comments and even groping on an almost daily basis. It goes on inspite of article XIV-D and heavy policing on campus. In fact, the police seems to add to the problem for they are very evidently not sensitized to the issue and just can’t deal with the problem in an acceptable manner. It is obvious that some institutional changes are required to tackle this problem.

United Students has recommended that the following steps be taken to deal with this menace in an effective and lasting way:

1. Install gates to make North Campus an enclosed university area, with regulated entry through the use of tokens.

2. Establish a university security force, which ought to be specially sensitized to deal with cases of sexual abuse, and should comprise of a good number of student volunteers. The force must’ve a 50/50 male-female ratio.

3. Establish a strong statutory body on the lines of the GSCASH [Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment] in JNU to deal expeditiously with cases of sexual harassment against students, teachers and karamcharis.

US protests sexual harassment in Delhi

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007


On the occasion of Daughters Day [Sunday, 23rd September 2007] United Students, Delhi’s premier students organization organized a protest meeting at Central Park, CP to highlight the recently reported and shocking cases of sexual harassment in Delhi University and to suggest remedial measures.

Background: Candidates appearing for a police recruitment test in the North Campus on Sunday, 16th September had violently molested several girls in the campus area. Many of the victims belonged to the Indraprastha College and when the girls had gone to the police about the incidents, the cops on duty had refused to file complaints, and had passed insensitive comments to boot.

Its only after several hundred students assembled in front of the Vice Chancellor office within the next 3 days to demand justice, was the administration woken out of its slumber, once the media and the National Commission for Women had got involved in the issue.

However, over the last three weeks the university administration as well as the NCW has done little about this case, and are also clueless about how to deal with the recurring problem of sexual harassment in the campus.

Thus, United Students decided to take this issue out to the common people of Delhi, by organizing a large protest meeting in Connought Place, and by involving parents and guardians of students of the university. We got a great response from the people of Delhi, and everybody was one on the view that sexual harassment has become rampant in the city, and there is pressing need of changes at the insitutional level to deal with this menace.

US writes to E. Sreedharan, to meet Transport Minister

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Press Release

Delhi University students ask for Metro fare reduction: transport to College costs more per month than the course fees for the whole year, say students.
· To meet transport Minister Haroon Yusuf on Monday 9th for shuttle bus services and additional DU specials

New Delhi, 8th July 2007:  Students of Delhi University under the United Students group have written to the DMRC Chief E. Sreedharan asking him to revise his view on offering students a special metro fare.

Students had earlier written to him suggesting that a special fare could be worked out for students going to and coming back from the Vishwavidyalaya Station only as a beginning but he had cited losses as a reason to deny the possibility. Students have yesterday written to him again asking him to reconsider the decision as in many cases the cost of transport to and from the DU was more than the annual fees. Students have also argued that a comparison with other metros shows that students everywhere get preferential rates.

Krishna Kaul, who is coordinating the Metro fare issue for United Students in his letter has also asked that the DMRC Chairman support their demand with the Fare Fixation Committee.

In a related development, Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf has agreed to meet a delegation of United Students members in relation with the issue of starting Shuttle Bus services for the North and South Campus which has added to the transport costs of students. The meeting has been fixed for 3.30 in the afternoon at the Minister’s office.

“Students have to shell out 20-30 rupees for traveling within the campus in the North while eveningers and others have to pay exorbitant rates to autos from Dhaulakuan to the South campus merely because there is no convenient way to travel this distance for students,” said Ritwik Agarwal who is coordinating the Shuttle Bus issue for the group.

Students expect to convince the Minister that a hop-on, hop-off shuttle bus service could take care of the entire issue without costing a lot of money in both the campuses.

“The introduction of a shuttle in the North and South Campus will not only save students precious amounts of money but also make the campus a cleaner place and far safer for girl students”, said Nupur Mittal, also a coordinator for the group.

Aldeena Raju, a Miranda House student and a US member said, “Today in the North Campus, hundreds of cycle rickshaws, buses, cars, motorcycles have made the campus look like a fish market while allowing hundreds of unauthorized people entry into the campus. A shuttle service will allow only authorized entry and provide a single mode of transport for students, faculty and service providers.”

Similarly in the South Campus, students, particularly girl students who cannot afford to pay Rs. 20 for trips between Dhaulakuan and the South Campus are often having to walk the distance come rain, heat or a dark evening. This needs to be stopped in the interest of safety and convenience, said the students.

For more information pl. contact Ritwik on 9873554908 or Nupur on 9868870647

9% GDP growth is widely inclusive

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

(By: Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar)

The leftist critics are right when they say India’s record GDP grow-th is bypassing rural millions. This tragedy arises from massive government failure to provide decent education and infrastructure to every village despite 60 years of gargantuan but wasteful spending. India’s cities have been connected to the global economy and have taken off. The villages have not.

But does this justify criticism that 9% GDP growth benefits only a thin upper crust of the population? Not at all.

No economy can grow at 9% unless a wide swathe of people simultaneously increase their productivity and output. Caveat: in small economies, a single mineral deposit can raise GDP without widespread citizen involvement. These exceptions apart, 9% growth is rare across the world precisely because it is so difficult to rapidly improve the productivity of most of the population.

The plain fact is that 9% growth cannot be non-inclusive. It can be achieved only by aggregating the efforts of hundreds of millions. Now, widespread inclusion is not the same thing as complete inclusion. Significant sections are excluded in India, especially in badly-governed states. Still, 9% growth is widely inclusive, and could never have been achieved by a thin upper crust.

Mobile phone connections in India are growing at the rate of six million per month, or 72 million per year. With telecom towers coming up in rural areas, the number of mobile connections is expected to soon hit 500 million. Clearly, this represents wide inclusion, not a thin upper crust.

The number of households with TV sets was just one million in 1980, mostly black and white TVs. Today, 120 million households have TV sets, mostly colour TV. When close to two-thirds of all households have what was an elite privilege in the heyday of socialism, let us celebrate this as a success of inclusion.

Forbes magazine’s list of dollar billionaires has two new Indian entrants, K P Singh of DLF and Ramesh Chandra of Unitech. Critics find it awful that Singh and Chandra have so much wealth when others have so little. But Singh and Chandra used to be non-entities, and have become billionaires only because the price of the few thousand acres they own has skyrocketed. The same price rise has benefited every home and farm owner. Urban land in Delhi goes for Rs 2 lakh/square yard, and rural land in Haryana sells for up to a crore per acre. So, rising real estate prices are actually very inclusive. They benefit all from the jhuggi owner to the small farmer. Even those recorded as landless in rural India have homesteads. A small minority with no house or land at all have missed the bonanza. But the vast majority of Indians have gained.

India’s 9% growth is not, as some people think, due largely to the information technology (IT) exports. Indeed, India’s National Accounts do not even list IT services as a separate category. These services are lumped into the category ‘real estate, ownership of dwellings, business and legal services’. The real impact of IT is grossly underestimated by official data, since GDP is based on a historical composition of the economy, where IT had a tiny role. If you exclude IT altogether from GDP, the growth of the rest of the economy will probably be 9%.

Services account for most of the economy. The largest services sector is ‘trade hotels and restaurants’, which has been growing at 8-10% for many years. This is not run by the Ambanis or software giants.

Millions of urban and rural folk are employed in trade. Hotels and restaurants mean, overwhelmingly, dhabas, pavement vendors in cities and tea-shop owners in villages. Our formal statistics have no good way of measuring this unorganised sector, and so unfortunately miss large parts of it.

Activist Madhu Kishwar estimated some time ago that almost half the households in Delhi were engaged in street hawking and cycle rickshaws. Both these activities are largely illegal, and hence, poorly captured properly by official data.

The fastest-growing sector is communications (23.9% in 2005-06). The telecom revolution benefits a wide swathe of people, not an upper crust. Transport, another fast-growing sector, also benefits a wide swathe. Finance and insurance are booming. Millions of the uninsured now have cover. Consumer credit has spread the benefits of credit to millions of buyers of TV, white goods, vehicles and homes. Micro-credit has reached over 10 million poor women.

Official data show that almost 60% of Indians are engaged in agriculture. This is misleading. Agriculture is a seasonal occupation. Most rural workers do multiple casual jobs. A rural worker who spends 51% of his time in agriculture is classified as agricultural, even though 49% of his work may be in services, construction and rural processing. One study estimated that 70% of new rural jobs for women were in construction (which is growing by 14%, and employs millions).

If all Indians participated in today’s boom, i imagine GDP growth would be 15%. Clearly, we need more inclusion of those left out today. But equally we must scotch the notion that only a thin upper crust of Indians is benefiting. India’s growth is widely, though not fully, inclusive.

(source: Times of India  |  link)

“Quota hasn’t helped anyone”: Kumaraswamy

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

What’s with the Gowdas? After enacting one of the most enthralling dramas in Indian politics which led to Gowda Jr. becoming Chief Minister of Karnataka after enlisting the support of the communal [for the Humble Farmer Gowda Sr.] BJP, the father-son duo tag again. Only this time the issue at hand is the veritable holy cow of Indian politics, reservation.

Here is what the Chief Minister of Karnataka, H.D Kumaraswamy had to say about the socially just policy:

“Reservation has failed to help any community in the last 40 years. Even if the internal reservation is evolved, it will hardly help any community to prosper.”

Stating that there were poor people in all communities, including Brahmins and Lingayats, Mr. Kumaraswamy said, “A 38-year-old Brahmin woman in Dakshina Kannada district earned Rs. 200 a month and she was taking care of her husband and son, both of whom are sick.”

“I have no hesitation to say that we (politicians) have been trying to mislead the people on reservation only to gain political advantage,” he said.

(as seen in The Hindu | link)

Now such honesty is indeed very laudable, were it not for Kumaraswamy’s reputation of a foolish politician. Still, truth has to count for something.

Interestingly, Kumaraswamy’s views differ sharply from that of his father. In the same article, Gowda Sr. is quoted as saying:

 ”Since the last five years, I have been asking successive governments to evolve `internal reservation’ so that the Thigala community could be helped to improve its economic status,”

 But the idea of internal reservation sounds nice. why, you ask? I’ll tell you why. Somebody ask Comrade Prakash Karat the number of SC/ST/OBC politicians in the CPM politburo. Ask Comrade Raja about social representation in the CPI Central Secretariat. Then you’ll know why.

“Reservation can’t divide an already divided society”

Saturday, June 9th, 2007
“Our [gujjar and meena - RA] culture is the same, our status in the villages is the same, we live side by side, share the same well and smoke hookah together. Why then do they get the jobs and scholarships but we don’t?”Bainsla says this is because the Meenas were given st status in 1954. “Reservations provide a sort of guarantee,” he says. “Give that guarantee to everybody or nobody.”

 (as seen in Tehelka | link)

The Gurjars and the Meenas seem to have been living most harmoniously before the “socially just” policy of reservation was implemented.

And yet, its supporters will have us believe that reservation does NOT divide society.

Another curious fact - all the great votaries of reservation, starting and moving downwards from Arjun Singh, seem to have lost the ability to communicate ever since the Gujjar agitation for ST status came to the fore.

What is the way out of this reservation imbroglio ?

United Students proposes a multiple-index related, point based scheme of affirmative action that will analyize people as citizens of India rather than just as belonging to x or y caste. We believe that caste continues to be important in the Indian social scheme, but economic conditions, gender, regional and educational imbalances are also important factors of exclusion operating in society.

Any effective affirmative action scheme ought to holistically address these various factors rather than just the factor of caste, which only reinforces caste divides in society [as proved by the Gujjar - Meena clashes].
(Read more)

Issued in public interest

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Don’t abort the girl child!

calling all aspiring journalists

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

United Students is planning to soon launch a campus newspaper for Delhi University students.

All those who’ve something to say, and  who can say it well, in Hindi or English are invited to contribute at the earliest.Articles, reports and photos are all welcome.

Those skilled at editing, rewriting or designing are also invited to apply.Email your entries to

In case of any queries, just contact US at the above email address or leave a comment to this post.

US briefs the media on latest campaign

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

United Students briefed the media on thursday, 31st May 2007 about our latest campaign for rationalization of transport costs for Delhi University students which will run in conjunction with our annual “new admits mentorship programme” from the 1st - 15th June 2007 to help admission seekers at the university.

US members brief the media in New Delhi

Press Release

United Students start campaign to seek rationalization of transport costs for students : travel costs in a month equivalent to a year’s fees, say group members.

Group will run a campaign coinciding with its admissions mentorship programme for new admission seekers.

New Delhi , 31st May, 2007 : Members of United Students, the group that initiated the campaign against caste-based reservations last year and organized a new student’s union to fight the DUSU elections has today kicked off a campaign to highlight the abnormal costs of travel borne by University students.”When the cost of travel per month begins to equal your annual fees, you know that there is something seriously wrong at a policy level,” said Aaditya Dar, Chief Coordinator of the group.United Student volunteers will start a signature campaign to make admission-seekers aware of what their real expenses will be once they join college and secure the support of parents who will be accompanying them during the admission process.

“US members will run this campaign along with their annual campaign to help admission seekers with information, insight and assistance during the admission process,” said Dar

Ritwik Agrawal, a member and student of Hindu College said, “We have done an analysis of approximate cost of traveL to and from Delhi University for students and we find that for some students living in areas like Dwarka, just the Metro cost is a stupendous Rs. 42 per day. Add to that the auto or cycle rickshaw costs, the DTC Pass and other transfer costs and we have a monthly bill touching Rs. 3000 per month in some cases.”

Nikhita Arora, another member and student of Kirori Mal College said, “We had petitioned the DMRC Chairman to rationalize the Metro fares for students but he summarily rejected our plaint. Similarly, a letter to the Transport Minister of Delhi for augmentation of University Specials and a special shuttle service in North and South campus has gone unanswered”.

The recent indications that the DTC Pass will also cost more has got the students body up in arms. “Everywhere else in the world students are subsidized to the extent that they can move about freely – this is the only instance in the world where the transport and conveyance costs more than the fees for an education,” said Ishaan Wadhwa, a student of Venkateshwara College in South Campus.

For more information, please contact Ritwik Agrawal on 9873554908 or at