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NCCI Executive Secretaries move on to new ministries

Rev. Moumita Biswas served as Executive Secretary, NCCI Women Concerns from September 2014 to August 2018. She was ordained as a Presbyter in North East India Diocese of the Church of North India on September 2, 2018. Hence she has started serving the Diocese since September 2018. We thank Rev. Moumita Biswas for the services she has rendered to the NCCI during the past 4 Years. We wish her all the best in her new ministry.


Rev. Caesar David served as Executive Secretary, NCCI Communications from March 2013 to October 2018. An ordained Methodist minister, he is now moving on to serve the Methodist Church in USA in the State of Iowa. He will be taking up his new assignment as a pastor in the church from December 2018. The NCCI is grateful to Rev. Caesar David for his services to the NCCI during the past 5 years and 7 months. We wish him all the best in his future ministry.

 

Executive Secretary of NCCI Policy, Governance and Public Witness

Rev. Dr. Abraham Mathew was installed as the next Executive Secretary of NCCI Policy, Governance and Public Witness at NCCI’s Office in New Delhi on October 1, 2018.

Rev. Dr. Mathew belongs to the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, has a Ph.D  from Trinity College, Bristol, and has worked extensively in Churches, seminaries and the mission field. Having had several responsibilities in various forums, having published several books and articles, and having represented the Church in important national and international events, his vast experience is expected to greatly benefit the council and its wide ministry.

After the installation, Rt. Rev. Gregorios Mar Stephanos Episcopa dedicated Rev. Dr. Mathew in prayer. Mrs. Aleyamma Thomas, Vice-President of NCCI, felicitated the new Executive Secretary on behalf of the NCCI and the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church. Important Church dignitaries including Rt. Rev. Collin C. Theodore (Secretary of North West India Council of Churches), Mr. Alwan Masih (General Secretary of Church of North India), Mrs. Lidwina Cedric (Director of Ecumenical Church Loan Fund India), Dr. Mary Verghese (Executive Director of The Leprosy Mission), Mr. Samuel Jayakumar (Former Executive Secretary of NCCI Policy, Governance and Public Witness) and Prof. T. K. Oomen (Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University), along with Clergymen, other Church leaders and NCCI Delhi office staff, graced the occasion and wished the ministry of Mrs. and Rev. Dr. Abraham Mathew to be blessed with success and good fruit.

Ms. Catherine Christopher Nair.
Intern, NCCI Policy, Governance and Public Witness.

 

A Report on Three Months Computer Application Training Program at NCCI Campus

National Council of Churches in India

NCCI Communications | NCCI Youth

Computer Application Training Program

28th January 2018 – 30th April 2018

Venue- NCCI Campus, Nagpur

The biggest challenge that young people living below poverty line (BPL) face in their day to day life is the difficulty of accessing employment opportunities.

Though some of them are educated, they fail to get  jobs due to lack of many necessary skills. One  such necessary skill  is  digital skills, which are needed in this era of computer assisted applications. To address this concern,  Rev. Caesar David, Executive Secretary – National Council of Churches in India Communications (NCCI-Com) and Mr. Jianthaolung Gonmei, Executive Secretary- Youth Concerns (NCCI-YC) started a Digital Literacy Modular Course of three months for Capacity Enhancement of disadvantaged youth. The aim of this project was to provide the benefits of computer based education and skills training to  students from socially and economically backward areas of Nagpur city, and to equip them for work with computers thereby being able to do better in their life.

The list of students is given below-

 Priyanka Arun Nanhe

 Nandini Umesh Wasnik

 Priyanka Umesh Wasnik

 Somiksha Dilip Gawande

 Sumesh S. Rawte

The pilot project which started with 5 students on January 28, 2018  and which concluded on  April 30, 2018 was conducted  in the  NCCI premises at Nagpur. All the students were from economically weak backgrounds, living in slum localities.

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Maharashtra Manthan 2018: Strengthening secularism

Report of Maharashtra Manthan 2018-19: Strengthening Secularism
NCCI , EFI, UM | 30th April – 2nd May 2018 | M.L.A. Hostel, Nagpur.

“Maharashtra Manthan : Strengthening Secularism”, a 3 days seminar organized by National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) and United Maharashtra (UM), was held at MLA Hostel, Nagpur from April 30 to May 2, 2018. More than 75 people which included youth and female participants from different cities of Maharashtra state participated in this seminar. There were 8 women participants and about 25 young people.

30th April 2018 (Day 1)

Maharashtra Manthan started at 12:45 pm with an opening prayer by Pastor Amit Manwatkar. The Coordinator of the Maharashtra Manthan was Rev. Devashish Dubey who introduced the concept of Maharashtra Manthan to the participants. He emphasized that the main objective of Maharashtra Manthan 2018 is to bring awareness about the contemporary contextual situation in the country among the participants and to guide the community and society in building new, sensitized and responsible leadership through the training.  Mr. Pradip Bansrior (NCCI Representative) presented the guidelines for the two and half day’s seminar to all participants.

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A Fresh Call for Applications to the post of Executive Secretary, NCCI – Policy Governance and Public Witness

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN INDIA

A Fresh Call for Applications to the post of

Executive Secretary, NCCI – Policy Governance and Public Witness

Qualifications Required:

  1. A post-graduate degree or its equivalent in Political Science or Economics or Sociology or Law or any related subjects.
  2. Having experience in Advocacy and Campaigning on issues of contemporary concern;
  3. Skilful in relating with government, churches and civil society.
  4. Proficiency  in English and Hindi language articulation (written and oral)
  5. Excellent knowledge of MS Office, social media and apps.

 

Age Requirement:

  1. The candidates should be between 40 and 55 years of age.
  2. The upper limit of age criterion will be relaxed in the case of any Christian high level Government officer.

 

Responsibilities:

  • Strengthen the churches in their public witness;
  • Accompany and facilitate churches to address contemporary political, economic, social, and religious issues in the country;
  • Liaise between the churches and the government on important matters;
  • Work with NGOs and civil society bodies on concerns of national importance;
  • Collect and disseminate information and news relating to issues of democracy secularism, justice liberty, equality and fraternity;
  • Draft news reports and press releases on issues of importance, and national and international significance, for and on behalf of the General Secretary;
  • Maintain contact, and liaise, with representatives of media particularly at the national capital;
  • Any other related work that may be assigned from time to time.

 

Salary: Depending on qualification and experience, the selected candidate’s salary will be appropriately fixed on the scale: 26,325-975-31200-1170-37050-1365-43875-1560-51675-1755-60450. Allowances would also be paid as per the standards and norms of the NCCI

 

Location: The Executive Secretary – Policy Governance and Public Witness will operate from Delhi.

Applications: Interested and eligible candidates may apply enclosing copies of relevant documents including an endorsement from the Church by 31st May 2018, to

The General Secretary

National Council of Churches in India

P.O. Box # 205, Civil Lines,

Nagpur – 440 001, MAHARASHTRA

Phone: (0712) 2531312/2561464,

Fax: (0712) 2520554, Email: ncci@ncci1914.com

 

Applicants should also provide their telephone/cell phone contact nos.

Candidates, who have applied earlier, need not apply again.

Short listed candidates will be called for an interview. Selected applicant will be expected to join soon after the selection is made in June 2018.

Call for applications to the post of NCCI Executive Secretary – Policy, Governance and Public Witness.

Kindly download a copy of the advertisement of the NCCI calling for applications to the post of NCCI Executive Secretary – Policy Governance and Public Witness.

Please encourage suitable candidates to apply for the same.

Thanking you,

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary, NCCI

 

Download

 

Copy of Official Letter to the President of India

September 18, 2017

To

Mr. Ram Nath Kovind
President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi

Sub:    Urgent Appeal not to give assent to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Amendment Bill 2017 and the Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill 2017 of Jharkhand Government.

Your Excellency President Kovind,

The National Council of Churches in India, which represents around 14 million members of the Protestant and Orthodox Church Traditions in India, and which includes significant numbers of dalits and tribals/adivasis present the following urgent appeal to you. This is regarding Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Amendment Bill 2017 and the Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill 2017 of Jharkhand Government.

As you are already aware, the State of Jharkhand was created for the Adivasis and has Fifth Schedule Areas of which the President is the direct Constitutional custodian.

Along with the adivasis of Jharkhand the NCCI is very much concerned by the situation in the State in the recent days. We have total trust and confidence in your Excellency’s disposition towards the concerns of the State. With full respect to the elected Head of the State, we wish to bring to your Excellency’s kind notice, the objectionable and unconstitutional statements made by him against the Christian community in different government and social programs held in Ranchi, Gumla, Khunti and Dumka prior to the framing of the Religious Freedom Bill 2017.

The most obnoxious act is the Advertisement found in the front pages of the News Papers in the State published on 11.08.2017 misusing Mahatma Gandhi and Public Funds to fuel anti-Christian hate. Indeed, the Advertisement is erroneous, misleading and inflammatory.

The government has used tax payers’ money against tax payers which is a gross violation of democratic ethics and values fundamental to our Constitution. The democratically elected government is expected to safeguard and protect the rights of all citizens irrespective of their affiliations. On the other hand, this government has shown by publishing this Advertisement that it cannot be trusted and stands exposed of its criminal intentions. It is not there to bring about harmony and peace but put one tribal against another. The matter of great concern is the audacity displayed by the government by putting distorted words into the mouth of Mahatma Gandhi to mislead people. The Father of the Nation is used to attack a community and fuel communal disharmony.

This Ad is also a blatant attack on the Adivasis and Dalits. No proof can be brought to the defence that Mahatma Gandhi called the Adivasis ‘Vanvasis’ and presenting it as a quote of Mahatma Gandhi is dishonest and even criminal; the government should apologise to the Adivasi communities. As per the quote, the Adivasis along with the Dalits are, ‘…. mute and simple, like cows” implying that they have no mind of their own to make a decision and are seen as eternal juveniles. It is a direct attack on their very identity, on their great Adivasi leaders like Birsa Munda and Kartik Oraon whose photos adorn the Advertisement and on their valuable contribution to nation building! It is a humiliation to the great Adivasi heroes who spearheaded the freedom movement in this part of the country like Tilka Manjhi, Sido Kanhu, Birsa Munda and many others. It also shames Late Lance Naik Albert Ekka, the war hero and the posthumous recipient of India’s highest gallantry decoration, the Param Vir Chakra for his valour; Jaipal Singh Munda, one of the stalwarts who spearheaded the movement for a separate Jharkhand State and a tall parliamentarian; Mr. Michael Kindo, Sylvanus Dungdung, and Jaipal Singh, some of the best names in Indian hockey, and the list can be very long. It also belittles the constitutional heads of our nation who hail from Dalit and Adivasi Communities. It is also very disrespectful to the legislators who come from Adivasi and Dalit communities. The government has indeed humiliated all the Adivasis in the country, especially the Adivasis of Jharkhand who have been shamelessly disgraced by this government through this Advertisement and therewith the Adivasis deserve an apology from the government.

The real intention of the government is to put tribal people against one another thereby grabbing tribal land. The Advertisement is a clear indicator that the Jharkhand Government will stoop to any level to achieve its sole purpose of grabbing Adivasi land. The government is propagating ‘divide and rule’ strategy to take away tribal land and to give it to the corporate sector and leave the poor Adivasis in misery, fear and helplessness.

It is a matter for consideration here that the two bills passed in the Assembly on 12.08.2017, one of land acquisition and the other of anti-conversion, too have the same purpose. The government seems to believe that the Christians led the movement against the amendments proposed in the CNT/SPT Acts which is a baseless allegation. All the Adivasis whole heartedly opposed the amendments irrespective of their religious affiliations. The anti-conversion bill is passed with the view of avenging the Christians for no fault of theirs. The government is using this as a weapon to deal with the Christians if they make any move against the land acquisition bill passed in the Assembly.

The retrospective nature of the bill is very dangerous as the government can grab acres and acres of Adivasi land already deposited in the ‘Land Bank’ without their knowledge. The abolition of ‘Social Impact Analysis’ will give sweeping powers to the government to take away tribal land. They will be rendered landless. The evils of migration and trafficking will increase.

The sole purpose of the provisions of social impact assessment of the project in “The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resentment Act 2013” was to study the impact of the project on the project affected communities so that affected and displaced families are properly rehabilitated and resettled. The history of development-induced displacement is very dismal. In India 60 million people were displaced, which also includes 10 million Adivasis. In Jharkhand, 1.5 million people, mostly the Adivasis, were displaced but merely 25 percent have been somehow rehabilitated. The displaced Adivasis have lost their identity, culture, tradition, values and ethos precisely because, there was no such provision of the social impact assessment in the Land Acquisition Act 1894.  However, Jharkhand Government has amended the provisions made in the Land Acquisition Act 2013, which will have immense negative impact on the Adivasi community.

The government is misleadingly using the photos of Birsa Munda and KartikOraon to destabilize tribal unity. It is worth noting here that Kartik Oraon whose photo is used in the Advertisement wrote in his book Adivasi Hindu Nahi Hai (‘The Adivasis Are Not Hindu’): “Let it be known, there is no space for Hindu gods and goddesses in the Adivasi community. Hindus believe in God whereas the Adivasis worship nature and follow the Naga culture”. Therefore, the so called ‘Ghar Wapsi’ campaign is completely against the dream of Kartik Oraon and of course Birsa Munda. The government is spreading lies using Adivasi leaders to score a point. It has hurt Adivasi sentiments very deeply.

The government is busy making a non-issue into an issue in Jharkhand. The data available with the government is the proof. In India, as per the government census the percentage of Christian population in the country was 2.33 in 1951; 2.44 in 1961; 2.60 in 1971; 2.44 in 1981; 2.32 in 1991; 2.34 in 2001 and 2.30 in 2011. The growth rate is almost static. Jharkhand has a similar Christian demographic scenario. Though the State was formed in 2000, yet for a larger picture the percentage of Christian population was 4.12 in 1951; 4.17 in 1961; 4.35 in 1971; 3.99 in 1981; 3.72 in 1991; 4.10 in 2001 and 4.30 in 2011. Here too the growth rate is almost stagnant.

A close examination of the tribal population reveals that 14.5% are Christians and 39.7% are Hindus as per the 2011 census. The very sad thing is that a large percentage of Adivasis who have accepted Hindu Religion, or its sanskritized version, have changed, or were forced to change their title to ‘Kumar’ ‘Kumari’ ‘Devi’ and thus have lost their ethnic, social and cultural identity. It is almost a planned murder of the Adivasi community. The government should come out with a law to protect the identity of Adivasi communities if they have genuine concern for them.

Jharkhand has many issues to address, beginning with that of law and order. Cow vigilantes are moving around freely, lynching innocent people in the name of cow protection. The recent incident in Ramgarh shocked the consciousness of the nation. Jharkhand has the highest number of children dying of malnourishment and most of them belong to poor tribal communities living in the rural areas. The number of stunted children too is growing rapidly making children who are considered a ‘National Asset’ into a future liability. The Adivasis have been demanding ‘Sarna Code’ for the last many years and nothing has happened so far. The government has passed the law on conversion and land acquisition even after sufficient opposition from the Opposition Parties, to cover up all the ills of the State and keep people

engaged in divisive activities while it can grab tribal land to pass onto the corporate sector.  The government is scared of Adivasi unity and this law is a weapon which will be used to break the unity of the people and give licence to the fringe elements to attack anyone in the name of conversion especially those who dare to oppose the irresponsible policies of the government. Moreover, there is no provision built into the bill to deal with cases of false accusation and misuse of the bill. The intention of the bills is anti-people, anti-constitutional, and anti-peace.

The Constitution of India guarantees fundamental right to the freedom of religion under articles 25-28.  Therefore, all persons in India are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion of one’s choice without converting anyone from one religion to another by force, allurement, or threat. The State of Jharkhand should release a white paper presenting the data of such cases of conversion by force, allurement, or threat in Jharkhand in the last 17 years. It is unfair even to think of such anti-conversion law when there are no issues on the ground.  Besides, the Indian Penal Code 295 (a) is already very strong to deal with cases of conversion by force, or coercion, or allurement.

It has been categorically stated in the Indian Constitution, Article 13(2) that ‘any law made by any legislature or other authority after commencement of the Constitution, which contravenes any of the fundamental rights included in Part III of the Constitution shall, to the extent of the contravention, be declared void. Indeed, the bill is unconstitutional and is a super imposition on the existing law. The bill has no purpose except political and ideological. The timing of the bill clearly reveals that it is politically motivated to break the unity of the Adivasis. The bill proposes to seek permission as well as inform the district collector on matters concerning one’s freedom of conscience which is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Constitution (Art. 25). The choice, or decision to embrace any religion is based on the freedom of conscience of a person and it cannot be dappled with as it is a direct violation of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right of freedom of conscience. The question of conversion does not arise here as it is the matter of the freedom of conscience of a person. Therefore, the anti-conversion bill is ultravirus.

Therefore, we humbly pray to your Excellency,

That these bills are not given assent as their purpose is anti-people and anti-Adivasis.

That the fundamental right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion, and freedom to manage religious affairs guaranteed under the Article 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution is protected.

That the land of the Adivasis is safeguarded not only for the present but also for the future generations to come.

You, as the Constitutional Custodian of the Fifth Schedule Areas of Jharkhand comprising the adivasis of the land, are our hope for upholding justice and secularism in the country.

Yours Sincerely

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,

General Secretary, NCCI

Democracy: Debate, Dissent, Discussion and Decision

Rt. Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh – President, NCCI.

In the life of States, organizations and movements decision making is an ongoing life process. History has witnessed many forms of governance and decision making. Kingship, autocracy, oligarchy, and democracy are some of them. The world has suffered from tyrant kings and reckless autocrats. Kingship has disappeared from many nations though many of the Middle Eastern countries are even now ruled by Kings and Sheikhs. For that matter, our own country emerged as a union of many small kingdoms.

Of all the forms of governance, democracy has been tested and found the best form of government. Democracy is government of the people by the people for the people. Our country is world’s largest democracy.

However, early church had a much simpler form of governance. They gathered together spent time in prayer and made decisions in one mind, probably guided by the elders. Their appointments and nominations were by casting lots. As the church grew up most of the mainline churches adopted democracy as their form of governance. Now CNI, CSI, MarThoma and many other churches are fully democratic. Yet, we cannot boast that our democratic process is without flaw. In many cases we fail to observe that salient features of democratic decision making process.

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A Moment of Introspection and Reflection

Rt. Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh – President, NCCI.

Greetings

Introduction

We have come together for the annual meetings of NCCI and CSA. As President I take this time to greet you all and welcome you to these sessions of deliberations. This is also an occasion of our mutual accountability. This responsibility will be carried out officially through the reports of the General Secretary, Treasurer and the secretaries and directors who are in charge of various activities of our great ecumenical movement. What I wish to do is to take a moment to introspect and reflect on our work during the past year. This, as you know, is a spiritual exercise which will provide a focus to our deliberations.

I wish to place before you a question around which we can do our introspection. How faithful and effective were we in fulfilling our quadrennial commitment of building up just and inclusive communities? We have completed sixteen months since the quadrennial meeting in Jabalpur. After observing and participating in many meetings, consultations and conversations since then, with appreciation I can say that we have made good progress in enhancing inclusivity.

Let us have a look at the development of our understanding of inclusivity. About two decades ago, NCCI’s agenda of inclusivity was very traditional. NCCI itself has been an umbrella of ecumenism for its member churches. Slowly the umbrella became larger to accommodate Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelicals with a new name NUCF. Side by side we had also occasions of dialogue with people of other faiths. Our understanding of gender equality was limited to giving equal status to men and women. Even for that, we did not succeed in giving equal status to men and women in all the member churches of NCCI.

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Supreme Court gives India a Private Life

A landmark decision was made by the Supreme Court on 24th August 2017. Here is a report from The Times of India, Ranchi Edition of 25th August 2017: 

 SC GIVES INDIA A PRIVATE LIFE

63-Yr-Old Judgement Overturned

by Dhananjay Mahapatra & Amit Anand Choudhary TNN

New Delhi: Propelling India into the ranks of progressive societies that ensure privacy of their citizens, a nine-judge Supreme Court bench unanimously ruled on Thursday that privacy is a fundamental right, protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty and as part of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. In a historic judgment, the bench headed by CJI J S Khehar — which included Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer — upturned a 63-year-old ruling of an eight-judge bench that had refused to recognise privacy as a fundamental right. The 547-page ruling set up many landmarks to outline what constitutes a dignified life and the obligation of the state to help its citizens lead one.

It emphasised the value of dissent and tolerance, besides the rights of minorities, including sexual minorities, clearing the way for the possible voiding of the SC’s controversial order to reverse the decriminalisation of consensual gay sex by the Delhi high court. It also boldly delineated the limits to the state’s intervention in the lives of citizens. (emphasis added)

However, the bench was alive to the challenges thrown up by technology and recognised that a balance needs to be maintained between the right to privacy and the right of the state to impose reasonable restrictions on it for legitimate aims such as national security, prevention and investigation of crimes and distribution of welfare resources.

What stood out was privacy being declared intrinsic to right to life and that it formed part of the sacrosanct chapter on fundamental rights in the Constitution, which has been regarded since 1973 as part of the basic structure, immune from Parliament’s interference. The unanimous verdict was “Right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as part of the freedoms granted by Part III

The NCCI is committed to work towards just and inclusive communities. In the spirit of the Constitution of India, we affirm the fundamental rights of all, and in the context of the above SC ruling, the right to dignity of life for all.