Dr Sandeep Pandey and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Photo credit: CNS: citizen-news.org
On June 4, 2015, twenty Indian soldiers of 6 Dogra Regiment got killed by NSCN (Khaplang) insurgent group in Chandel district of Manipur. The Information and Broadcasting Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a retired Colonel from Army whose claim to fame is a shooting silver medal in Olympics, informed citizens through media that this was a message to other countries which might be inimical to India.

Wrong development priority in spite of Socio-Economic Census and National Sample Survey findings

Dr Rahul Pandey, CNS Columnist
Graph credit: Dr Rahul Pandey
Partial results of two important official surveys were released recently. They point to dismal living standards of India’s rural population and rising cost of health and education beyond the means of ordinary citizens. In spite of this reality the Modi government is undermining the public health and public education sectors among other social infrastructures, as reflected in its funding priorities. This does not bode well for future living standards of India’s ordinary citizens who are already struggling with meeting basic needs.

Long walk to justice: Transgender voices from across India

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service (CNS) 
Photo credit: Shobha/ CNS
[CNS images] I had been there at the 1st National Hijra Habba in 2012. Witnessing the Third National Transgender Hijra Habba in 2015 was indeed a humbling experience as lot of water has flown during these 3 years. From 30 community participants in 2012, the number this year had swelled to a whopping 350+. The landmark Supreme Court (SC) judgement of 2014, recognizing transgenders as the third gender and granting them constitutional rights, seemed to have filled them with a new found confidence that was writ all over their beautiful and smiling faces. And they were just too eager to talk about their experiences and expectations.

Join the crusade: Big push for transgender and hijra welfare

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service (CNS)
Photo credit: Shobha/ CNS
[CNS images] It was indeed a humbling experience for me to be part of the Third National Hijra Habba (festival of transgenders) held recently in the capital city of India. Organised by India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Pehchan programme, it was the first event of its kind at the national level since the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement in 2014 recognizing transgenders as the ‘third gender’.

'Pehchan' has given transgender people a new 'Pehchan' (Identity)...

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service (CNS)
Priya, Transgender leader
Photo credit: Shobha/CNS
So said Priya when I met her at the community dinner on the eve of the recent 3rd Hijra Habba (Habba is a Kannada word meaning festival) event organized by Pehchān project in association with India HIV/AIDS Alliance in Delhi, that brought together over 350 hijras and transgenders from across the country to focus attention and demand implemenation of their constitutional rights. Her serene poise and calm demeanour immediately attracted my attention. Priya, a transgender from Hyderabad, and now a Training Officer with India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Pehchan Project, had to tread a thorny path before reaching this respectable position.

Why is tobacco still an issue ?

Diana Wangari, CNS Correspondent, Kenya 
(First published in The Star, Kenya) 
I must confess, there are health concerns that amaze me – not because they are complex or a rare find, but because I simply cannot understand how they are still an issue. These often fall under lifestyle choices, and a good example is cigarette smoking. When in primary school, we used to have a drug awareness week and the last day would be dedicated to tobacco. The reason behind it was that the session utilized what many would refer to as graphic images of the effects of smoking – from yellowing of teeth to a darkened lung in the late stages of lung cancer.

Call to register: Webinar for media - Is detecting drug resistance at the time of TB diagnosis important?

[Webinar recording] We welcome you to register for an exclusive media webinar in wake of largest-study published recently to guide us on: Is detecting drug resistance at the time of TB diagnosis important? Get connected with study author(s) and lead TB experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), who will present and respond to questions live!

"A woman of substance": Kalawati

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
Photo credit: Rahul/ CNS

[CNS Images] Kalawati comes from a family of small farmers. Hers is a ‘joint and happy family’ where she lives with her husband, 1 daughter, 2 sons, 1 daughter-in-law and 1 granddaughter. Her postgraduate sons working outside the village are doing fairly well and have helped her construct their own house in the village. Kalawati has been into farming for the last 30-35 years since her early childhood.

Parliamentarians on 'world we want beyond 2015': Sexual and reproductive health and rights in focus

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs are a new, universal set of 17 proposed goals, with 169 targets that 193 countries (who are members of the UN) will be expected to use to frame their post-2015 development agendas and policies over the next 15 years, once the MDGs expire at the end of this year. 

Periyar is no Ambedkar

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist 
The Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani coerced the IIT Madras Dean into banning the Ambedkar Pariyar Students Circle, which has now been lifted after a nationwide outcry from progressive organizations and individuals. The group was charged with spreading hatred against Narendra Modi and Hindus as it had criticised the decisions by some state governments to ban beef, make use of Hindi compulsory and the 'ghar wapsi' programme of RSS affiliated organisations.

Call for applications for CNS Young Correspondents Programme

Citizen News Service (CNS) is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting applications for CNS Young Correspondents Programme. CNS Young, is a network of under-30 correspondents sharing their viewpoints, perspectives and opinions on issues related to health, gender and development justice. This programme offers mentorship, peer support, networking opportunities, and capacity-building to under-30 writers. Last date to apply is Sunday, 28th June 2015.

Turning tables: Growing support against corporate capture of climate policy-making

In the final days of the Bonn Climate Change Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Corporate Accountability International delivered a resounding call to the governments who have ratified the UNFCCC: protect the treaty and climate policymaking from the undue influence of the globe’s biggest polluters. The call endorsed by over 224,000 sends a strong message to kick big polluters out of climate policy.

People are living longer but sicker and unhealthier lives

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
Photo credit: CNS: citizen-news.org
So says a report published recently in the Lancet by an international consortium of researchers and led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. "Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013" is the first of its kind study to examine the extent, pattern, and trends of nonfatal health losses across countries and provides a comprehensive description of morbidity levels and patterns worldwide.

"Be the change you want to see in the world": Pushpa Devi

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
Photo credit: Rahul/CNS
[CNS images] Pushpa lives with her skilled-worker husband and four children—2 girls and 2 boys. Apart from being a woman farmer, she also doubles up as an ASHA bahu (Accredited Social Health Activist worker). Pushpa was born in a family of farmers in a village of Jalaun district. They were 6 siblings. Her father passed away when she was very young, and her mother and brothers took up to farming so that family sustenance could be maintained. She studied till class 8 and then marriage brought an end to her education.