The Indian Supreme Court is to announce the result of its review of Section 377 of the Penal Code which criminalises homosexual sex. The announcement of the Court will be made no later than October 2018. In early 2016 the Court announced that they would be renewing the provision, giving hope to LGBT activists that the infamous section, a hangover from British colonial rule, would be struck down. In August 2017 the Court ruled that the right to privacy was “intrinsic” and “fundamental” which galvanised the LGBT rights movement in India. India is more tolerant of LGBT people than in other parts of Asia but it is by no means a country that is welcoming to sexual and gender minorities.
The Adani Group is an Indian-based coal company that is seeking to expand their operations in the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland. However, Adani have claimed that they do not have the capital to expand but this has been not been a cause of concern for the company as the Australian federal government has said that they would provide a A$1 billion taxpayer-funded loan to help finance the project. Unsurprisingly environmentalists in Queensland have been agitating against the expansion for some time now but the government in Canberra has take no notice. It appears, though, that Canberra will now take notice because of the Queensland state elections.
Countries around the world have remained steadfast in their commitment to reducing carbon emissions and the two most populated countries are leading by example. India and China have long been some of the highest polluting states however they are now using the wealth that they have created in recent years to invest in sustainable growth. Specifically these countries have decided to become world leaders in renewable energy generation and new statistics out in the last few weeks indicate how seriously India and China are taking the transition to clean electricity.
Coal India is the largest coal mining company in the world and produces 82% of India’s coal every single year. However due to the declining cost of solar power in India the company has announced that 37 mines are going to close on the grounds that they are “financially unviable”. This round of closures amounts to Coal India closing around 9% of the total number of mines that the company operates, and as a result will significantly reduce the amount of coal being extracted per annum. The important aspect of this development, and the growing commercial trend, is that companies are beginning to notice that fossil fuel extraction is, in many cases, more costly than investing in green technology. This needs to be promoted and celebrated as much as possible.
The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh recently had an important election. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on the campaign trail in order to get the BJP elected as the next government of the country’s most populous state. Evidently the BJP’s electoral strategy and message was spot on as the PM’s party 312 seats out of 403. The scale of the party’s victory is best illustrated by comparing the results to the last UP election in 2012. In 2012 the BJP won only 47 seats and garnered 15%. However in the latest election they were the recipient of a 24.7% swing, and thus were swept into power with a significantly higher number of seats than the 202 majority required to single-handedly govern. The results of this will be a the stoking of ethno-religious tensions and the radicalisation of discourse as a consequence.
Back in October India ratified the Paris Agreement and by doing so agreed to massively increase the nation’s green energy generation capacity. In the agreement India, the second most populous nation on earth, committed to generating 40% of its electricity from sustainable sources by the year 2030. However, in a surprising announcement, the Indian government has announced that it expects to produce 57% of its electricity from green technology by 2027. The benefits to the environment from this policy document shall be incalculable and hopefully will put India in a position of leadership in the global fight against climate change.
A few hours ago workers across India went on strike against the government’s punitive trade union legislation that will unilaterally change workers’ rights. The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) has led the opposition to the government’s proposals and have organised rallies across the country to protest these changes in the law. Banks, local government offices, and factories have been forced to close and solidarity strikes by some trade unions in specific states have also shut down telecommunications and public transport networks. Today millions of workers will be on strike.