Sunday, April 27, 2014



List of Elections around the WORLD as per NDI  2014 and 2015

1/14/2014 – 1/15/2014EgyptConstitutional Referendum
JanuarySomalia (Puntland)Presidential
2/2/2014Costa RicaGeneral
2/2/2014El SalvadorPresidential
2/20/2014LibyaConstituent Assembly
3/9/2014El SalvadorPresidential Runoff
April 7 – May 12IndiaGeneral
4/27/2014MacedoniaPresidential Runoff
5/7/2014South AfricaGeneral
5/16/2014Dominican RepublicLegislative
5/25/2014ColombiaPresidential (1st Round)
5/26/2014 – 5/27/2014EgyptPresidential
6/15/2014ColombiaPresidential (2nd Round)
6/15/2014UkrainePresidential Runoff
8/24/2014TurkeyPresidential (2nd Round)
10/26/2014BrazilPresidential runoff
11/30/2014UruguayPresidential (2nd Round)
2014TunisiaPresidential and Legislative


OctoberCote d’IvoirePresidential
OctoberTanzaniaPresidential and Parliamentary
NovemberBurkina FasoPresidential
2015Saudi ArabiaMunicipal
2015Sri LankaPresidential


Palestinian president says still interested in peace talks with Israel



Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says that he is still interested in continuing peace talks with Israel. They were suspended by Israel, after Abbas’s Fatah faction and the militant group Hamas signed a unity pact this week. 
Abbas was speaking at a meeting of top leaders within the Palestine Liberation Organization, who were gathering for a two-day conference. They were looking to assess the strategy needed for Palestine to achieve statehood, after US-backed talks began to fall apart earlier this month.


Abdullah Abdullah leading Afghan presidential poll


 Afghan election heads for Abdullah-Ghani run-off

Afghan election heads for Abdullah-Ghani run-off
Afghanistan’s presidential election is set for a second-round vote, preliminary results showed, as former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani both failed to secure a decisive victory.
The head-to-head election will choose a successor to outgoing President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power.Whoever wins will have to oversee the fight against a resilient Taliban insurgency as 51,000 US-led troops depart this year, as well as strengthen an economy that relies on declining aid money.
“Based on our results, it appears that the election goes to the second round,” Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani, head of the Independent Election Commission, told a press conference in Kabul.
Abdullah secured 44.9 per cent of the 5th April vote, with his main rival Ghani on 31.5 per cent, according to the preliminary results.
The 2009 election, when Karzai retained power, was marred by fraud in a chaotic process that shook confidence in the multinational effort to develop the country and also marked a sharp decline in relations with the United States.
The final official result is set to be announced on 14th May after a period for adjudication of hundreds of complaints over alleged fraud.
As no candidate gained more than 50 per cent, a run-off between the two leading names is required under the Afghan constitution.
Eight men ran in the election, with polling day hailed a success by Afghan officials and foreign allies as the Taliban failed to launch a major attack despite threats to disrupt the vote.
“The election went pretty good, we are satisfied with it and I think we are prepared if it goes to the second round,” Nuristani said.
Another expensive, and potentially violent, election could be avoided by negotiations between the candidates in the coming weeks, but Abdullah has dismissed talks of a possible power-sharing deal.
Ghani has also vowed to fight on in the run-off, which is tentatively scheduled for 7th June.
 According to preliminary results, for Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, of the National Coalition of Afghanistan party, is leading the April 5 presidential election with 44.9 percent of the votes, AP reports. However, a runoff is likely, as Abdullah is probably not going to reach the 50 percent required on the first ballot to avoid a second round. The chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, said Saturday that ex-Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is in second with 31.5 percent. The preliminary results are expected to be finalized on May 14, after investigations into fraud complaints. Under the law, a runoff will be held within 15 days after final results are announced.


5 recruits killed in ethnic clashes in S. Sudan


Five trainees have been killed in South Sudan in clashes between troops and local residents, said South Sudan’s military spokesman, Colonel Philip Aguer. He said the clashes resulted from a “misunderstanding”between the military and the civilians. All the victims were the members of the Nuer ethnic minority. Members of the same ethnic group are responsible for killing hundreds of people in the town of Bentiu in April. Rebels, many of whom are Nuer, claim hundreds of Nuer troops have been killed in South Sudan, although the allegations could not be independently verified.


Anti-govt protesters march in Venezuela



Several thousand people have flooded the streets of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, and other cities in the country to voice their protest against education reform plans and restrictions on the right to demonstrate. At least 3,000 people gathered for a march in Caracas, carrying signs that read, “Education is not indoctrination,”and “Fight for education that teaches us to think and not obey.” Some activists were holding banners reading,“Protesting is my right,” in response to recent restrictions on protests issued by the country’s authorities. Venezuela has been gripped with anti-government protests since mid-February amid an economic slowdown.


Macedonia votes in snap presidential election



Macedonians are electing their president and MPs Sunday, in what is being seen as a test for the ruling conservative party and its ambition to join the EU and NATO. The vote is being held a year ahead of schedule after the ruling conservative VMRO-DPMNE party failed to agree with its Albanian coalition partner, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), on a joint presidential candidate. The incumbent president, Gjorge Ivanov (VMRO-DPMNE), and Stevo Pendarovski from Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) will compete for the presidency. About 1.7 million voters will also elect new 123 MPs, choosing between 14 parties and coalitions.


South Korean PM resigns over ferry disaster


South Korean PM resigns over ferry disaster
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won tendered his resignation on Sunday over the sinking of a passenger ferry that left more than 300 people dead or missing. 
The resignation has to be approved by President Park Geun-hye. 
The South Korean government has come in for fierce criticism over the disaster, and the handing of the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, all 15 people involved in navigating the South Korean ferry are now in custody. 
A prosecutor said that authorities have detained four more crew members after warrants were issued.
Eleven other crew members, including the captain, had been formally arrested earlier. 
All are accused of negligence and of failing to help passengers in need as the ferry Sewol sank on 16th April. 
Meanwhile, bad weather prevented the recovery of any of the more-than 100 bodies still missing. 
The confirmed death toll from the tragedy stood at 187, with 115 unaccounted for many bodies are believed trapped in the ferry that capsized on 16th April on a routine voyage to the southern resort island of Jeju with 476 people on board. 


Justice Lodha sworn in as 41st CJI 

Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha, the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, was on Sunday sworn in as the 41st Chief Justice of India by President Pranab Mukherjee.
64-year-old Justice Lodha took over from Justice (retd) P Sathasivam who demitted office on Saturday after nine months as the head of the judiciary.The brief ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan’s Durbar Hall attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, some Union ministers, retired and serving judges, members of the Bar, besides Justice Sathasivam. No opposition leader was present at the function.
Justice Lodha, who took oath in the name of god, will have a brief tenure of five months as CJI and is due to retire on 27th September, this year.
He is heading the bench which is monitoring CBI’s probe into coal blocks allocation scam.
He was also instrumental in passing orders making CBI free from any political interference.
A bench headed by him had said that CBI does not require sanction from the government to prosecute senior officials in cases being monitored by courts.
It was Justice Lodha’s bench which had ordered that CBI will not share information with the political executive on coalgate probe.
The judgement had led to the resignation of Ashwani Kumar as the Law Minister in May last year.
He also is part of a Constitution Bench looking into the mode of education of minority schools.
Last month, a bench headed by him had allowed defence personnel in “peace stations” to vote in constituencies where they are posted, saying “compulsions of their job” shouldn’t come in the way of a basic right.
Another bench headed by him had stopped clinical trials in the country, saying the interests of the people were more important than those of pharmaceutical companies.
Later, the government framed rules for monitoring of clinical trials and for paying compensation to people affected in the process.


Obama visit to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines

Obama reached  Tokyo on Wednesday, he will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Malaysia since Lyndon Johnson in 1966, allies South Korea and the Philippines, the two other stops on his agenda, are also keen to take up security ties.The president landed in Tokyo in the evening, he was the first U.S. leader to visit Japan in nearly two decades>Mr. Obama was greeted by U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who joined him for a sushi dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo AbeTokyo is the first stop on a four-nation Asian tour,made Tokyo his first stop on tour of Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. US secures larger military presence in Philippines.
Obama has warned North Korea against conducting another nuclear test, and he has reconfirmed the US commitment to the security of South Korea.
Obama spoke to US troops stationed at a US base in South Korea’s capital Seoul on Saturday morning.
Obama said “the 38th Parallel now exists as much as a contrast between worlds as it does a border between nations.” He called South Korea “a democracy that is growing” and described North Korea as “a pariah state that would rather starve its people than feed their hopes and dreams.” Obama said the situation is not the result of a war but the path North Korea has chosen. He described it as a path of confrontation, provocation and pursuing the world’s most dangerous weapons.
Obama warned that North Korea “would go down a lonely road of isolation” if it pursues nuclear weapons.
He reiterated America’s commitment to the security and defense of South Korea and said it has not wavered once in more than 60 years. The president warned that the United States will not hesitate to use its military to defend South Korea.US President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye have agreed to boost deterrence in regard to North Korea. This comes amid growing concern about a nuclear test by the North. North Korea is apparently preparing for its fourth nuclear test.Obama met Park in Seoul after arriving in South Korea on Friday afternoon, following his 3-day state visit to Japan.
At the start of the summit, Obama commented on the recent ferry accident that left more than 300 people dead or missing. He expressed condolences from the American people for the incredible loss. He said that as allies and friends, Americans join South Koreans in mourning the victims. The two leaders then observed a moment of silence. At a joint news conference after the meeting, Park said that South Korea believes the North is preparing its 4th nuclear test and is ready to conduct it at any time.  She added that President Obama’s visit to her country is a strong message to the North that its provocations are not acceptable. Park said that South Korea and the United States will do everything they can do to deter North Korean from further provocations. President Obama said the two countries have agreed to strengthen their alliance, including their missile defense systems. He stressed that US involvement in South Korea’s security is unshakable and that the North will gain nothing but isolation from provocations.
Obama later left South Korea for Malaysia
 Obama, looking dapper in his dark blue suit and rested despite his hectic trips to Tokyo and Seoul, hurried down the airstairs.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman was the first to greet the President, followed by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who is the minister-in-attendance.
Arriving in style: Obama walking with the King, followed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri
Najib Tun Razak and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, during a welcoming ceremony at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur. — EPA
Among the others standing in line were Wisma Putra secretary-general Datuk Othman Hashim, US Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun and Special Envoy to the United States Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis. Together with them were also Americas Division Undersecre-tary Datuk Syed Sultan Mohd Idris and Ambasador-designate to the United States Datuk Awang Adek Hussin.
The president was seen exchanging words with those who greeted him, smiling and giving each a pat too. Obama acknowledged scores of others who waited for him, some for as long as four hours, including a large number of media personnel.He smiled and waved at them before being accompanied to The Beast by Khairy.
US National Security Adviser Susan Rice joined him on the ride to Parliament House for the official welcoming ceremony.The security protocol was extremely tight for the president’s arrival, with journalists having to undergo three levels of identity checks. The president’s arrival was telecast live by the local TV networks. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first US president to visit Malaysia way back in 1966.
Obama said the MaGIC initiative was a direct result of the entrepreneurship summit that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hosted last year.
“Around the world, we are helping young entrepreneurs connect, collaborate and start their own businesses, serve their communities, tackle global challenges like expanding education and combating climate change,” he said.
He said the centre served as a “one-stop” shop, so young entrepreneurs can get help to file their patents for their ideas, access to loans and venture capital investments.
“We just had a chance to see some of the innovations… this is the type of entrepreneurship that me and Najib wanted to encourage,” he said.
At the event, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also announced, in honour of Obama’s visit, the field in front the MaGIC headquarters, in Cyberjaya, would be renamed as the “Obama Oval”.
CYBERJAYA: Malaysia and the United States have pledged to continue their shared commitment to foster more young entrepreneurs, as they will form the bedrock of both countries’ economies in the future.
US President Barack Obama said this was important to provide a chance for youth, so they would be able to create things and start their own businesses.
“The dreams and the talents of these young people help to fuel our economies, create jobs, and bring our countries closer together,” he said in his opening remarks at the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) headquarters, here Sunday.
Among MaGIC’S objectives include monitoring the performance and to house an integrated database of entrepreneurs, provide them with incubators, facilities to help them guard their intellectual property and access to funding, guidance and training.
US and Philippines  reached a 10-year agreement that will allow a larger American military presence in the country, Filipino officials told media on condition of anonymity. The deal allows US troops access to Philippines’ military facilities, where they can base their fighter jets and warships. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement will be signed Monday, two Filipino officials said.US forces will be able to use military facilities in the Philippines near the area in the South China Sea where Chinese vessels have been increasing their activities.This will be included in a new US-Philippine framework agreement that the two countries have been working on in time for President Barack Obama’s visit to Manila soon. Two countries agreed last year to seek to sign the new agreement to enhance military cooperation. Officials have been negotiating for regular dispatch of US forces and joint use of military bases in the Philippines. A Philippine government source says the new agreement will include three areas for joint military use with the US. They are the Philippines’ largest military base Fort Magsaysay, the Subic Bay area which used to host a US Navy base, and the Ulugan Bay Naval station on the island of Palawan.
RT news writes -Obama hits the South China Sea things will get even choppier. The South China Sea is the heart of Eurasia’s naval hinterland– through which flows a third of the global naval action and of course all those millions of tons of oil being transported from the Indian Ocean across the mega-strategic Malacca strait and then the South China Sea towards East Asia (including, crucially, 80 percent of China’s oil imports.)
The hidden agenda here is for the US Navy to forever remain as the hyperpower in the South China Sea – without allowing Beijing as much as a possibility of reaching parity with it. Thus the Pentagon’s carefully orchestrated propaganda selling the myth that the South China Sea without the hegemonic US would be a hellish chaos.
Obama is visiting Malaysia and the Philippines, two Southeast Asian at opposing poles. Malaysia, for starters, sits between the Middle East and China, at the heart of complex global trade networks. In many aspects, Malaysia may be seen as the heart of Asia.
U.S. President Barack Obama inspects an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at Parliament Square in Kuala Lumpur April 26, 2014. (Reuters)
U.S. President Barack Obama inspects an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at Parliament Square in Kuala Lumpur April 26, 2014. (Reuters)
Unlike Vietnam – which is hyper-nationalist – Malaysia, crucially, does not want trouble with China. US warships already “visit” Malaysia at least 50 times a year – and that includes nuclear submarines hanging out in ports in Borneo.
Two French-Spanish submarines bought by Malaysia are stationed at a base in Sabah, near the Spratly islands – where Malaysia claims 12 islands or rocks.
The global war on terror (GWOT) was the perfect pretext for the Pentagon to extend to Malaysia some state of the art radar equipment. So, in a nutshell, after Singapore – which could easily be described as a corporate-friendly US aircraft carrier positioned near the Malacca strait – Malaysia is in fact a very reliable US ally in the South China Sea.
Media agencies


Robert Vadra companies gist by Anti-AAP Binny

 Vadra & Mrs Vadra looted nation to the core 
Embedded image permalink


Important Press conference Snapshots





Fire at SupremeCourt Delhi

सुप्रीम कोर्ट में आग लगी   
Embedded image permalink


AAP demands disqualification of candidates over the violation of election commission rules

AAP demands disqualification of candidates over the violation of election commission rules laid out under chapter VII clause 14 and its sub-clauses.

In what is considered as gross violation of the law and the specific directions issued by the Election Commission of India, the Congress Party, Bhartiya Janta Party, ShivSena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and the Samajwadi Party issued voter slips bearing  their  party  names, symbols  and  photographs  of their  Candidates  and  leaders. This is despite having it outlined clearly in the handbook handed out by the Election Commission of India falling under violation of chapter VII Clause 14 and its sub‐clauses.

Under Clause 14.2 the identity slips are required to be on white paper and should not contain the name  of  the  candidate  and/or  the  name  of  the  party  and/or  the  election  symbol  of  the candidate/party or any exhortation to vote for the party or for the candidate.  It is specified therein that such slips, if they contain such disallowed information, would amount to canvassing within the polling station, which is not permissible. 

Additionally, several such  voter slips  are  printed  on  costly  paper  and  forwarded to the  voters, resulting in the expenses of such candidates necessarily exceeding the maximum limit allowable to each  candidate.

Mr. Sundar Balakrishnan, party’s Candidate from Mumbai South Central Constituency, during his visits to the polling booths, had also found such slips being used at the Assembly Constituency / Polling Station nos.  180/129,  172/84,  172/88,  181/146,  181/148,  181/165,  181/163,  181/189,  181/188, 181/169 and 181/166. He has specifically lodged his protest in this regard in the visit sheet maintained at the aforesaid polling stations. The other candidates of the party have also noticed similar slips being used at the polling stations and have also brought it to the notice of the Presiding Officers. 

AAP demands disqualification of the candidates that indulged in the aforementioned malpractices which is a serious violation of rules outlined by the Election Commission of India.

Letter to the Election Commission of India is enclosed herewith.

AAP Media Cell​


AAP sets up helpline for disenfranchised voters, demands supplementary elections


AAP sets up helpline for disenfranchised voters and demands supplementary elections

Aam Aadmi Party has complained to the Chief Election Commissioner about the glaring deletions from the Maharashtra State electoral rolls. Lakhs of citizens were shocked to find that despite having what they thought was a valid voter id card their names did not figure in the electoral rolls. Many new voters were deprived of their right to vote because despite making an application in due time, their names were not included in the final rolls.

We say the Election Commission cannot get away by saying that onus is on the citizen to verify his/her name on the electoral rolls. It is natural for a citizen to assume that once enrolled they will not be deleted unless they have requested a change of address, change of citizenry or if they are deceased. The names were deleted either because the election commission failed to verify their existence or due to malicious intent – in either case it takes away the citizens fundamental right to vote and makes a farce of democracy.

We demand that the Election Commission should forthwith verify all the deleted names and allow all valid voters to exercise their votes in a supplementary poll. We will await the Election Commission’s response, failing which we will move to the courts for justice.

We request all citizens who had to face the outrage of being unable to vote to please send your details and we will pursue each case for inclusion.

To register on AAP Right to Vote List

SMS: SMS your at07666496953
Eg: 185 ISD15018161 Meera Sanyal
EMAIL:  Email your below details at
  1.  Assembly Constituency Number:
  2.  Voter ID No.:
  3.  Name:
  4.  Mobile No.
MISS CALL: Give Miss Call at 07666496953

Aam Aadmi Party has strong views on electoral reforms as the only way to safeguard our fundamental rights is to have an honest representative through inclusive, free and fair elections.

Our letter to the Election Commission is attached.

AAP Media Cell


Chikkarangappa lifts Surya Nepal Masters trophy


Chikkarangappa lifts Surya Nepal Masters trophy after playoff win over Shankar Das

Kathmandu, Nepal, April 26, 2014: Chikkarangappa S (69-65-67-72) of Bangalore lifted the Surya Nepal Masters 2014 trophy after defeating Kolkata’s Shankar Das (67-70-68-68) in a playoff at the Gokarna Forest Golf Resort in Kathmandu. Chikkarangappa and Das went into the playoff after both players ended up with the tournament’s best total scores of 15-under-273 from the regulation 72 holes. Abhijit Singh Chadha of Chandigarh and Faridabad golfer Abhinav Lohan were in tied third at 14-under-274.

Chikkarangappa and Shankar made pars on the first playoff hole but the second hole proved to be decisive as Chikkarangappa landed it within seven feet and sank the all-important putt for birdie even as Shankar missed his birdie putt from 15 feet. The 20-year-old Chikka thus bagged his second title and walked away with the winner’s cheque worth INR 4,84,950.

Earlier in the day, Chikkarangappa, the overnight leader by three shots, turned in a card of even-par-72 with three birdies and three bogeys. He started well with a birdie on the third but bogeys on the seventh, eighth and 14th seemed to have almost dashed his title hopes. However, the 2013 PGTI Emerging Player of the Year rallied with long birdie putts on the 16th and 18th to take the match into a playoff.

Chikkarangappa said, “It’s been a fabulous week. My good scores in the second and third rounds set up the win. I made some crucial putts today and didn’t let pressure get the better of me. I recovered well during regulation play despite finding the water on the seventh and hitting it out of bounds on the 14th. There were several contenders in towards the late stages of the final round but I just concentrated on taking the opportunities that came my way. I made a few changes to my game after my first win last year. The main alteration in my game was related to the position of my left hand on the club. The changes have helped me play better.”

Shankar Das, looking for his fifth win, posted five birdies and a bogey in his round of 68. Das, who was overnight tied third, was the leader on Saturday till the 17th hole before Chikka made a birdie on the 18th.

Former champion Abhijit Singh Chadha shared third position with Abhinav Lohan at 14-under. Chadha, who was the leader at one stage on the final day, fired a 68 on day four with six birdies and a double-bogey. Lohan shot a 70 on Saturday.

Local favourite Shivaram Shrestha produced the day’s joint best score, a five-under-67, to secure tied fifth at 13-under-275 and finish as the highest-placed Nepalese golfer. Panchkula’s Angad Cheema joined Shrestha in tied fifth after shooting a 68 in round four.


AAP files Complaint against Narendra Modi to EC

Aam Aadmi Party has filed a complaint with the EC against BJP’;s candidate from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat Shri Narendra Modi. The party has  furnished video/photo evidence along with the gift pack carrying Modi’;s photo and address of the supplier in Surat. The party has demanded registration of an FIR under sections 171 B/E of the India Penal Code (IPC) against Shri Modi for trying to bribe voters (all relevant docs and photos attached with this release)
The AAP in a separate complaint to the EC has drawn its attention towards the fact that on April 24th the nomination procession/ rally of BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Varanasi Shri Narendra Modi incurred an expenditure of around Rs 6 crore. The party’;s complaint is based on the fact that Shri Modi used a helicopter to arrive at the starting point of the rally and also to leave the city. The party has informed the EC that helicopter rental, hoardings and cutouts bearing Modi’;s photographs will have to be included in its election expenditure. 
The cost of transportation of bringing and taking back people, the distribution of caps T-Shirts, sarees, masks, flags and scarfs – which were distributed in lakhs. according to BJP estimates need to be accounted for. 
(Please find attached the copy of the complaint and other related documents)
AAP Media Cell


Call for Seed Sovereignty: Protect Farmers’ Rights

Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (India Seed Sovereignty Alliance) – a nationwide network for conserving and regenerating seed diversity and self-reliance – celebrates the International Seed Day on 26th April.  Newly formed, with about 100 present members from 17 states, including many outstanding seed-savers and farmer-breeders of thousands of crop varieties, it urges the great need to embrace, adopt, conserve, promote and exchange traditional seeds. Such seeds, evolved over millennia, offer immense possibilities to adapt to climate change without compromising farmers’ rights and seed sovereignty.
Seed is integral to agricultural progress and the survival and well-being of humanity. Our amazing heritage of seed diversity, adapted to diverse conditions and needs, has the boundless potential to sustain farming and allied rural communities in independence, health and dignity for generations to come! Founded on unique region-specific landraces bred by farmers, these seeds can meet local nutritional needs and adapt to changing climatic conditions.
As an indication of India’s enormous agro-diversity, the National Gene Bank of the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) boasts that its base collections total 4,02,894 accessions of 1,586 crop species! These include 1,59,569 cereals, 57,523 millets, 58,756 pulses/grain legumes, 58,477 oilseeds, 25,330 vegetables, 6,872 medicinal and aromatic plants, and 3,847 spices and condiments.  Many of these varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields under the onslaught of the so-called ‘Green Revolution’.
It was reported in the Wall Steet Journal that the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) is offering Multinational Corporations (MNCs) these thousands of rare varieties of crop germplasm for “a small share of the profit!”  The Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch condemns all such naked abetment of bio-piracy, and calls upon all national/international agencies to desist from transfers of genetic material that will end up in private/corporate IPR claims over seed varieties that rightfully belong to the farming communities of India. It further urges all institutions and farmers/communities to keep away from involvement in privatizing community/collective genetic resources and knowledge that are an integral part of our biological, cultural and intellectual commons.
India’s rich heritage of traditional seed varieties in national and international germplasm collections are a vital resource collected from Indian farmers that must be returned to them to safeguard their livelihoods and the people they feed. This is now urgently needed in a scenario of rapidly depleting and increasingly expensive fossil fuels and chemical inputs, together with soil degradation, climate change, water scarcity and erratic weather conditions. 
We thus demand the return of our traditional seeds to our farming communities; and we call upon our government to facilitate and simplify such access to our heritage varieties from national and international germplasm collections; and to support their decentralized conservation in the croplands/regions of origin. Unless our farmers can adopt bio-diverse ecological agriculture with their own locally adapted seeds, severe food scarcity looms ahead.
Two emerging great threats to Indian agriculture and crop diversity are: (i) the granting of private/commercial Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) over our heritage seed/plant varieties; and (ii) the release or field trials of Genetically Modified (GM) crops that can widely contaminate our traditional varieties; and such damage would be unstoppable and irreversible. We thus call for an urgent halt to any such releases or field trials of GM crops. Our priority must be to have in place a cautionary National Bio-safety Law and an effective implementation mechanism to comprehensively guard against the hazards that GM crops pose to human, animal, soil and eco-system health.
The attached ‘India Seed Sovereignty Declaration’ of the national seed savers’ alliance calls for the wide support of all for the urgent demands contained therein! It concludes with a united pledge to protect Mother Earth, the source and sustenance of humanity and myriad species; and it urges all to integrate stewardship and compassion in our education, culture and lifestyle.
We earnestly request all, including media friends and opinion makers, to endorse, publicize and encourage this collective initiative.
-          Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (India Seed Sovereignty Alliance)
G. Krishna Prasad, Convener, Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch, Ph: 9880862058;
Soumik Banerjee, Co-convener, Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch, Ph: 8294062742;
Sanjay Patil, Co-convener, Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch, Ph: 9623931855
We, the undersigned, associated with Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (India Seed Sovereignty Alliance), united to achieve self-reliance and revival of diversity with regard to Seed, hereby declare:
1. Like the earth and the sky, the immense biodiversity of seeds, plants and life forms is our collective heritage. Gifted by Nature, and evolved through the cumulative innovations, adaptations and selections of many generations of indigenous farming communities, these seeds and life forms are sacred. They belong to all as an inviolable birthright, essential for survival and well-being; and it is our duty to preserve them for future generations.  They cannot be seen as mere commodities or ‘proprietary intellectual resources’ for corporate profiteering.
2. We refuse to let our genetic commons and bio-cultural heritage be privatized and monopolized by a few; and we assert our sovereign rights to freely plant, use, reproduce, select, improve, adapt, save, share, exchange or sell our seeds – without restriction or hindrance – as we have done for past millennia.
3. India has an enormous wealth of crop diversity. It is a global centre of origin and diversity of rice, with over 90,000 distinct rice varieties collected by Indian agricultural research and germplasm centres. (Some estimates mention over 150,000 varieties!) These grew in farmers’ fields, adapted to diverse conditions. About 19,000 rice varieties were collected by Dr Richharia from just two states, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, of which 1600 varieties were found to be high-yielding. Each variety had distinct nutritional, medicinal, taste/flavour, fragrance, color, shape, size, stress tolerance, productivity-related or other qualities, as well as socio-cultural significance.
4. We have a rich diversity too of wheat, millets, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables, tubers, fruits, spices, medicinal plants; and thousands of uncultivated forest foods. Over 25,000 Indian varieties of dry-land crops are held by ICRISAT alone. India’s ‘National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources’ states that the base collections in its ‘National Gene Bank’ total 4,02,894 accessions of 1,586 crop species! These include 1,59,569 cereals, 57,523 millets, 58,756 pulses/grain legumes, 58,477 oilseeds, 25,330 vegetables, 6,872 medicinal and aromatic plants, and 3,847 spices and condiments.  Many of these varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields under the onslaught of the so-called ‘Green Revolution’.
5. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal broke news on what may be called ‘The Great Gene Bazaar’. It reported that the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) is offering Multinational Corporations (MNCs) 400,000 seed varieties for “a small share of the profit!”  The ICAR Deputy Director General, Mr. Swapan  Datta, is quoted saying, “We have crops that are being grown and adapted very naturally to different geographies. So we have drought tolerant rice, terminal-heat tolerant wheat and salinity-tolerant crop varieties.”
It is well known that MNCs are eager to establish exclusive patent/proprietary rights over our heritage seed varieties handed down over millennia. We condemn all such naked abetment of bio-piracy, as reported in the Wall Street Journal or elsewhere, and we call upon all national/international agencies to desist from transfers of genetic material that will end up in private/corporate IPR claims over seed varieties that rightfully belong to the farming communities of India. We further urge all institutions and farmers/communities to keep away from involvement in privatizing community/collective genetic resources and knowledge that are an integral part of our biological, cultural and intellectual commons.
6. We unitedly resolve to work for the decentralized in situ conservation, regeneration and unhindered use and sharing of biodiversity by farmers, gardeners, indigenous communities, and people at large; and we urge the support of all, including our governments, for such work.
7. Many thousands of our crop seeds have ended up in distant gene banks like the IRRI in Philippines, CIMMYT in Mexico, or Fort Collins in the USA. These seeds represent the collective bio-cultural heritage – including biodiversity, food culture, ecological knowledge and value systems – of local communities that freely shared and passed them down from generation to generation. Such seeds are a vital resource that must be reclaimed to safeguard farm livelihoods and the people they feed, especially in a scenario of rapidly depleting and increasingly expensive fossil fuels and chemical inputs, together with soil degradation, climate change, water scarcity and erratic weather conditions. Unless farmers can adopt bio-diverse ecological agriculture with their own locally adapted seeds, severe food scarcity looms ahead.
We thus demand the return of our traditional seeds to our farming communities; and we call upon our government to facilitate and simplify such access to our heritage varieties from national and international germplasm collections; and to support their decentralized conservation in the croplands/regions of origin.  
8. Today, the danger to our heritage of agro-biodiversity – from commercial, proprietary hybrid seeds and GM (genetically modified) crops – is graver than ever. GM crops pose a severe threat of unstoppable and irreversible contamination of our local crop varieties through cross-pollination, as witnessed extensively in the case of corn (maize) in Mexico. The aggressive marketing of GM crops also drives local varieties out of circulation, as seen in the near total erosion of cotton varieties in India. The serious hazards posed by GM crops to human, animal, soil and eco-system health are widely recognized.
 We thus demand a ban on GM seeds and species, and strict enforcement of liability for any contamination of seeds/plants, and any damage to the health of farmers, consumers, animals, croplands and eco-systems from the use, release or field trials of GM seeds and species. A National Bio-safety law and implementation mechanism must be immediately put in place to comprehensively guard against the hazards of GMOs.
9. We reject the existing patent and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime on life forms, including plant varieties, seeds, and related traditional knowledge; and we demand that all information and material in gene banks be declared as ‘prior art’ to prevent bio-piracy. Such information and material must remain as our collective, open-source heritage, which the governments – as trustees of/for the people – must safeguard from privatization, IPRs, or any kind of exclusive proprietary control/rights.
10. We call upon the Central and State Governments to promote and support diversity-based, holistic ecological agriculture, forestry and related livelihoods – to meet our basic, priority needs in a sustainable manner. Bio-diverse ecological agriculture/gardening should be integrated in the curriculum of schools and educational institutions, which should utilize a part of their premises for such purpose. We call for phasing out agro-chemicals which destroy biodiversity directly and in various pathways. We further call for the promotion of ecologically appropriate and nutritive food crops for local needs over cash crops for distant markets.
11. We are alarmed that the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – a promising international treaty for the conservation, sustainable use and fair and equitable sharing of biodiversity –has not only failed to meet its objectives, but seems to have degenerated into an international arrangement to facilitate corporate control of our biodiversity. We decry such abdication of original purpose and responsibility; and we reject the narrow definition of “access and benefit”, as a commodity to be traded via monetary payment. We uphold the world-view of Adivasis and local communities, who see “access and benefit” as the unhindered and continuous right over their territories, lands, forests, waters, air, livelihoods, knowledge systems, spirituality, culture and biodiversity. In any event, all ‘Access and Benefit Sharing’ agreements under the CBD must categorically debar the creation of any exclusive rights of ownership, use or control of any biological resources and related knowledge.
12. Biological diversity is intrinsically linked to the rights of Adivasis, farmers, pastoralists, fisher-folk, craftspeople and others to their land and natural resources, and is embedded in the ecological and cultural habitats of communities. We deplore the plunder of such habitats by short-sighted economic expansionism, fuelled by the commoditization and privatization of our biological diversity, natural wealth and ecological commons. Big dams, hazardous nuclear and thermal plants, all kinds of mining, SEZs, mono-culture plantations, land-grabbing, the rise of real-estate speculators, and reckless urban-industrial-consumerist expansion are a massive assault on our biological diversity, trampling the fundamental rights of local inhabitants to a healthy life and sustainable livelihood. We call for an urgent halt to all anti-people, anti-nature, destructive development based on unsound science that also endangers future generations, and the survival of other species.
We pledge to protect Mother Earth, the source and sustenance of humanity and myriad species, and we urge all to integrate stewardship and compassion in our education, culture and lifestyle.
[Note: The above India Seed Sovereignty Declaration (New Delhi, 2014) has been created by Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (India Seed Sovereignty Alliance), consisting of seed savers, breeders, farmers, gardeners and biodiversity/organic farming activists from all over India. Suggestions for further improvement remain welcome, and will be considered before the national seed alliance adopts a finalized ‘statement of vision’ in its next meeting. Such suggestions may please be sent with copies marked to: 1) Kavitha Kuruganti, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA):; 2) Shamika Mone, Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI):; 3) Krishna Prasad (Sahaja Samruddha):; 4) Jacob Nellithanam:;  and 5) Bharat Mansata: ]

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