Organic way to deal with disability

Monday, August 3, 2015
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A new set of smaller and lighter farm tools for those with functional disabilities have also been developed.

People with disabilities are often seen as unproductive beings requiring assistance from family members and community at large. This perception is starker in rural India where lack of varied work options, good public infrastructure and assistive devices leave little scope for those with disabilities to realise their potentials. An experiment in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh is challenging the old concepts by dovetailing orgnaic farming...

How we fail our RTI heroes

Sunday, August 2, 2015
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Babu Ram Chauhan showing RTI documents in 2012.

Babu Ram Chauhan always knew what was coming but he could not afford drop what he was doing. Belonging to Ramgarh village located near to India’s border with Pakistan in west Rajasthan, Chauhan exposed encroachment on more than 17,000 hectares prime irrigated land in the area. On July 11, he was kidnapped while returning home after teaching at a school 30 km away from his village. The kidnappers beat him up badly, shaved his head and forced...

India's largest employer has less than 7% women in its workforce

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
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Maximum women are employed in Group A and B and least with Group D.

Train tracks connect India like nothing else. Meandering through valleys, counting fields, jumping over rivers and bringing to halt road traffic, Indian Railways carried over more than 23 million passengers a day in 2014-15 on its 65,436 km network. For many, train turns into a home for few days. However, it’s not easy for women to commute on this convenient and many a times the only mode of transport. In 2013, 693 cases of crime against...

Last man in the queue

Friday, May 15, 2015
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Mental illness is more common among homeless than securely domiciled. Source: Tomas Castelazo

This mobile clinic in Delhi is especially aimed at mentally ill who live on streets of the capital. That they represent the most vulnerable of our society is a known fact. There is strong evidence to suggest that severe mental illness is more common among the homeless than the securely domiciled. An outreach camp, which helps these people regain their sense of belonging through innovative strategies, is thus more than welcome. Though there...

A school to her thoughts

Thursday, May 14, 2015
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The share of girl student declines with each level of education.

Unqualified teachers, low salaries, no free education for poor students and lack of infrastructure mar the implementation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act in India. Punjab is no different in this respect. A study points out deficiencies in the current system and little effort being made to rectify them. Though private schools of the state have good infrastructure, these lack commitment to poor students and teachers, who...

When States get rich and powerful

Monday, May 4, 2015
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States are better capable of administering their finances. Source: Aart van Bezooyen/Flickr

The Union budget saw increase in share of states in the gross tax receipts. While in actuals this might translate to an increase of a nominal 4 per cent in terms of tax revenue shared from Rs 7.62 lakh crore in 2014-2015 to Rs 7.93 lakh crore in 2015-2016, it is the nature of these resources that add value to fiscal devolution. Studies have indicated that states are better capable of administering their finances, while at the same time...

'Policing requires wide and numerous reforms'

Sunday, May 3, 2015
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Amidst Chaos. Source: Harni Calamur/Flickr

In India, police are trained well, paid minimally, put to odd times and jobs. Yet they remain in a position of power over the rest of the citizens, which is then used to extract money, and other favours. Political control further aggravates the situation. This is why the need for reform of the police force was felt but the reforms were not really acted upon, and if done, it was merely a lip service. Devika Prasad, who works with police...

Small & Sustainable: Power to Pico

Friday, May 1, 2015
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a pico hydro unit in operation.

The devastating impacts of big hydel projects, including submergence of habitats, alteration of river ecosystem, and displacements, are well known. Alternatively, India has been harnessing hydropower through small, community-based set ups which range from traditional water flour mills of the hills called gharats to the modern projects which generate power between 0-100 kw. These plants, being decentralised and community controlled, offer a...

Movement in the woods

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
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FRA gives powers back to the people not only for using the resources but also for conservation and protection.

Forest Rights Act proposes to do away with historical injustices done to those living in and around forests. It might be a tribal sourcing out forest foods and cultivating the land or a non-tribal using the wood for building own house, the Act gives powers back to the people not only for using the resources but also for conservation and protection. But there's still a lot of ground to be covered and we should not miss trees for the wood. Here...

‘Every seed makes a political statement’

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
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There are various crops which can help deal with specific health ailments and can grow in adverse conditions.

Seeds are related to our culture, health and social and national sovereignty. The fact that we know little about them signifies the marginalisation of traditional seeds in wake of hybrid seeds pushed by private companies and hailed by policy makers. But more than the market, it impinges upon our right to choose what we grow and eat. Traditionally, the seeds could be farm saved and shared among neighbours. They were rarely bought. But today,...