Human Rights in the Digital Era

Legal scholar Dr Upendra Baxi recently opined that protecting human rights in the digital era is a complex challenge for governments everywhere and more so in the case of India. After reading through his article and getting to know about the report on ‘Disinformation and Freedom of Opinion and Expression’, which was recently submitted by UNHRC Special Rapporteur Irene Khan for discussion, we decided to explore the subject from a legal and policy perspective. Through our project on ‘Human Rights in the Digital Era’ we seek to highlight the intersectional difficulties in protecting and upholding human rights when the digital realm dominates the lives of all citizens.  (more…)

Need for the Re-Conceptualization of Human Rights in the Digital Era

Our lives are now controlled by digital technologies that subconsciously influence our judgments and have a bearing on our decisions, freedom, and perception of things. Digital technology has transformed the means through which human rights are both exercised and violated by affecting our freedom of speech and expression, association, right to privacy, and right against harassment, amongst others. The emergence and evolution of ‘digital’ rights have challenged and transformed the more traditional understanding of human rights. Undoubtedly, the digital arena is an indispensable tool for the larger public. However, we often come across information on how digital technologies are increasingly undermining human rights. Data collection, privatization, surveillance, and security are some of the issues that affect our digital rights. But what about the ripple effect caused by our digital rights on our human rights?   (more…)

Urban Slums in India: Improving Redevelopment and Relocation Policies

Overall 6.5 crore of India’s urban population resides in slums. Notably, the majority of the slum population comprises the informal sector labor force who are employed in low-paying jobs. Due to the migration of people to urban areas in search of employment, slums spring up in Indian cities within a matter of days. With an increase in population from the 1990s, growth in the slum areas is registered which implies that the proportion of slums is directly related to the population. According to the latest data, while the distribution of the slum dwellers in different States vary, 35.2 percent of India’s urban population live in slums. (more…)

Roshni Act: Understanding the Contours of the Land Development Scheme of J&K

The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 was enacted to vest the ownership rights to the occupants of the State Land with an ambitious objective of meeting the chronic power crisis of Jammu and Kashmir. Since the object of the Act was to use the proceeds of the transaction to fund the hydroelectric projects in J&K, it popularly came to be known as the Roshni (Light) Act. The author, in this paper, has analyzed and elucidated the provisions that are relevant for understanding the Roshni Act along with the various amendments. (more…)

Proposed Regulation of OTT Platforms and Digital Content in India : Implications and the Way Ahead

India is predicted to become the 6th largest market for OTT (Over-the-top) platforms by 2024, with digital media reaching a valuation of $5.1 billion by 2021 alone. This growth can be credited to several factors including record low internet prices and the proliferation of mobile devices. This massive and undeniable change in the media landscape raises, perhaps inevitably, the issue of the integration of digital media into a broader policy landscape. The dialogue surrounding the regulation of digital media in all its forms has been steadily gaining momentum globally and in India. The question of content regulation in particular has proven to be a complex and nuanced issue with different stakeholders such as the government and media entities representing varied perspectives. (more…)

Need for rehabilitation & alternate livelihood options for population displaced under the Yamuna Rejuvenation Project

Information about the issue

The Yamuna Rejuvenation Project was launched by the Union Government in collaboration with the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and the University of Virginia. It is a research based project aimed at rejuvenating the river in the NCR of Delhi by way of redevelopment of the drains, particularly the Najafgarh drains, which flow into the Yamuna river and account for the majority of pollution in the river. Through engaging government agencies, experts and environmental activists, in India and internationally, the YRP engages with the multidimensional challenges in the recovery of the river. Addressing concerns in areas like public health, urban design, architecture, governance etc., it has recommended working plans in planned urban development projects on the banks of the river, the replacement of drainage systems of the British era among others. However, these urban development projects have resulted in eviction drives and demolition of the dwellings on the floodplains and this has been severely affecting the rights of a large number of slum dwelling communities who reside in the floodplains. (more…)

Need for Proper Water Supply Policies for the Slums & JJ clusters of the NCT of Delhi

Information about the Issue

The Delhi Jal Board in the the Eleventh Plan had charted out plans for the supply of drinking water services for all slum localities mainly with the help of two schemes viz., Grant in Aid for Augmentation of Water Supply in JJ Clusters & the Water Supply in Resettlement Colonies. The Delhi government’s policy however, did not suggest anything specific to JJ Clusters but envisioned provisions for water for all and public education and awareness regarding efficient water usage as proposed by the policy statements. In the same year, the State government of Delhi announced the Jal Adhikar Connection Policy for residents of JJ colonies. It aimed at providing legally recognised water connections to people living in the slums, along with a 100 percent waiver with respect to late payment surcharge for commercial consumptions amounting to Rs. 1,100 crores. However, there is a significant dependency in functions of governance with respect to the multiple institutions mainly the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and other State agencies across the city which affect the supply of water to the slums and JJ colonies of Delhi. For example, the MCD as well as the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) are in charge of local sanitation, which is crucial to the supply and safe utilisation of water. This means there is a multiplicity of authorities responsible for water supply procedure for the slums areas of Delhi, which can result in non delivery or failure of clean and effective water supply in Delhi’s densely populated and unregularised slum areas. (more…)

Support the Slum Dwellers Project

What is the issue?

As per a senior government official, there are 750 slum clusters in Delhi, of which around 52 prominent ones are located close to railway tracks. The Supreme Court, on 31st August 2020, passed an Order in connection with the piling up of the waste along the railway tracks, wherein the Court has ordered for the removal of 48000 clusters that are located along the 70 km route length of the track. The Northern Railway, alongside the Government of Delhi, has started the work of identifying the slums along railway tracks and the ones lying within 15 meters of the tracks will be removed. (more…)